Blog Tour, Giveaway, Picture Books

Blog Tour & Giveaway for Play Like An Animal! by Maria Gianferrari

Beagles and Books is honored to be part of the Play Like An Animal: Why Critters Splash, Race, Twirl and Chase blog tour!  Play Like An Animal is written by Maria Gianferrari and illustrated by Mia Powell and celebrated its book birthday last week on April 7, 2020. Thanks to author Maria Gianferrari and Lerner Publishing for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

And on a personal note, I am so appreciative that Maria personalized my copy to not only me & Bella but also in memory of my sweet Etta.

Continue reading “Blog Tour & Giveaway for Play Like An Animal! by Maria Gianferrari”

#Bookexcursion, #MustReadsin2020, Book Birthday, It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 4/13/20

img_9263

Beagles and Books is 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.

For the past few weeks, I have been leaning on picture books partly due to their length but I am happy to report that I finished reading 3 novels this week.  Getting into a reading rut is tough so I am glad that there are so many types of books to help during the ebbs and flows of life.  And all these novels are #mustreadsin2020.  Two celebrate their book birthday this week and one will publish in less than a month!

Recent Reads:

whatlane

What Lane? by Torry Maldanado

Stephen is an eleven year old biracial boy who lives in Brooklyn with his librarian mom and teacher dad.  Believing in a saying coined by his favorite basketball player, Stephen wears a bracelet with the words WHAT LANE? This phrase reminds him that he is not confined to one path or as his father says “the world is yours.” Stephen shows his many lanes in his friendships, for his best friend, Dan is white, but he also has friends who are African American, Latino or mixed like him.  But Stephen’s thinking is challenged when he experiences microaggressions solely because of his color.  And while two years ago, Stephen made a New Year’s resolution to say what’s on his mind, it is not always easy to follow through especially when Dan’s cousin Chad is involved.  Stephen learns that he must open his eyes and speak his mind and not worry about so much about the lanes but rather stick with his friends who are true allies and have his back.

Lately, it has been hard to stay focus to read a novel and I know other adults and kids are struggling too. What Lane? is a gamechanger on so many levels.  Written in 126 pages with short chapters, Stephen’s authentic story hooked me from the very first page.  Kids will easily relate to Stephen who loves superheroes and the television show, Stranger Things.  What I love the most is author and teacher Torrey Maldonado tackles tough issues candidly in language that kids will not only enjoy but understand.   One of my #mustreadsin2020, it is a novel that adults should read as well  Thanks to the author and publisher Nancy Paulsen Books/Penguin Random House for sharing an ARC with my #bookexcursion group.  What Lane? celebrates its book birthday tomorrow on April 14, 2020.

finallysmysterious

Finally, Something Mysterious by Doug Cornett

Paul, Shanks and Peephole are the One and Onlys, budding detectives who all happen to be only children.  Well, Peephole is actually losing this title, for his mom is expecting a baby soon.  The trio is used to solving mundane cases like the missing remotes or the class hamster’s lost tail so they jump at the chance to find out who covered their neighbor Mr. Babbages’s lawn with rubber ducks. Why is Mr. Babbage the target?  It turns out that he is the five time winner of the annual Bellwood Bratwurst Bonanza known to the town as the “Triple B.”  Could somebody be attempting to rattle Babbage so he is not on top of his bratwurst game?  The One and Onlys are on the case even though sluggish Officer Portnoy has told them to cease sleuthing. Paul, Shanks, and Peephole must get their ducks, I mean, clues in a row so they can solve the case!

Finally, Something Mysterious is another middle grade novel on my #mustreadin2020 and debut author Doug Cornett kept me laughing and guessing as I worked to put the clues together.  I loved how each character brought strengths to the group, for Paul tracked down the cases, Shanks was the muscle showing no fear, and Peephole’s photographic memory cataloged every detail.  Minor characters like the town’s cruelest teacher and chief bratwurst tester Mr. Pocus were also intriguing and well developed.  Equally important as a character is the quirky town of Bellwood itself, which is small and actually shaped like a bell (which you can see from the handy map included at the beginning of the novel).    Thanks to the author for sharing an ARC with my #bookexcursion group.  Finally, Something Mysterious celebrates its book birthday tomorrow on April 14, 2020.

