#pb10for10, Picture Books

#PB10fo10 2022: ReBARKable Pup Picture Books

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Since 2010, Cathy Mere of Reflect and Refine Building a Learning Community and Mandy Robek of Enjoy and Embrace Learning have been hosting #pb10for10, a fabulous event for sharing the power of picture books!  While Cathy and Mandy are taking a hiatus this year, August 10th will always hold a special place in my heart because it is the day I launched Beagles and Books and shared my very first blog post.  Today marks my FIFTH year of blogging AND sixth year participating in #pb10for10.  Click below to view my previous lists.  Can you notice my trend?

Almost every Monday for #IMWAYR, I feature one book with a canine main character and Bella graciously poses with each book.  With a blog called Beagles and Books,  I must continue my tradition of sharing my 10 favorite dog picture books published or publishing in 2022.  Bella and I hope you find a PAW-tastic book that you will enjoy reading and sharing with kids!   


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Being a Dog: A Tail of Mindfulness by Maria Gianferrari Illustrated by Pete Oswald (April 2022)

If you are looking for a picture book to support social emotional learning, I highly recommend Being a Dog.  Children not only get to learn mindful strategies, but also are exposed to vivid verbs (munch, romp, ruffle, wade, whirl) which enhances their oral and written vocabulary.  The back matter includes directions on how to take a mindful nature walk with a canine friend in all four seasons as well as instructions on a mindful breathing exercise. 

With rhythmic, concise text, and warm, expressive artwork, Being a Dog is a tale that gives children the “oppawtunity” to learn how to mindful of their feelings in order to reach their full “pet-tential.”  To read my full review, click here.  And stay tuned for a companion text, Being a Cat: A Tale of Curiosity publishing in 2023. 


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Togo and Balto: The Dogs Who Save a Town by Jodie Parachini Illustrated by Keiron Ward and Jason DeWhirst (April 2022)

Part of the Animalographies series, this narrative nonfiction picture book tells the story of Siberian huskies, Togo and Balto, who were trained as sled dogs.  Kids may know sled dogs compete in the Iditarod but they (along with adults like me) will learn the crucial role that huskies played in the Serum Race bringing lifesaving serum to the children who were stricken with diphtheria in the 1920s in Nome, Alaska.

I love that Parachini chose to tell the story from Togo’s point of view with a combination of text and journal entries.  I also appreciate that she chose Togo as narrator because I have read books featuring Balto, but never knew Togo was a famous sled dog.


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Hot Dog by Doug Salati (May 2022)

Summer in the city is no fun for a dachshund doing errands with his human. It’s too
hot to sit or sniff and the streets are so crowded. Putting his paws down, the pup lays in the street until his human gets the message. On the next few page spreads, readers see the pair in a taxi, a train, and a boat which takes them to an island where the dog can let loose literally and figuratively. Once off leash, he runs on the beach, splashes in the water, and collects rocks. As the sun sets, the pup and his human travel back to their city home to eat supper and snooze. 

As I read, I was aware of how both Salati’s text and artwork elicit emotions. I could feel the stickiness and loudness of the city as well as the dog’s frustration. The moment his human got down on her knees to rub under his chin, I knew she understood his needs and a smile never left his face. I love his use of alliteration (crowds close in, welcome whiff, skyline shimmers) and at times, Salati let his artwork alone tell the story. The format had a graphic novel feel with some pages having multiple panels of varying sizes.  The heart of the story was the relationship between the dog and its human; the immense love they have for each other poured out from the illustrations.


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Everywhere with You by Carlie Sorosiak Illustrated by Devon Halzwarth (May 2022)

A girl and a dog live next door to each other.  One day the girl puts her hand through an opening in the fence rails and offers the dog a peanut butter cracker.  He accepts without hesitation and a friendship begins. The girl returns the next night but this time with books to read aloud to her new friend. Storytime continues through each season.  One night, the dog sees the girl with her parents in the house and longs to be a part of that love.  He howls in despair and she comes to the fence to soothe his sadness.  Nights later, the dog discovers a hole and runs through the mud to the girl’s porch barking. Once the door opens, the smiles on both their faces is pure bliss.  Knowing how much the girl and dog love each other, the mother talks to the neighbors and that night, they get their wish to share to be together anywhere and everywhere.  

Everywhere with You is a story that tugged at my heart. Sorosiak’s lyrical text and Halzwarth’s gorgeous illustrations evoked feelings of sorrow and joy.  The dog lived outside this whole life and while he had a dog house for shelter (and I assume food), his emotional needs were not being met.  The girl was loved by her parents, but lonely for a true friend. Through reading, the two forged a friendship which grew to a genuine love for one another.  


