Blog Tour, Giveaway, Picture Books

Blog Tour & Giveaway for This is (Not) Enough by Anna Kang Illustrated by Christopher Weyant


About the Book:
Title: This is (Not) Enough
Author: Anna Kang
Illustrator: Christopher Weyant
Pub. Date: March 1, 2022

Beagles and Books is excited to be part of the blog tour for This Is (Not) Enough published by Two Lions/Amazon Publishing. Special thanks to the publisher and Barbara Fisch of Blue Slip Media for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.


In the sixth book in Kang’s and Weyant’s You Are (Not) Small series, the bear friends explore the life lesson of gift giving.  Each bear is on the hunt for the perfect gift.  The brown bear wants to find a gift that is cool, fun, big and wow.  The purple bear wants a gift that is one of a kind, warm, soft, and from the heart.  



But each time one of the best friends boasts about their idea, the other second guesses their choice and worries that their gift is not enough.  


The bears both go through great lengths to impress their each other.   Will they finally decide on the perfect gift for their best friend? 


I am a big fan of the You Are (Not) Small series because the stories are a  wonderful vehicle for discussing topics like friendship, facing fears, self-regulation, sharing, and perspective with young children  Kang’s concise and lively dialogue moves the plot along.   Weyant’s bright illustrations fill up the page spreads and clearly and comically show the friends’ multitude of feelings (excited, nervous, sad, frustrated).

After reading I Am (Not) Enough to a kindergarten class, we discussed what the author and illustrator are teaching us about giving gifts to those we love.  At first, kids focused on giving a gift that was big and fun, but then a student said “At the end, both bears made a gift for each other.” Then I asked the class, “What do you call a gift you make?”   A child excitedly said “It is a gift from your hands.”  Another child then shared “It’s from your heart AND your hands!”   We wrapped up our discussion categorizing gifts from the heart and hands such as making a card rather than buying a card or drawing a picture instead of printing it from a computer. It is (Not) Enough is a sweet story reminding us that homemade gifts are the ones we most cherish. 

About the Author & Illustrator:

Anna Kang and Christopher Weyant are the creators of Theodor Seuss Geisel Award winner You Are (Not) Small as well as series titles That’s (Not) Mine, I Am (Not) Scared, We Are (Not) Friends, and It Is (Not) Perfect. They also wrote and illustrated Christopher Award winner Eraser, Hudson and Tallulah Take Sides, Can I Tell You a Secret?, and Will You Help Me Fall Asleep? Christopher’s work can also be seen in The New Yorker and the Boston Globe and his cartoons are syndicated worldwide. This husband-and-wife team lives in New Jersey with their two daughters and their dog, Hudson. Visit them at and

Twitter: @annakang27 @ChristophWeyant

Instagram: annakangbookschristopherweyant   

Facebook: Anna Kang – AuthorChristopher Weyant

#Bookexcursion, It's Monday! What Are You Reading?, Middle Grade Literature, Novels in Verse, Picture Books

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 2/21/22

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:


Golden Girl by Reem Faruqi

Seventh grader Aafiyah loves playing tennis, learning weird but true facts, and hanging with her best friend Zaina.  But Aafiyah has a secret.  She has “itchy fingers” because she loves to borrow things. Sometimes Aafiyah keeps them and other times she gives them back.  On the way home from visiting her grandparents in Pakistan, her father is accused of stealing and subsequently detained.  Her grandfather, Dada Abu, travels to Atlanta for cancer treatment with Aafiyah, her mother and younger brother leaving her father and grandmother behind. 

With her father’s lawyer bills and her grandfather’s treatment, Aafiyah is worried that her family is struggling for money.  Aafiyah knows stealing is wrong but she feels compelled to help her family.  When she is caught, she is contrite and must learn to accept the consequences of her actions.  

With themes of family, friendship, and forgiveness, Faruqi’s novel in verse, Golden Girl is a story that will appeal to a variety of readers.  Faruqi gracefully tackles difficult topics and the verse format makes the novel accessible.  As I read, Faruqi’s melodic verses evoked a lot of emotion and since it was written from Aafiyah’s perspective, I could witness her inner struggles which helped me understand her more deeply.  At the end of the novel, author’s notes shares the origins of the story. Thanks to the author for sharing an ARC with my #bookexcursion group.  Golden Girl celebrates its book birthday tomorrow on February 22, 2022. 

 Jubilee: The First Therapy Horse and an Olympic Dream by KT Johnston Illustrated by Annabella Ortiz

Jubilee is a picture book biography of Lis Hartel, a Danish woman, who was a national champion in the sport of dressage which is described as ballet on horseback.  A diagnosis of polio threatened her ability to not only walk but also ride a horse. Lis was determined to prove her doctor wrong and worked tirelessly to regain her strength engaging in crawling races with her daughter.  Once she gathered strength in her arms and body, Lis was ready to ride again.   Her horse, Gigolo had hurt his leg so her husband suggested young Jubilee.  Lis agreed that she and Jubilee would learn together. 

With patience and practice, Lis and Jubilee became friends developing the ability to communicate to each other through Lis’ light touches and Jubilee’s cooperative nature.  After two and a half years of training, they began to compete competitively qualifying for the 1948 Olympics. It took another 4 years until women were allowed to enter dressage.  In 1952, Lis and Jubilee won a silver medal for their performance competing against men in the sport.  