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 main character.

img_3934

The One and Only Bob by Katherine Applegate

In a letter to readers that precedes Chapter 1, author Katherine Applegate asks if you are Team Canine.  My blog pretty much speaks to my allegiance; therefore, I was so utterly excited to have the opportunity to read another one of my #mustreadsin2020, The One and Only Bob before it officially releases on May 5, 2020. Thanks to Edelweiss and Harper Collins for sharing an e-book with Beagles and Books.

Eight years after The One and Only Ivan published, Applegate takes us back to check in with Bob, Ivan, and Ruby with tiny and tough Bob telling the tale. Bob’s narration is perfect. Readers get to know his backstory before meeting Ivan and his current comfortable life with Julia and her family.  I have always been a fan of Applegate’s writing using concise words, lots of white space, and short chapters.  But she really blew me away writing from a dog perspective using terms as bed boogie, drool flag and UFO (which are defined along with other words in a canine glossary following the story) and how vet, bath, fireworks, and vacuum cleaner are canine swear words.   Based on his life experiences, it is no surprise why Bob has his guard up, but it is clear that he will do anything for those he loves especially when a tornado hits the animal sanctuary where Ivan and Ruby now live.  In a time where we all need to remain positive, Bob reminds us to never lose hope because “sometimes humans don’t let you down. Sometimes they even come to your rescue.”  Here’s to us all rescuing each other.

 

happiness-is-a-warm-puppy-and-a-good-book

Bella & I thank you for visiting Beagles and Books. Happy Reading! Stay safe and well!

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

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 4/6/20

img_9263

Beagles and Books is 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.

This week is my launch into this new world of remote learning.  Our district’s first goal is to virtually connect with students through class meetings.  So far, I have participated in a Google Meets with my #classroombookaday Grade 2 students as well as a Grade 4 class.  My heart was so full seeing their faces and hearing their voices!  Having these virtual meetings will never replace actually being at school but it does make me feel more connected to not only the kids but also the teachers with whom I work. Looking forward to more class meetings this week and collaborating with other resource teachers how to provide support to our striving learners.

Reading a novel has been challenging so I have leaned on picture books which have provided me such comfort which author/illustrator Debbie Ridpath Ohi mentions in her blog post, Why Picture Books Are Important.  I am also used to reading and discussing a picture book daily with my #classroombookaday second grade class which gave me such a sense of community.  I plan to read aloud a book at our next Google Meets which will make my heart happy!

ILovePictureBooks-600

Our Recent Reads:

An Ordinary Day by Elana Arnold Illustrated by Elizabet Vukovic

I have been hearing a lot about An Ordinary Day and now I know why.  While a woman waters her flowers and two children play together in a neighborhood, two families across the street are experiencing life changing events in their homes.  One family is having to say goodbye to their beloved dog while another family is saying hello to a new baby.  Arnold and Vukovic masterfully and tenderly connects these two milestones with text and illustrations.  Of course, An Ordinary Day hit me hard because it has only been six weeks since we lost our sweet Etta.  Although the story brought me to tears, the tears were of joy and sadness, for both the words and art conveyed the immense love the family had for their precious pet. And one can’t stay sad seeing the utter joy of a family welcoming their new baby into the world.

For the past 3 weeks, every day has seemed pretty ordinary.  I have been doing the same tasks daily that it has even been hard to remember the day of the week. But I know others in the world are experiencing endings and beginnings just like the two families in An Ordinary Day.  Such an important message for us all.

Bo the Brave by Bethan Woolvin

Bo’s brothers embark on a quest to catch a monster but won’t let her join them because she is too little.  Bo disagrees proudly stating that she is “smart and brave and strong” and sets off on her own.  During her travels, Bo encounters creatures that at first appear to be monsters but she soon realizes that the Griffen, Kraken, Dragon are helpful, nice, and caring.  When Dragon informs her that her baby has been kidnapped, Bo is pretty sure she knows exactly where to find him- back home at the castle with her monstrous brothers.  Bo saves the the day with her smarts, bravery, and strength and teaches her brothers (and readers) that actions speak much louder than appearances.  And pay close attention to the end pages, for I love how Bo revises her map of Alpine Kingdom based on her new knowledge after her adventure. Thanks to Peachtree Publishing for sharing a copy with my #bookexcursion group.  Bo the Brave recently published on April 1, 2020.