IMG_4329Piglet Comes Home: How a Deaf Blind Puppy Found His Family by Melissa Shapiro, DVM Illustrated by Ellie Snowden (June 2022)

Six rescue dogs eagerly await a new addition to the family.  Will it be a small or large dog?  A girl or a boy? The oldest dog Susie wisely says “We will welcome them with open paws because we are a family.” When Mom comes home and puts down a very small crate, the dogs saw a squealing pink puppy.  She introduced the pack to Piglet who was deaf and blind.  All the dogs try to lend a paw of support, but a scared Piglet remains in his crate.  At night, when Piglet transitions to a dog bed, Susie calms his cries with snuggles.  Day by day, Piglet learns not only to trust the other dogs, but also to trust his instincts using his keen sense of smell.  

Stories about rescue dogs always tug at my heart so when it is a story about a real dog, my heart explodes!  Piglet Comes Home is a sweet story about how Piglet despite not being able to see or hear has thrived because of his never give up attitude and his loving and supportive environment.  At the end of the book, Shapiro shares the the story behind the story with bios and photographs of all the dogs and more information on the outreach program called Piglet Mindset which I can’t wait to share with teachers when school begins. 


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Every Dog in the Neighborhood by Philip C. Stead Illustrated by Matthew Cordell (June 2022)

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!  


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Don’t Worry, Murray by David Ezra Stein (June 2022)

Murray is a worrier.  Rain, thunder, bigger dogs, and fireworks all make Murray anxious.  Luckily, Murray has a supportive human who reassures him he can face his fears.  For example, he can don a raincoat to stay dry and big dogs can be nice if you give them a chance.  Each time, Murray shows courage, his human exclaims “Good boy Murray! Good boy” providing positive feedback.  When Murray is successful, his apprehensive attitude fades and his happiness is evident with a smile and a tail wag. When Murray is afraid of artwork hanging near this dog bed, not only does his human offers to remain with him until he falls asleep but also recounts all the brave things Murray did throughout the day.  On the last page, as Murray snoozes, he dreams of himself as a flying caped superhero.  Adorably illustrated,  Don’t Worry Murray is a sweet story about conquering our fears with the help of a loved one.  


Lou by Breanna Carzoo (July 2022)

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Dogs are typically the main event in this feature, but Lou, a fire hydrant, is pretty deserving to make this list given his contribution to the canine crew.  He knows he is useful as a toilet for the neighborhood dogs yet he yearns to serve a higher purpose.  As Lou narrates the story from the sidewalk, readers see a fire starting in an apartment in the background.  Unbeknownst to Lou, a fire truck parks close by him and when a Dalmatian pays a visit, he thinks it’s business as usual until the firefighter attaches a hose to him. Suddenly, Lou knows his true gift.

I absolutely adore everything about Lou. In her author/illustrator debut, Carzoo has created an utterly endearing character who possesses both a sense of humor and incredible depth.  I love seeing the story within the story involving a cat, a pot cooking on a stove, and a dad and his child leaving the kitchen which ultimately leads to Lou realizing his superhero powers.  With potty puns and a passionate main character,  Lou is a story that make you chuckle and tug at your heart.  And while my local fire hydrant is orange, I am so tempted to paint it red and give it eyes and a mouth.  And don’t worry Lou; Bella only sees you for the hero you are!


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Puppy Bus by Drew Brockington (July 2022)

The first day at a new school is nerve racking but what if you boarded the wrong bus and it was full of dogs?  Kids will laugh out loud following a boy’s day at Leroy’s Puppy School where he attends classes with canines. While lunch and the bathroom are not his favorites, the dogs sense his anxiety and cheer him up. Soon he is smiling enjoying recess, a sing-a-long, and a read aloud.  Perhaps school won’t be so bad after all.  Excited when he gets on the bus the next morning, the boy discovers he is not on the Puppy Bus, but the Kitty Bus.  Oh no!

I am always looking for fun new back to school read alouds and Puppy Bus is pawsitively perfect because it will help ease anxiety for kids beginning a new school year whether they are attending a new school or returning.  The boy’s reactions are hysterical and I especially love how as the day progresses, his first day jitters subside due to the friendships he makes.   


And 1 New Picture Book Releasing Fall 2022!

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SumoPuppy by David Biedrzycki (October 18, 2022)

In the sequel to SumoKitty, readers are introduced to a stray pug puppy who was brought to the heya (training center) by Okamisan (manager). At first, the pup named Chanko-chan is a nuisance following SummoKitty everywhere. But what if he could teach her the ways of kitty allowing SummoKItty to spending more time napping and less time mousing?   

Enthusiasm is a worthy trait but Chanko-chan’s energetic spirit was neither a good match for kitty duties nor for living in the heya.  Okamisan takes Chanko-chan to a shelter; however, her stay is short. When she finds her way back to the heya, Chanko-chan proves her pep has a purpose.    Biedrzycki’s humorous and heartwarming tale teaches that sometimes talents may need time to be fully appreciated. Thanks to Charlesbridge for sharing an eARC.  I can’t wait to see the gorgeous artwork in person and share this sweet story with my students. 


Bella and I thank you for visiting Beagles and Books’ #pb10for10! Do you have a favorite dog picture book?  Please feel free to share in the comments below.

