#Bookexcursion, Early Readers, Giveaway, Graphic Novel, It's Monday! What Are You Reading?, Picture Books

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 12/7/20

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:


The Snow Dancer by Addie Boswell Illustrated by Mercè López

With lyrical text and lively illustrations, The Snow Dancer is not only a joy for the ears but also for the eyes. Boswell uses a lot of rich vocabulary to convey Sofia’s actions throughout the story.  For example, she bundled out of her sleeping house.  She hopscotched down the invisible sidewalk.  As a reading specialist, exposing children to robust words supports their oral and written language.  Onomatopoeia is also peppered through the text which brings the story to life. As I was reading, I could actually hear the sounds that Sofia was making in the snow.  López’s gorgeous illustrations make the story leap off the page, for Sofia’s movements stepping into the new snow and dancing in the field were both graceful and playful.  I especially love the interaction between Sofia and her young friend which completely changes Sofia’s mood from peeved to pleased.  And the smile on the little fairy’s face when she grabbed Sofia’s hand is so sweet.  To read my full review and enter a giveaway, click here

Beak & Ally:#1: Unlikely Friends by Norm Feuti

This new early reader graphic novel series tells the story of Beak, an extroverted Yellow-Bellied Fee Boo bird who wants to become friends with Ally, a regular and reserved alligator.  Ally is not interested in making acquaintances; she just wants to enjoy her solitude in the swamp. But Beak’s singing makes Ally’s habitat less peaceful. And now Beak has invited her to her nest warming party? Not wanting to be rude, Ally decides to make a brief appearance but discovers the party has been cancelled. Why? It seems another bird has claimed Beak’s nest as his own leaving Beak homeless. Perhaps Ally does not need a friend but Beak surely does.

What I love about this story is although Beak is definitely pushy, Ally sticks up for the little guy.   Kids will love the bright, colorful illustrations that are a mix of small and full page panels which convey the contrasting dispositions of the two characters.  Can’t wait to see how Beak and Ally’s friendship blossoms! Thank you Harper Alley for sharing an eARC of Beak & Ally which publishes in January 2021.

May Saves the Day by Laura Gehl Illustrated by Serena Lombardo

As the CEO of Word Saver, Inc., May helps people in a crisis by adding letters to words. For example, a swarm of BEES become BEETS, a BEAR turns into a BEARD and a SNAKE is now a SNEAKER. Calling May a superhero, lasso expert Stu asks to be her sidekick. May corrects Stu by stating she is a businesswoman and not in need of a sidekick. But when May’s scooter hits a rock on her way to stopping a runaway train, it is Stu and his lasso that save the day turning TRAIN into RAIN. Perhaps May does not need a sidekick but instead a partner.

Kudos to Laura Gehl for such a unique plot! May Saves the Day demonstrates how fun word play can be. After reading this picture book to students, I would love to challenge them with sentences to see if they could change a word like May. The story also reinforces positive themes of initiative, problem solving, creativity and collaboration. Lombardo’s bold and lively illustrations show both May’s and Stu’s exuberant personalities. Thank you to the author for sharing a copy with my #bookexcursion group. May Saves the Day published in August 2020.

Bella’s 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.

Kayla and King and the Case of the Gold Ring by Dori Hillestad Butler Illustrated by Nancy Myers

In the seventh book in the series, Kayla and King play in the snow with their friends Mason and Asia.  But after enjoying hot chocolate, Asia realizes her gold ring is missing.  Kayla, Mason, and Asia retrace their steps both inside and outside the house.  King is even a suspect but he come on, he really just wants the liver treats Asia usually keeps in her pocket.  King thinks a crow could be the thief.  After all, they do like shiny things.  To solve the case, Kayla models effective problem solving skills by making a list of known and unknown facts.  Simultaneously,  King thinks aloud his knows and don’t knows to the reader demonstrating his astute investigative skills and his determination to help Asia find her ring. 

What I love about the story is how King eventually solves the case and is justly rewarded with liver treats. Told from King’s point of view, kids will be both amused and engaged in solving the mystery, for I chuckled everytime King mentioned something is his favorite food or thing (snow, liver treats, marshmallow, kitchen, graham cracker crumbs, playing outside, liver treats).  With less than 50 pages, short chapters, a swift plot, and humorous and colorful illustrations, King and Kayla is perfect for early readers transitioning to chapter books.  Thank you to Peachtree Publishing for sending an ARC to read and review. Look for The Case of the Gold Ring in February 2021.

Bella and I thank you for visiting Beagles and Books! 

“People love dogs. You can never go wrong adding a dog to the story.” Jim Butcher
#IMWAYR is dedicated to dear Etta, my original book beagle. Blessed that Etta is part of my story.

1 thought on “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 12/7/20”

  1. Love the King and Kayla books. I actually didn’t realize there were that many of them. I only have a couple – it sounds like I need to catch up. Love all the graphic novels that are being published for early readers. Hope you have been doing well!


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