Two Bicycles in Beijing by Teresa Robeson Illustrated by Junyi Wu

Two bicycles, one yellow and one red, sit in a Beijing shop.  They have been inseparable since they came out of the factory   But this all changes when a girl buys the yellow bike named Huangche.  Suddenly, Lunzi, the red bike, tips over and is all alone.  Not long after, a boy spies Lunzi and purchases her to help him make his deliveries.  Lunzi though only has one thing on her mind-to find Huangche.  As the boy travels through the city, Lunzi gets her hopes up when she sees anything yellow. Sadly, the boy’s deliveries are complete and it is time to head home.  Will Lunzi and Huangche ever be reunited?  Not only did I enjoy the friendship story but also the opportunity to tour the city of Beijing and see sights such as Nanaguan Park, Beihai Park, and Tiananmen Square. and learn some Madarin Chinese words.  Back matter includes a glossary of terms as well as descriptions of some of the city sights. Thanks to Albert Whitman for sending an ARC to my #bookexcursion group.  Two Bicycles in Beijing recently published on April 1, 2020.

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 main character.

img_0837

Olive and Pekoe in Four Short Walks by Jacky Davis and Giselle Potter

Written in walks rather than chapters, Olive and Pekoe tells the story of two canine friends.  Olive is small, old, and more reserved.  Pekoe is big, young, and full of energy.  As they take their walk, readers see the contrast between calm Olive and the lively Pekoe.  Pekoe is on “four paw drive” enthralled by sticks, chipmunks, and other dogs; Olive would rather watch than be a participant.  The last vignette is particularly touching, for at the dog park, Pekoe is scared by a bigger dog.  Olive though is quick to act and joins Pekoe for support.  Olive and Pekoe in Four Short Walks is a sweet story that reminds us friendship isn’t about being the same; it is about being there for each other.

 

happiness-is-a-warm-puppy-and-a-good-book

Bella & I thank you for visiting Beagles and Books. Happy Reading! Stay safe and well!

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

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 3/30/20

img_9263

Beagles and Books is 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.

Maryland public schools will be closed for least another three weeks. This week I am engaging in training for remote learning, virtual professional development, and faculty meetings. Like most educators, I am stepping into the unknown which is scary. What is most difficult is figuring out how, as a reading specialist, I can support students, parents, and teachers in this new way of learning.  Answers change daily so I am trying hard to be flexible and remember we are all doing the best we can.  Grateful for my husband who cooks great dinners, family and friends who I can connect with virtually and of course, Bella who insists on multiple ways a day regardless of weather.

 

Our Recent Reads:

More Than Marmalade: Michael Bond and the Story of Paddington Bear by Rosanne Tolin 

I remember checking out A Bear Called Paddington from my elementary school library and fondly reading about the adventures of this adorable bear.

Paddington

More Than Marmalade tells the life story of Michael Bond, tha author of the iconic Paddington Bear series.   An author’s note precedes the first chapter where Tolin explains that she uses facts and fictionalized scenes to write this biography.  Readers will learn about Bond’s childhood growing up and how his love of reading was nurtured early by both of his parents.  Bond had a big imagination which I believe fueled his passion for writing. World War II also had a huge effect on Bond, for he had empathy for the many child refugees who arrived in England from other countries.  These children became the inspiration for Paddington who was an orphan himself.

Perserverance is a strong theme in More Than Marmalade.  Readers learn that Bond had many jobs before becoming a published writer.  Although his writing was rejected many times he recalled his grandfather’s advice to never give up.  He also valued suggestions from editors and his agent which helped him persist.  Children also learn that Bond “wrote what he knew” in the sense that Paddington was a stuffed bear he bought his wife for Christmas.  I like that kids will be able to relate to writing a story using their favorite stuffed animal as a main character.

More Than Marmalade not only tells the story of Bond’s life but also shows children how historical events like a war can affect us and change us.  With COVID-19, I wonder how this experience will shape us and be the inspiration for new stories. Thanks to Rosanne Tolin for sending a review copy to Beagles and Books.  More Than Marmalade recently published on March 3, 2020.

 

img_4083

Rosie: Stronger Than Steel by Lindsay Ward

This historical fiction picture books tells the story of how US female factory workers, British female farmers & a spunky tractor helped win WWII & reminds us that by working together, we as a nation & world can overcome the toughest battles.  To read my full review and enter a giveaway, click here.