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

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 8/1/22

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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Big Rig by Louise Hawes 

For seven years, Hazel (handle: Hazmat), has been trucking with her dad, a former professor in their eighteen wheeler named Leonardo.  The big rig is also Hazmat’s classroom where her dad homeschools her.  Father and daughter are a true team, for dad drives and Hazmat navigates and helps with paperwork once they get to their destination.  Hazmat loves her life on the road so much that her dream is to drive her own truck when she is old enough.  But her dad cautions her that robo-trucks might be replacing humans as drivers and it could be sooner than later.  Dad isn’t worried because perhaps it’s time to retire Leonardo and stay put in one place but Hazmat wants life to stay as it is.  And while the runs can be long and tiring, excitement pops up on the road.  After seeing the aftermath of a plane crash, Hazmat rescues a surviving kitten and she and her dad help a school bus full of kids sinking due to a flash flood.   Sounds like the script for a movie!

Big Rig is a story with both humor and heart.  Told from Hazmat’s point of view, readers learn her family’s past which ultimately led to their life on the road.  She and her dad have a great relationship and at times, their exchanges made me chuckle. While Hazmat has an unconventional life, her dad makes sure she is grounded.  Hazmat also has a good support system with family friends Mazen and his wife Serena who they stay with when they are between runs.  Most importantly, Hazmat reminds us to cherish the small things in life and never stop dreaming big.  Thanks to Peachtree Publishing for sharing an eARC.  Big Rig celebrates its book birthday tomorrow on August 2, 2022. 


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Haven: A Small Cat’s Big Adventure by Megan Wagner Lloyd 

Once stray kitten Haven climbed up Ma Millie’s doorstep and meowed softly, her life was forever changed.   Haven knew she was safe with Ma Millie.  But when Ma Millie’s cough gets progressively worse making her weak, Haven knows her human needs help.   She knows Ma Millie’s only hope is their neighbor, Jacob Levan and Haven must find him.  Before she can change her mind, she hops out a window and returns to the forest in search of Jacob.  When she arrives at his house, her excitement quickly deflates when the cows tell her he is still in town.  It would be easy for Haven to stay with the cows and wait, but the small cow cheers her on by saying “you don’t have to be big to be brave.” And so Haven’s adventure begins cautiously befriending a fox who agrees to help her get to town in exchange for Ma Millie’s food.  The duo must be alert at all times, for there is a bobcat pursuing them as prey.  Through their adventure, Haven and the fox learn to trust each other building a friendship that is just precious.    

With vivid characters and an absorbing plot, Haven: A Small Cat’s Adventure is a story that pulls you in right away. Compassion is a key theme in the novel, for both Haven and Ma Millie show compassion toward each other but the fox truly shows compassion for helping Haven rather than eating her.  This act of kindness is not lost on Haven, for she returns the favor.  I also love seeing Haven grow from a strictly an indoor cat to one who also identifies as a brave, wild creature of the forest. At only 131 pages long, Wagner Lloyd’s writing is concise yet descriptive making readers feel they are on the journey with Haven.  The length of both the novel and the chapters will appeal to kids who are building their stamina for middle grade. But make sure tissues are close by because there are some tearful moments within this hopeful story.  Thanks to Candlewick Press for sharing an ARC.  Haven releases next week on August 9, 2022. 


Pip and Zip by Elana Arnold Illustrated by Doug Salati

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It is spring 2020 and a family is bored with staying inside so Dad declares “Let’s take a walk.”  On the walk, they maintain their social distance with neighbors expressing sorrow that even the dogs can’t sniff each other and their Saturday morning pancake restaurant is closed.  When they circle the lake, they find two eggs at the water’s edge.  Since the wildlife center is closed, their next door neighbor Ted who “brakes for birds” lends them an incubator and the family waits for the eggs to hatch.  After 28 days, the ducklings crack open with a zip and a pip and Ted takes over as caregiver.  The family spends more time outside watching Pip and Zip’s progress until they are ready to fly.  They return the ducklings back to the lake, and coincidentally, the outside world appears to be come back to life.

Inspired by a true story (see author’s note), Arnold’s gentle narrative is a charming reminder that amid uncertainty, we should always continue to look for wonder in the world.  Salati’s expressive illustrations show how the family’s attitude changed after bringing home the eggs.  Their focus clearly moved from electronics to observing first the eggs and then the ducklings.  Thanks to Macmillan for sharing an eARC. Pip and Zip releases on August 23, 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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Piglet Comes Home: How a Deaf Blind Pink Puppy Found His Family Melissa Shapiro, DVM  Illustrated by Ellie Snowdon

Six rescue dogs eagerly await a new addition to the family.  Will it be a small or large dog?  A girl or a boy? The oldest dog Susie wisely says “We will welcome them with open paws because we are a family.” When Mom comes home and puts down a very small crate, the dogs saw a squealing pink puppy.  She introduced the pack to Piglet who was deaf and blind.  All the dogs try to lend a paw of support, but a scared Piglet remains in his crate.  At night, when Piglet transitions to a dog bed, Susie calms his cries with snuggles.  Day by day, Piglet learns not only to trust the other dogs, but also to trust his instincts using his keen sense of smell.  

