Blog Tour, Giveaway, Picture Books

Blog Tour & Giveaway for Flash, The Little Fire Engine by Pam Calvert


Beagles and Books is excited to be part of the blog tour for Flash, The Little Fire Engine written by Pam Calvert and illustrated by Jen Taylor.  Flash celebrated its book birthday this week on November 5, 2019.  Special thanks to Two Lions/Amazon  Publishing and Barbara Fisch of Blue Slip Media for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

As soon as I saw the cover, I couldn’t wait to read Flash, The Fire Engine.  Jen Taylor’s illustration of Flash brings the little fire engine to life.  Readers can see the excitement in his face with his adorable smile.  When the fire department receives a call, his attitude becomes more serious because Flash is determined to do his job well.  

Interior illustration from FLASH, THE LITTLE FIRE ENGINE_pp 10-11_Illus © 2019 Jen Taylor.jpg

When the fire is too big for little Flash, his face does not hide his disappointment, but Flash remains optimistic that he can help the next time.  As each subsequent call comes in, Flash races to the scene ready to save the day, but he discovers that he is too short or too late to help.  Once eager, Flash becomes sad wondering if he will ever be needed.  Fortunately, Flash gets a call that only he can make realizing that he is the best fit for the job.  Beaming with pride, Flash learns a valuable lesson in patience and how the fire trucks collectively work together to help the community.

I have the honor of reading aloud to a second grade classroom daily for #classroombookaday.  After I read aloud Flash, The Little Flash Engine to the class, they shared their thinking about what the author Pam Calvert wanted to teach readers.  Here are some of their comments which relate to our virtue language.

“It teaches us to have empathy for Flash because every time he went for a fire, the other trucks were telling him he was too little. I felt sad for him. But at the end, I was happy for Flash because he saved the animals at the shelter.  

“It teaches us if someone feels left out, we can try to be kind and make them feel included.  I like how the firefighters had a party for Flash after he put out his first fire.”

“The fire trucks showed unity because they all put out different fires like the ladder truck put out the fire in the tall building and the airplane put out the forest fire.”

Reinforcing positive values of empathy, unity, kindness, and patience, Flash, the Little Fire Engine is a book that is a great addition to a home or classroom library.  

Meet the Author and Illustrator: 

Pam Calvert is an award-winning children’s book author. Her books include the Princess Peepers series, illustrated by Tuesday Mourning; more recently, Brianna Bright, Ballerina Knight, illustrated by Liana Hee; and other titles. Formerly a science teacher as well as a writing instructor and coach, she speaks to thousands of children every year. When she’s not speaking or writing, you can find her having fun with her family in Texas. Learn more about her online at or on Twitter: @PammCalvert.

Jen Taylor is an illustrator and arts-and-crafts enthusiast born and raised in New Jersey. She attended the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, where she majored in illustration and animation. She is the illustrator of the Brave Little Camper series as well as the picture book Ninja Camp, written by Sue Fliess. She previously worked in animation on such shows as Sid the Science Kid and MAD. She lives in New Jersey with her husband and their corgi, Rocket. Learn more about her online at


“Calvert deftly finds a new way to introduce kids to different kinds of firefighting vehicles…sure to slip in effortlessly with other firetruck books.”
-Kirkus Reviews


Enter a Giveaway!
One lucky winner will receive a copy of Flash, the Little Fire Engine, courtesy of Two Lions/Amazon (U.S. addresses). Enter the giveaway by Friday, November 15, 2019 at 8 p.m. 

Blog Tour, Giveaway, Picture Books

Blog Tour & Giveaway for Pippa’s Night Parade by Lisa Robinson


Beagles and Books is excited to be part of the blog tour for Pippa’s Night Parade written by Lisa Robinson and illustrated by Lucy Fleming. It recently published on October 8, 2019. Special thanks to Two Lions/Amazon  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:
Pippa’s wonderfully wild imagination is perfect for dreaming up wildly adorable creations. But at night, her imagination runs a little too wild. That’s when the villains and monsters and beasts sneak out of her storybooks to scare her. Pippa tries everything: from night-lights to triple knots to clever disguises. But when the baddies keep coming, she realizes she’ll need to come up with something new. To prepare for this battle, Pippa will have to use everything she’s got—especially that wild imagination. Ready or not, here she comes!