 

Today is a Beach Day by Nancy Viau Illustrated by Charlie Alder

What I wouldn’t give for a beach day!  If I can’t actually go, the next best time to read about it right?  Written in rhyme, Today is a Beach Day is about the excitement of a day at the beach.  I love how the story begins with the children getting in the car with their beach gear in hand.  Once at the beach, the children engage in many activities such as observing seagulls, playing in the water, searching for shells, building sand castles and eating ice cream.  I love how Viau uses rich vocabulary like ” wispy waves,” “hasty licks” and “tousled hair” which will expand young children’s oral vocabulary.  Alder’s illustrations are big and bold and convey the immense excitement of the children. Today is a Beach Day is a story that will delight no matter what the season!Thanks to Albert Whitman for sending an ARC to my #bookexcursion group.  Today is a Beach Day celebrates its book birthday on April 1, 2020.

Paper Planes by Jim Helmore Illustrated by Richard Jones

Best friends Mia and Ben enjoy doing a lot of things together but their favorite activity is making paper airplanes.  Their goal was to make a plane that could fly across the lake.  But news that Ben’s family is moving threatens both their dream and friendship. Readers see Mia’s hurt and angry feelings due to the many miles between them.  But Ben finds a way to bridge the gap with a project he and Mia can do together.  While Paper Planes is about a maintaining long distance friendship, the story really hit home because with stay at home orders, I know children are experiencing the same emotions as the characters, for it is frustrating not to see or play with friends.  What I love about Paper Planes is Ben’s creative idea to keep their friendship going.  During this unprecedented time, we all need to be resourceful in finding ways to keep in contact with friends and family.  Thanks to Peachtree Publishing for sharing a copy with my #bookexcursion group.  Paper Planes recently published on March 1, 2020.

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 main character.

Cat and Dog’s Alphabet by Diana and Christyan Fox

Dog sees something peculiar in the air and quickly calls Cat for help.  As the image gets clearer, Cat informs Dog that there is not reason for alarm; it is just the 26 letters of the alphabet.  Thinking the letters are dangerous, Cat teaches Dog their utility such as spelling words. Dog gets frustrated because he can’t remember the letters in sequential order much less spell words correctly. Cat is not deterred and continues to explain the power of the alphabet.  Cat and Dog’s Alphabet is a unique alphabet book because rather than focus on each individual letter and sound, the story explains how letters are used to help us communicate anything we want to say.

happiness-is-a-warm-puppy-and-a-good-book

Bella & I thank you for visiting Beagles and Books. Happy Reading! Stay safe and well!

Blog Tour, Giveaway, Picture Books

Blog Tour & Giveaway for Rosie: Stronger Than Steel by Lindsay Ward

Beagles and Books is honored to be part of the Rosie: Stronger Than Steel blog tour!  Rosie is written and illustrated by Lindsay Ward.  It is available now through Amazon and will officially release on April 1, 2020.   Thanks to Barbara Fisch of Blue Slip Media and Two Lions/Amazon Publishing for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Continue reading “Blog Tour & Giveaway for Rosie: Stronger Than Steel by Lindsay Ward”

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

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 3/23/20

img_9263

Beagles and Books is 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.

Today marks the second week of schools being closed in Maryland.  I thought I would actually get more reading  and reviewing done but I must admit it has been harder to sit down and concentrate than I thought.  Besides long walks with Bella, I have spent time checking in with family and friends, cleaning, and decluttering.  In an effort to support parents and other educators, I write a blog post compiling a list of free digital guided reading resources.  I also helped my school community connect by creating a Facebook page and YouTube channel.  Here’s hoping this week I have better focus to read and review.  I am a glass half full person so I am looking for the silver lining in all of this, which to be thankful for the gift of time in a comfortable home with electricity, water, food, my husband, books, and of course, my sweet girl Bella.  Wishing everyone well!

Our Recent Reads:

Write! Write! Write! by Amy Ludwig Vanderwater Illustrated by Ryan O’Rourke

img_4014

In my very first #IMWAYR blog post, I reviewed Read! Read! Read!, Amy Ludwig Vanderwater’s inspiring collection of poetry celebrating reading.  Imagine my excitement when I discovered she has written a companion book dedicated to writing.  Her first poem titled “Our Alphabet” is a perfect beginning reminding young writers that “words are always different but the letters are the same.”  Subsequent poems focuses on stages of the writing process (“Ideas (Like Peaches”), genres of writing (“Opinion”) as well as the joys (“Anything Can Grow”) and pitfalls (“Same Feeling”) of writing.   As a teacher, not only can Write! Write! Write! be a mentor text for poetry, specific poems can also be a way to introduce types of writing such as a small moment narrative (“My Story”).  O’Rourke’s gorgeous and inclusive artwork complements Vanderwater’s lively text which encourages budding writers to persevere.  Can’t wait to share this motivating treasury of poems with students and teachers.  Thanks to the author Amy Ludwig Vanderwater for sharing an F & G with Beagles and Books.  Write! Write! Write! recently published last week on March 17, 2020.

