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

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 4/1/19

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Beagles and Books is back to share some of our current 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.

Thanks so much for your prayers and well wishes for Etta.  Her surgery went well and Bella was a good sister staying by her side while she recovered.  This weekend, Etta was was back to her normal self showing excitement for the Chewy delivery, enjoying a walk on a beautiful day, and willingly posing for pictures.

Our Recent Reads: 

All of Me by Chris Baron

Written in verse from the point of view of 13 year old Ari, All of Me chronicles his journey towards self-acceptance.  Ari has been at battle with his weight for his whole life. New struggles include his move to San Franscisco from Brooklyn, preparing for his belated bar mitzvah, and coming to terms with the end of his parents’ marriage.

From the moment I began reading, my heart really hurt for Ari, for he endures teasing and bullying leaving him feeling utterly helpless.  Baron’s words are honest and raw allowing readers to witness not only Ari’s physical struggles but also his emotional struggles as Ari admits, “My life doesn’t feel good enough and I don’t know how to change.”   

Summer becomes a turning point for Ari, for he embarks on a diet to lose weight, deepens friendships, experiences his first crush, and takes initiative for his bar mitzah.  As he begins to notice physical changes in himself, Ari triumphs and falters learning that his journey is not just about losing weight; it is about gaining an inner strength realizing that he has the power to decide who he is. A great lesson for us all.

All of Me is an incredible story of heartache and more importantly, hope.  Special thanks to Chris Baron and Macmillan Kids for sharing an ARC with my #bookexcursion group. All of Me publishes on June 2019.

Carl and the Meaning of Life by Deborah Freedman

When a field mouse asks Carl the worm why he digs and tunnels turning dirt into soil, Carl does not know the answer.  Immediately Carl halts his work and begins a quest to find out his purpose asking each animal he meets for help.  While the animals do not offer Carl any answers, readers begin to learn Carl’s purpose through the text and illustrations.  When the ground beetle shouts “I can’t find any grubs,” Carl understands the meaning of his life and gets back to his work.  What I especially loved is that Carl reminds us that even the smallest tasks are important in life because they are connected to something even greater.  With his curiosity, determination, and adorable smile, Carl will win the hearts of readers of all ages.  Special thanks to Penguin Kids for sharing a review copy with my #bookexcursion group.

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I Used to Be Famous by Tara Luebbe & Becky Cattie Illustrated by Joanne Lew-Vriethoff.

Capturing our attention and hearts in I Am Famous, Kiely returns in I Used to Be Famous.  While Kiely still enjoys star treatment such as a personal shopper, it seems that her fan club is not following her as closely as in the past. Who is the new fresh face getting all the publicity?  To Kiely’s dismay, her baby sister is now center stage which is ridiculous because little Abby is not multi-talented like her.  Will Kiely allow herself to be upstaged or will she learn to share the spotlight?  To read my full review and enter a giveaway for your own copy, click here.

Turkey’s Eggcellent Easter written by Wendi Silvano Illustrated by Lee Harper

Before I began even reading the story, I began to giggle seeing headband wearing animals exercising in the park with Sheep doing yoga, Pig checking his run time on his watch, and Cow stretching his leg.   The animals are not too health conscious though to enjoy an Easter egg hunt but how can they partake in the kids only hunt? Turkey’s Eggcellent Easter is not only humorous but also reinforces positive virtures.  Click here to read my full review and enter a giveaway for your own copy!

Etta and 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.

Love is My Favorite Thing by Emma Chicester Clark

Plummie is blessed to be loved by her family but no dog can be perfectly behaved all the time.   When she makes mistakes, she wonders “Will they still love me?”   Plummie’s misbehavior does have consequences, but she learns that her family’s love is strong enough to accept her lapses in judgement.  Inspired by her own beloved dog,  Clark has written and illustrated a charming story about unconditional love. Her illustrations of Plummie are precious, for they adorably show the range of emotions that Plummie feels.  What I love most is the illustrations where Plummie shows her remorse because I have personally seen those sad puppy eyes which are so easy to forgive.

Etta, Bella, and I thank you for stopping by Beagles and Books.  Happy reading!

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

 

Blog Tour, Giveaway, Picture Books

Blog Tour & Giveaway for I USED TO BE FAMOUS by Tara Luebbe & Becky Cattie

Beagles and Books is excited to be part of the blog tour for I Used to Be Famous written by Tara Luebbe and Becky Cattie and illustrated by Joanne Lew-Vriethoff.  Special thanks to Albert Whitman and Company and Barbara Fisch of Blue Slip Media for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Publisher’s Summary:
Kiely’s been famous her entire life, but when a baby sister appears on the scene, she feels like a has-been. Now Kiely has to figure out how to gain back the attention of her adoring fans (her family), even if it means sharing the spotlight.

