Blog Tour, Giveaway, Picture Books

Blog Tour & Giveaway for This Book is Gray by Lindsey Ward

 

Beagles and Books is excited to be part of the blog tour for This Book is Gray written and illustrated by Lindsay Ward. It recently released in November 2019.  Special thanks to Two Lions/Amazon Publishing and Barbara Fisch of Blue Slip Media for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Review:
Please sure to read the front endpapers and the title page first, for readers discover that Gray wants to be included in the rainbow, but sadly, gray is not one of the featured colors.  Feeling dejected, he decides to write his own book aptly titled, This Book is Gray. 

Gray proceeds to write a story about wolf, a kitten, and a hippo and draw all the illustrations in (you guessed it)…gray! Gray is so proud until the Primary colors pay him a visit and are critical of his color scheme.  The Secondary colors join the Primary colors interrupting Gray’s storytelling with comments which slowly pushes Gray over the edge. Unable to remain calm, Gray finally tells (well, actually yells to) all the colors his true feelings about being left out and how gray is really a cool color.   

After Gray honestly shares how he feels, all the colors show empathy for him.  They offer Gray their apologies and best of all, they collaborate together to make the book both gray AND Pcolorful.  In the end, Gray gets the last word stating his book is pretty GRAYt!  (get it?)

This Book is Gray is a story full of humor and heart.  While readers will chuckle at the many puns and the story within the story of the kitten, wolf, and hippo, children also feel empathetic with Gray’s situation. During my read aloud to my #classroombookaday students, a few children remarked that the colors were being mean to Gray and how they felt sad for him.  When the colors and Gray worked together to fix and finish the book, students cheered and expressed their happiness that all the colors saw that Gray is indeed a pretty cool color. 

Ward’s illustrations and page layout is visually appealing to young readers.  The colors are adorably drawn adorned with hats, rosy cheeks, and other fun accessories.  The witty dialogue is written in speech bubbles.  Be sure to visit the front endpapers again, for Ward has included a glossary for basic color concepts to accompany her color wheel diagram.  

Praise for This Book is Gray!

“This book is a fun introduction to color theory that may inspire children to use more gray in their artwork and remind them to include friends who are left out.”
Booklist

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Meet the Author/Illustrator: 

Lindsay Ward is the creator of the Dexter T. Rexter series as well as Brobarians, Rosco vs. the Baby, and The Importance of Being 3. Her book Please Bring Balloons was also made into a play. Lindsay lives in Peninsula, Ohio, with her family. Gray is one of her favorite colors. Learn more about her online at www.lindsaymward.com.
Twitter: @lindsaymward
THIS BOOK IS GRAY low-res cover (1)Enter a Giveaway!

One lucky winner will receive a copy of This Book is Gray, courtesy of Two Lions/Amazon (U.S. addresses only). There are now multiple ways to enter the giveaway.
  • Follow me @lauramossa on Twitter and retweet my This Book is Gray giveaway tweet.
  • If you are not on Twitter, fill out the Google form below.

This giveaway is open from December 6, 2019-December 13, 2019 and ends at 10:00 p.m. EST.  Winner will be announced on December 14, 2019.

#Bookexcursion, It's Monday! What Are You Reading?, Middle Grade Literature, Picture Books

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 12/2/19

Beagles and Books is back and thrilled to share our current reads in It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #IMWAYR is a community of bloggers who link up to share what they are reading. Kellee Moye of Unleashing Readers and Jen Vincent of Teach Mentor Texts decided to give it a #kidlit focus and encourage everyone who participates to visit at least 3 of the other #kidlit book bloggers that link up and leave comments for them.

Our Recent Reads:

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Santa’s Story by Will Hillenbrand

It is Christmas Eve and Santa is ready to begin his monumental sleigh ride but he has a problem.  None of his reindeer can be found.  To read my full review and to enter a giveaway, click here.

One Snowy Morning by Kevin Tseng Illustrated by Dana Wulfkotte

In this fun story, a chipmunk and a squirrel see a snowman but do not recognize it as one.  Instead, they show readers their vivid imagination as they invent different uses for each item. For example, the coal eyes are lumpy kickballs, the scarf is a theater curtain, and the carrot is a rare dragon tooth.  Feeling inspired, they decide to use the carrot to stir up a pot of dragon tooth soup, find new uses for each item, and invite their friends over for a party. After their party ends, the items are returned to the “giant pile of snow” so that others can enjoy them.  What I love about One Snowy Morning is that the two woodland friends teach us to be out of the box thinkers. Readers will enjoy the humorous  and creative plot and the warm and lively illustrations. Thanks to the publisher for sharing an early copy with my #bookexcursion group.  One Snowy Morning recently published on November 5, 2019.