Stories about rescue dogs always tug at my heart so when it is a story about a real dog, my heart explodes!  Piglet Comes Home is a sweet story about how Piglet despite not being able to see or hear has thrived because of his never give up attitude and his loving and supportive environment.  At the end of the book, Shapiro shares the the story behind the story with bios and photographs of all the dogs and more information on the outreach program called Piglet Mindset which I can’t wait to share with teachers when school begins. Thanks to Simon Kids for sharing a copy. Piglet Comes Home published on June 7, 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.
#Bookexcursion, It's Monday! What Are You Reading?, Middle Grade Literature, Picture Books

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 7/25/22

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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Fenris & Mott by Greg van Eekhout 

Mott (short for Martha) just moved to California from Pennsylvania with her mom.  The transition isn’t easy, for she is missing her best friend and disappointed in her dad who doesn’t keep his promises.  One night, behind her apartment, she hears a “mweep” coming from a recycling bin.  Thinking it is a rat, Mott is delighted to discover the sound was coming from a puppy.  Angered that someone would dump a defenseless pup, Mott promises to take care of it.  This vow is tricky since her apartment building isn’t pet friendly.  But Mott is a quick thinker and takes the dog to an animal shelter where she finds out the animal is actually a wolf pup.   

The wolf pup doesn’t appreciate being leashed and escapes. When Mott catches up with him, the wolf pup is being held by a large man dressed in a costume who introduces himself as Gorm the Vicious., a bondsman to a Norse god. He informs Mott that the wolf pup is Fenris and according to Norse mythology, he will destroy the world by eating the moon. Mott might not have control over a lot of things in her life, but she is determined to keep her vow to Fenris.  After meeting Fenris’ sword bearing guard, Thrudi and refusing to surrender him, Mott convinces her to team up to attempt to stop the prophecy in hopes of saving both Fenris and the world.

Told from Mott’s point of view, Fenris & Mott is a fast-paced, riveting story that is hard to put down.  To be honest, I don’t read a lot of novels with mythological elements.  Initially, the wolf pup drew me in but what made me keep reading was Mott.   She is strong for Fenris willing to protect him at all costs yet vulnerable when it comes to relationships with Amanda and her dad.  What I also enjoyed the humor especially between Mott and Thrudi and their unlikely friendship.  While some plot events are tied up, there are still questions left unanswered which leaves me hopeful that the trio’s adventures will continue. Thanks to Barbara Fisch of Blue Slip Media for sharing a copy.  Fenris & Mott releases next week on August 2, 2022. 


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The End by John Bray

In his debut picture book, Bray humorously explores the concept of endings.  On the first page spread, a child is running excitedly out of a school building where a hanging banner states “Have a great summer.”  The child finishes lunch but dinner and dessert will be beginning.  Later she builds a very long fort which allows her to stay in the middle until she gets bored ending her construction. As I read The End, I was reminded of the Lucius Anneaus Seneca quote popularized in Semisonic’s song Closing Time, “Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.”   

Bray’s playful text and Cleland’s energetic artwork make you want to read the story to the end!      After reading, a good discussion can take place about beginnings, middles, and endings and how some conclusions are tougher than others such as the end of summer vacation (yup, that is a BIG ending).  Thanks to Starry Forest Books for sending an ARC to my #bookexcursion group. The End releases on August 30, 2022. 


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Cadence and Kittenfish: A Mermaid Tale by Judith Roth Illustrated by Jaclyn Sinquett

Cadence, a young mermaid, is lonely.  When she peers up on land and sees a whole bunch of kittens, she thinks one would be a great companion.  Her dad disagrees suggesting a catfish. But Cadence still wants a kitten. The next day, Cadence returns above water in a boat and is able to entice a kitten to join her. But finding a place they can both play is problematic since cats live on land and mermaids in the water. After many unsuccessful tries, Cadence sadly says goodbye to the kitten returning it to shore. Will Cadence ever find a pet that fits her and her habitat?

With a lively text and expressive illustrations, kids will enjoy Cadence and the Kittenfish.  They will also easily be able to relate to Cadence and her desire for a pet of her own.  And don’t worry.  Astute observers will see that Cadence’s perfect pet is right under her nose (I mean tail),  for the most adorable little otter seems to be following her longing for a friend too.  Thanks to Starry Forest Books for sending an ARC to my #bookexcursion group. Cadence and Kittenfish releases on August 30, 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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Noodle and the No Bones Day by Jonathan Graziano Illustrated by Dan Tavis

Full disclosure: I did not know about Noodles because I am not on TikTok.  But I just discovered he is on Instagram so he and his human each gained a new follower.

Noodles, a senior rescue pug, enjoys walking and sitting outside with his human Jonathan, And snacks. Noodles loves eating snacks. But one morning, Noodles didn’t want to leave his comfy bed.  A worried Jonathan tried to get Noodles upright, but he just fell back in his bed as if he did not have any bones.  After checking to make sure Noodles was not sick, he decided to let Noodles relax at home with belly rubs, snuggles, and snacks. Always snacks. It was Noodles first of many no bones days! 