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PRAISE FOR I USED TO BE FAMOUS!

“This clever exploration of the mixed emotions of welcoming a new baby into a family is sure to elicit more than a few laughs from the divas accustomed to having all the attention.” —Kirkus Reviews

Review:

Capturing our attention and hearts in I Am Famous, Kiely returns in I Used to Be Famous.  While Kiely still enjoys star treatment such as a personal shopper, it seems that her fan club is not following her as closely as in the past. Who is the new fresh face getting all the publicity?
I USED TO BE FAMOUS_interior illus by Joanne Lew-Vriethoff_1 (1)
To Kiely’s dismay, her baby sister is now center stage which is ridiculous because little Abby is not multi-talented like her.  Will Kiely allow herself to be upstaged or will she learn to share the spotlight?
Kiely’s voice is pitch perfect.  With humor and honesty, authors Luebbe and Cattie aptly capture the range of emotions a child may feel with the addition of a sibling.  At first, Kiely is critical of her sister identifying all the things Abby cannot do.  Then Kiely begins to judge herself wondering if she needs to change.  It is not until Kiely stops trying to compete with her sister that she realizes there is room for two stars in the household.  In fact, it appears that being a duo is just what the paparazzi wants!
Illustrator Lew-Vriethoff’s bright and bold illustrations perfectly complement the text showing the changes in Kiely’s feelings as she gradually learns that being a big sister also has its perks because her little sister will always be her biggest fan.
Pre-order now, for I Used to Be Famous releases soon on April 1, 2019.  In the meantime, view the star studded book trailer below!
About the Authors: 
Becky Cattie has always had a flair for the dramatic and loves all things entertainment—especially character-driven narratives. She was a casting producer for reality TV shows like NBC’s America’s Got Talent, ABC’s Extreme Makeover, and E!’s The Simple Life in Los Angeles. She lives in Chicago. Tara Luebbe is a self-described “Picture Book Nerd.” In her previous life, she owned a toy and book store in Atlanta, which was a catalyst for writing her own books. This is the third picture book collaboration for sisters Tara and Becky; their first two books, I Am Famous and Shark Nate-O, were published in 2018. To learn more, visit http://beckytarabooks.com/ or find them on social media.
Facebook: BeckyTara Books
Twitter: @t_luebbe and @b_cattie
Instagram: @taraluebbe and @beckycattie
About the Illustrator: 
Joanne Lew-Vriethoff is an award-winning illustrator who was born in Malaysia, grew up in Los Angeles, worked in New York, and now lives in Amsterdam. Besides making art, she loves exploring the world with her family and road trips with her husband and kids, photographing street art, cycling along the Amsterdam canals at midnight, snorkeling, day dreaming, collecting picture books. Visit her website at  
 
Enter An Amazing Giveaway!

 

Albert Whitman and Company is offering one copy of I USED TO BE FAMOUS to one lucky winner (U.S. addresses only).  Enter below!
#Bookexcursion, It's Monday! What Are You Reading?, Middle Grade Literature, Picture Books

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 3/25/19

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Beagles and Books is back to share some of our current 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.

Bella has graciously stepped in to be the book model this week. Etta is not up for posing for photos because she has a growth on her eyelid. Her surgery is on Wednesday and prayers and positive thoughts are greatly appreciated.

Our Recent Reads: 

A Kind of Paradise by Amy Rebecca Tan

Thirteeen year old Jamie has violated her school’s Honor Code; therefore, her consequence is to spend her summer volunteering 15 hours a week at her local library.

As Jamie narrates, she provides clues regarding her big mistake which help readers understand the motivation behind her actions and why she feels so humiliated.   At the beginning of the story,  it is clear that Jamie would much rather be sleepaway art camp with her best friend Vic, but as the summer progresses,  Jamie begins to see the library with new eyes realizing its importance in the community. The relationships she makes at the library also help Jamie turn the page on the past and get on with the next part of her story. After her hours have been filled, Jamie reflects upon her summer learning valuable lessons including that a library is much more than just books.

Special thanks to Amy Rebecca Tan for sharing an ARC with my #bookexcursion group. A Kind of Paradise publishes on April 30, 2019.

