Beagles and Books is excited to share our latest 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.
For the past few weeks, I have been leaning on picture books partly due to their length but I am happy to report that I finished reading 3 novels this week. Getting into a reading rut is tough so I am glad that there are so many types of books to help during the ebbs and flows of life. And all these novels are #mustreadsin2020. Two celebrate their book birthday this week and one will publish in less than a month!
What Lane? by Torry Maldanado
Stephen is an eleven year old biracial boy who lives in Brooklyn with his librarian mom and teacher dad. Believing in a saying coined by his favorite basketball player, Stephen wears a bracelet with the words WHAT LANE? This phrase reminds him that he is not confined to one path or as his father says “the world is yours.” Stephen shows his many lanes in his friendships, for his best friend, Dan is white, but he also has friends who are African American, Latino or mixed like him. But Stephen’s thinking is challenged when he experiences microaggressions solely because of his color. And while two years ago, Stephen made a New Year’s resolution to say what’s on his mind, it is not always easy to follow through especially when Dan’s cousin Chad is involved. Stephen learns that he must open his eyes and speak his mind and not worry about so much about the lanes but rather stick with his friends who are true allies and have his back.
Lately, it has been hard to stay focus to read a novel and I know other adults and kids are struggling too. What Lane? is a gamechanger on so many levels. Written in 126 pages with short chapters, Stephen’s authentic story hooked me from the very first page. Kids will easily relate to Stephen who loves superheroes and the television show, Stranger Things. What I love the most is author and teacher Torrey Maldonado tackles tough issues candidly in language that kids will not only enjoy but understand. One of my #mustreadsin2020, it is a novel that adults should read as well Thanks to the author and publisher Nancy Paulsen Books/Penguin Random House for sharing an ARC with my #bookexcursion group. What Lane? celebrates its book birthday tomorrow on April 14, 2020.
Finally, Something Mysterious by Doug Cornett
Paul, Shanks and Peephole are the One and Onlys, budding detectives who all happen to be only children. Well, Peephole is actually losing this title, for his mom is expecting a baby soon. The trio is used to solving mundane cases like the missing remotes or the class hamster’s lost tail so they jump at the chance to find out who covered their neighbor Mr. Babbages’s lawn with rubber ducks. Why is Mr. Babbage the target? It turns out that he is the five time winner of the annual Bellwood Bratwurst Bonanza known to the town as the “Triple B.” Could somebody be attempting to rattle Babbage so he is not on top of his bratwurst game? The One and Onlys are on the case even though sluggish Officer Portnoy has told them to cease sleuthing. Paul, Shanks, and Peephole must get their ducks, I mean, clues in a row so they can solve the case!
Finally, Something Mysterious is another middle grade novel on my #mustreadin2020 and debut author Doug Cornett kept me laughing and guessing as I worked to put the clues together. I loved how each character brought strengths to the group, for Paul tracked down the cases, Shanks was the muscle showing no fear, and Peephole’s photographic memory cataloged every detail. Minor characters like the town’s cruelest teacher and chief bratwurst tester Mr. Pocus were also intriguing and well developed. Equally important as a character is the quirky town of Bellwood itself, which is small and actually shaped like a bell (which you can see from the handy map included at the beginning of the novel). Thanks to the author for sharing an ARC with my #bookexcursion group. Finally, Something Mysterious celebrates its book birthday tomorrow on April 14, 2020.
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.
The One and Only Bob by Katherine Applegate
In a letter to readers that precedes Chapter 1, author Katherine Applegate asks if you are Team Canine. My blog pretty much speaks to my allegiance; therefore, I was so utterly excited to have the opportunity to read another one of my #mustreadsin2020, The One and Only Bob before it officially releases on May 5, 2020. Thanks to Edelweiss and Harper Collins for sharing an e-book with Beagles and Books.
Eight years after The One and Only Ivan published, Applegate takes us back to check in with Bob, Ivan, and Ruby with tiny and tough Bob telling the tale. Bob’s narration is perfect. Readers get to know his backstory before meeting Ivan and his current comfortable life with Julia and her family. I have always been a fan of Applegate’s writing using concise words, lots of white space, and short chapters. But she really blew me away writing from a dog perspective using terms as bed boogie, drool flag and UFO (which are defined along with other words in a canine glossary following the story) and how vet, bath, fireworks, and vacuum cleaner are canine swear words. Based on his life experiences, it is no surprise why Bob has his guard up, but it is clear that he will do anything for those he loves especially when a tornado hits the animal sanctuary where Ivan and Ruby now live. In a time where we all need to remain positive, Bob reminds us to never lose hope because “sometimes humans don’t let you down. Sometimes they even come to your rescue.” Here’s to us all rescuing each other.
Bella & I thank you for visiting Beagles and Books. Happy Reading! Stay safe and well!