img_4013

Green on Green by Diana White Illustrated by Felicita Salas

Green on Green is a serene and charming story about a family’s journey through the seasons in their coastal community.  While the color green is a thread throughout the entire book, other colors are emphasized in each season.  The story begins in spring with the young boy picking yellow flowers, drinking lemonade, and splashing in stomping in puddles in his yellow rain boots. Each subsequent season is introduced on a wordless two page spread.  In summer, blue is the prominent color. The boy and his family are enjoying the beach, the sea, and picnics in the field.   Fall is depicted in brown and orange with leaves changing, pumpkins growing, and a Thanksgiving meal shared. Not only does winter bring snow but also the arrival of a baby for the family.  On the last page spread, spring has returned bringing the story back full circle.

White’s text is succinct and symphonic and coupled with Sala’s tender and vivid illustrations evoke a sense of peace and warmth. Green on Green is a celebration of family, seasons, change, and community which makes it a wonderful read aloud for children.  Thanks to Barbara Fisch of Blue Slip Media and the publisher Beach Lane Books/Simon and Schuster for sharing a copy with Beagles and Books.  Green on Green celebrated its book birthday on March 17, 2020.

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 main character.

img_4012

Blue Daisy by Helen Frost Illustrated by Rob Shepperson 

Friends and next door neighbors, Sam and Katie see a stray dog in the neighborhood.  Dirty and skinny, they are desperate to befriend it.  But when the dog returns to Sam’s backyard, Sam and Katie make a impulsive decision which they later deeply regret. Ironically, their mistake has some positive consequences for now people in their neighborhood begin treating the dog with more kindness. In addition, Sam and Katie learn that the Tracy twins aren’t as mean as they once thought.

Stories about stray or shelter dogs always tug at my heart. Blue Daisy is a uniquely structured novel because it is told in both poetry and prose by Sam and Katie respectively.  Even the font is different for each account.  Written in under 80 pages with detailed full page black and white illustrations every few pages,  Blue Daisy is a heartwarming story with themes of friendship, contrition, forgiveness, and trust.  It is a text that would definitely prompt great discussion for students.  And the author also includes recipes which is a nice bonus.  Thanks to the publisher Holiday House for sharing an ARC at the 2019 NCTE convention. Blue Daisy recently published last week on March 17, 2020.

 

happiness-is-a-warm-puppy-and-a-good-book

Bella & I thank you for visiting Beagles and Books. Happy Reading!

Guided Reading, Remote Learning

Remote Learning Guided Reading Resources

Bella GR

As a reading specialist, a good portion of my day is spent working with students who benefit from an additional opportunity of small group reading instruction.  Parents are working hard to provide a structure for their children to practice reading, writing, and math skills. Kids may also be engaging in inquiry and/or art projects.  With schools being closed, reading intervention is not as easy to replicate at home.  At my school, we use Jan Richardson’s framework for guided reading in both classrooms and intervention. To any parent who needs support in teaching and reinforcing early reading skills, here are some digital resources free for use.

Capture

Pioneer Valley Books BookBuilder Online

Bookbuilder Online is a yearly paid subscription but Pioneer Valley is generously offering free use of this tool through the end of May to help teachers and parents create engaging books for students to read at home.  Books can be personalized with the child’s first name and are available at Levels A through J, which is beginning kindergarten to end of Grade 1. Books can be printed or viewed on a computer or device. To sign up for your free account, click here.

Jan Richardson’s Guided Reading Website

Jan Richardson’s website is loaded with great resources.  Parents could take advantage of watching her brief video clips to help their child write their name, identify letters and sounds, spell sight words, and many other skills.  To view the videos, click here. 

 

JH Capture

Jack Hartman and Jan Richardson YouTube Videos

Jack Hartman and Jan Richardson have teamed up to make lots of great videos for practicing letter formation and letter sounds, sight words, and blending one syllable short vowel and long words.

Letter Formation & Letter Sounds

This video helps kids practice letter formation and reinforces letter sounds for all 26 letters.

