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

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 8/17/20


After a brief hiatus, Beagles and Books is back and 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.link up below, leave a comment, and support other IMWAYR bloggers by visiting and commenting on at least three of the other linked blogs.

Bella, my husband, and I are grateful to have spent our summer vacation in the western North Carolina mountains. We stayed at a beautiful house with a large screened porch which was situated on 3 acres with a running river and a pond.   We booked this trip in December 2019 so when COVID began impacting travel, we were worried that our trip would be cancelled.  Fortunately, restrictions were lifted, and we enjoyed a relaxing and peaceful family vacation to reflect and renew.



Check out the otter swimming in the pond!



Our Recent Reads

Stritch Scratch by Lindsay Currie

Seventh grade Claire prefers science over the paranormal which is why she would much rather be working on her science project than assisting her dad on the Spirits of Chicago, his ghost bus tour.  During the tour, Claire’s dad takes his passengers to various stops in the city telling them the eerie history.  On the final stop, Claire notices a little boy sitting in the back row of the bus.  And the spooky part is she is the only one that can see him.  He disappears but leaves a note with the numbers 396 written on it. Scientists know better than to believe in ghosts but Claire can’t forget the boy’s white face, pale lips, and dark eyes.  Then odd things start happening scratching in the walls and rattling door knobs.  Claire deduces there is only one explanation-the little boy who followed her home is a ghost!  And a ghost is not Claire’s only concern. She and her best friend Casley have been drifting apart since a new girl Emily moved to their town.   While Claire initially tries to handle the situation on her own, she realizes she is in over her head and comes clean with her older brother Sam and then finally confides in Casley and Emily.  With their support, Claire not only uncovers the identity of the little boy but also discovers how to help him find his way home.

Chosen as one of my #mglit #mustreadin2020, Scritch Scratch is a haunting story with a lot of heart.  Written from Claire’s point of view, Currie did a magnificent job developing a dynamic character with whom middle grade readers can both identify with and root for.  Once the little boy appeared and unexplainable things began happening to Claire, my heart raced as I read each page.  My heart also hurt for her as she navigated her friendship with Casley and Emily.  What I loved most about Claire is while she was terrified, she was genuinely concerned for the little boy and along with support from Sam, Casley and Emily,  it gave her the strength to be brave.  And I can’t end this review without mentioning another main character-the city of Chicago which was much more than a setting.  I have never been to Chicago but reading Scritch Scratch makes me want to book a flight to take a Spirits ghost tour myself!  Thankfully I (and you) can enjoy a virtual ” Spirits of Chicago” ghost tour with Adam of Mysterious Chicago tours. Click the link below.

Thank you to author Lindsay Currie for sharing an ARC with my #bookexcursion group. Preorder now so you can have this chilling read in your hands on September 1, 2020.  Check out my other #mustreadin2020 by clicking here.

We Will Rock Our Classmates by Ryan Higgins

Penelope is back!  While she has adjusted to kindergarten and not eating her classmates, a new problem has surfaced.  Her classmates don’t see past her physical appearance, and she wants to be seen as more than a dinosaur. So when Mrs. Noodleman announced a school talent show, Penelope is both excited and nervous to showcase her hidden talent singing and playing the guitar. But her insecurity gets the better of Penelope making her believe she can’t do or like things like rock ‘n’ roll.  With loving support from her dad, Penelope realizes being a T. rex is just a small part of her identity and she can be anything her heart desires.  Penelope’s newfound confidence propels her classmates to ask her if they can join her band.  We Will Rock Our Classmates is a gentle reminder to not judge anyone by their appearance. And don’t miss the endpapers which highlights real children’s drawings of their own marvelous talents.


Clover Kitty Goes to Kittygarten by Laura Purdie Salas Illustrated by Hiroe Nakata

Children may experience a range of emotions about starting kindergarten from excitement to anxiety.  On the morning of her first day, sensory sensitive Clover Kitty is worried about how kindergarten will sound like and feel like.  For all children starting kindergarten, school is not going to be the traditional setting.  All across the country,  children will be in person with social distancing, hybrid with a mix of in person and virtual or completely virtual.  Author Laura Purdie Salas aptly handles a delicate topic by writing an honest and engaging story which any child coping with a new school experience can relate to.  Nakata’s watercolor illustrations warmly show Clover’s change from beginning to end.  To read my full review, click here.

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.


Madeline Finn and the Therapy Dog by Lisa Papp

I just adore author/illustrator Lisa Papp’s Madeline Finn so I was excited to hear about a third book in the series.  At the beginning of the story, Star celebrates his first birthday and the next day, he begins taking tests to become a therapy dog.  Star performs well listening to commands,  ignoring other therapy dogs at the retirement home, and being gentle with the residents.  During his second test, almost all of the residents are delighted to meet Star but Madeline notices one man, Mr. Humphrey doesn’t smile or say anything.  Her mother encourages her to be patient because some people just need time.  Big hearted Madeline wants to find a way to help Mr. Humphrey.  She and Star practice a variety of activities in hopes of connecting with him.  When Mr. Humphrey still doesn’t respond, Madeline, with some help from librarian Mrs. Dimple, recalls how reading aloud to therapy dog Bonnie helped her gain confidence. Madeline decides to read a story to Bonnie, Star, and Mr. Humphrey which not only helps her connect with Mr. Humphrey but also earns Star her therapy dog tag.  I love Papp’s soft and tender illustrations and when I read any of the books in this series, I feel I am like wrapped in a warm hug.  Thank you to Peachtree Publishing for sharing a F & G of Madeline Finn and The Therapy Dog which publishes on September 1, 2020.

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



7 thoughts on “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 8/17/20”

  1. I am reading Scritch Scratch right now and am really enjoying it. I’m glad to see you liked it too! And We Will Rock our Classmates looks like something my son will enjoy! Thanks for the recommendations!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I am happy that you had your vacation, love that otter, Laura. And I’ve had Scritch Scratch on my list for a while, am really looking forward to it! I shared Clover Kitty last week. It is very cute! I have a friend who is raising a new therapy dog, will share the new Madeline Finn book with her! Thanks & welcome back!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. That otter! It’s like it’s performing just for you! Lovely round-up–off to add a few to my tbr shelf. Thanks again for sharing Clover Kitty, and I’m glad you had such a fantastic vacation. It sounds so restful and wonderful.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I am looking forward to getting to read Scritch Scratch and We Will Rock Our Classmates as well as the authors have such a great track record with me. Your other choices for this week look interesting too, thanks for the post!

    Liked by 1 person

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