Being a senior rescue dog mom, Jonathan Graziano and Noodles touched my heart.  My husband and I adopted both Bella and Etta (who passed in February 2020) when they were each about six years old.  Dan Tavis’ illustrations capture Noodles’ adorable personality and I appreciate how the author’s note encourages readers to look to shelters and rescues to find a pet. I also love the message in the story that bones or no bones are both good days. Why?  Because any day you can spend with someone you love is a fantastic day!  Some of my favorite days are chilling with Bella on a snow day or during summer vacation.  In a world where schedules can get busy, Noodles and the No Bones Day is a great reminder to practice self-care.  Thanks to Simon Kids for sharing a copy.  Noodle and the No Bones Day published on June 7, 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.
#Bookexcursion, Early Chapter Books, Graphic Novel, It's Monday! What Are You Reading?, Middle Grade Literature, Picture Books

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 7/18/22

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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Invisible by Christina Diaz Gonzalez and Gabriella Epstein

Five students who have been completing community service hours in the cafeteria are called to Principal Powell’s office at Conrad Middle School.  Why?  To share their recollections of what happened on April 18th.  On the surface, they all appear to be similar in that they speak Spanish, but they are completely different.  As the synopsis states, George is the brain, Sara, the loner, Dayara, the tough kid, Nico, the rich kid, and Miguel, the athlete.  Wait a minute…wasn’t there a 1980’s movie with the same cast of characters?  These kids are usually invisible to everyone around them, but once they meet someone in need, they need to decide whether to extend a helping hand knowing they could get in trouble. 

As I read Invisible, I was a rollercoaster of emotions.  Angry at first that an adult thinks they are all Mexican.  Worry for George because his family has moved, but doesn’t want it to jeopardize his chance to get into the magnet school.  Sadness for Miguel who is talented artist but his father wants him to concentrate fully on baseball.  Heartache for Dayara who needs support in learning English as well as Sara who has a huge heart but is shy.  Annoyance for Nico who seemed to think he was better than everyone else.  But as I read on, I got to know the characters better and witnessed the kids gradually becoming a team which warmed my heart and on the final pages, I cried happy tears.  Written in both English and Spanish, Diaz Gonzalez’ text is authentic and moving.  Epstein’s detailed comic panels are full of energy and expression making the the story come alive.  Can’t wait to see the finished color artwork!  Highly recommend pre-ordering Invisible.  It is a middle grade must read!  Thanks to Scholastic for sharing a copy with my #bookexcusion group.  Invisible releases on August 2, 2022. 


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Llama Rocks the Cradle of Chaos by Jonathan Stutzman Illustrated by Heather Fox 

“I AM LLAMA” is back for a third adventure in the series.  Llama just celebrated his birthday with his friends and a doughnut with extra sprinkles.  The yummy dessert consumes his mind and as a result, he gets a deliciously dangerous idea to go back in time to savor the donut again.  Unlike his dancing pants, time travel pants come with directions. But Llama is too rushed to read them. so when he goes back in time, he goes back way farther than a day.  Based on the clothing and music, Llama traveled back to the 1980’s to his birthday when he was a wee, little llama.  After eating the donut, Llama travels back to the present bringing his younger self with him.  Not one for sharing, Llama sends Baby Llama back to the past but is unsuccessful and with each attempt. Baby Llama bring more “friends” with him.  Worried about his house but mostly about his secret cake cellar, Llama wonders how can he end the chaos?

Llama is one of my favorite picture book characters because his penchant for food especially sweets always gets him in trouble.  I love how Llama is just reckless and doesn’t worry about any ramifications from his risky decision thinking once he has satisfied his stomach, life can just go back to normal.  His lone action sets off a chain reaction that seems impossible to solve but somehow, Llama wins!  Stutzman’s lively and witty text and Fox’s adorable and whimsical illustrations perfectly complement each other.  Thanks to Macmillan Kids for sharing an eARC.  Llama Rocks the Cradle of Chaos recently released on July 5, 2022. 


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K is for Kindness by Rina Horiuchi  Illustrated by Risa Horiuchi

Looking for an alphabet book with a positive message?  This ABC book teaches young children the 26 letters with animals showing kindness to each other.  As a reading specialist, I love so many aspects of K is for Kindness!  On each page, a sentence concisely captures one animal’s goodwill to another.  The targeted letter is blue and begins each sentence. Not only does the text have some alliteration, but it also rhymes with the subsequent sentence.  For example, “Cow covers Cat with a coat ’cause he’s cold. Donkey gives Dog her dear dolly to hold.”  Accompanying the text is a charming, uncluttered illustration that shows the animal’s altruism.  All the benevolent acts are simple yet powerful such as saying thank you, reading a book or signing XOX in a letter showing kids that good deeds are free.  At the end of the book, kids are asked to think about something considerate they could do which will promote a rich conversation and inspiration. Thanks to the author for sharing a copy.  K is for Kindness published in April 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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Millie, Daisy, and the Scary Storm (Life in the Doghouse #3) written by Danny Robertson, Ron Danta & Crystal Velasquez Illustrated by Laura Catrinella

In the third book in the Life in the Doghouse series, Millie and Daisy are bonded pups rescued during Hurricane Katrina.  Although they are best friends, they are completely different.  Daisy is scared of storms and Millie watches them from the front door. Millie is excited about getting adopted in contrast to the worried Daisy.  What if the two get separated?  Millie hatches a plan to ensure they are adopted together, but Daisy isn’t certain that is what she wants.  She likes living at Danny and Ron’s Rescue.  Will both Daisy’s and Millie’s dreams come true? 