A Monster Like Me by Wendy Swore

When she was very young, Sophie developed a hemangioma on her face. Sophie copes by believing she is indeed a monster; she wears goggles to hide her “monster mark” and seeks answers in The Big Book of Monsters, which gives her the idea that she can cure herself and become human.  In her new school, while Sophie encounters bullying by one particular student, her new friendship with Amber proves to her that there are those who can see past her “monster mark.”

Although A Monster Like Me is told from Sophie’s point of view, it is clear that her mom is her biggest cheerleader and advocate.  I really was taken by Sophie’s relationship with her mom’s new boyfriend, Kelsi.  At first, Sophie feels extremely threatened by his presence worried that Kelsi will take her mom away from her.  Scarred from a bomb explosion when he was in the Army, Kelsi helps Sophie realizes that “it is the choices we make that makes people monstrous or not.”

Special thanks to author Wendy Swore for sharing her debut novel with my #bookexcursion group.  A Monster Like Me recently celebrated its book birthday on March 5, 2019.

 

I’m Worried by Michael Ian Black Illustrated by Debbie Ridpath Ohi

I’m Worried is another spud-tastic book in Black and Ohi’s I’m series!  In this story, Potato has the problem feeling anxious that something bad will happen.  While the girl and Flamingo can’t promise him that bad things will never occur, the girl reminds Potato those bad times don’t last long and it is way better to focus on the present and enjoy the now.

Black’s witty text and Ohi’s bold and bright illustrations honestly and humorously tackle an emotion that readers of all ages struggle with.   While I love all the characters, I can’t deny that Potato is my favorite because Ohi’s amazing ability to show his range of emotions.  Like all the other books in the series, I’m Worried reminds us that good friends can help you through the rough times. Special thanks to Debbie Ridpath Ohi and Simon Kids for sending a F & G to my #bookexcursion group to review.  I’m Worried releases on June 4, 2019.

Noah Noasaurus by Elaine Kiely Kearns Illustrated by Colin Jack

Noah’s favorite word is NO.  While walking to Nowhere, he is joined by some dinosaur friends who take immense pleasure in the excursion.  Noah is NOT happy about having company which is evident from the comical illustrations.  Noah attempts to make the trek difficult but the dinosaurs follow him over jagged rocks, through logs and over puddles.  Well, not over puddles, for all of Noah’s entourage ends up in the mud which splats on Noah.  Hitting his limit, Noah makes his frustration visible with a resounding NO stomping his feet.  Toby Rex misunderstands Noah’s stomping for marching which starts a dinosaur parade.  Will Noah finally say YES to some fun with friends?

Like I’m Worried, Noah Noasaurus is an entertaining picture book that teaches us that friends can help us through the tough times. I would recommend this picture book to parents of young children and my early childhood teachers. Special thanks to the author, for I was one of the lucky winners of a recent Twitter giveaway.  It publishes soon on April 1, 2019.

Etta and 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.

Let’s Have a Dog Party! by Mikela Prevost

Fred’s human Kate wants to celebrate his birthday in a big way! Fred is a low key pup and prefers to spend his special day napping in his favorite spot.  When Kate and her friends begin singing loudly, Frank is overwhelmed and hides in a closet.  One look at Frank and Kate realizes that her well intentioned party is not Frank’s cup of tea.   Kate makes it up to him by sending her friends home and celebrating with Frank on his terms, which makes my heart so happy.

I can relate so much to Frank.  While my husband likes a big party, I prefer a small gathering or even better a long weekend away to celebrate a birthday milestone.  Let’s Have a Dog Party is a touching story teaching us all how to be empathetic and consider other’s feelings. Can’t wait to read and share with my students!  Special thanks to Penguin Kids for sending a copy to my #bookexcursion group to review.  I ordered my own copy immediately after reading!

Etta, Bella, and I thank you for stopping by Beagles and Books.  Happy reading!

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

 

Blog Tour, Giveaway, Picture Books

Blog Tour & Giveaway for Turkey’s Eggcellent Easter by Wendi Silvano

Beagles and Books is excited to be part of a blog tour for Turkey’s Eggcellent Easter written by Wendi Silvano and illustrated by Lee Harper. Special thanks to Two Lions Publishing and Barbara Fisch of Blue Slip Media for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Publisher’s Summary:
Easter is almost here—and Turkey knows just how to celebrate. He’s going to win the eggstra-special Easter egg hunt! The only problem is that animals aren’t allowed to enter. So he and his barnyard friends come up with a top-secret plan. With his trademark disguises and a whole lot of help, Turkey goes undercover. Will his basket of tricks help him win a prize?

