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

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 5/22/23

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.


Wombats are Weird: A (Not So) Serious Guide by Abi Cushman

What animal has a cartilage butt, nonstop teeth, a backward pouch, and cube shaped poop? If you said wombat, you would be right! I have been a fan of author-illustrator Cushman since her debut with Soaked and feel privileged to have read an early copy of her latest picture book which introduces readers of all ages to the weirdly wonderful world of wombats.

I love that Cushman included the snake (coincidentally named Joey) from Animals Go Vroom to playfully banter with the narrator, the wombats, and other marsupials as facts are shared. The snake is not the only animal with a sense of humor; wombats also have a comedic side when they are gnawing through a fence, making a poop tower or using their butt of steel to ward off a predator.  Their comments are both entertaining and informative.  Once kids get Wombats are Weird in their hands, it is going to difficult to stop them from reading! 

Cushman’s artwork will draw in readers because her animals exhibit a range of feelings. Text features such as sidebars and maps as well as back matter including real photos of wombats and a glossary of terms teach kids the elements of nonfiction.   Thanks to the author for sharing an eARC.  Wombats are Weird celebrates its book birthday tomorrow on May 23, 2023.


The Together Tree by Aisha Saeed Illustrated by LeUyen Pham

Rumi has moved from California to the east coast.  His teacher asked the class to make Rumi feel welcome.  Nervous and shy, Rumi sits under the old willow tree during recess. When three classmates see him, Asher and Ella make fun of Rumi’s appearance.  Han says nothing.  The bullying toward Rumi intensifies when Asher throws a ball of paper during music class and the next day at recess, he throws a pebble causing physical harm to Rumi’s leg.  Rumi’s tears show the emotional harm of the bullying.  No longer silent, Hans quickly goes to Rumi asking him to play seeing all of Rumi’s drawings in the sand under the tree. Later that day, Asher quietly gives Rumi a written apology with a leaf.  At the next recess, Hans, Ella and other classmates join Rumi to draw.  Asher returns to the classroom isolating himself from everyone.  As Rumi holds the leaf, he decides to forgive Asher giving back the leaf. 

Inspired by Saeed’s own son’s kindergarten experience with bullying,  The Together Tree is a story that teaches kids powerful lessons about bullying.  Based on their actions, Asher and Ella clearly are bullies; however, Hans is silent.  Kids can have a deep discussion on whether or not Han is initially a bully for being a bystander.  Pham’s gorgeous artwork complements Saeed’s lyrical, concise text.  I love how Pham consciously choose not to use color at a crucial plot event which will provoke rich conversation.  Thanks to Simon and Schuster Children Publishing for sharing a copy. The Together Tree publishes next week on May 30, 2023.


Amy Wu and the Ribbon Dance by Kat Zhang Illustrated by Charlene Chua

Amy can’t stay skill; she is always on the move.  After watching Chinese ribbon dancing, she wants to try it out with her friends.  Her friends can bring their musical instruments but Amy has a problem. She has no dancing ribbons.   Being resourceful, Amy ties her hair ribbon to a chopstick; however, it doesn’t have enough movement. Next, she uses ties her scarf to a knitting needle but it is too heavy.  Her family’s lace tablecloth doesn’t work either.  How can Amy have a ribbon dance party with no ribbons?

The fourth book in the series, Amy Wu and the Ribbon Dance, is a sweet story that teaches kids that family is there to support you when you have a problem.  I love that Amy’s mom did not provide the solution, but rather showed Amy her photo album letting her figure it out on her own.  At the end of the story, directions are provided for children to make their own dancing ribbons. Thanks to Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing for sharing a copy. Amy Wu and the Ribbon Dance releases soon on May 30, 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.


Doggo and Pupper: Search for Cozy by Katherine Applegate Illustrated by Charlie Adler

In the third and final book in the series, Cat has to adapt to a new bed.  It is not as cozy making it difficult to sleep.  Doggo thinks Cat is just being picky but Pupper is worried that Cat will never sleep again. After Cat keeps both Doggo and Pupper awake with her roaming and making angry sounds, the dogs decide to look for her old bed. 

Fans of the series will love the next adventure of Doggo, Pupper, and Cat.  Applegate’s easily accessible text coupled with Adler’s bold and humorous illustrations not only appeals to young readers but also supports them in transitioning to chapter book reading.  Doggo and Pupper: Search for Cozy published on March 28, 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.

4 thoughts on “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 5/22/23”

  1. Each one is new to me, and each sounds nice, Laura, especially The Together Tree. Wouldn’t it be nice if everyone learned to work together and not tease? I will never understand why some people want to make unkind remarks to another. Thanks for the reviews!


  2. What a wonderful selection of books, Laura! The Together Tree leaps out at me—I’ve read a little bit by both Aisha Saeed and LeUyen Pham, and it sounds like they’ve collaborated to create a really meaningful book about treating other kids with compassion. I’ve also heard great things about the Amy Wu series as well! Thanks so much for the thoughtful reviews!


  3. I am at the top of the library list for Wombats — thanks for the early review. (And the others, but I’m trying to control my hold list.)


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