At only 108 pages with short chapters and black and white illustrations, Millie, Daisy, and the Scary Storm (along with the other books in the series), is a great chapter book for children transitioning to middle grade.  Kids will also enjoy learning about the true story of Daisy and Millie which comes after the fictionalized story.  Of course, being a rescue dog mom, I love that this series features a rescue dedicating to finding furever homes for dogs and the text shows how the dogs like Daisy can be scared or anxious given the trauma they experienced. Thanks to Simon Kids for sharing for a copy. Millie, Daisy, and the Scary Storm recently released on July 12, 2022.   To learn more about this engaging and informative series, click here

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

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 7/11/22

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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Play Like Girl by Misty Wilson Illustrated by David Wilson

Rising seventh grader Misty loves football because it has strategy. teamwork and most of all, players can tackle. When the boys won’t her play during a practice, go getter Misty refuses to stay on the sidelines. She signs up for the town’s football league determined to prove that she has the skills and stamina to be on the team. Training is grueling and while her best friend Bree decides football is not for her, Misty remains steadfast. Her decision to keep playing puts a strain on their friendship which is tough at the beginning, but Misty learns there are others who understand and accept her desire to play football.

Once I began reading Misty Wilson’s graphic memoir, I couldn’t put it down. While I never played a team sport, I could still relate to Misty’s competitive nature and cheered her on along the way. Readers will also connect to her struggles navigating middle school friendships and how old relationships can change and new friendships can blossom. I especially loved how her football coaches and her stepdad were her biggest supporters.  Misty Wilson’s honest and humorous text and David Wilson’s engaging and expressive artwork showed Misty at her best and worst allowing the reader to see an authentic main character. Misty also learns valuable lessons in friendship, teamwork, family, forgiveness, and acceptance. Thanks to the author for sharing a copy with my #bookexcursion group. Play Like a Girl publishes on September 27, 2022. 


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Bright by Brigit Young

Marianne has always been able to get by in school, but this year her grades in Mr. Garcia’s math class may cause her to repeat the eight grade. She reluctantly joins the Quiz Quest team thinking her presence will earn her extra credit but Mr. Garcia is firm; Marianne must prove she is putting forth effort, not just sitting on the sidelines. It doesn’t take long before Marianne discovers the Quiz Quest members are not a true team. While Marianne may not be able to quickly recall facts, she does possess a natural ability to help her teammates each discover their strengths making Quiz Quest a more cohesive unit.  

Young’s upper middle grade novel touched me as a teacher. What struck me is Marianne has a good support system of family and friends,, but was still able to slip through the cracks until Mr. Garcia’s class.  Readers do learn the cause of her lack of effort which I appreciated.  Because of an innocent mistake that occurred in her sixth grade social studies oral presentation, an embarrassed Marianne chose to stop trying convincing herself she couldn’t learn.  I have personally worked with kids who have shared Marianne’s attitude; Bright reminds me that my job is to help kids identify their strengths and understand there are all kinds of ways to be smart. Of course, no one is successful without effort and Marianne must take some responsibility.  Being on Quiz Quest teaches Marianne that everyone has feelings of inadequacy including the smartest people she knows and her greatest competitor has always been herself.  I loved witnessing Marianne learn and grow and I know middle grade readers will too! Thanks to the author for sharing a copy with my #bookexcursion group.  Bright recently released on July 5, 2022. 


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Hurry, Little Tortoise, Time for School! by Carrie Finson Illustrated by Erin Kraan

On the first day of school, Little Tortoise is prepared to not only be on time, but perhaps, the first one to arrive.  Surely, the extra lettuce for breakfast will help his momentum.  As she walks, Cheetah, Llama and other animals including Snail riding a scooter pass her.  Little Tortoise remains undeterred plonk-a plunking along.  When she finally makes it to the schoolhouse, she hears noises inside.  Thinking she is late, she hides in her shell until the teacher Mr. Sloth picks her up admitting he is indeed tardy.  He calms Little Tortoise saying while he is working on being on time, it’s more important to be present.  The smile on Little Tortoise’s face shows she has an ally, and they both keep up their pace to get to the classroom before the clock turns to 8:30 a.m. 