While Pippa has a wild imagination, she can protect herself during the day with mighty masks, bold boots and spunky scarves.  At night though it is hard for Pippa to calm her fears, for creatures such as dragons, pirates, serpents, and monsters surface from her storybooks.  Pippa’s trepidation is conveyed through the text and the illustrations but readers also see Pippa’s problem solving skills.  First, Pippa attempts to soothe her fears with extra night lights and a disguise.  Next, she runs to her parents’ bedroom.  When these tactics do not work, Pippa decides to confront the creatures by inviting them to a scary night parade leaving invitations in each book.  Will Pippa be able to get rid of the creatures once and for all?

My students loved all the creatures in the book.  While Pippa’s Night Parade is not a Halloween story, the presence of all the creatures gave the story a spooky feel.  After I reading, we discussed the author’s purpose for writing the story and what did the author want to teach us.   Here are a few of the student’s comments.

“Pippa was teaching us not to be afraid.”

“Pippa was scared of the creatures but she kept trying to find ways to get rid of them.”

“Pippa was brave because she wouldn’t let the monsters win.”

As a class, we discussed Pippa’s actions and how she was persistent because she didn’t give up.  Soon after, another student shared “Pippa was smart because she used all the things in her design studio to make the creatures stop scaring her.”  We then discussed how persistence means trying out new and better ideas.  

Pippa’s Night Parade is an enchanting story about conquering one’s fears with persistence and imagination.  Robinson’s lively and engaging text and Fleming’s detailed and action packed illustrations will keep children’s attention from the beginning to end.  

Meet the Author and Illustrator: 

Lisa Robinson was born in Kampala, Uganda, to Peace Corps volunteers who later became world-traveling diplomats. When she was a child, her family moved frequently, so books became her best friends. She now works as a psychiatrist and writer. She holds an MFA in creative writing for young people from Lesley University. She is also the author of Pirates Don’t Go to Kindergarten!, illustrated by Eda Kaban, and has more books forthcoming. She lives in Massachusetts with her family and three cats. Learn more about the author at, or on Twitter: @elisaitw.

 Lucy Fleming, like Pippa, has a wonderfully wild imagination, which she uses to create illustrations for children’s books. She has illustrated more than twenty titles, including River Rose and the Magical Christmas by Kelly Clarkson and For the Beauty of the Earth by Folliott Sandford Pierpoint, which was a Junior Library Guild Selection. She is a graduate of the University of Lincoln in England. She lives and works in a small town in England with a cup of ginger tea in hand and her cat close by. Learn more about the illustrator at and Instragram: @illustratelucy

Enter a Giveaway!
One lucky winner will receive a copy of Pippa’s Night Parade, courtesy of Two Lions/Amazon (U.S. addresses). Enter the giveaway by Friday, October 18, 2019 at 8 p.m. 

Blog Tour, Giveaway, Picture Books

Blog Tour & Giveaway for Along the Tapajós by Fernando Vilela


Beagles and Books is excited to be part of the blog tour for Along the Tapajós written and illustrated by Fernando Vilela and translated by Daniel Hahn.  Released on October 1, 2019, this picture book is published by Amazon Crossing Kids, a new imprint for children’s books in translation.  Special thanks to Amazon Crossing Kids 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:
Cauã and Inaê are a brother and sister who live in a small community along the Tapajós River in Brazil. Here, the homes are on stilts and everyone travels around by boat—even to school! When the rainy season comes, they must leave their village and relocate to higher ground for a while. But after moving this year, Cauã and Inaê realize they’ve left behind something important: their pet tortoise, Titi! Unlike turtles, tortoises can’t swim, and Cauã and Inaê are really worried. So the pair sneaks back at night on a journey along the river to rescue him. Will they be able to save Titi?  This picture book, first published in Brazil, offers kids a unique look into the lives of children who live along Brazil’s beautiful Tapajós River.

As Dr. Rudine Sims Bishop wisely stated:

“Books are sometimes windows, offering views of worlds that may be real or imagined, familiar or strange. These windows are also sliding glass doors, and readers have only to walk through in imagination to become part of whatever world has been created and recreated by the author. When lighting conditions are just right, however, a window can also be a mirror. (1990, p. ix)”

From the very first page spread, Along the Tapajós is definitely a window teaching my students a different way of life.  As I read the text beautifully translated by Hahn, there was an immediate reaction from children.

“They have to take a boat to get to school?”

“I wish I could have a tortoise for a pet!”  

