#Bookexcursion, Debut Author, Middle Grade Literature, Picture Books

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 12/13/21

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:


The Unforgettable Logan Foster by Shawn Peters

Abandoned as an infant, 12 year old Logan Foster has lived at the El Segundo Transitional Orphanage for the past nine years. While Logan has eidetic or photographic memory of things he has heard, places he’s been, and people he has met, he cannot remember his parents or his younger sibling.  Logan assumes he has a little brother or sister because when he was found at airport, he was wearing a T-shirt with the words “World’s Best Big Brother.”  Since he excels at research. deductive reasoning and problem solving, Logan believes he will meet his sibling someday. Logan is not good at being told what to say or do which can be difficult when meeting prospective parents otherwise known as PPs.  In the past, his frankness hasn’t been received well, but when Gil and Margie, his seventh PP, ask him to be their foster child, Logan says yes.  

Not long after moving into Gil’s and Margie’s home, Logan observes things that do not make sense.  Gil never eats. All the food in the house is brand-new and unopened.  There are no pictures of Margie as a young girl. And when Margie’s arm leans against something hot, her skin turns silvery.  A comic book fan, Logan is pretty amazed to discover his foster parents are actual superheroes working for the Multinational Authority for Superhero Control (MASC).   Not long after this revelation, Logan becomes embroiled in Gil’s and Margie’s battle to fight against the evil, centuries old Necros.

Told from Logan’s point of view, The Unforgettable Logan Foster is a gripping, fast moving story that pulls you in from the very first page.   Debut author Peters nails Logan’s voice.  His decision to have Logan’s speak directly to his sibling helps the main character establish a close relationship with the reader.   Given all the obstacles he has faced in his young life, I admire Logan’s resilience and how his eidetic memory as well as his other skills become integral to helping Gil and Margie.  I also love the friendship between Logan and his next door neighbor Elena.  When Logan spills the beans on his foster parents, Elena doesn’t question him and instead, offers perspective by saying “I’m biracial, bilingual, taller than everyone in my class, faster and the only person who lives in two houses on the same street. Worrying about what’s normal is just a waste of time.”  Well said Elena. 

While some plot events are tied up at the end of the novel,  there are still questions left unanswered which leaves me hopeful that Logan’s adventures have only just begun.  Thanks to the author Shawn Peters for sharing an ARC with my #bookexcursion group.  The Unforgettable Logan Foster publishes soon on January 4, 2021.  


Carla and the Christmas Cornbread by Carla Hall Illustrated by Cherise Harris

Christmas Eve is one of Carla’s favorite days because she, her sister, and mother celebrate the holidays at Granny’s house.  I love how Carla’s drive to her grandma’s is described as an event sitting in the back seat with all the wrapped presents, looking at all the decorated houses, and singing Christmas songs with her family.  What Carla is most excited about is making cornbread with Granny.  Harris’ illustrations show Carla’s immense enthusiasm with her wide eyes and full grin.  Right before bedtime, Carla sees the most perfect iced sugar cookie sitting on a plate and cannot resist taking a bite.  When she is told it was Santa’s snack, she is devastated.   Fortunately, Granny calms Carla’s fears and together, they made Santa a special Christmas cornbread.  As Carla places the  cornbread on the table, her grandfather lends support saying “Santa gets tired of all those cookies, I bet.”  Will Santa love the cornbread as much as Carla? 

Carla and the Christmas Cornbread is a charming holiday story.  The engaging text and nostalgic illustrations beautifully convey the immense love of family and how honest mistakes can be remedied.  This picture book would also be a great mentor text for a small moment writing unit.  At the end of the story, Hall shares recipes for cornbread and cinnamon butter.  Thanks to Simon and Schuster Children’s Publishing for sharing a copy. Carla and the Christmas Cornbread released on November 2, 2021. 


The Little Owl and the Big Tree: A Christmas Story by Jonah Winter and Jeanette Winter

In 2020, a tree was cut down, put on a flatbed truck, and traveled to New York City to grace Rockefeller Center for Christmas.  No one knew there was a small owl who called the tree home.  She remained in her hole during the entire trip and didn’t poke out until workers unwrapped the tree.  Tired and hungry, the owl allowed one of the workers to hold her in the palm of his hand.  The rest of the book tells of the tiny owl’s journey to a wildlife rescue where she is nursed back to health and then released back into the wild.  

The Little Owl and the Big Tree is a sweet story that warmed my heart.  As I read the text, I felt as if Jonah Winter was speaking directly to me.  His concise text and conversational tone make it a perfect read aloud for young children.  Jeanette Winter’s painted illustrations remind me of folk art and could easily tell the story alone.  I loved searching each illustration for the owl, which was named Rockefeller.  An author’s note provides more specific facts.  The Little Owl and the Big Tree would be a great companion text to Red and Lulu by Matt Tavares.  Thanks to Simon and Schuster Children’s Publishing for sharing a copy.  It recently released on October 19, 2021. 

Bella’s Dog Pick of the Week


Only My Dog Knows I Pick My Nose by Lauren Tarshis Illustrated by Lisa Bronson Mezoff

Wanting to spread the dog love, Beagles and Books has a weekly feature of highlighting a literary selection with a canine main character.

The love and trust between boy and his dog is lauded in this adorable picture book.  The boy shares that his family sees he does everything just right, but his dog knows the truth.  Sometimes, he doesn’t close his eyes and go to sleep, brush his teeth, and follow every rule.  In fact, there are a lot of things to which the pup is the only individual aware. 

As a dog mom, I love how the book celebrates the bond between a dog and its human.  My favorite part of the text is “When everything goes wrong, my dog helps me feel happy again.”  After a rough day, coming home to my Bella is the best therapy.  She is always there to greet me with wags and barks.  Tarhsis’ playful and humorous text and Mezoff’s warm water color illustrations honor a pet and its person’s tender relationship.  Dogs accept us as we are and their unconditional love is truly the greatest gift.  A sweet touch on the front endpages is a place for children to write their name as well as their pet’s name. Thanks to Scholastic for sharing an ARC with my #bookexcursion group.  Only My Dog Knows I Pick My Nose published on October 19, 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.

4 thoughts on “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 12/13/21”

  1. I enjoyed The Little Owl and the Big Tree very much. Those Winters always create something wonderful. Thanks for sharing about The Unforgettable Logan Foster, sounds very fun & if it’s going to be a series, I imagine kids will be excited. I have Carla and the Christmas Cornbread coming from the library – looks nice! And kids will love that dog book, won’t they? Happy Holidays, Laura!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. All of these books sound wonderful, Laura! Carla and the Christmas Cornbread sounds like such a sweet story, with the family traditions, the holidays, and of course, food! The Unforgettable Logan Foster has such a clever premise—I love the idea of a child’s foster parents turning out to be superheroes! And the quote by Elena is wonderful, I agree. The Little Owl and the Big tree sounds like a lovely story as well! Thanks so much for the wonderful post, and happy holidays!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ll have to get a copy of Little Owl and the Big Tree. Last year when I read Red and Lulu to second graders I explained about the owl in the Rockefeller Tree and showed them a news clip. I thought it was funny that the teacher hadn’t heard the story. I felt like it was all over the news last year.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Ah, Carla and the Christmas Cornbread sounds like such a great read, particularly while we’re in the Christmas season. And I think what will appeal most to MY children is Only My Dog Knows I Pick My Nose. LOL Thanks for the shares, Laura!


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