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

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 1/4/21

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:


Katie the Catsitter by Colleen AF Venable Illustrated by Stephanie Yue

City girl Katie yearns to attend summer camp in the woods with her best friends but the fees are too steep for her single mom.  Taking matters into her own hands, Katie advertises her services doing odd jobs for people in her building.  Her first attempts don’t go well, but then a neighbor Madeline Lang observes Katie’s way with cats and offers her a job cat sitting.   At $30 dollars an hour, Katie can make money fast but to her surprise, Ms. Lang has a whooping 217 cats and they are certainly not typical. Each cat has its own special talent from computer hacking to lock picking.  And while they wreck the apartment while Katie is there, the cats band together returning it to pristine condition right before Ms. Lang arrives home much to Katie’s great relief. 

In Katie’s New York, superheroes and supervillains are real but deciding who is who is not always black and white.  Eastern Screech is said to be the highest rated superhero but it seems Mousetress who is deemed the most notorious villain is doing more good exposing businesses for their unethical treatment of animals.  Clues lead Katie to believe Ms. Lang may be Mousetress and when Ms. Lang does not come home one night, Katie’s hunch is confirmed. She and the cats (all 219 of them) must save Ms. Lang/Mousetress from the true villain. 

Humorous and heartfelt, I really enjoyed Katie the Catsitter.  Not only is the plot so unique but also I loved witnessing Katie grow as a person coming to terms with a changing friendship and gaining confidence to branch out on her own.  Venable’s peppy dialogue coupled with Yue’s expressive and energetic illustrations kept the story fresh and fun.  Can’t wait to share with students and already in anticipation for Book 2: Best Friends for Never. Thank you to Random House and NetGalley for the eARC.  Katie the Catsitter celebrates its book birthday tomorrow on January 5, 2021.


Super Detectives (Simon and Chester #1) by Cale Atkinson

Sir Simon: Super Scarer is one of my favorite picture books so I was so delighted to find out ghost Simon and human pal Chester are continuing their adventures in a graphic novel series.  In this first book, Simon is in the midst of writing his great mystery novel but Chester is utterly bored. Chester begins searching through his grandma’s boxes in the attic and uncovers old costumes and props.  None of Chester’s finds pique Simon’s interest until Chester sports an old hat.  The writing of his mystery can wait–Simon and Chester can be real detectives solving a real case!  After designing a cool logo, advertising, and creating a cool office with moody lightning, they are ready for the first client to walk through the door. Except no one comes knocking.  No worries!  Perhaps they can find a case.  And when they hear a noise downstairs, their excitement rises and discover a cute little pug in the kitchen. Can Simon and Chester solve the case of the mysterious pug?  Read Super Detectives to find out! 

With witty dialogue and lively illustrations which show Simon’s over the top dramatics, Atkinson clearly delivers with this spinoff. I love this dynamic duo because excitable Simon always has these grandiose ideas and calm Chester is the voice of reason. Together they make a perfect pair.  Thanks to Tundra Books/Penguin Random House and NetGalley for the eARC.  Super Detectives releases on February 9, 2021 and Super Sleepover (Book 2) publishes in September 2021. 


First Day of Unicorn School by Jess Hernandez Illustrated by Mariano Epelbaum

While Milly is overjoyed that she has been accepted to Unicorn School, she is nervous about her first day.  Why you ask?  Well, Milly is not exactly a unicorn; she is actually a donkey wearing a party hat as a horn.  But she was able to fool the admissions counselors so the other students won’t notice right?  Proudly wearing her horn, Milly makes her way to school and upon entering the school gates, she sees other “unicorns.”  Feeling a little inadequate, Milly considers leaving but upon second look, it appears all their horns are crooked.  Milly finally asks “Are any of you real unicorns?” Gradually, animals admit the truth and instead of feeling out of place, Milly knows she fits right in. 

With a fun, playful text and bold and vibrant illustrations, First Day of Unicorn School is full of humor and heart.  Kids will immediately notice that none of the animals are real unicorns and marvel and chuckle at the ingenious ways the animals tried to disguise themselves.  Hernandez’s message is simple and powerful.  Milly and the other animals all crave a sense of acceptance and belonging and they realize they don’t have to pretend to be unicorns–they can just be themselves.  Thanks to Capstone and NetGalley for sharing an eARC.  First Day of Unicorn School recently celebrated its book birthday on January 1, 2021. 

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.


Perdu by Richard Jones

Lost and alone, all Perdu (French for lost) owns is his old red scarf.  He yearns for a place to call home. Following a floating leaf through the fields and woods, Perdu finds himself in the noisy city full of people.  Astute readers will see a little girl with a red hat noticing Perdu as he makes his way through the city searching for his somewhere.  Tired and hungry, Perdu wanders into a cafe but is quickly scolded when he attempts to get food.  Frightened Perdu uses his voice to protect himself and as he hastily leaves the cafe, he leaves behind his only possession. A city park becomes his refuge.  Not long after, the red hatted girl appears with his red scarf in hand.  As she gently ties it around his neck, Perdu knows he has found his home. 

Stories about homeless dogs always tug at my heartstrings for both my book beagles Etta and Bella were strays.  In his debut as both author and illustrator, Jones’ rich, poetic text and emotional illustrations gave me all the feels.  Jones effectively uses color to evoke mood.  On the very first page spread, sadness is conveyed by the dark setting.  Once the little girl appears, the setting brightens and a feeling of optimism emerges.  As a reader, I was rooting for Perdu and the little girl to find each other.  Perdu is a touching story of hope which I believe we all need right now.  Thank you to Peachtree Publishing for sending a F & G of Perdu to my #bookexcursion group.  Perdu publishes on April 1, 2021. 

Want to learn how to draw Perdu?  Check out this video!

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.

7 thoughts on “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 1/4/21”

  1. Oh, I will look forward to Perdu, sounds lovely! And I have two granddaughters who adore cats. Their family has six! Plus they care for a couple of feral ones on their porch! They will love the idea of Katie the Catsitter, which sounds very fun. Thanks, Laura, & Happy New Year wishes to you!


  2. Awww, your photo add-ons are oh so CUTE!! And I really liked that little drawing lesson for Perdu. My youngest will love this book — I’ve put it on my TBR list and noted the others. Thanks for all these great shares, Laura!


  3. Between computer-hacking cats and a blurring of the hero-villain line, Katie the Catsitter really does sound excellent! Perdu also sounds beautiful. I also love the photo effects you used for Bella! Thanks so much for the wonderful post!


  4. I love that you have edited the pictures and not made Bella dress up TOO much. Perdu looks very cute. I always loved As Warm as the Sun. Katie the Catsitter was really good, even though it had cats and not dogs! Of course, the dogs would not be so naughty! Give Bella an extra ear scritchem from me! Have a great reading week.


  5. I’m looking forward to reading Super Detectives I have it on my device to read, but there are so many books to get to first. Sigh.

    I’m still recovering from the idea of 217 cats!


  6. I’ve ordered Katie the Catsitter, it really does look like fun! And I have to preorder Super Detectives! Perdu was super sweet, right?


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