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.
Ways to Make Sunshine by Renée Watson Illustrated by Nina Mata
My third grade teacher Mrs. Shade read aloud Henry Huggins and from that moment on, I became a fan of Beverly Cleary’s books. Henry Huggins introduced me to Ramona who I loved for her spunk and smarts. So excited that my students can get to know Ramona, a character from my childhood, and also meet fourth grader Ryan, the main character in a new series by Renée Watson.
In this first book of the series, readers meet the Hart family who I just adore. Because their landlord is selling their house, the family must move to a new house, which is older and smaller. Mr. Hart has lost his job and while he is starting a new one, it does not pay as much which means no brand name groceries like Tillamook ice cream. On the bright side, Ryan has her own room, still goes to her same school, and lives closer to her own of her best friends KiKi. And while money may be tight, Mom tries her best to nuture Ryan’s love for cooking by buying ingredients to try out new recipes like fruit smoothies and rosemary chicken wings.
Ryan’s name means king and her parents remind her to live up to her name and be a leader. Ryan always strives to do the right thing and be positive but readers get to see her struggles as well whether it is a squabble with her brother Ray, overcoming her fears speaking in front of an audience or just dealing with change. What I love most is the Hart family has a lot of heart and is there for each other in both good and bad times. Written in under 200 pages with short chapters, dynamic characters, an engaging plot, and Mata’s charming black and white illustrations, Watson’s new series is so accessible to readers transitioning into middle grade novels. Can’t wait for more adventures with Ryan and her family! Thanks to Bloomsbury Publishers for sharing an ARC at the #NCTE covention. Ways to Make Sunshine celebrates its book birthday tomorrow on April 20, 2020.
Play Like An Animal by Maria Gianferrari Illustrated by Mia Powell
Did you know that animals play for a purpose? In her latest book, Play Like An Animal, Maria Gianferrari teaches reader of all ages that animals engage in play to practice important life skills such as fighting, cooperating, hunting, and escaping from predators. The animals are not the only ones playing, for Gianferrari engages in spirited word play herself introducing each animal with three dynamic verbs to describe their actions. To read my full review and enter a giveaway, click here.
Space Mice by Lori Haskins Houran Illustrated by Priscilla Alpaugh
When two mice are out of cheese, they look up at the sky and see a giant ball of yellow swiss. These clever (and hungry) mice devise a thorough plan and build a rocket to take them on a mission to the moon. Once they safely land, the mice fill their hungry bellies and even take a slice to go!
With lines of five words or less, Houran efficiently uses rhyme to entertain and explain the mice’s journey to get to the moon. I love her word choice for children hear juicy words such as jot, plot, fetch, nosh. Alpaugh’s mice are not only adorable but she also captures their determination and excitement for their project. Because of the mice, the moon changes from full to a crescent which is a surprise to a young astromer on Earth. Thanks to Albert Whitman for sharing an ARC of Space Mice which published on March 1, 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.
Stay! by Alex Latimer
Ben thinks the world of his dog Buster. Based on Buster’s past behavior, Ben’s parents do not share his sentiment so Buster will not be joining them on their family vacation and instead stay with Grampa. Worried that Grampa does not know Buster’s likes and dislikes, Ben is encouraged to write notes to help Grampa better understand him. Ben has a lot to share which means more notes that he ever imagined. And even after Ben left, he would send postcards to Granmpa with anything he forgot. With all these notes, you would think Ben would have remembered everything, but there was one important detail he forgot. Will Buster be in the doghouse or will Grampa be able to teach an old dog a new trick?
Stay is a humorous yet heartwarming story about a boy and his dog. My favorite part is the notes that Ben writes and illustrates because they show how well he clearly knows Buster. I also love that when Ben and Buster are reunited, Grampa has his own note for Ben.
Bella & I thank you for visiting Beagles and Books. Happy Reading! Stay safe and well!