As a teacher, I constantly hear kids announcing being first which I always answer with “It’s not a race” I love Mr. Sloth’s attitude that faster isn’t better; perseverance and presence is paramount.  Finison’s steadfast shelled protagonist reminds us of the moral “Slow and steady wins the race,” Kraan’s charming and lively woodcut illustrations perfectly complement Finison’s witty text and makes Hurry Little Tortoise, Time for School a perfect real aloud for the beginning of the school year.  Thanks to the author and Random House Studio for sending a copy to my #bookexcursion group.  Hurry, Little Tortoise, Time for School! releases next week on July 19, 2022. 


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Pink is Not a Color by Lindsay Ward

When Pink discovers that the Primaries and the Secondaries are planning for the Rainbow Extravaganza, she wants to lend a hand.  But she wonders why hasn’t she ever heard of this event before?  The Rainbow Extravaganza celebrates all the colors in the rainbow and sadly, Pink is not one of them. The colors still invite Pink to come, but she feels awkward and begins to question her identity.  Is she still a color if she is not in the rainbow? I love Ward’s format for Pink speaks directly to the reader sharing her inner thoughts in speech bubbles and the illustrations show Pink’s range of emotions as she grapples with this question.  

Fortunately, her friend Gray sets her straight by taking Pink on a stroll around town to show her how all things pink such as ice cream, art, and toys bring joy.  And best of all, pink is a color in the sunrise and sunset.  Can’t get any better than that!  The message of Pink is Not a Color is sometimes it takes a friend to help you see your true self-worth. 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 canine characters.

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Lou by Breanna Carzoo

Dogs are typically the main event in this feature, but Lou, a fire hydrant, is pretty deserving given his contribution to the canine crew.  He knows he is useful as a toilet for the neighborhood dogs yet he yearns to serve a higher purpose.  As Lou narrates the story from the sidewalk, readers see a fire starting in an apartment in the background.  Unbeknownst to Lou, a fire truck parks close by him and when a dalmatian pays a visit, he thinks it’s business as usual until the firefighter attaches a hose to him. Suddenly, Lou knows his true gift.

I absolutely adore everything about Lou. In her author/illustrator debut, Carzoo has created an utterly endearing character who possesses both a sense of humor and incredible depth.  I love seeing the story within the story involving a cat, a pot cooking on a stove, and a dad and his child leaving the kitchen which ultimately leads to Lou realizing his superhero powers.  With potty puns and a passionate main character,  Lou is a story that make you chuckle and tug at your heart.  And while my local fire hydrant is orange, I am so tempted to paint it red and give it eyes and a mouth.  And don’t worry Lou; Bella only sees you for the hero you are! Thanks to the author and Harper Collins for sharing an eARC. Lou celebrates its book birthday tomorrow on July 12, 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.
Blog Tour, Giveaway, Picture Books

Blog Tour & Giveaway for Pink is Not a Color by Lindsay Ward

                   
                                              

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About the Book:
Title: Pink is Not a Color
Author/Illustrator: Lindsay Ward
Pub. Date: July 1, 2022


Beagles and Books is thrilled to be part of the blog tour for Pink is Not a Color 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.


Review:

When Pink discovers that the Primaries and the Secondaries are planning for the Rainbow Extravaganza, she wants to lend a hand.  But she wonders why hasn’t she ever heard of this event before?  

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The Rainbow Extravaganza celebrates all the colors in the rainbow and sadly, Pink is not one of them. The colors still invite Pink to come, but she feels awkward and begins to question her identity.  Is she still a color if she is not in the rainbow? I love Ward’s format for Pink speaks directly to the reader sharing her inner thoughts in speech bubbles and the illustrations show Pink’s range of emotions as she grapples with this question.  

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A confused Pink meets up with other colors and learns that colors mixed with white are called Tints.  So is she a color or a tint?  Fortunately, Gray sets her straight by taking Pink on a stroll around town to show her how all things pink such as ice cream, art, and toys bring joy.  And best of all, pink is a color in the sunrise and sunset.  Can’t get any better than that! 

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The message of Pink is Not a Color is sometimes it takes a friend to help you see your true self-worth.  Pink forgot that others don’t decide who she is; she is bubble gum, cotton candy, tutus, bunny slippers, cupcakes, and sprinkles which all bring happiness. 

As in Ward, This Book is Gray, Ward’s artwork and page layout is visually appealing to young readers.  The colors are adorably drawn adorned with hats, headbands, and rosy cheeks.  The witty dialogue is written in speech bubbles.  Be sure to visit the front endpapers again, for Ward has included a color glossary defining types of colors and the author’s note explaining the inspiration for the story. 


Praise for Pink is Not a Color!

Ward’s cast of colors, pink-cheeked and wearing accessories, speak in color-coded speech bubbles; appropriately, pink hues dominate the exuberant art. A rosy take on selfhood.” 
Kirkus Reviews


About the Author/Illustrator: 

Lindsay Ward is the creator of the Dexter T. Rexter series as well as Between the Lines, Scooper and Dumper, Rosie: Stronger than Steel, This Book Is Gray, Brobarians, Rosco vs. the Baby, and The Importance of Being 3. Her book Please Bring Balloons was also made into a play. Lindsay lives with her family in Peninsula, Ohio with her husband, three boys, one dog, and eight ducks. When she’s not drawing, Lindsay loves to bake. Pink-frosted cupcakes are her favorite. Learn more about her online at www.lindsaymward.com.