Johnston’s heartwarming narration and Ortiz’s tender illustration show the incredible bond between Lis and Jubilee.  The duo enjoyed an extraordinary connection which allowed them both to reach their full potential. At the end of the story, the author’s notes provides more facts about the Lis’ and Jubilee’s relationship and how Lis opened the first riding center for people with disabilities.  Thanks to the author and publisher for sharing an eARC with my #bookexcursion group.  Jubilee recently released on February 1, 2022.


Playing the Lanterns by Wang Yage Illustrated by Zhu Chengliang  Translated by Helen Wang

Playing with Lanterns shares the age old New Year folk custom in the Shaanxi province of northwest China.  On the third day of the fifteen day celebration, children begin receiving lanterns from their uncles. With its gentle text and expressive illustrations, I highly recommend Playing with Lanterns as a read aloud to teach kids about Chinese New Year. 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.


The Happiness of a Dog in its Mouth by Bruce Handy & Hyewon Yum

A young girl slowly awakens to a new day.  As soon as she gets out of bed, two dog (one a beagle, perhaps) runs to greet her.  On most subsequent page spreads, Handy contrasts a difficult feeling with a happy one.  While dogs are not highlighted in each situation, I love that the dogs are on the positive side of the experience.  This quiet story sends a powerful message about the importance of how unfavorable circumstances are fleeting not permanent if we have a positive mindset. 

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.
Blog Tour, Giveaway, Picture Books

Blog Tour: Review & Giveaway for Playing with Lanterns by Wang Yage


About the Book:

Title: Playing with Lanterns 
Author: Wang Yage
Illustrator: Zhu Chengliang
Translator: Helen Wang
Pub. Date: January 11, 2022

Beagles and Books is thrilled to be part of the blog tour for Playing with Lanterns published by Amazon Crossing Kids which aims to increase the diversity of children’s books in translation and encourage young reading from a range of cultural perspectives. Special thanks to the publisher and Barbara Fisch of Blue Slip Media for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. 


Playing with Lanterns shares the age old New Year folk custom in the Shaanxi province of northwest China.  On the third day of the fifteen day celebration, children begin receiving lanterns from their uncles.  Chengliang’s warm and lively watercolor illustrations pairs perfectly with Wang’s smooth translation of Yage’s original text. 

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When Zhao Di gets her lantern, she excitedly joins her friends to show off her gift.  I love this page spread which shows the beauty and uniqueness of each lantern.   As the story continues, readers learn the tradition of walking around the village with their lanterns in hand.  When Zhao Di’s candle goes out, her friends huddle around her to relit it.  

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On the fifteenth day, Zhao Di feels sad all day long.  Is her gloomy disposition due to the end of Chinese New Year?  At sundown, she and her friends join their village for the final celebration.  The translated text reads “It was the LAST EVENING for lanterns.”   

Playing with Lanterns-9781542029841-large-3

The friends share one last moment together with their lanterns before they hear the words “SMASH THE LANTERNS.”  Zhao Di is not ready to say goodbye to her lantern but if she doesn’t smash it before the candle goes out, tradition says her uncle’s eyes will be red and sore from pink eye.  While Zhao Di is depressed that her lantern is gone and the celebration is over, she is grateful for the memories and reminded that New Year returns every year.  

While the lantern tradition will be new learning, kids will relate to Zhao Di’s range of emotions during a holiday celebration.  I love how the author does not allow Zhao Di’s to dwell in her sadness, for she begins to feel excited knowing she will have the opportunity to celebrate again.  And no surprise, I enjoyed seeing Zhao Di’s little dog in the illustrations as the pup accompanied her in all the festivities. At the end of the story, an author’s note provides more specific information about the tradition of “Smashing Lanterns.”  With its gentle text and expressive illustrations, I highly recommend Playing with Lanterns as a read aloud to teach kids about Chinese New Year. 

Praise for Playing with Lanterns!

“A colorful wintry tale ushers in Chinese New Year over two weeks…A charming illustration of childhood memories during the holiday season.” ―Kirkus Reviews

“Quiet, elegant passages stud the text…Tenderly detailed gouache paintings by Zhu render the children as small, patterned bundles frolicking against expanses of snow…A quiet celebration of a Northwestern Chinese tradition.” ―Publishers Weekly


About the Author:

Wang Yage was born in Shaanxi, a central and historical province of China, where the custom of playing with lanterns was once a popular Chinese New Year tradition. A doctor of classical Chinese literature, she teaches at the University of Tibet. Playing with Lanterns is her first picture book. First published in China, the book made the prestigious White Ravens international book list.

About the Illustrator: 

Zhu Chengliang is an award-winning Chinese illustrator. Born in Shanghai and raised in Suzhou, he studied at the Department of Fine Art, Nanjing University, and has worked as an author, illustrator, editor, and designer. He was nominated for the Hans Christian Andersen Award in 2016, which is the highest international distinction given to authors and illustrators of children’s books. His books have been named one of the Ten Best Illustrated Books by the New York Times and to the IBBY Honor List.

About the Translator:

Helen Wang is a writer and translator from the UK. In 2017 she was given a Special Contributor of the Year honor as part of the Chen Bochui International Children’s Literature Awards for her work in bringing Chinese children’s literature to English-speaking audiences. Wang has translated novels, picture books, and graphic novels, including Cao Wenxuan’s Bronze and Sunflower, which won the Marsh Christian Award for Children’s Literature in Translation.