Bella and I are 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.
Our Recent Reads:
Saving Granddaddy’s Stories by Shannon Hitchcock Illustrated by Sophie Page
Saving Granddaddy’s Stories is a picture book biography about oral storyteller Ray Hicks who grew up on a farm near the Appalachian Mountains. As a child, Ray heard stories from his grandfather, but Granddaddy Ben told traditional tales like Jack and the Beanstalk in a mountain way to reflect their way of living. Ray loved sharing Granddaddy Ben’s stories with anyone he met and when Grandaddy died, he knew the stories must continue. He told them to his future bride, his children, friends, and neighbors. When Ray found out about the first International Storytelling Festival, he took his stories all the way to Tennessee. Soon Ray’s stories spread even farther traveling to Washington, DC to meet a vice president. In the author’s note, Hitchcock shares that Ray became famously known as the “Voice of the Appalachia” and received a lot of awards, but he never made a lot of money. In fact, his heart was most happy when he was at his North Carolina home. With Hitchcock’s lyrical text full of rich, figurative language and Page’s mixed media illustrations made with materials such as clay, paper, and fabric, Saving Granddaddy’s Stories is a gorgeous picture book for both the ears and the eyes. Thanks to the author for sharing an ARC with my #bookexcursion group. Saving Granddaddy’s Stories recently celebrated its book birthday on October 22, 2020.
It’s Not Little Red Riding Hood by Josh Funk Illustrated by Edwardian Taylor
The amazing duo, Josh Funk and Edwardian Taylor, are back with their third (and hopefully, not last) installment in the It’s Not a Fairytale series featuring Little Red Riding Hood. If you loved Jack and Hansel and Gretel, you will want to add Red to your picture book collection. Thanks to Amazon Publishing and Blue Slip Media for sharing a copy with Beagles and Books and inviting me to a part of the blog tour. It’s Not Little Red Riding Hood celebrated its book birthday last week on October 27, 2020. To read my full review, click here.
Oscar’s American Dream by Barry Wittenstein Illustrated by Kristen & Kevin Howdeshell
In 1899, Oscar Nowicki, a Polish immigrant, opens a barbershop on the corner of Front Street and Second Avenue in New York City. 9 years later, Oscar ventures into a new career closing the barber shop, and his corner store becomes a ladies clothing store owned by two sisters. During the Great Depression, the store became a soup kitchen and an army recruitment center in World War II. After the war, Moises Ortiz Jr. used a loan from his brother to open first a bodega and two years later, a television store. Unfortunately, a fire ruined Ortiz’s business, but the corner store remained standing. In the following years, the building sold a number of goods from coffee, records, coins, and candy. 100 years later, in 1999, Acme Construction Company decided to take down the building to build luxury apartments. In the author’s note, Wittenstein explains while his story is fictional, the corner store’s transformation are based on key historical events in the United States. What I love about Oscar’s American Dream is it’s not only a story but also a visual timeline to help kids understand significant events in American history. Howdeshells’ warm illustrations evoke a nostalgic feel and show the changes in clothing, politics, and recreation throughout 20th century America. With just one building, Wittenstein shows that indeed the only constant is change. To access an educational guide with activities, click here. Thanks to the author for sharing a copy with Beagles and Books. Oscar’s American Dream released on October 13, 2020.
Wanting to spread the dog love, Beagles and Books has a weekly feature of highlighting a literary selection with a canine main character.
Remembering Barkley by Erin Frankel Illustrated by Aboo Yang
Remembering Barkley is a tender story to help children cope with loss. What is unique about the story is it is written from the point of view of a black Lab named Bear. Not understanding what has happened, Bear waits by the door for Barkley and stops by Barkley’s favorite tree in hopes of finding him. His human Jacob is missing Barkley too which is evident in his facial expressions, words, and actions. In fact, whenever Jacob and Bear pass the tree on a walk, Jacob tugs at Bear to keep going and not stop. Jacob tries new paths for walks but neither he nor Bear feel any better. When Bear catches and carries a ball to Barkley’s tree, Jacob’s grief manifests into anger yelling at Bear to “bring HIM back” but soon Jacob and Bear are hugging and comforting each other over their loss. The two begin to realize that the tree is a place to remember Barkley which helps them slowly begin to heal. With concise text, Frankel gently conveys that grief is a process and Yang’s illustrations complement the message, for the story begins in the fall and ends in the fall. With an afterword discussing grief, Remembering Barkley is a picture book to support children in understanding and living with loss. Thanks to Albert Whitman for sharing a copy with my #bookexcursion group. Remembering Barkley published on October 1, 2020.
Bella and I thank you for visiting Beagles and Books!