Chapter Books, It's Monday! What Are You Reading?, Middle Grade Literature, Picture Books

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 12/6/21

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:


Winter Lullaby by Diane White Illustrated by Ramona Kaulitzki

Honking geese and falling leaves are signs that winter is coming.  As she holds Small Bear’s hand,  Mama Bear says it’s time for bed.  But Small Bear is hesitant to hibernate.  Mouse, Chipmunk, Skunk, Hare, and Raccoon are still awake.  Mama Bear gently explains that all the animals are preparing for a winter rest in their homes. Small Bear is still reluctant asking why must we hide when winter comes? Mama Bear tenderly describes when they wake, it will be spring for the ice will melt to green. This discovery not only comforts Small Bear but also excites the cub.  Now, the two can snuggle for their winter nap. 

With a rhyming soothing text, White has written a sweet story perfect for bedtime.  I love how each time, Small Bear questions hibernation, Mama Bear demonstrates patience with her calm responses. Kaulitzki’s warm illustrations show the shift from fall to winter as blowing leaves change to falling snowflakes.  Her artwork also captures the love between Mama Bear and her cub.  They walk hand in hand, Mama Bear carries Small Bear on her shoulders as well as under her arm.  On the last page spread, they cuddle together in their den.  

Thanks to the author for sharing a copy. Winter Lullaby celebrates its book birthday tomorrow on December 7, 2021. 


Dancing with Daddy by Anitra Rowe Schulte Illustrated by Ziyue Chen

Excited to go to her first father-daughter dance, Elsie picks out a beautiful red dress with a matching bow because the color matches Daddy’s soccer jersey.  As they drive home from the store, Elsie sees snow flurries and begins to worry. Will the weather ruin her special night?

Inspired by the author’s own daughter, the main character, Elsie, has Wolf-Hirschhorn Syndrome (WHS). Through the illustrations and text, readers learn how Elsie moves through the use of a wheelchair, eats by way of a plastic tool that pushes food in her stomach, and talks by touching picture squares in a book.  To the reader, this way of life will be new, but to Elsie’s family, this is normal daily activity which is evident in Chen’s beautiful illustrations.  

Reading Dancing with Daddy is like being wrapped in a warm hug.  The immense love of the family is beautifully conveyed in Schulte’s uplifting text and Chen’s gorgeous artwork.  Highly recommend to add to libraries big or small-public, school, classroom and home! To read my full review, click here. 

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 character.


Just Harriet by Elana Arnold

I am a big fan of Arnold’s Bat series so when I saw the cover of her new young middle grade series, Just Harriet with an adorably illustrated girl holding a cat and a basset hound beside her, I knew I couldn’t wait until its release to read.  And while the basset hound named Moneypenny plays a supporting role in the story, her antics with Harriet’s cat, Matzo Ball add levity to the story. Thanks to Harper Collins and NetGalley for sharing an eARC.  Just Harriet publishes on February 1, 2022. 

Her parents promised her the baby wouldn’t change anything but now that her mom must be on bed rest, Harriet has to spend the summer with Nanu (grandmother).  While she loves Nanu, she is not happy about living at her bed and breakfast on Marble Island for two whole months.  Luckily, she convinces everyone to allow Matzo Ball to join her, but Moneypenny isn’t exactly on board (at least, not at first.)

Not long after Harriet arrives, she finds a key in Nanu’s shed. Following in the footsteps of her namesake, Harriet the Spy, Harriet is determined to find out what the key unlocks.  As she tries to uncover the mystery, Harriet learns more about Marble Island, her dad who grew up on the island and most importantly, herself.  And Matzo Ball and Moneypenny.  They learn to not only coexist but actually share a patch of sun together.  

I just adore Harriet.  She admits that sometimes she lies, pees her bed when she has a nightmare, and can get “out of hand.”  I love her honesty to the reader.  At the end of the book, when she meets Mabel Marble who is turning 100 at the end of the summer, Mabel says “We have to laugh at the hard things sometimes. It makes them easier to bear.”  Harriet takes Mabel’s words under consideration. Perhaps laughing instead of getting mad or lying would be helpful.  Looking forward to watching Harriet learn and grow in this series.  

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.

3 thoughts on “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 12/6/21”

  1. I’m waiting for Dancing With Daddy from the library & loved Winter Lullaby, Laura. Isn’t it the sweetest? Thanks for this new series, sounds great.


  2. Dancing With Daddy sounds like an absolutely lovely story—I wrote it down on my list, and I hope to track it down soon! Winter Lullaby sounds sweet and perfect for the season—and the illustrations look lovely, judging by the cover. And Just Harriet sounds great as well—Elana K. Arnold’s books always get a ton of praise! Thanks so much for the great post, Laura!

    Liked by 1 person

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