Interior from  ALONG THE TAPAJÓS by Fernando Vilela.jpeg

At my school, students mostly walk or ride in a car to get here.  We actually have very few bus riders compared to other schools in our district.  Of course, the children were utterly amazed by Cauã’s and Inaê’s boat ride especially the alligators and porpoises!  When the siblings arrive at school, the students quickly noticed how different their schoolhouse is compared to theirs.  

Vilela’s vivid illustrations quickly convey the change from serene to turbulent as the season quickly changes from summer to winter with nonstop rain.  I heard some gasps from the children as they saw Cauã’s and Inaê’s family pack up their house and boat to dry land in the rainforest.  

Interior from  ALONG THE TAPAJÓS by Fernando Vilela2.jpeg

While the first part of the book exposed all my students to a contrasting way of life, Inaê’s concern for their pet tortoise Titi immediately was a mirror for some of my students who later shared how their own pet had been lost or missing.  The illustrations of their journey back home are breathtaking and strikingly show the aftermath of the massive rain. When the siblings find Titi, the illustrations clearly indicates that aside from the roof, their home is entirely under water, which again shows the severe impact of the winter rain.  The rescue of Titi may be frightening to very young children, but my students were mesmerized at Cauã’s risky but heroic act. After reading, we did discuss whether leaving their parents without permission was a good or bad choice.  

At the end of the story, Vilela includes backmatter which includes facts about the Tapajós River and the inspiration for writing this story.  After reading, my students had so many reactions that I knew this story would be talked about for a long time.  I was proud that one student made a connection to our virtue of the month.

“I think all the people in the book showed unity because they worked together to get the kids to school, the kids home when it rained, and the families packed up and moved to a rainforest. Then the brother and sister had to work together to save Titi.”  

There is no doubt that my students thoroughly enjoyed Along the Tapajós.  As a teacher, what I love is the story was a window into a different way of life, but was also a mirror when the siblings showed concern for their missing pet.  It also reinforced the virtue of unity, which is important as we continue to build our classroom community.   I highly recommend Along the Tapajós..

Praise for Along the Tapajós!

★The vibrant colors in Vilela’s illustrations and the expressive faces of Cauã and Inaê bring lightheartedness to their dangerous journey and the cyclical living it prescribes. A riveting journey.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“This is one of those engaging titles that offers a glimpse of a location new to most American readers. More translations like this one, please!” —Fuse #8 Production


Meet the Author/Illustrator and Translator:

Fernando Vilela is an award-winning author and illustrator from Brazil. Published in Brazil under the title Tapajós, this book was inspired by one of his trips to the Amazon rainforest. He has received many awards for his books, and he has exhibited his artwork at home and abroad, including at the MoMA in New York and the Pinacoteca of the State of São Paulo. For his picture books, he has received five Jabuti awards (Brazil) and the New Horizons Honorable Mention of the Bologna Ragazzi International Award. He is also a plastics artist, and he teaches courses, lectures, and workshops on art and illustration. Learn more about him online at

Daniel Hahn is an author, editor, and award-winning translator. His translation of The Book of Chameleons by José Eduardo Agualusa won the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize in 2007. His translation of A General Theory of Oblivion, also by José Eduardo Agualusa, won the 2017 International Dublin Literary Award. He recently served on the board of trustees of the Society of Authors. In 2017, Hahn helped establish the TA First Translation Prize, a new prize for debut literary translation. Learn more about him online at

ALONG THE TAPAJÓS low-res cover

Enter a Giveaway!
One lucky winner will receive a copy of Along the Tapajós, courtesy of Amazon Crossing (U.S. addresses). Enter the giveaway by Friday, October 11, 2019 at 8 p.m. 

Blog Tour, Giveaway, Picture Books

Blog Tour & Giveaway for The Itty Bitty Witch by Trisha Speed Shaskan Illustrated by Xindi Yan


Beagles and Books is excited to be part of the blog tour for The Itty Bitty Witch by Trisha Speed Shaskkan and illustrated by Xindi Yan.  Special thanks to Two Lions/Amazon 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:
Betty can’t wait to be a first-grade witch. But on the first day of school, her classmates start calling her “Itty Bitty” because she’s small and still uses her kinder-broom. Betty doesn’t like the nickname—or how it makes her feel itty-bitty inside. So she comes up with a BIG idea to prove herself: winning the Halloween Dash.