Twitter: @lindsaymward
Instagram: lindsaymward

Check out activities and more here on Lindsay Ward’s website!

 

 

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

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 6/27/22

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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Party Animals (Cranky Chicken #2) by Katherine Battersby

Chicken & Speedy are back to keep kids smiling and giggling. Chicken hasn’t lost her crankiness; however, her friendship with Speedy definitely keeps it in check. In the first chapter, Chicken is hangry and Speedy does everything he can do to help her (except ask her what she wants to eat). In the next chapter, Speedy plans Chicken an unsurprising birthday party because Chicken loves parties but not surprises. In the final chapter, Speedy takes Chicken on a bus trip to the beach and of course, beaches and buses make Chicken cranky.

Battersby’s Cranky Chicken series is pure delight.  As in the first book, Speedy accepts Chicken’s peevish personality and it is through their friendship that Chicken mellows reevaluating at times what makes her cranky. Speedy’s energy and positive attitude shine through in Battersby’s artwork and while Chicken’s facial expressions remain consistent for most of the novel, readers can see the genuine love for her adventurous friend.  I adore their playful exchanges with one another because while Chicken’s dialogue is somewhat predictable, one never knows where Speedy is going to go.    Their relationship is a reminder to kids that friends do not have to agree on everything; being together and supporting each other is what counts. Thanks to Simon and Schuster Children’s Publishing for sending me a copy. Party Animals celebrates its book birthday tomorrow on June 28, 2022. 


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The Big Scream by Kirsti Call Illustrated by Denis Angelov

What happens when a child wants more and mom says no? First, come tears. Next, comes temper tantrum, and finally, a big scream. As a result, the boy gets a time out. His disposition starts out pouty and angry but it is clear that he has been taught calming strategies. He breathes in and out and as he slowly counts to ten, his scowl turns into a smile. While he did not get another cookie, he does get a big hug from mom!

Call’s concise, rhyming text and Angelov’s nostalgic and expressive illustrations perfectly complement the plot of a child who experiences the full range of emotions when he doesn’t get his way. What I love is this board board can be a great parent tool to teach kids how to handle big feelings.  Thanks to Simon and Schuster Children’s Publishing for sending me a copy. The Big Scream celebrates its book birthday tomorrow on June 28, 2022. 


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I Want to Be a Vase by Julio Torres  Illustrated by Julian Glander

Tired of unclogging toilets, a plunger makes an announcement.  It wants to be a vase. The sink, bathtub, toilet, and vacuum cleaner immediately scoff at its declaration.  The plunger is not deterred stating it can switch jobs.  It leaves the bathroom, enters the kitchen, and resourcefully tapes some flowers onto its handle.   A pot remarks “Oh, yay, look!  It’s a vase” to the plunger’s delight. Then the pot proclaims it wants to be a trash can.  Soon other household items follow suit wanting to be something different which does not sit well with the vacuum.  When the hair dryer decides it wants to be a vacuum, the vacuum has hit its breaking point and as a result, expel its contents all over the house.  Who can help clean up this mess? Hmmm…perhaps, a dryer?

When I read aloud I Want to Be a Vase to kids, they could not contain their laughter.  Torres’ playful conversational text gave life to a peppy plunger who dared to think differently as well as all the other household items in the story.  Glander’s unique 3-D art is so visually appealing that the kids wanted to closely examine the illustrations after I read.  Amid the humor, themes of identity, acceptance, and speaking one’s mind are explored which promotes a great discussion.  Thanks to Simon and Schuster Children’s Publishing for sending me a copy. I Want to Be a Vase recently published on June 7, 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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Hot Dog by Doug Salati

Summer in the city is no fun for a dachshund doing errands with his human. It’s too
hot to sit or sniff and the streets are so crowded. Putting his paws down, the pup lays in the street until his human gets the message. On the next few page spreads, readers see the pair in a taxi, a train, and a boat which takes them to an island where the dog can let loose literally and figuratively. Once off leash, he runs on the beach, splashes in the water, and collects rocks. As the sun sets, the pup and his human travel back to their city home to eat supper and snooze. 

As I read, I was aware of how both Salati’s text and artwork elicit emotions. I could feel the stickiness and loudness of the city as well as the dog’s frustration. The moment his human got down on her knees to rub under his chin, I knew she understood his needs and a smile never left his face. I love his use of alliteration (crowds close in, welcome whiff, skyline shimmers) and at times, Salati let his artwork alone tell the story. The format had a graphic novel feel with some pages having multiple panels of varying sizes.  The heart of the story was the relationship between the dog and its human; the immense love they have for each other poured out from the illustrations.  Hot Dog recently published on May 24, 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.
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.  

PIGEON & CAT interior illus by Edward Hemingway_1

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. 

PIGEON & CAT interior illus by Edward Hemingway_2

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.