Bookexcursion, Early Chapter Books, Middle Grade Literature, Picture Books

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 11/22/21

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:


Thankful by Elaine Vickers Illustrated by Samantha Cotterill

A young girl and her family have a tradition of making thankful chains to recall all the things for which they are grateful.  The girl is thankful for things such as her warm house, loving parents, playful puppy, kind friend, understanding teacher, and books that take her places.  Vickers’ lyrical text is calm and soothing; I love how as the girl continues listing things, she groups them into categories such as warm, cold, soft, and hard.  Cotterill’s stunning and intricate diorama illustrations draw the reader right into the pages.  As I was reading, I truly felt transported into the story, and every page spread evoked a specific emotion. When she stood with her pup as the school bus approached, I felt nervous. When the girl was reading in the comfy chair in the bookstore, I felt content and joyful.

Vickers’ and Cotterill’s collaboration is like a warm hug because the picture book reminds us to focus on the very many gifts around us.  Thanks to Simon and Schuster Children’s Publishing for sharing a copy.  Thankful published on September 7, 2021.


We Give Thanks by Cynthia Rylant Illustrated by Sergio Ruzzier

As a rabbit and a frog stroll through town, they share all the things they are thankful for.  The duo is grateful for things that keep them warm, gifts of nature, means of transport, and relationships.  Rylant’s playful couplets bounce off your tongue and Ruzzier’s sweet illustrations will warm your heart.  On the last page spread, the rabbit and frog share a table full of desserts with all their friends.

What I love most about the story is the gentle reminder that we can give thanks for everything, no matter the size.  Thanks to Simon and Schuster Children’s Publishing for sharing a copy.  We Give Thanks published on September 7, 2021.


Moonsong by Denise Gallagher

Not only has Fulki’s village lost its moon but also the elders have banned singing for fear it brings wild animals to their town.  Fulki though was not scared of the grunts and growls from the jungle; she became friends with a tiger who teaches her how to sing in hopes of getting the moon to come back.  When a few villagers see Fulki with the tiger, they rescue her by capturing the wild animal.  Fulki tries to appeal with words for his release, but her request falls on deaf ears.  Fulki starts to sing the song she learned with the tiger and villagers recognize the song and join in. Soon after, a moonbeam appears in the sky. The tiger who was labeled a beast with teeth and claws and no manners at all is set free and now known as kind and friendly as are the other wild animals.  Song is welcomed back into the village with the people and animals living in harmony.

With melodic text and warm illustrations, Moonsong is a sweet story about acceptance and finding your voice.  I admire Fulki for her trust in befriending the tiger as well as her resolve in standing up for him.  Thanks to Michele McAvoy of The Little Press/Blue Bronco Books for sharing a copy with my #bookexcursion group.  Moonsong published on October 1, 2021.


A Christmas Too Big by Colleen Madden 

A Christmas Too Big is full of humor and heart! The very detailed illustrations show how Kerry’s family goes full out for the holiday. I especially love the page spread of the entire house which shows there is not one area not adorned in Christmas decor.  After spending time with Mrs. Flores, Kerry realizes that a small Christmas can still be big because the most important thing about Christmas is to be with those you love and care about. When she gets home, Kerry makes more paper flowers and adds them to her family’s decorations which propels her mom to suggest inviting over Mrs. Flores for Christmas dinner. 

By bringing Mrs. Flores’ small Christmas to her house, Kerry made Christmas big in heart for both her family and Mrs. Flores.  At the end of the story, directions explain how to make Flores de Navidad (Christmas Flowers).  Highly recommend this heartwarming holiday story!  To read my full review, click here. Thanks to Two Lions/Amazon Publishing and Barbara Fisch for sharing a copy.  A Christmas Too Big published on November 2, 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.


Horace and Bunwinkle: The Case of the Rascally Raccoon by PJ Gardner Illustrated by David Mottram

In the second book in the series, trash cans as well as homes are being ransacked.  A raccoon named Shoo befriends Horace and Bunwinkle because he believes he is being framed and wants to clear his name.  Pet-tective investigate!  Horace and Bunwinkle soon learn solving this mystery is not the only problem.  Their human, Ellie, is in need of money to keep the Homstead. Her idea of renting space for a community farmer’s market sounds like the solution, but all the vendors begin dropping out. Why?

While the first book centered on the building of Horace and Bunwinkle’s relationship, this adventure focused on Horace helping Bunwinkle regain her confidence after she was petnapped by the Hoglands twins.  I loved how Horace is Bunwinkle’s cheerleader reminding her she is strong and can do hard things.  With lively characters, an intriguing plot, and written in under 200 pages with short chapters and charming illustrations every few pages, the Horace and Bunwinkle series is perfect for readers transitioning to middle grade.  Thanks to Balzar and Bray/Harper Collins and Barbara Fisch of Blue Slip Media for sharing an eARC. The Case of the Rascally Raccoon published on October 5, 2021.

Bella and I thank you for visiting Beagles and Books!

4 thoughts on “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 11/22/21”

  1. I love the books about thankfulness—obviously very fitting for Thanksgiving! (I was actually just working on some creative writing about thankfulness earlier this week.) Thankful has a really intriguing illustration style in particular. And A Christmas Too Big sounds like such a sweet holiday story as well! Thanks so much for the great post, and have a happy Thanksgiving, Laura!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Both the ‘thankful’ books sound nice, Laura, but I am looking forward to the Rylant/Ruzzier very much – love them both! Thankful sounds gorgeous, will find it, too! Thanks for all the rest! Happy Thanksgiving!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanksgiving has come and gone here in Canada, but I really wish We Give Thanks was available at my local library. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours this coming week.


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