Snowy Race by April Jones Prince Illustrated by Christine Davenier

From the very first page, readers will feel the excitement of a little girl as she wakes up and says “Today’s the day! She’s on her way!” Behind her bed nailed to the wall is a calendar with many crossed out dates and only one date circled in red.  Who is the little girl waiting for?  The excitement grows as the little girl and her father eat breakfast and then board the snow plow headed for town. As the weather worsens, the rhyming text and energetic yet warm full page spread illustrations conveys the mood as the father and daughter brave the storm together.  Finally, they reach their destination, a train station and readers finally see who the little girl was waiting for.  Snowy Race is a heartwarming story about family.  Thanks to the publisher for sharing an early copy of Snowy Race with my #bookexcursion group.  It recently celebrated its book birthday on November 26, 2019.

Etta’s and Bella’s Dog Pick of the Week

Wanting to spread the dog love, Beagles and Books has a weekly feature of highlighting a literary selection with a canine main character.

We Could Be Heroes by Margaret Finnegan

Fourth grader Hank is a compassionate kid with autism.  He is largely overlooked by his classmates, but Hank is content spending time with his rock collection.  After an incident at school which leads to a three day suspension, Hank gains the attention of high-spirited classmate Maisie.  And coincidentally, her parents are geologists. Maisie invites Hank over to her house to see rocks but actually has an ulterior motive. She wants to find a new home for her neighbor’s dog, Booler.  Booler suffers from seizures so in order to keep the dog safe, Booler lives outside tied to a tree.  From Maisie’s perspective, Booler is being mistreated and needs to be rescued, but Maisie doesn’t know the whole story.  Hank is eager to have a real friend, but experiences anxiety for Booler and his situation.  Maisie though is so relentless that Hank refers to her as a barnacle, for she has latched on to a plan to save Booler and won’t it go.  Reluctantly, Hank agrees to help Maisie and while their intentions are admirable, their actions do result in some negative consequences, but the silver lining is learning how to truly be a friend.  

I read a lot of middle grade novels and many are written with older characters.  I love that debut author Finnegan novel features two dynamic characters for a younger audience.  Drawing from her own experiences as a parent of a child with autism, and epilepsy, , Finnegan also did a beautiful job creating authentic characters in Hank and Maisie.  While the novel is under 250 pages, Finnegan slowly and skillfully reveals the plot which makes the book hard to put down.  Readers do not learn until close to the end why Maisie is so steadfast in wanting to rescue Booler.  I also love how the friendship between the children and Mr. Jorgensen gradually unfolds.  With themes of family, friendship, and forgiveness, We Could Be Heroes is a must read.  Pre-order now, for the novel publishes on February 25, 2020.

Etta, Bella & I thank you for visiting Beagles and Books. Happy Reading!

 

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#Bookexcursion, Debut Author, Middle Grade Literature

We Could Be Heroes by Margaret Finnegan

We Could Be Heroes by Margaret Finnegan

It is no secret that I love books that feature dogs as a main character. From the moment I saw the cover and read the synopsis of We Could Be Heroes, I couldn’t wait to read it. I was blessed to win a autographed bound manuscript in Good Reads with Ronna’s Twitter giveaway.

Then a few months later, I received an ARC from Barbara Fisch of Blue Slip Media. I took the opportunity to re-read the novel and fell in love with the characters and the story even more.

Fourth grader Hank is a compassionate kid with autism.  He is largely overlooked by his classmates, but Hank is content spending time with his rock collection.  After an incident at school which leads to a three day suspension, Hank gains the attention of high-spirited classmate Maisie.  And coincidentally, her parents are geologists. Maisie invites Hank over to her house to see rocks but actually has an ulterior motive. She wants to find a new home for her neighbor’s dog, Booler.  Booler suffers from seizures; therefore, in order to keep the dog safe, Booler lives outside tied to a tree.  From Maisie’s perspective, Booler is being mistreated and needs to be rescued, but Maisie doesn’t know the whole story.  Hank is eager to have a friend, but experiences anxiety for Booler and his situation.  Maisie though is so relentless that Hank refers to her as a barnacle, for she has latched on to a plan to save Booler and won’t let it go.  Reluctantly, Hank agrees to help Maisie and while their intentions are admirable, their actions do result in some negative consequences, but fortunately, there is a silver lining, for Hank and Maisie both learn how to be a true friend.

