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

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 6/21/22

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.


Happy Summer!  This school year has been one of my most challenging ever, so I am especially grateful for time to relax, renew, and read and of course, spend time with my book beagle Bella!

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Our Recent Reads:

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The Pet Potato by Josh Lacey Illustrated by Momoko Abe

Young Albert desperately wants a pet, but his parents dismiss any type he mentions.  When his father jokingly gives him a potato as a pet, Albert is not pleased.  He puts it on the table not paying it any attention until he looks up and sees it frowning.  Is that even possible? Albert began including the potato in his daily activities such as playing at home, going to the library, and sleeping on his pillow. Kids will quickly recognize that the potato is smiling whenever he is with Albert.  One morning, his potato is missing and Albert is distraught.  Adults can probably guess the inevitable demise of the potato and while Albert is heartbroken, he and his dad give his potato a proper burial in the backyard.  Not only do Albert’s parents learn he is responsible enough to take care of a pet, but also Albert learns a valuable lesson in gardening.

What a fun and unique pet story!  Abe’s playful and nostalgic artwork perfectly compliments Lacey’s unconventional plot. What I love most is the story evokes a lot of emotions.  It’s humorous yet heartfelt.  Thanks to Roaring Books Press/Macmillan Children’s Publishing for sharing a copy.  The Pet Potato celebrates its book birthday tomorrow on June 21, 2022.


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Pigeon & Cat by Edward Hemingway

Cat lives in a cardboard box in an vacant city lot. When Cat finds an egg on the ground, he takes super good care of it until hatches.  Once Pigeon enters Cat’s life, his world is now forever changed.  I love how Hemingway chose to have Pigeon communicate in emojis so kids can decipher what she is thinking.  Once Pigeon perfects flying, she is eager to explore the city.  A nervous Cat is relieved when Pigeon returns with a piece of red chalk, her first of many gifts.  Inspired by Pigeon’s generosity, Cat’s creative juices start flowing bringing color to the once drab lot. One afternoon, Pigeon doesn’t return to the lot so Cat bravely leaves the lot to find his best friend.  He searches high and low leaving chalk messages all over the city. Soon the city doesn’t feel scary anymore and Cat willingly befriends other strays in hopes of locating Pigeon.  The two finally reunite in the now vibrant and bustling lot which Pigeon has opened to all the strays.  With themes of friendship, compassion, courage, creativity, and community, Pigeon & Cat is a must read picture book. To read my full review and see what kindergarteners think, click here.

Thanks to Barbara Fisch of Blue Slip Media and Little Brown and Company for sharing a copy. Pigeon & Cat celebrates its book birthday tomorrow on June 21, 2022. 


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Sylvie by Jean Reidy illustrated by Lucy Ruth Cummins

Reidy’s and Cummins’ Truman is a heartprint story to me. I read it to my #classroombookaday class at the beginning of each new school year.  When I discovered they were collaborating on a new story, I was bursting with excitement! 

Sylvie, a spider, prefers to remain hidden living underneath the fire escape.  You see if spiders draw attention to themselves, disastrous consequences could occur.  Day and night, Sylvie enjoys going up and down the fire escape to check on all her people who live in the building including a girl and her tortoise.  But when she notices her people not engaged in their hobbies, Sylvie is worried. How can she help them out of their rut? Inspired by the sun, Sylvie allows herself to be visible weaving  webs on windows leading her people to the roof of the building.  The result is inspirational and heartwarming.  

Since Charlotte, I don’t think there has been a spider who has touched me like Sylvie.  She is a true friend to her people and while she was scared to be exposed, Sylvie knew she must step into the spotlight to help them.  Reidy’s text is such a joy to read.  Your heart fills up with every page. She uses a lot of fun alliteration like “the same sun that seldom saw” and “basking in that beautiful beam.” With a pastel color palette,  Cummins’ beautiful artwork is warm and inviting.  And with her many facial expression, Cummins brings that sweet, small, savvy spider to life.  Thanks to Simon and Schuster Children’s Publishing for sending me a copy. Sylvie recently published on May 10, 2022. 


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.

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Adventure Awaits by Henry Cole

A dog and a cat wake up for a day of adventure. They both leave their house separately to explore and investigate the backyard. The dog follows a squirrel and the cat chases a pair of blue jays.  They both stop at a tree where an owl’s yellow eyes peek out of the trunk.  Their inquisitiveness turns to fear and the pair run back to their shared home. Now safe, they snuggle together on a pet bed. But as the title says, adventure awaits for a raccoon appears at the door.