When I think back to my first grade self, I can relate a lot to Betty.  I was excited to be in first grade and couldn’t wait to learn.  Like Betty, I was one of the smallest children in my class.  In fact, I do not think I ever moved from the bottom row for class pictures. Not often, but I do remember sometimes being called “Shorty” by other classmates and feeling itty bitty inside like Betty.  Unlike Betty, I though never had the courage to speak up for myself.


My school district has adopted Conscious Discipline, which is a comprehensive, multidisciplinary, self-regulation program that integrates social-emotional learning, school culture, and discipline.  One of Conscious Discipline’s first lesson is teaching children to use their big or assertive voice to tell someone when their feelings are hurt.  As I was reading The Itty Bitty Witch to my second grade #classroombookaday class, a student said, “Itty Bitty used her big voice!”  How I love when read alouds connect to and reinforce our content; what is even better is when students come to these conclusions on their own. 


While Betty uses her big voice, she still doesn’t feel confident but that does not stop her from trying to improve her chances of winning the Halloween Dash.  One by one, her ideas fail, but Betty remains persistent.  She creatively makes up a poem to help her remember the race course and during the actual race, when the other witches pass her, she thinks of her biggest idea of all, which ultimately helps her win.  What I love most is Betty’s small stature was crucial to her victory which proves that being small can be an advantage.  Yan’s expressive illustrations are eye catching and beautifully convey Betty’s feelings throughout the story. The Itty Bitty Witch is much more than a Halloween story.  Shaskan has written an engaging and positive story with themes of assertiveness, persistence, and acceptance.  I highly recommend The Itty Bitty Witch!

Watch the adorable book trailer!

Praise for The Itty Bitty Witch!

“Caregivers and teachers will be pleased with the multiple extensions the story offers, all wrapped up in a Halloween theme. Proving size does not matter, this itty-bitty witch casts a bewitching spell.” —Kirkus Reviews
“A familiar portrayal of [a] determined, lone underdog who discovers her sense of worth.” —Publishers Weekly


Meet the Author & Illustrator:

When Trisha Speed Shaskan was a child, Halloween meant bobbing for apples, daring to touch brains (which may have been noodles), and—best of all—wearing costumes. She still loves dressing up for Halloween. Trisha is the author of more than forty children’s books, including Punk Skunks and the Q & Ray series, both illustrated by her husband, Stephen Shaskan. Trisha lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota, with Stephen; their cat, Eartha; and their dog, Beatrix. Learn more at Find her on Twitter and Facebook.
Xindi Yan grew up in a small city called Wuhu in China, and like Betty, she was always the smallest in her class. Standing a little shy of five feet, she still can’t reach the high shelves in grocery stores and sometimes finds that shoes made for kids fit her best. But her size didn’t stop her from chasing her big dreams of being a published artist in New York City. Xindi is the illustrator of Sylvia Rose and the Cherry Tree by Sandy Shapiro Hurt and the Craftily Ever After series by Martha Maker. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and hopes to have a puppy one day. Learn more at,
Twitter: @xindiyan, and Instagram: @xindiyanart


ITTY BITTY WITCH low res cover.jpg
Enter a Giveaway!
One lucky winner will receive a copy of The Itty Bitty Witch courtesy of Two Lions/Amazon (U.S. addresses only).  Enter the giveaway by Friday, October 4, 2019 at 8 p.m. 

Blog Tour, Giveaway, Picture Books

Blog Tour & Giveaway for A Crazy-Much Love by Joy Jordan-Lake


Beagles and Books is excited to be part of the blog tour for A Crazy Much Love written by Joy Jordan-Lake and illustrated by Sonia Sánchez.  Special thanks to Two Lions/Amazon Publishing and Barbara Fisch of Blue Slip Media for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

There are many picture books I could recommend about welcoming a new baby in the family but A Crazy-Much Love is the first story I have read that celebrates the joy of adoption.  Written from the parents’ point of view, the story is a love letter to their daughter.  On the first page spread, an illustration of a child sleeping a bed with two pictures fastened to the bed post is juxtaposed with a scene of the parents choosing a color for their daughter’s bedroom.  Jordan-Lake’s text simply yet warmly conveys how much love they already have for their daughter, for “you were the one, we hoped for, and prayed for.”

Readers get to experience the parents’ excitement as they receive that life changing phone call and journey overseas to meet their daughter for the first time.  Once home, the extended family is waiting to celebrate their new addition.   Sanchez’s colorful and expressive illustrations show the overwhelming affection both the parents and family have for the child.