Review and Thoughts:
Before I began even reading the story, I began to giggle seeing headband wearing animals exercising in the park with Sheep doing yoga, Pig checking his run time on his watch, and Cow stretching his leg.   The animals are not too health conscious though to enjoy an Easter egg hunt but how can they partake in the kids only hunt?
Every day, I have the pleasure of reading aloud to a second grade class that I have adopted for #classroombookaday.  After reading Turkey’s Eggcellent Easter, I ask children “What is the author’s purpose for writing this story?” using Burkins and Yaris’ visual which is shown below.
B &Y
Here are some of the student’s comments.
“I think the author wanted us to laugh out loud because she used the word, egg in the story a lot to make the story funny.”
“I think the illustrator wanted us to laugh because the animals were all wearing dark glasses and ties acting like spies trying to get the eggs.”
“I think the author wanted us to teach us about perseverance because the animals did not give up when Turkey’s disguises didn’t work.”
“I think the author wanted to teach us about cooperation because all the animals worked together to get an egg. They all shared the jellybean pizza at the end.”
“I think the author wanted to teach us about resourcefulness because the animals kept creating more disguises for the Turkey so he could find an egg.”
I love including seasonal books for #classroombookaday so I was especially excited to read Turkey’s Eggcellent Easter, for the story is not only humorous but also reinforces positive values.  After seeing the other Turkey books in the series on the back cover flap, the children asked me if I could get them.  One student even said “We can read them to see if they would be good read alouds next year.”  It is pretty clear that Turkey and his friends are becoming fast favorites for this class of second graders!
View the eggcellent book trailer below!

 

About the Author: 
Wendi Silvano was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, and has lived in Oregon, Colorado, and Peru. The author of the Turkey Trouble series, she has a BA in early childhood education and taught preschool and elementary school for eleven years. She is the mother of five children and the owner of an assortment of odd pets that are not nearly as clever as Turkey. She now writes from her home in Colorado, where she enjoys hiking, reading, and playing the piano. Visit her online at www.wendisilvano.com.
About the Illustrator: 
Lee Harper is the author-illustrator of the books Coyote, The Emperor’s Cool Clothes, and Snow! Snow! Snow! Lee is also the illustrator of the Turkey Trouble series, by Wendi Silvano, as well as the Woolbur series, written by Leslie Helakoski. Lee has four children, a German shepherd, a barn cat, and six chickens…but no turkeys. Yet. He lives with his wife in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. Visit him online at www.leeharperart.com.
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Eggstraspecial Giveaway!
Two Lions is offering one copy of TURKEY’S EGGCELLENT EASTER to one lucky winner (U.S. addresses only).
Blog Tour, Giveaway, Picture Books

Blog Tour & Giveaway: It’s Not Hansel & Gretel by Josh Funk Illustrated by Edwardian Taylor

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Beagles and Books is excited to be a part of the blog tour for It’s Not Hansel and Gretel. It celebrates its book birthday on March 1, 2019.  Special thanks to Two Lions Publishing and Barbara Fisch of Blue Slip Media for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Review:
An all-knowing narrator attempts to tell the traditional tale of Hansel and Gretel but is quickly interrupted by the characters who have their own idea of their story.  For example, Gretel rebuts the notion that her parents wanted to get rid of her and her brother; rather, they are just taking a leisurely afternoon walk in the woods.  When the siblings meet the witch, Gretel dismisses this label and refers to her as a sweet old lady. What makes my heart happy is Gretel’s championing of women’s rights with her insistence in changing the title to Gretel and Hansel and arguing about why her brother gets candy and she is stuck doing chores.  “Get with the times-this is the fifteenth century,” she retorts!

Interior from It's Not Hansel and Gretel_illustration © 2019 Edwardian Taylor - 2 resized

Fed up with Gretel’s & Hansel’s (you’re welcome, Gretel) antics, the narrator turns the storytelling over to them which allows the duo to get creative growing mustaches, getting a pet unicorn named Fluffybottom, and opening up a bakery serving delicious sweets to their fellow fairy tale friends.  

For fans of It’s Not Jack and the Beanstalk, It’s Not Hansel and Gretel is a hilarious and worthy follow up. Funk’s witty writing is pure joy to read aloud and honestly, I find it difficult to not laugh myself. Taylor’s illustrations are so entertaining and chocked full of details that I reread the story just to view his comical digital art. And look closely for cameos from characters from It’s Not Jack and the Beanstalk!

If like me, you can’t wait for more fractured fairy tales from the amazing collaborative team of Josh Funk and Edwardian Taylor, you will be thrilled to hear that It’s Not Little Red Riding Hood is set for release in February 2020.  For more info, click here.

