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

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 4/24/23

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.


Being a Cat by Maria Gianferrari Illustrated by Pete Oswald

While its companion text, Being a Dog,  introduced kids to mindfulness, Being a Cat teaches young readers the importance of being curious.

Being like a cat is seeking-
surveying everything around you.

Oswald’s inquisitive feline with its wide eyes and strong focus warmly illustrates Gianferrari’s message.  I love how the cat has an eye patch to match its precocious human who is searching for a treasure.  Gianferrari’s love for animals is at the heart of all her books.   She always highlights how we can learn from our furry friends.  I love the page spreads explaining how cats communicate their love, for they show their affection through both actions and sounds.    At the end of the book, the cat and its human peer inside a box delivered to their door which makes me wonder…What is making them smile? 

With a melodic text and expressive artwork, Being a Cat is a tale that gives kids “paw-sitive” advice to “purr-fect” their probing skills. Thank you to the author for including me on the Being a Cat blog tour.  To read my full review, click here

The Loud Librarian by Jenna Beatrice Illustrated by Erika Lynne Jones


Precocious Penelope has been practicing alphabetizing, pushing a book cart, and stickering due dates. When she is finally chosen as student-librarian for the week, she is beyond excited.  But Penelope has one small problem-her voice is too big for the library causing books to fall off the shelves, posters to rip, and desks to crack into rubble.  Devastated, Penelope almost gives up on her dream but then a flyer on the bulletin board inspires her to put her vociferous voice to good use while still promoting literacy. 

With Beatrice’s humorous plot and heartwarming character and Jones’ energetic and vivid artwork,  The Loud Librarian is a story that immediately hooks kids.  I loved that I could make my read aloud interactive having the students join me in reading Penelope’s dialogue in a big voice.  What I also adore is the message of self-acceptance.   Thanks to Simon and Schuster for sending me a copy.  The Loud Librarian recently published on April 11, 2023. 


Manolo and the Unicorn by Jackie Azua Kramer and Jonah Kramer  Illustrated by Zach Manbeck

Manolo saw magic in books and nature.  He yearned to see his favorite animal, a unicorn, in real life. When his school announced the Wild Animal Parade, Manolo knew what he is going to be. When his choice is mocked by classmates. Manolo begins to doubt the world is extraordinary and if almost on cue, a unicorn appears taking him on a ride in the forest.  The next morning, the unicorn is gone, but a gift is left giving Manolo has the confidence to be his true self.  He makes his costume for the parade sharing his belief in magic and the extraordinary.

The authors’ beautiful message coupled with the illustrator’s enchanting illustrations give hope to the wishers and dreamers. Thanks to Barbara Fisch of Blue Slip Media and Cameron Kids for sending me a copy.  Manolo and the Unicorn recently released on April 18, 2023. 


Just a Worm by Marie Boyd

After two children say “EW! It’s just a worm.” the annoyed invertebrate wants to prove its worth.  It sets out on a journey through the garden asking other animals what can they do.   As  animals share their role in nature, the worm becomes depressed wondering maybe it is just a worm.  When a ladybug explains it protects plants by eating aphids, the worm starts making connections recognizing its own contribution to the ecosystem.  On the last page spread, the worm’s confidence is evident in its brown coloring.  

What a debut for author/illustrator Boyd! My heart went out to her adorable worm as it searched for its purpose.  Along the way, readers learn facts about how animals support gardens especially all the ways worms are integral to nature.  At the end of the story, Boyd shares the art of quilling which she used to create her gorgeous illustrations as well as step by step directions on how to make a quilled butterfly.  Thanks to Barbara Fisch of Blue Slip Media and Greenwillow/Harper Collins for sending me a copy.  Just a Worm published on March 13, 2023. 

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 Unwelcome Surprise by Olga Herrera

Bongo likes routine which includes scratching his back on his favorite chair and taking a whiff of his stinky carpet.  But his daily ritual is interrupted by a mysterious addition in a stroller.  Not long after, his favorite chair is covered with strange new things and his carpet is full of stuff. What is going on?

Feeling anxious, Bongo starts barking and pulling items from his chair.  The result-he gets shushed and scolded which leaves him with only one option-relieving himself near the stroller on his carpet. His actions don’t sit well with his family but a little while later, he is fed and suddenly, Bongo’s outlook changes.  Can he trust this new addition to the family? 

Full of humor and heart, debut author/illustrator Herrera’s story of accepting change will resonate with readers of all ages.  Once Bongo realized that he was not forgotten, he discovers that his routine can change too… for the better.  Thanks to Olga Herrera for sharing an eARC.  The Unwelcome Surprise recently published on April 18, 2023. 

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.

1 thought on “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 4/24/23”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s