Using only word narration on most pages, Cole allows young children to interpret the illustrations.  I love his use of alliteration which makes the story fun to read.  Cole’s text exposes young kids to robust vocabulary such as inspect. stalk, dart, nuzzle, and slumber which will promote great discussion. His warm illustrations convey the changing mood of the story from calm to lively. Thanks to Simon and Schuster Children’s Publishing for sending me a copy. Adventure Awaits recently published on May 10, 2022. 

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.
Book Birthday, Picture Books

Happy Book Birthday to Pigeon & Cat by Edward Hemingway

                   
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About the Book:
Title: Pigeon & Cat
Author/Illustrator: Edward Hemingway
Pub. Date: June 21, 2022


Beagles and Books is excited to share a review of Pigeon & Cat.  Special thanks to Barbara Fisch of Blue Slip Media and the publisher, Little Brown and Company. for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.


Review:

Cat lives in a cardboard box in a vacant city lot.  As Hemingway eloquently states, “the lot isn’t much, but it’s his home and his alone” and Cat cautiously sleeps with one eye open to protect his few belongings.  

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When Cat finds an egg on the ground, he takes super good care of it until hatches.  Once Pigeon enters his life, Cat’s world is now forever changed.  I love how Hemingway chose to have Pigeon communicate in emojis to Cat so kids can decipher what she is thinking.  Once Pigeon perfects flying, she is eager to explore the city.  Cat does not share her excitement. 

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A nervous Cat is relieved when Pigeon returns and she brings Cat a piece of red chalk, her first of many gifts.  Inspired by Pigeon’s generosity, Cat’s creative juices start flowing bringing color and life to the once drab lot. 

PIGEON & CAT interior illus by Edward Hemingway_3

When Pigeon doesn’t return to the lot one afternoon, Cat has no choice. He must leave his home to find his best friend.  He courageously searches high and low leaving chalk messages all over the city. Soon the city doesn’t feel scary anymore and Cat willingly befriends other strays in hopes of locating Pigeon.  The two finally reunite in the now vibrant and bustling lot which Pigeon has opened to all the strays.  

When I read aloud Pigeon & Cat to my kindergarten #classroombookaday class, the students were captivated by not only the artwork, but also the story.  Hemingway’s hand painted artwork is full of depth and details.  The kids connected with Cat immediately.  They recognized that Cat was safe, but sad and lonely. When he met Pigeon, Cat’s attitude changed because he had a friend.  The students’ faces showed their worry when Pigeon went missing, but their smiles returned and they collectively cheered when they reunited.   

With themes of friendship, kindness, courage, creativity, and community, Pigeon & Cat is a must read picture book.  I thought it was a great story to end the year, for this school year was truly the most challenging in my teaching career.  Pigeon and Cat gave me hope.  I love that book was accompanied by this note and a box of chalk encouraging readers to create their own happy messages.   

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After reading, we took the kids outside to draw things that make them happy.  Many drew things they saw in the book which warmed my heart and filled me with hope.  A beautiful memory to end this school year! 

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Want to learn more about the story behind the story?  Check out this charming video on the backstory behind Pigeon & Cat:

https://vimeo.com/626765984


Praise for Pigeon & Cat!

“A satisfying story exploring heart and home.”  —The Horn Book

“A sweet tale celebrating the joys of both personal and communal togetherness.” —Kirkus Reviews


About the Author/Illustrator: 

Edward Hemingway is the acclaimed creator of many popular books: Tough Cookie: A Christmas Story, Field Guide to the Grumpasaurus, and Bad Apple: A Tale of Friendship. His writing and artwork have been published in the New York Times and GQ Magazine, among others. The youngest grandson of Ernest Hemingway, he lives in Bozeman, Montana. He invites you to visit him at edwardhemingway.com.

Instagram: @edwardhemingway

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

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 6/13/22

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:

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The Little House of Hope by Terry Catasús Jennings Illustrated by Raúl Colón 

Esperanza, her little brother Manolo, and her parents move from Cuba to the United States.  They find a house that is within their budget to rent.  During the week, her parents work to make money at their many jobs and Esperanza and her brother work hard at school and doing household chores. On weekends, the family collaborates on making “la casita” a home.  When family or friends need a place to live, Esperanza’s family welcomes them with open arms utilizing all parts of the house including the garage to make space. 