Check out the book trailer!
 

 

Josh Funk Author HeadshotAbout the Author:
Like Hansel and Gretel, Josh Funk doesn’t like being told how stories should go—so he writes his own. He is the author of a bunch of picture books, including the popular Lady Pancake & Sir French Toast series, illustrated by Brendan Kearney, and recently, How to Code a Sandcastle, illustrated by Sara Palacios, and Lost in the Library: A Story of Patience & Fortitude, illustrated by Stevie Lewis. He lives in New England with his wife and children. Learn more about him at www.joshfunkbooks.com and follow him on Twitter @joshfunkbooks.

 

Edwardian Taylor

About the Illustrator:
Edwardian Taylor has worked as a visual development artist and character designer in the game and animation industry. He illustrated the picture book Race!, written by Sue Fliess and the chapter book Toy Academy: Some Assembly Required, written by Brian Lynch. He lives in Texas with his partner and their four dogs. Learn more about him at www.edwardiantaylor.com and follow him on Tumblr, Instagram, and Twitter @edwardiantaylor.

Giveaway!
Two Lions is offering one copy of IT’S NOT HANSEL AND GRETEL to one lucky winner (U.S. addresses)  Giveaway begins Wednesday, February 27, 2019 and ends at 12:00 a.m. on Saturday, March 9, 2019.  Good luck! 

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

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 2/18/19

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Beagles and Books is excited to share another edition of 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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Cogheart by Peter Benzl

Cogheart tells the story of Lily, a student at Miss Octavia Scrimshaw’s Finishing Academy for Young Ladies.  Posture class and French conversation lessons are not Lily’s cup of tea and while she may have frustrated a number of her governesses, she still can’t understand why her inventor father, John Hartman send her to boarding school under a false surname.

As the story quickly unfolds, Lily discovers that her father is missing after his airship crashed.  Since he is presumed dead, Lily is plucked out of school by her father’s housekeeper who Lily knows cannot be trusted.  Determined to find her father, Lily puts her trust in Robert, the son of a town clockmaker who with his father’s help repairs Malkin, Lily’s mechanical fox after he was injured.  Created by her father, Malkin shares his account of what happened on the airship the night John Hartman disappeared. As she, Robert, and Malkin navigate Victorian London thwarting off dastardly villains and attempt to uncover the truth, Lily discovers family secrets that could endanger Robert’s and her lives.

Cogheart is a book I wished I had read when I was a kid.  With dynamic characters, a fast paced intriguing plot, and an enchanting steampunk setting, I was quickly immersed in Lily and Robert’s world.  To read my full review and enter a giveaway for your own copy, click here.

Sweety by Andrea Zuill

Sweety is an uplifting story about celebrating uniqueness. Sporting glasses and braces and having a fondness for fungi, Sweety does not fit in even in the world of naked mole rats.  Fortunately, Sweety is blessed with her Aunt Ruth who instills in her that being different is in fact pretty awesome.  Author illustrator Andrea Zuill is quickly becoming a favorite storyteller of mine.  With the support of family or close friends, her characters (Homer of Wolf Camp and Jasper of Business Pig) embrace their individuality, which is a great lesson for us all.  Thanks to Random House for sending a F & G of Sweety to my #bookexcursion group.  It releases next month on March 26, 2019.

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Waiting for Pumpsie by Barry Wittenstein Illustrated by London Ladd

Since Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier as the first American African Major League baseball player in 1947, I assumed that all other teams followed their lead soon after.  Barry Wittenstein’s fictional account, Waiting for Pumpsie taught me differently.  Finding age appropriate text to teach elementary students about the history of race relations can be challenging.  Wittenstein’s narrative which tells the true story of African-American rise to Major League Baseball is a must read because it provides an accurate and accessible account of the history of racial segregation and fight for integration for this age group.  Children can easily relate to his Bernard’s disappointment as well as his hope and enthusiasm. To read my full review and enter a giveaway for your own copy, click here.

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

Good Boy by Sergio Ruzzier

Written using only verbs, Good Boy tells the story of a boy and his dog.  At first, the boy gives his pup simple commands such as sit, stay, and roll over.  The boy’s commands become more unconventional asking his furry best friend to stand, juggle,  cook, pedal,  sail and build, which the dog has no difficulties fulfilling.  After collaborating to build a spaceship, the duo blast off to another planet to interact with aliens.  Once they get home and get ready for bed, the boy repeats his command of stay which ends with the best friends snuggling in bed for the night.

