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

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 12/21/20

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:

Eyes that Kiss in the Corners by Joanna Ho Illustrated by Dungo Ho

On the first page spread, a little girl acknowledges that her eyes are different from her friends.  Turning the page, readers see a full page illustration of a self assured girl who celebrates her differences confidently stating “I have eyes that kiss in the corners and glow like warm tea.”  She proudly shares that her eyes are like other members of her family and what they communicate to her.  Mama’s eyes tell her she is a miracle.  Amah’s (grandmother), can see into her heart and are filled with stories. Mei–Mei’s (little sister) eyes gaze at her like she is her best present. 

Eyes That Kiss in the Corners is not only a story about self acceptance but also a celebration of one’s heritage.  It is breathtaking both in words and pictures.  Author Joanne Ho’s poetic text is both gentle and powerful.  Illustrator Dungo Ho’s colorful and warm illustrations complements the text reaffirming that the little girl’s confidence stems from her close relationship with her mother and grandmother.  The gorgeous artwork also shows the little girl’s strong connection to her culture, for she visualizes dragons, koi, and a phoenix, all which in my opinion, evoke strength.  Thank you Keely Platte of SparkPoints Studio for sending a copy for me to review.  Pre–order this inspiring picture book now. Eyes That Kiss in the Corners releases soon on January 5, 2021. 

King of the Birds (Arlo & Pips #1) by Elise Gravel 

Children transitioning to chapter books will love this new early graphic novel series featuring a self assured crow named Arlo and Pipps, a small yellow bird. In King of the Birds, Pipps continually questions Arlo’s assertion that he is the greatest bird in the world.   Each time Pipps challenges Arlo, Arlo is ready with a pretty plausible answer to back up his claim.  Real facts about crows are embedded in the story which confirm Arlo’s declarations.  For example, when Arlo proclaims he can count up to six, a star refers the reader to the fact in the bottom panel that crows can indeed count up to six objects or perhaps more. 

While Arlo may have a high opinion of himself, he is apologetic about all his bragging and shows his appreciation for Pipps’ help with a gift.  As an adult reader, I love the simple yet bold illustrations and entertaining and educational banter between the two birds. King of the Birds published in October 2020.  Stay tuned for more adventures with Arlo and Pips.  The second book in the series, Join the Crow Crowd, releases in August 2021.  


Comet The Unstoppable Reindeer by Jim Benton 

What happens when Comet is grounded from flying and Santa forgot his sack of toys? Comet to the rescue! With a hilarious rhyming text, I laughed out loud after reading each page.  Benton did a fabulous job of keeping the plot moving with each stanza. Comet’s positive traits of helpfulness, diligence, perseverance, and empathy shined through both in the text and bold and energetic cartoon illustrations.  Comet’s feelings are very evident from looking at his expressions.  I especially loved the illustrations showing how moved Comet was when he read the little boy’s letter and later, finally figured out the location of his house (spoiler, but hey, Christmas stories must have a happy ending).  If you are looking for a humorous holiday book with a feel good message, look no further than Comet The Unstoppable Reindeer. To read my full review, click here.

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.

The Reader by Amy Hest Illustrated by Lauren Castillo

This sweet story is about a boy and his dog spending a winter day together.  The boy pulls his red sled through the snow and up a hill with his dog right by his side.  On the sled is a suitcase with something for both of them to share when they reach the top of the big hill.  The title provides a clue about the precious item in the suitcase.  

As I read The Reader, I felt like I was wrapped up in a warm hug.  As snow is falling down, I could sense the warmth between the boy and his dog as the boy reads his favorite book titled Two Good Friends to his best pal.  Hest’s concise, melodic text begs to read aloud and Castillo’s playful yet delicate illustrations capture the loving bond between the reader and his pup.  I especially loved that Castillo mixed snowy letters falling down from the sky on the page spread of the boy reading.  If you are looking for a charming read aloud over the holiday, I highly recommend The Reader!

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.

5 thoughts on “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 12/21/20”

  1. Eyes that Kiss in the Corners sounds like a beautiful picture book, and a wonderful way to counteract the prejudice readers may encounter both about their appearance and about their culture in general. The Reader sounds beautiful as well! I never thought about it before, but it makes no sense that you would have kids transition right from picture books to chapter books, so books like King of the Birds would definitely be useful transition material! Thanks for the great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I have The Reader and it is lovely, I agree. The others are new to me and will look for them, Laura. I have one early reader granddaughter who will love King of the Birds & Eyes That Kiss At The Corners sounds like a nice one to pair with Hair Love. Thanks, and Happy Holidays to you!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Eyes that Kiss in the Corners is a brand new title for me. Everything you shared about it sounds just wonderful. I’m adding it to my list and will look forward to its release! Thanks for the shares and I hope you’re having a wonderful holiday, Laura (and my apologies for the belated comment)!

    Liked by 1 person

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