 

Sight Words

I love these videos because they use the same sight word routine (What’s Missing and Mic and Fix) children use during a guided reading lesson. If you click on the playlist icon in the top right corner, you can access any links to any of the 84 sight words from Level A-Level I.

 

In October 2019, I contributed to Scholastic Parents article sharing strategies to help children learn and retain sight words.  Click link below to access the article.

https://www.scholastic.com/parents/books-and-reading/raise-a-reader-blog/sight-words-activities-books.html

Onset and Rime

These videos reinforce blending onset (the initial consonant or consonant blend) and rime (the vowel and any final consonants).

 

 

 

 

Digital Alphabet Tiles

Below are free websites where kids can manipulate letter tiles to make words. These website can only be used on PC devices. After you click the link,  Adobe Flash Player needs to be enabled.

https://www.abcya.com/games/alphabet_number_magnets

http://www.bigbrownbear.co.uk/magneticletters/

As I find more resources, I will add them to this post.   If you have any questions or need support, please feel free to reach me by writing a comment below or emailing me directly.  Wishing everyone well!

 

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

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 3/16/20

img_9263

Beagles and Books is 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.

For at least the next two weeks, I am home.  Last Thursday, it was announced that all Maryland public schools would be closed from March 16-March 27 in an effort the flatten the curve of COVID-19.   Grateful that we were able to go to school on Friday  and send our students home with lots of books from our school library.  And look how many books were checked out in my district in ONE DAY!

Capture

As hard as it is to wrap my head around the magnitude of this virus, I am taking this time to make a big dent in my neverending TBR stack, get fresh air by walking Bella a couple times a day, declutter, and tackle a few home projects that I never seem to have time for.   Wishing everyone good health as we weather this crisis together.  Glad we can all stay connected through our love for books.

Our Recent Reads:

Beatrice Zinker Upside Down Thinker: Sabotage by Shelley Johannes

Beatrice Zinker Upside Down Thinker holds a special place in my heart because Shelley Johannes was one of the first authors to send an ARCs(advance reader copy) to our newly formed ARC sharing group, #bookexcursion.  Almost 3 years later, Beatrice is back for her third adventure in Sabotage. 

bz

In Sabotage, Operation Upside is now a team of three: Beatrice, Lenny, and Sam.  The trio is handing out a new batch of Upside Down awards.  Lenny’s choice is new student Chloe for bravery.  Sam’s choice is private, and Beatrice needs inspiration.   But when Chloe is awarded for being the BEST VET rather than bravery, Beatrice and Lenny are suspicious.  Who would have sabotaged the award?  Lenny thinks Sam is the culprit but Beatrice does not agree and is determined to find out who is responsible.

I just love Beatrice for her curiosity, loyalty, and most especially her resolve.  When faced with the possibility that Operation Upside Down could be lost, Beatrice puts all her energy into not only solving the mystery but also diverting uncomfortable situations between Lenny and Sam.  And with her new break dancing moves, Beatrice can take her upside thinking to a whole new level.  In addition, Johannes’ whimsical black felt tipped pen (with a splash of color) drawings of Beatrice and her friends make the book even more fun to read. Sabotage celebrated its book birthday last week on March 10, 2020.  Hoping there are more Beatrice adventures to come!

img_3859

Whoo-Ku Haiku by Maria Gianferrari Illustrated by Jonathan Voss

Whoo-Ku Haiku is a captivating narrative nonfiction picture book that vividly describes the life cycle of the great horned owl. Gianferari’s decision to write haiku is bold and brilliant. Using the 5-7-5 structure, she chose her words carefully using rich and strong vocabulary to convey the owl family’s story. Here’s one of my favorites.

Sprouted ear tufts twitch
Pinecones whispering autumn
Soon fledgling owls fly.

Voss’ watercolor illustrations complement the lyrical text.  His gorgeous art fills the double page spreads and intensely shows not only the astuteness but also the great agility of these amazing birds. To read my full review and enter a giveaway for your own copy, click here.

 

A Tiger Without Stripes by Jaimie Whitbread

When a tiger is born without stripes, her family is not concerned.  But to the young tiger, it does matter; therefore, she embarks on a journey to find her stripes.  Shadows, scrapes, and streaks of mud gave the tiger only temporary stripes which leave her feeling distraught.  When she demands a reason why she hasn’t earned them yet, an unidentified voice responds saying “A tiger does not earn its stripes. They are a gift.”