I am a huge fan of Sergio Ruzzier, for his words and artwork exudes warmth and whimsy. What I love most about Good Boy is with its concise text and charming pen and watercolor illustrations, Ruzzier beautifully captures the genuine love between a boy and his dog.  Thanks to Sergio Ruzzier and Julia McCarthy of Atheneum/Simon and Schuster for sending a F & G of Good Boy to my #bookexcursion group.  Good Boy recently published on February 12, 2019.

Etta, Bella, and I thank you for stopping by Beagles and Books.  Happy reading!

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

 

Giveaway, Picture Books

Review and Giveaway for Waiting for Pumpsie by Barry Wittenstein Illustrated by London Ladd

Beagles and Books is excited to share a review for Waiting for Pumpsie  written by Barry Wittenstein and illustrated by London Ladd. Special thanks to Charlesbridge Publishing and Barbara Fisch of Blue Slip Media for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Publisher’s Summary:

“Change is coming real soon.”

In 1959 the Boston Red Sox was the last team in the Major Leagues to integrate. But when they call Elijah “Pumpsie” Green up from the minors, Bernard is overjoyed to see a black player on his beloved home team. And, when Pumpsie’s first home game is scheduled, Bernard and his family head to Fenway Park. Bernard is proud of Pumpsie and hopeful that this historic event is the start of great change in America.

This fictionalized account captures the true story of baseball player Pumpsie Green’s rise to the major leagues. The story is a snapshot of the Civil Rights Movement and a great discussion starter about the state of race relations in the United States today.

Review:

Since Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier as the first American African Major League baseball player in 1947, I assumed that all other teams followed their lead soon after.  Barry Wittenstein’s fictional account, Waiting for Pumpsie taught me differently.

It’s 1959. Bernard is a huge Boston Red Sox fan but he cannot understand why his beloved team still doesn’t have any African-American players on their roster.  Jackie Robinson is already retired from the Dodgers for two years so why are the Red Sox dragging their feet?  Through Bernard’s narration, Wittenstein shares that while many baseball teams and fans were ready for integration, it was clear that the Boston Red Sox did not share the same sentiment.  As the Red Sox plummet to last place in the standings, Bernard patiently waits and finally on a hot July day, Bernard’s prayers are answered.  Pumpsie Green is called up from the minors!  Aware of this historic day in Boston baseball history, Bernard’s father buys tickets for Pumpsie’s first home game. Although the Sox did not win the game, Wittenstein’s text and Ladd’s illustrations on the last few pages beautifully convey Bernard’s sheer excitement for being a part of that unforgettable day not only in Boston Red Sox history but also in his own life.

Finding age appropriate text to teach elementary students about the history of race relations can be challenging.  Wittenstein’s account is perfect because it provides an accurate and accessible account of the history of racial segregation and fight for integration for this age group.  Because it is written from Bernard’s point of view, children can easily relate to his disappointment as well as his hope and enthusiasm. Ladd’s acrylic and colored pencil artwork truly transports readers to Fenway Park in the 1950’s.

I highly recommend Waiting for Pumpsie as a read aloud and with the Wittenstein’s author note, I am grateful to learn even more about “Pumpsie” Green and his role in fully integrating all Major League Baseball teams.

Praise for WAITING FOR PUMPSIE!
 
★“A grand slam.”  —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
 
“Bernard’s conversational narration creates a warm bond with readers from the get-go, and although Wittenstein and Ladd never sugarcoat instances of racial prejudice, the story’s moments of triumph sound the loudest notes.”  —Publishers Weekly

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About the Author: 
Barry Wittenstein has tended bar, driven a taxi, worked at CBS Records and CBS News back in the day, spent a decade writing music and lyrics, toiled six years as a web editor and writer for Major League Baseball, and three years as a substitute elementary school teacher.  He could be Walter Mitty’s brother.
Barry loves to write narrative nonfiction picture books. He is the author of Waiting for Pumpsie and The Boo-Boos That Changed the World. In 2019, he will publish two more nonfiction picture books—Sonny’s Bridge, about the legendary jazz saxophonist Sonny Rollins; and A Place to Land (with illustrations by Caldecott Medalist Jerry Pinkney) about how Martin Luther King Jr. wrote his “I Have a Dream” speech. He is currently working on a YA novel. He lives in New York City with his wife. To learn more, and to download free curriculum guides, visit his website: https://onedogwoof.com/ or follow him on Twitter: @bwittbooks
Giveaway!
One lucky winner will receive a Giveaway begins Sunday, February 17 and ends at 12:00 a.m. on Sunday,  Giveaway begins Sunday, February 24, 2019 and ends at 12:00 a.m. on Sunday, February, 24, 2019.  Enter below.
Book Birthday, Giveaway, Middle Grade Literature

Review & Giveaway for Cogheart by Peter Benzl

Beagles and Books is excited to share a review for Cogheart by Peter Benzl. Special thanks to Jolly Fish Publishing and Barbara Fisch of Blue Slip Media for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Publisher’s Summary:

Some secrets change the world in a heartbeat.