What I love about A Much Crazy Love is the story continues as the girl grows up. Readers witness milestones such as her first laugh, first bath, first steps, first word, first bike ride. and first day of school.  Throughout the text, Sanchez has subtly and creatively expressed the parents’ immense love for her daughter with small colorful circles that pass from the parents to their child.  Jordan-Lake expertly embeds the word crazy to describe the parents’ huge emotions from “big, crazy rush” on the plane to “crazy-well you had grown” when their daughter boards the school bus for the first time.  Inspired by the author’s own experiences adopting a child, A Crazy-Much Love reminds us that love makes a family.  

Praise for A Crazy Much Love!

“The standout illustrations burst with energy and are as saturated with color as the subject of the story is showered with love. A perfect gift for an adoptive family—and every family that has a deep and abiding love for their young children.” —Booklist

“An honest and encouraging story about a transracial adoption.” —Kirkus Reviews

Meet the Author & Illustrator

Joy Jordan-Lake is the author of multiple books for adults, including A Tangled Mercy, a Goodreads Hot Reads Selection and Kindle bestseller, and Blue Hole Back Home, winner of the Christy Award in 2009 for Best First Novel. A Crazy-Much Love is her debut picture book. She holds a PhD in English and has taught literature and writing at several universities. She is a mother to two biological children and one child adopted from China, and her experiences inspired this book. She lives outside Nashville with her family, including two fluffy dogs. Learn more about the author at

Sonia Sánchez is an award-winning Spanish illustrator. Her debut picture book, Here I Am, written by Patti Kim, received two starred reviews and was nominated for the Eisner Award for Best Painter. Her artwork has been selected for the prestigious Society of Illustrators Original Art Show twice, and her books have been named a CBC NCSS Notable Social Studies Trade Book for Young People and a Bank Street College Best Book of the Year. She lives with her husband, her son, and a sleepyhead cat in a blue house near the Mediterranean Sea.

Enter a Giveaway!

One lucky winner will receive a copy of A Crazy-Much Love, courtesy of Two Lions/Amazon (U.S. addresses only).  Enter the giveaway by Friday, September 27, 2019 at 8 p.m. 

Blog Tour, Giveaway, Picture Books

Blog Tour & Giveaway for Juniper Kai: Super Spy by Laura Gehl Illustrated by Alexandria Neonakis


Beagles and Books is excited to be part of the blog tour for Juniper Kai: Super Spy written by Laura Gehl and illustrated by Alexandra Neonakis.  Special thanks to Two Lions/Amazon Publishing and Barbara Fisch of Blue Slip Media for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Super spy Juniper Kai is the only kid on her street.  Her parents are usually always willing to play with her but suddenly her mom is too tired and her dad is too busy. And they keep whispering to each other.  Using her keen detective skills and cool spy gadgets, Juniper is determined to uncover her parent’s secret.  Clues include mom’s phone conversation with grandma about a big change, dad putting together a piece of furniture in the guest room, and a note full of names.  Will Juniper solve the case?

Juniper Kai: Super Spy is a story with a lot of kid appeal.  Young readers will enjoy piecing the clues together to solve the mystery.  Kids will also love all of Juniper’s neat spy tools. The expressive illustrations of Juniper show her range of feelings from curiosity, resolve, concern, and at the end, excitement.   Look for Juniper Kai on September 3, 2019!

Meet the Author and Illustrator:

Laura Gehl is the author of many popular picture books, including One Big Pair of Underwear, illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld; the Peep and Egg series, illustrated by Joyce Wan; and My Pillow Keeps Moving, illustrated by Christopher Weyant. She lives in Chevy Chase, Maryland, with one husband, four children, and seventeen fake mustaches. Visit Laura online at
Twitter: @AuthorLauraGehl
Alexandria Neonakis grew up in Nova Scotia, Canada, with her huge family. She now lives in California with her husband and their two cats. In addition to illustrating children’s books, she works as a character- concept artist for video games. Her recent children’s books include Sweetest Kulu by Celina Kalluk and This Is MY Room by Jennifer Richard Jacobson. Learn more about her online at
Twitter: @Beavs

Juniper Kai: Super Spy Giveaway!


