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.
While blogging is a solitary activity, I never feel alone, for I am blessed to be part of a larger community of kid lit bloggers. We share our love of reading and always makes sure our TBR stack is tall! Grateful to have Beagles and Books highlighted on two lists of kid lit blogs to follow along with many other fellow bloggers: Afoma Umesi’s 22 Best Kid Lit Blogs to Follow and Feedspot’s Top 100 Children’s Book Blogs and Websites for Parents, Teachers and Kids in 2020.
This week is devoted to picture books that I was digitally sent by Penguin Random House. As I mentioned last week, I initially wasn’t a big fan of electronic picture books largely due to the fact I regularly shared F & G and ARCs with my #classroombookday second grade. The kids felt honored when I read aloud these yet-to-be published books. Once our teaching went virtual, I will admit it was hard to hold a picture book while reading. PDFs of picture books allow kids to see not only the text but also the gorgeous illustrations during a virtual Google Meet class meeting. While I do miss holding a picture book and have had to get creative snapping photos of Bella with just picture book covers, e-books have allowed me to keep the live read alouds engaging for kids. As always, trying to find the silver lining.
Brick by Brick by Heidi Woodward Sheffield
From the immense grin on his face to calling him strong with arms like stone, readers see how deeply Luis admires his father who is a bricklayer. On subsequent pages in both text and illustrations, Sheffield shows the parallels between Luis and his father as they both work. As Luis’ father builds brick by brick, Luis reads book by book. As his father makes mortar, Luis builds with his art supplies. Verbs such as SCRRRAPES and WHIRRRRRRR are overly emphasized in the text which made me almost hear the sounds as I was reading. Luis has a dream that his family will have nuestra casa para siempre-our always home. On a Saturday morning after breakfast, Luis’ father has una sopresa (surprise) and after a ride in the truck with his eyes closed, Luis discovers that dreams can come true, for his father has built the family a brick house to call home.
Brick by Brick is a feel good story about family, hard work, and dreams. Sheffield’s use of mixed media made her art literally jump off the page. And I love the exuberant expressions of Luis and his father, for they will warm your heart. Thanks to the author and Nancy Paulsen Books/Penguin Random House for sharing an e-copy of Brick by Brick which was recently published on May 4, 2020.
Soaked by Abi Cushman
According to a bear, rain ruins everything he loves. Ice cream. Sand castles. Cashmere sweaters (Really? Not sure about that last one). Seeking shelter in his cave, he invites his friends but it gets a little crowded when one of your friends is a hula hooping moose. If only you could find your bumblebee umbrella. Hmm. Seems odd that the badger found hers. (Wait a minute. Why would a badger have the same umbrella?) But when one of moose’s hula hoops get stuck in a tree, the wallowing bear can’t just sit there. As he, rabbit, and badger free the hula hoop, they all fall into a huge puddle with the hoop around bear’s neck. Could hula hoop + puddle + rain =fun?
Last week, I had the opportunity to do a live read aloud of Soaked to my #classroombookaday second grade class. After I read, we discussed the lesson of the story. A student said Soaked teaches us to look for the good, not the bad. The conversation grew with the realization that while we all wish we were together in the classroom listening to the story, we are happy that we can be together virtually through Google Meets. We are learning how to change our perspective and seeing the positive rather than dwelling on the negative. Great message for today and every day! Thanks to Viking Books/Penguin Random House and Edelweiss for an e-copy. Look for Soaked on June 14, 2020.
The Stray by Molly Ruttan
When I first saw the title, I immediately thought The Stray was about a dog looking for a home. The cover made me realize the stray was an alien from another planet who crashed to Earth. A kind family rescues him wrapping him up in a baby blanket, brings him home, and name him Grub.
What I love most about The Stray is the illustrations are integral to the story. My #classroombooksaday observed this right away. If a reader just read the text, the story could be about a stray dog or cat but the artwork confirms that Grub is unique. The illustrations unveil Grub’s levitating powers which begin with a toaster and are in full force on a walk around the neighborhood. What tugged at my heart is while the family welcomed Grub as a member of their family, he still missed his home. Recognizing his yearning, the kids put up FOUND posters which are instrumental in Grub’s reunion with his alien family. The Stray is a tender story about a family who not only has enough love to welcome a stray into their family but also to let him go. Thanks to Nancy Paulsen Books/Penguin Random House and Edelweiss for an e-copy. The Stray will celebrate its book birthday tomorrow on Tuesday, May 19, 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.
This is Gus by Chris Chatterton
Gus is a grumpy basset hound who doesn’t like being petted, going for walks or celebrating birthdays. But wait! Once a basset pup arrives on the scene, maybe Gus will change his mind. And while the text may say Gus now likes things, the illustrations clearly show his distaste for everything except…sausage. Gus likes the smell, shape, and taste of sausage. Guess who else likes sausage? The basset pup. Will Gus be willing to share his sausage? Like Ryan Higgins’ Bruce, This is Gus might be a grouch but he truly has a heart of gold. Thanks to Penguin Workshop/Penguin Random House and Edelweiss for an e-copy. Previously published in the U.K., This is Gus will celebrate its U.S. book birthday tomorrow on Tuesday, May 19, 2020.
Bella & I thank you for visiting Beagles and Books. Happy Reading! Stay safe and well!