Lily’s life is in mortal peril. Her father is missing and now silver-eyed men stalk her through the shadows. What could they want from her? With her friends—Robert, the clockmaker’s son, and Malkin, her mechanical fox—Lily is plunged into a murky and menacing world. Too soon Lily realizes that those she holds dear may be the very ones to break her heart …

Review:

Cogheart tells the story of Lily, a student at Miss Octavia Scrimshaw’s Finishing Academy for Young Ladies.  Posture class and French conversation lessons are not Lily’s cup of tea and while she may have frustrated a number of her governesses, she still can’t understand why her inventor father, John Hartman send her to boarding school under a false surname.
As the story quickly unfolds, Lily discovers that her father is missing after his airship crashed.  Since he is presumed dead, Lily is plucked out of school by her father’s housekeeper who Lily knows cannot be trusted.  Determined to find her father, Lily puts her trust in Robert, the son of a town clockmaker who with his father’s help repairs Malkin, Lily’s mechanical fox after he was injured.  Created by her father, Malkin shares his account of what happened on the airship the night John Hartman disappeared. As she, Robert, and Malkin navigate Victorian London thwarting off dastardly villains and attempt to uncover the truth, Lily discovers family secrets that could endanger Robert’s and her lives.
Cogheart is a book I wished I had read when I was a kid.  With dynamic characters, a fast paced intriguing plot, and an enchanting steampunk setting, I was quickly immersed in Lily and Robert’s world.  While Lily’s quest to find out the truth was riveting, I was equally drawn to Robert who initially lacked confidence in himself and a dreadful fear of heights.  Due to his kindness and loyalty to Lily, Robert realizes that his father Thaddeus was right, for while is true that ”no one conquers fear easily, it takes a brave heart to win great battles.” Cogheart is a story about family, friendship, and finding out who you really are.
First published in the UK in 2016, Cogheart is the first novel in the trilogy.  Thankful to Jolly Fish Press for purchasing the American rights to this thrilling series.  I am anxiously anticipating more adventures with Lily and Robert in Book 2 Moonlocket, which will be released in Fall 2019 and Book 3 Sky Circus in Spring 2020.

Praise for COGHEART!

With great style and panache, the novel deftly winds through the intricacies of friendship and moral choice while maintaining a fun edge.” —Publishers Weekly
“An exciting, fast-paced adventure.”  —Booklist
“Introduces dastardly villains, friendly mechanicals, and thrilling airship action. . . . with hair-raising and cinematic charm.” —Kirkus Reviews
View the book trailer below and click here to download activities, discussion guides and much more!

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About the Author:
Peter Bunzl grew up in London and lives there with his partner Michael. He is a BAFTA-award-winning animator, as well as a writer and filmmaker. To learn more, visit his website, peterbunzl.com or follow him on Twitter @peterbunzl or Instagram @peter_bunzl

Giveaway!
One lucky winner will receive COGHEART courtesy of Jolly Fish Press (U.S. addresses).

Bookexcursion

When You Are Brave by Pat Zietlow Miller

When You Are Brave by Pat Zietlow Miller  Illustrated by Eliza Wheeler

Fans of Wherever You Go written by Pat Zietlow Miller and illustrated by Eliza Wheeler will love their latest collaboration.  When You are Brave is an inspiring story about how to find courage in the midst of change. The story follows a young girl moving with her family to a new house in another town.  Miller’s concise lyrical text and Wheeler’s use of subdued color are equally somber and match the girl’s trepidation as she embarks on her journey.  Halfway through drive, the girl closes her eyes and visualizes a small light inside her.  The light grows giving her wings and the power to believe in herself.  Miller’s words are uplifting and beautifully conveys the little girl’s positivity and Wheeler’s illustrations become vibrant and brilliant.

What I love about When You are Brave is that the girl reminds us that we have the courage inside of us.  When times are tough, it is easy to forget about this inner strength that we might conceal. Taking a moment to pause and breathe is the key to letting go of your worries and realizing you can weather any storm.

Special thanks to author Pat Zietlow Miller for sending a F & G to my #bookexcursion group.  Pre-order now, for When You Are Brave publishes soon on March 5, 2019.