Author/illustrator Jaimie Whitbread’s debut picture book gave me all the feels. At first, my heart hurt for the tiger who feels different but then my heart rejoiced because the tiger learns a valuable lesson on self-acceptance.  I also loved how Whitbread kept to a limited palette using only a few colors in her striking illustrations.  A Tiger Without Stripes reminds us that sometimes, the journey we take in life is the true gift.  Thanks to author Asia Citro for sending a copy to my #bookexcursion group.  A Tiger Without Stripes recently published on March 3, 2020.

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 main character.

Where’d My Jo Go? by Jill Esbaum  Illustrated by Scott Brundage

Jo and Big Al are constant companions with Jo driving a big, blue rig and Big Al riding shotgun.  Always together, wherever they go.  When pup Big Al gets distracted playing and is accidentally left at a truck rest stop, he sits and stays.  Two kids see Al and attempt to befriend him, but Al knows Jo will come back for him.  And indeed she does and their reunion is epic.  Esbaum’s rhyming text and Brundage’s expressive watercolor and pencil illustrations make Where’s My Jo Go? a heartwarming story.  As a reader, I appreciate that Esbaum shares the inspiration for the story and how she wanted the dog to tell part of the story from his point of view.

As a dog mom, I can emphasize with Jo when she realizes her precious Al is not in her truck with her.  When we first adopted Bella, she attempted to chase a bunny out of our fenced yard.  I immediately bought a GPS tracker to ensure Bella’s safety.  If you look closely, you can see Bella’s Whistle tracker in some of her shelfies.  Thanks to author Jill Esbaum and publisher Sleeping Bear Press for sending a copy to Beagles and Books.  Look for Where’d My Jo Go? when it’s released soon on April 15, 2020.

 

happiness-is-a-warm-puppy-and-a-good-book

Bella & I thank you for visiting Beagles and Books. Happy Reading!

Blog Tour, Giveaway, Picture Books

Blog Tour & Giveaway for Whoo-Ku Haiku by Maria Gianferrari

img_3859
Beagles and Books is honored to be part of the Whoo-Ku Haiku: A Great Horned Owl Story blog tour!  Whoo-Ku Haiku is written by Maria Gianferrari and illustrated by Jonathan Voss and celebrated its book birthday last week on March 2, 2020. Thanks to author Maria Gianferrari and Penguin Random House for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
Review:
Whoo-Ku Haiku is a captivating narrative nonfiction picture book that vividly describes the life cycle of the great horned owl.  The story begins with the owl pair claiming an abandoned squirrel’s nest as their own.  Not long after, Mama lays three eggs and keeps them warm while Papa hunts for food.  Readers get a true glimpse of the dangers that the owl family faces.  One of the eggs falls from the nest as a result of a crow attack. Once the owlets are born, Mama and Papa must be vigilant protecting their young from predators both in the sky and on the ground. As the fledglings get older, they try out their wings, learn to defend themselves, and finally, fly off to find homes of their own.
Gianferari’s decision to write haiku is bold and brilliant. Using the 5-7-5 structure, she chose her words carefully using rich and strong vocabulary to convey the owl family’s story. Here’s one of my favorites.
Sprouted ear tufts twitch
Pinecones whispering autumn
Soon fledgling owls fly.
Voss’ watercolor illustrations complement the lyrical text.  His gorgeous art fills the double page spreads and intensely shows not only the astuteness but also the great agility of these amazing birds. Backmatter follows the story to provide more in-depth facts about the great horned owls, additional books, websites, and even links to videos.  Whoo-Ku Haiku is a great addition to a classroom or school library.  It is both a riveting read aloud and a marvelous mentor text for writing poetry.  Highly recommend!
Praise for Whoo-Ku Haiku
“Vivid and accessible: an illuminating portrait of one of nature’s most iconic birds.”
Kirkus Reviews
Processed with VSCOcam with a6 preset