What I love about this story is young children get a first hand account of moving to the United States as an immigrant and the many reasons why families leave their homelands. Kids not only see the work ethic of both Esperanza’s family and her extended family but also their absolute willingness to lend a hand to others.  Inspired by her own childhood, Catasús Jennings tells a story full of heart and hope.  La casita became a home because of the people that lived in it.  You can feel the love and support through Catasús Jennings’ descriptive text and Colón’s warm watercolor illustrations evoke a nostalgic feel.  Thanks to the author for sharing a copy with my #bookexcursion group.  The Little House of Hope celebrates its book birthday tomorrow on June 14, 2022. 


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Rosa’s Song by Helena Ku Rhee Illustrated by Pascal Campion

Moving from South Korea to the United States is tough for Jae.  Everything looks and feels different.  When his mother suggests meeting other kids in the building, Jae is nervous, but he takes the initiative and knocks on a door.  Rosa and her parrot, Pollito, greet him and immediately, the three become fast friends.  Remembering what it was like when she moved to this country, Rosa supports Jae when he feels homesick. When Jae remarks about missing the mountains or the sea, Rosa helps him visualize the sights and sounds of South Korea.  Rosa and Pollito also teach Jae the song with the lyrics “When I fly away, my heart stays here.”  One morning, Jae discovers Pollito in his bedroom. His mother explains that Rosa and her family had to leave quickly and move back to their homeland and she wanted Jae to have Pollito. Even a singing Pollito can’t cheer up Jae until two kids knock on his door asking about his bird.  

Ku Rhee’s heartfelt narrative and Campion’s expressive illustrations chronicle the short but sweet friendship between Rosa and Jae.  In the author’s note, Ku Rhee shares the inspiration for the story came from her childhood living in an apartment building where families came and went due to many circumstances.  Rosa’s Song teaches kids that we can honor our past friendships by being open to making new friends.  Thanks to Barbara Fisch of Blue Slip Media and Random House for sharing a copy. Rosa’s Song celebrates its book birthday tomorrow on June 14, 2022. 


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Odd Birds: Meet Nature’s Weirdest Flock by Laura Gehl Illustrated by Gareth Lucas

As a companion to their board book, Odd Beasts, Gehl and Lucas have collaborated on the engaging and informative Odd Birds which introduces toddlers and preschoolers (and adults) to a flock of unique feathered friends. Gehl’s concise text of one sentence per page spread highlights each bird’s distinctive feature. Lucas’ page filling illustrations emphasize the special trait making it easy for young children to see the connection.   Gehl choose her birds wisely, for what could be more interesting than a bird that smells like poop or one with blue feet!  At the end of the book. Gehl has included real photographs of all the animals and an explanation about the function of their special characteristic.  While the birds may seem odd, their features serves a purpose. Hoping there are more books to come in this nonfiction series. Thanks to Barbara Fisch of Blue Slip Media and Abrams for sharing a copy. Odd Birds celebrates its book birthday tomorrow on June 14, 2022. 


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.

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Every Dog in the Neighborhood by Phillip C. Stead Illustrated by Matthew Cordell

On a walk with his Grandma who is checking out something in the neighborhood, Louis tells her he wants a dog. She responds, “There are enough dogs in the neighborhood.”  Louis asks her “How many dogs?” but Grandma does not answer.  Since city hall doesn’t have a count of dogs, Louis decides to tally up the dogs himself going door to door.  His data collection project gives him the opportunity to meet all the dogs as well as their owners.  I love how for some dogs, their names match their personalities, for E.B. dreams of writing animal stories. But a name does not always hold true, for Caboose likes to first.  My favorite dog of all was Harvey, who now lives in his owner’s heart; sweet Louis counted him.

Meanwhile, Grandma was working on a project of her own.  Because the city refused to help, Grandma refurbished an abandoned lot into a dog park.  It is clear from where Louis gets his initiative (& humor).  Louis’ final count of dog is 19, but Grandma believes he missed one.  Could this be a surprise for Louis?

Cordell’s loose, expressive artwork brings Stead’s quiet and touching story to life.  His illustrations perfectly capture both Grandma and Louis’ personalities. I love how Grandma’s project is not mentioned in the text, but only through the illustrations so readers truly have to read both the words and the pictures.  I also adore Louis’ relationship with his Grandma; and he is right. Grandma knows everything which is why I love her too!  Thanks to Neal Porter Books/Holiday House and Edelweiss for sharing an eARC. Every Dog in the Neighborhood publishes next week on June 21, 2022.

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.