Bookexcursion

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 2/11/19

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Beagles and Books is excited to share another edition of 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: 

 The True History of Lyndie B. Hawkins by Gail Shepherd

Named after President Lyndon Baines Johnson, history enthusiast Lyndie Baines Hawkins is passionate about reading and researching to learn the truth.  Discovering the truth about her own family. Well, that is not as easy.  While Lyndie knows that her dad, a Vietnam veteran, lost his job, she still doesn’t truly understand why her family had to sell their house and move in with her paternal grandparents.  And to make matters worst, her grandmother Lady expects Lyndie to be her best self  (Translation: a proper Southern girl) which does not match Lyndie’s bold personality.  And Lady will not let her beloved dog Hoopdee in the house because of his “houndy odor.”

While Lyndie is aware that her family especially her dad is struggling, no one will talk to her about what is wrong.  In fact, Lady makes Lyndie promise to never discuss the family with anyone.  But when her father’s smell of Aqua Velva is replaced by whiskey and he disappears for days, Lyndie knows her family is broken.  Unable to confide in her best friend and eternal optimist Dawn, a school project with D.B., a boy from a local detention center living with Dawn’s family provides Lyndie with the opportunity to uncover revelations not only about D.B..  These facts help Lyndie realize that while “there is such a thing as honorable lying,” being loyal doesn’t mean one has to be dishonest.  Loyalty is about speaking up when it’s hard and not keeping secrets that can hurt others.

The True History of Lyndie B. Hawkins blew me away.  Author Grace Shepherd’s debut novel is a must read, for she tackles tough issues with grace, sincerity, and humor.  Lyndie’s voice was so authentic and while she had my heart, because of Shepherd’s outstanding character development, my heart broke for all the characters (even “keep up appearances” Lady).  As I read, I discovered that everyone was fighting their battle alone afraid to admit their faults or fears and healing can only begin when we are willing to put our trust in others.  Special thanks to Gail Shepherd for sharing an ARC with my #bookexcursion group.  Pre-order now, for Lyndie publishes soon on March 5, 2019.

Arnold and Louise: The Great Louweezie by Erica S. Perl Illustrated by Chris Chatterton

Arnold, a brown bear, is quiet and cautious.  Louise, a small chipmunk is adventurous.  Although they don’t have a lot in common, they are best friends. In the first book in the series, Louise has decided that she can predict the future and reinvents herself as the Great Louweezie.  Arnold isn’t that easily convinced.  Can the Great Louweezie work some magic and change his mind?

With short chapters, adorably drawn illustrations, and an engaging plot, Arnold and Louise is a new series which will appeal to readers transitioning to chapter books. While Arnold and Louise have different personalities, it is clear that these best friends bring out the best in each other. Thanks to Penguin Kids for sharing Arnold and Louise with my #bookexcursion group.  The Great Louweezie recently published in January.  To find out about the other books in the series, click here.

The Good Egg by Jory John Illustrated by Pete Oswald

For fans of The Bad Seed, The Good Egg is an egg-tastic follow up!  The main character is indeed a good egg always setting a good example by doing the right thing.  The same cannot be said for his 11 carton mates who are rarely on their best behavior.  But always being good can make an egg literally crack; therefore, he makes the decision to leave the carton to truly focus on himself.  During his time away, he heals both physically and emotionally realizing that the key to happiness is to not worry about being egg-ceptional all the time.

I can’t gush about The Good Egg enough!  The adorable illustrations, the witty text with plenty of egg puns, and most importantly, the beautiful message about the importance of self-care. Pre-order now, for it releases this week on February 12, 2019.  Special thanks to fellow literacy specialist Lisa Maucione for sharing her F & G with me that she received from the publisher Harper Collins.

Etta’s & 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.

Don’t Lick the Dog: Making Friends with Dogs by Wendy Wahman

My beagle girls are sweet and docile, but I still appreciate when people especially kids ask “Can I pet your dog?”   This picture book is a great resource for teaching children how to properly approach a dog that they do not know.  Author illustrator Wendy Wahman shares rules for how to meet a dog with a rhyming text and bold and eye catching illustrations. Tips cover etiquette for petting a dog and giving out treats.  Advice is also provided for how to safely respond when a dog is exhibiting behavior that could be scary to a child such as licking, jumping or barking.  What I love about this book is that it reminds kids that dogs aren’t toys and like people, they have their own personalities. Boy is that true!

Etta, Bella, and I thank you for stopping by Beagles and Books.  Happy reading!

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