I read a lot of middle grade novels and many are written with older characters.  I love that debut author Finnegan’s novel features two dynamic characters for a younger audience.  Drawing from her own experiences as a parent of a child with autism and epilepsy, Finnegan also did a beautiful job creating authentic characters in Hank and Maisie.  While the novel is under 250 pages, Finnegan slowly and skillfully reveals the plot which makes the novel hard to put down.  Readers do not learn until close to the end why Maisie is so steadfast in wanting to rescue Booler.  I also love how the friendship between the children and Mr. Jorgensen gradually unfolds.  With themes of family, friendship, and forgiveness, We Could Be Heroes is a must read.  Pre-order now, for the novel publishes on February 25, 2020.

Blog Tour, Giveaway, Picture Books

Blog Tour & Giveaway for Santa’s Story by Will Hillenbrand

 

Beagles and Books is excited to be part of the blog tour for Santa’s Story written and illustrated by Will Hillenbrand. It released in September 2019.  Special thanks to Two Lions/Amazon Publishing and Barbara Fisch of Blue Slip Media for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Review:

It’s Black Friday and instead of shopping, I am relaxing and reading by the fire with my book beagles.  Since the day after Thanksgiving is typically the official start of the Christmas season, it is the perfect time to share a new Christmas picture book.

 It is Christmas Eve and Santa is ready to begin his monumental sleigh ride but he has a problem.  None of his reindeer can be found.  

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Using alliteration and rich vocabulary,  Hillenbrand shows the readers where the reindeer are and what they are up to.  A few of the reindeer’s actions matched their names, for Dasher dashed and Prancer pranced, but Vixen vexed, Cupid crooned and Donner dozed.  I love how children are exposed to sophisticated words which will enhance their oral vocabulary.  Supporting the concise and rich text are warm double page illustrations with a muted color palette.  If readers look closely, on some pages, they will see Santa looking for the reindeer with his binoculars. And Santa’s adorable little dog is right by his side, which makes me love the story even more.

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Santa attempts to call the reindeer with playing a horn and ringing bells, but has no success.  But with the help of Comet and his dog, Santa finally realizes why the reindeer are not responding and shouts the two words, STORY TIME, that will gather his team for their Christmas Eve tradition of reading The Night Before Christmas.  After the read aloud, the reindeer are ready to bring a merry Christmas to all!

As a reading specialist, I am always promoting the power of reading aloud and I love that Hillenbrand wrote a holiday story featuring this important family activity.  Reading aloud should not just be a tradition on Christmas Eve, but a daily habit.  Here’s hoping Santa’s Story may be a vehicle to reminding parents, caregivers, and teachers to set aside time each day to share a good book!

Meet the Author/Illustrator: 

 
Will Hillenbrand has written and illustrated many beloved picture books, including Snowman’s Story, Down by the Barn, Mother Goose Picture Puzzles, and the Bear and Mole series. He has also illustrated dozens of books, including the Big Bear series by Maureen Wright. Will lives with his wife and son in Terrace Park, Ohio. You can find out more about him at www.willhillenbrand.com.
 
Connect with Will on Facebook
On Instagram: willhillenbrand
 
 
Praise for SANTA’S STORY:
 
“Hillenbrand’s digital illustrations have a pleasingly soft visual aesthetic…A merrily-ever-after read.” —Kirkus Reviews
 
“Hillenbrand reveals the spirited goings on in snowy, buoyant digital pictures featuring expressive reindeer and a jolly Santa who would be right at home in an animated movie. A light and cheery holiday tribute to tradition and storytelling.” —Publishers Weekly
 
“Interesting vocabulary, a touch of suspense, and a satisfying conclusion make this simple story a good addition to holiday collections.” —School Library Journal
 
 
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Enter a Giveaway!
One lucky winner will receive a copy of Santa’s Story, courtesy of Two Lions/Amazon (U.S. addresses). There are now multiple ways to enter the giveaway.

  • Follow me @lauramossa on Twitter and retweet my Santa Story giveaway tweet.
  • If you are not on Twitter, fill out the Google form below.

This giveaway is open from November 29, 2019-December 6, 2019 and ends at 10:00 p.m. EST.  Winner will be announced on December 7, 2019.