One lucky winner will receive a copy of Juniper Kai: Super Spy courtesy of Two Lions/Amazon (U.S. addresses only).  Enter the giveaway below by Friday, September 6, 2019 at 8 p.m.  Winner will be notified on Saturday, September 7, 2019.   


Blog Tour, Giveaway, Picture Books

Blog Tour & Giveaway for A Tiger Like Me by Michael Engler & Illustrated by Joelle Tourlonias


Beagles and Books is excited to be part of the blog tour for A Tiger Like Me written by Michael Engler and illustrated by Joelle Tourlonias.  Translated by Laura Watkinson, A Tiger Like Me is published by Amazon Crossing Kids, a new imprint for children’s books in translation.  Special thanks to Amazon Crossing Kids and Barbara Fisch of Blue Slip Media for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Parents and teachers know the importance of imagination-driven play in building a child’s developmental skills.  A Tiger Like Me tells the story of a little boy engaging in pretend play as a tiger from morning until night. 

Narrated by the little boy, he shares his actions, thoughts, and feelings as he moves through typical daily activities in the body and mind of a tiger.  When he wakes up, he yawns, stretches and lets out a loud roar. At breakfast, he leaps up to his feeding spot to eat. When he plays, he jumps and pounces. Spying a cake on the kitchen table, he lurks and prowls so he will go unnoticed.  And tigers refuse to brush their teeth or take baths so the little boy shows he can be not only quick but also headstrong. 

Although tigers are usually solitary animals, this tiger enjoys time with his family, for he and his parents engage in arts and crafts making tigers of course! And when it is time for the little tiger to go back to his den, he decides that it is more fun to cuddle and snuggle with mom and dad. 

Young children will roar with delight when listening to a read aloud of A Tiger Like Me.  What I especially liked about this story is while the text conveyed the little boy’s imagination, the illustrations showed reality.  I also appreciated that the boy’s parents accepted his extended pretend play. When he made a poor choice, he was sent to his room as a consequence but they never squelched his imagination. 

A Tiger Like Me publishes on September 1, 2019.

Meet the Author, Illustrator and Translator:

Michael Engler studied visual communication in Düsseldorf, Germany, and first worked as a scriptwriter and illustrator. He then spent several years as an art director at advertising agencies. He is currently a freelance author in Düsseldorf, writing children’s books and plays for the theater and radio. He has written more than fifteen children’s books. Learn more about him online at
Joëlle Tourlonias was born in Hanau, Germany, and studied visual communication with an emphasis on illustration and painting at the Bauhaus University Weimar. She is the illustrator of more than thirty children’s books. She continues to draw, paint, and live in Düsseldorf. Learn more about her online at
 Laura Watkinson is an award-winning translator of books for young readers and adults. She is a three-time winner of the Batchelder Award and also won the Vondel Prize for Dutch-English translation. Originally from the United Kingdom, she now lives in Amsterdam. Learn more online at


A Tiger Like Me Giveaway!


One lucky winner will receive courtesy of Amazon Crossing Kids (U.S. addresses only).  Enter the giveaway below by Thursday, August 29, 2019 at 8 p.m.  Winner will be notified on Friday, August 30, 2019.  


Blog Tour, Giveaway, Picture Books

Blog Tour & Giveaway for What If Everybody Thought That? by Ellen Javernick Illustrated by Colleen Madden

Beagles and Books is excited to be part of the blog tour for What If Everybody Thought That? written by Ellen Javernick and illustrated by Colleen Madden. The third book in the What if Everybody? series, it will release on August 27, 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.

Publisher’s Summary:
If you see someone in a wheelchair, you might think he or she couldn’t compete in a race. But…you might be wrong. What if you see a child with no hair? Do you think she is embarrassed all the time? How about a kid who has a really hard time reading? Do you think that means he’s not smart? You might think so. But…you might be wrong. With clear prose and lighthearted artwork, this companion book to the bestseller What If Everybody Did That? explores the preconceived notions we have about the world and encourages kids to be more thoughtful.

Everyone has thoughts about us that we never hear.  These preconceived opinions are based on our stature or appearance and while never vocalized, silence and body language can still affect our self-esteem.

WHAT IF EVERYBODY THOUGHT THAT Interior illus © 2019 by Colleen Madden_pp 4-5

Rather than dwell on these negative thoughts, we should believe in our abilities and show them that they are wrong.  

