It's Monday! What Are You Reading?, Picture Books

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 9/20/21

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:

Squirrel’s Sweater by Laura Renauld Illustrated by Jennie Poh

As Squirrel prepares for winter, she discovers a problem. Her favorite sweater no longer fits her.  Unsure if the garment shrank or she grew, Squirrel asks her friends for advice.  Doe, Bear, and Porcupine all attempt to help, but sadly, her sweater cannot be fixed.  This realization hits Squirrel hard because her grandma knit it for her when she was young.  Porcupine consoles Squirrel reminding her that Granny Gray will always live in her heart.  Porcupine’s words not only provide comfort but also give Squirrel an idea of how to use the materials her friends gave her to repurpose her sweater into a heart pillow.  Squirrel’s new creation is now a keepsake of her dear grandma and supportive friends. 

The third book in Renault’s Woodland Friends series, Squirrel’s Sweater is a sweet story for young children.  While friendship and problem solving are both themes central to the plot, the story also addresses how to handle the heartache of losing a loved one.  I loved how Renauld chose to have the pillow represent Squirrel’s love for her grandma and her friends.  Poh’s lively illustrations show Squirrel’s range of emotions from the beginning to end.  An added bonus are directions for how to make a no-sew memory pillow. Thanks to the author for sharing a finished copy.  Squirrel’s Sweater celebrates its book birthday tomorrow on September 21, 2021. 

Looking for a Jumbie
by Tracy Baptiste Illustrated by Amber Ren

If you are a fan of Baptiste’s middle grade Jumbies series, you’ll be excited about her picture book debut!  Young Naya is not scared of jumbies in stories and wonders if they could indeed be real.  After her mama puts her to bed, she climbs out of her window in search of these Caribbean fairies or trolls.  Kids will love joining in the read aloud with the repeated chant “I’m (We’re) looking for a jumbie. I’m (We’re) going to find a scary one.” As Naya walks through the dark woods, she encounters a variety of creatures who each have Jumbie characteristics such as large mouths, sharp teeth, glowing skin, tangly hair full of leaves or a long snake tail.  These creatures are friendly, not scary; therefore, they can’t be jumbies right?  

Baptiste’s playful text begs to be read aloud and Ren’s vivid illustrations make the story come alive.  As I read Baptiste’s descriptions of different types of jumbies, I couldn’t wait to turn the page to see how Ren drew the creatures.  While Naya’s mama said jumbies are only in stories, Naya’s moonlit adventure may make her mama change her mind. Thanks to Sabrina Kenoun of Sparks Point Studio for sharing a finished copy.  Looking for a Jumbie celebrates its book birthday tomorrow on September 21, 2021. 

Before We Sleep
by Giorgio Volpe Illustrated by Paolo Proetti

Little Red, a fox, is happy for the arrival of autumn, for he can blend in with the brown, burgundy, anmd copper colors. The fall colors make it more difficult for his best friend Hazel, a dormouse to find them during a game of hide and seek.   But winter is quickly approaching which means Hazel will be hibernating soon.  Worried about being alone, Little Red attempts to keep Hazel awake, but a yawning Hazel knows sleep is imminent. She assures her dear friend when spring comes, they will play again. Finally, Little Red asks if he can tell Hazel a story and before a word is uttered, the duo drift asleep together with Hazel’s head resting on Little Red’s bushy tail.

Translated from Italian, Before We Sleep is a lyrical lullaby.  The gentle, soothing text and warm, expressive illustrations are the perfect combination for a bedtime story that both kids and adults will enjoy.  What struck me the most is how both the words and artwork show the endearing friendship between the fox and the mouse. Thanks to Red Comet Press and Barbara Fisch of Blue Slip Media for sharing a finished copy.  Before We Sleep recently published on September 7, 2021. 

Mister Fairy
by Morgane de Cadier Illustrated by Florian Pigé

Unlike all the other fairies in the forest, Mister Fairy does not know what his true gift is.   Whenever he waves his wand, animals giggle or trees turn to pink fluff.  Distraught, Mister Fairy leaves the forest and flies to what he thinks is another forest, but it’s actually the city. Immediately, he notices the gray and gloom of the both the buildings and people.  Wanting to help, Mister Fairy waves his wand and a splash of yellow appear on a building which brings smiles from all the onlookers.  Feeling invigorated, he flies down to the subway and his wand waving invokes giggles.  Back above ground, at an outdoor café, his wand turns umbrellas into cotton candy balls to the delight of the patrons. Something inside Mister Fairy makes him fly home to his forest.  Upon arrival, he sees a colorless forest and sad animals and with one self-assured wand wave, the forest is full of color and laughter.  

Originally published in French, Mister Fairy is an uplifting story that reminds us we all have a purpose; sometimes, it takes a journey away from home to discover our talent.  Thanks to Red Comet Press and Barbara Fisch of Blue Slip Media for sharing a finished copy.  Mister Fairy recently published on September 7, 2021. 

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.

Lost Things by Carey Sookocheff

In a park, a squirrel picks up an acorn.  A dog (actually, a hound!) with a stick in its mouth is on a walk with his person and sees the squirrel.  As the hound chases the squirrel, the girl loses her orange hair ribbon as well as the hold of her dog’s leash.  The dog loses the stick and the squirrel loses the acorn.  As the girl runs to catch her dog, a bird finds the hair ribbon and takes it back to its nest.  Something lost is now found.  The story continues with other lost things (a stuffed bear, a pencil, a ball) and how they are found by the people who need them most.  And when the girl picks up the ball in the park, she is soon reunited with her hound as is the squirrel with its acorn.  

As a reading specialist, I am always looking for books to support teaching of key reading skills. With minimal text and illustrations,  Lost Things would be a great anchor text for teaching cause and effect relationships at any grade level as well as plot for the story comes full circle.  I love that Sookocheff consciously chose to color all lost things orange, for it tied them all together. Thanks to Kids Can Press and Edelweiss for sharing a digital ARC.  Lost Things recently published on September 7, 2021. 

Bella and I thank you for visiting Beagles and Books!

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is etta-beagles-and-books-e1624813174378.jpg
“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.

3 thoughts on “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 9/20/21”

  1. I’m seeing several new-to-me books here that I would like to read. Wow does Squirrel’s Sweater sound DEEP! I’m adding this to my list and can’t wait to read it. And while my 7 year old is outgrowing traditional “bedtime” stories, I still think I need to read Before We Sleep to her this winter. I’ve only read the first Jumbies book in the middle grade series, but I hope to read Looking for a Jumbie when we get a copy here. Thanks for all the shares, Laura!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Every single one of these books sounds so good! Squirrel’s Sweater sounds like such a powerful story, and Before We Sleep looks beautiful as well. I’ll have to see if I can track these down. Thanks so much for the great post!

    Liked by 1 person

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