WHOO’s Maria Gianferrari?
She’s a self-proclaimed bird nerd with a special fondness for raptors. Her love affair with birds began in 7th grade science class when her teacher, Mr. Lefebvre, initiated a bird count. While walking in her neighborhood, Maria’s always on the look-out for all kinds of birds, and she loves searching winter tree tops for nests in her northern Virginia neighborhood where she lives with her German-scientist husband and German speaking daughter. This is her first book with GP Putnam’s Sons. She’s also the author of another bird book, Hawk Rising. To learn more about Maria, please visit her website: mariagianferrari.com.
JV
WHOO’s Jonathan Voss?
He writes and illustrates stories for children. Growing up, he was never far from a pencil or paint brush, and began working as a portrait artist right out of high school.  Jonathan is the author of the Hoot & Love stories Brave Enough for Two and Imagine That. He is also the illustrator of Sally Walker’s Winnie: The True Story of the Bear Who Inspired Winnie the Pooh.  Jonathan lives in North Carolina with his wife and two kids.  Visit his website at jonathanvoss.com
Enter Beagles & Books’ Giveaway: 
Untitled-2
One lucky winner will receive a copy of Whoo-Ku Haiku, courtesy of Penguin Random House (U.S. addresses only). There are now multiple ways to enter the giveaway.
  • Follow me @lauramossa on Twitter and retweet my Whoo-Ku Haiku giveaway tweet.
  • If you are not on Twitter, fill out the Google form below.

This giveaway is open from March 10-17, 2020 and ends at 10:00 p.m. EST.  Winner will be announced on March 18, 2020.

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

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 3/9/20

img_9263

Beagles and Books is 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 Textsdecided 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:

D7D75751-6D04-45F3-8FF7-637BD539E00E

Ronan The Librarian by Tara Luebbe and Becky Cattie Illustrated by Victoria Maderna

Ronan is living his best life as a barbarian invading, raiding, and trading treasures until one raid’s pillage was unusual. Instead of jewelry and weapons, Ronan’s loot was books. Since barbarians do not read books, Ronan’s solution was to use the pages for kindling, origami or even toilet paper.  But thankfully, a picture in one of the books grabs his attention and turns this reluctant reader into a voracious reader.  Even on raids, Ronan can’t stop reading and soon he has so many books that he opened a library.  But how will Ronan convince other barbarians to love books as much as he does?

I am a big fan of the sister writing duo Luebee and Cattie and as a book lover, I can’t gush enough about Ronan The Librarian.  I especially love that all it takes is a picture to hook Ronan, which reminds me of the anonymous quote “Everyone is a reader… Some just haven’t found their favorite book yet.”  Not only does the story have a great message but also kids will be laughing out loud for the text and Maderna’s illustrations are full of humor.  I particularly chuckled reading Ronan’s library rules and advice board which reminds barbarians that swords make terrible bookmarks and no juicy meats are allowed in the library.   Thanks to Tara Leubbe for sharing an ARC with my #bookexcursion group. Ronan The Librarian publishes in April 2020.

World So Wide by Allison McGhee by Illustrated by Kate Alizadeh

World So Wide is a quiet book with a big message, which is the boundless love between a parent and child. To read my full review and enter a giveaway courtesy of Two Lions/ Amazon Publishing, click here.

Bella’s Dog Pick of the Week

Wanting to spread the dog love, Beagles and Books has a weekly feature of highlighting a literary selection with a canine main character.

B82350BE-E801-4AB5-8259-3402CE2C160E

A Dog’s Day: Jax Protector of the Ranch by Catherine Stier Illustrated by Francesca Rosa

A Dog’s Day is an engaging new early chapter book series about working dogs.  In the first book, a Great Pyrenees named Jax describes his job as a livestock guardian dog (LGD).  Narrated by Jax, he tells how he and puppy Stormy, a LGD in training, protect their flock of sheep from predators.

Even as an adult reader, this novel was hard to put down.  I was so interested in learning about the training and duties of LGDs which was shared in the first few chapters.  Then the plot became especially suspenseful, for Bev, the lead LGD, was injured by a coyote leaving Jax and Stormy alone.  The duo must work together to guard the sheep from a mountain lion. This task becomes even more challenging because one of the ewes gave birth to a lamb that evening.   Stier does an amazing job of explaining the training and the responsibilities of LGDs so that kids can understand.  I also appreciate all the supports for young readers transitioning into chapter books. The actual story is written in 84 pages with 10 short chapters and Rosa’s appealing black and white illustrations appear every few pages.  At the end of the book, Stier includes more information about LBDs which provides even more facts about these incredible working dogs.

Thanks to Albert Whitman for sending an ARC to my #bookexcursion group. Look for Jax Protector of the Ranch and the second book in the series, Ava Seeker in the Snow in April 2020.

happiness-is-a-warm-puppy-and-a-good-book

Bella & I thank you for visiting Beagles and Books. Happy Reading!