WHAT IF EVERYBODY THOUGHT THAT Interior illus © 2019 by Colleen Madden_pp 22-23

What If Everybody Thought That? 
does more than just foster inner confidence.  The story has a higher goal of challenging children (and adults) to stop making negative assumptions.  For example, instead of presuming that individuals who are short can’t excel at basketball, we should not form an opinion before seeing them on the court.   In another scenario, children all balk at eating foods that are new to them.  By opening themselves to a new opportunity, kids discover that unfamiliar foods can be delicious.  

My school district has adopted Conscious Discipline, which is a comprehensive, multidisciplinary self-regulation program that integrates social-emotional learning, school culture, and discipline.  One of Conscious Discipline’s seven skills is positive intent.  Having positive intent means seeing the best in others.  What If Everybody Thought That? teaches that if we think the best of others, everyone has the potential to be their best self.  

While the theme of support and encouragement is conveyed clearly through the text, the illustrations drive the message home.  Hidden in each spread are uplifting and motivating words and phrases.  Children will love searching for these messages after a read aloud.  With the new school year beginning in a few weeks, I can’t wait to share What If Everybody Thought That?  with teachers and students to remind us to think positively about ourselves and others.   

About the Author and Illustrator:

Ellen Javernick is the author of more than twenty books for children, including the Children’s Choice Book Award finalist The Birthday Pet, illustrated by Kevin O’Malley, and the bestselling picture book What If Everybody Did That?, illustrated by Colleen Madden. She has been an elementary school teacher for more than twenty years and currently teaches second grade. She lives in Loveland, Colorado.


Colleen Madden is the illustrator of many children’s books, including the picture-book adaptation of All I Want for Christmas Is You, by Mariah Carey, and the bestselling picture books What If Everybody Did That? and What If Everybody Said That?, both written by Ellen Javernick. She recently published Monkey Walk, her debut as both author and illustrator. She lives in the Philadelphia area with her husband and two sons. To see more of her work, visit:

What If Everybody Series Giveaway!

One lucky winner will receive all three books in the What If Everybody? series: What If Everybody Did That?, What if Everybody Said That? and What If Everybody Thought That?, courtesy of Two Lions (U.S. addresses).  Enter the giveaway below by Thursday, August 22, 2019 at 8 p.m.  U.S. addresses only.

Blog Tour, Middle Grade Literature

Blog Tour for CAPE: THE LEAGUE OF SECRET HEROES by Kate Hannigan

Beagles and Books is excited to be part of the CAPE: THE SECRET LEAGUE OF HEROES Blog Tour. Special thanks to Lauren Carr of Simon and Schuster for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.

About the Book:
Author: Kate Hannigan
Pub. Date: August 6, 2019
Publisher: Simon and Schuster/Aladdin

Publisher’s Summary:
Josie O’Malley does a lot to help out Mam after her father goes off to fight the Nazis, but she wishes she could do more—like all those caped heroes who now seem to have disappeared. If Josie can’t fly and control weather like her idol, Zenobia, maybe she can put her math smarts to use cracking puzzles for the government.

After an official tosses out her puzzler test because she’s a girl, it soon becomes clear that an even more top-secret agency has its eye on Josie, along with two other applicants: Akiko and Mae. The trio bonds over their shared love of female superhero celebrities, from Hauntima to Zenobia to Hopscotch. But during one extraordinary afternoon, they find themselves transformed into the newest (and youngest!) superheroes in town. As the girls’ abilities slowly begin to emerge, they learn that their skills will be crucial in thwarting a shapeshifting henchman of Hitler, and, just maybe, in solving an even larger mystery about the superheroes who’ve recently gone missing.

Inspired by remarkable real-life women from World War II—the human computers and earliest programmers called “the ENIAC Six”—this pulse-pounding adventure features bold action and brave thinking, with forty-eight pages of comic book style graphic panels throughout the book. Readers will want to don their own capes for an adventure, and realize they have the power to be a superhero, too!


“Whatever strength you need dwells within you.” -Hauntima

A blend of historical fiction and fantasy, CAPE is a fast paced, intriguing adventure that middle grade (and adult) readers will devour!  Set during World War II, readers are introduced to three astute and diverse young girls, Josie, Akiko, and Mae. In addition to their shared love of superheroes such as Hauntima and Zenobia, the girls are all missing a loved one fighting overseas. Meeting at puzzler tryouts in the Carson Building, they are each rejected because of their gender but soon discover they have a higher calling.   Mrs. Constance Boudica (known as Mrs. B) of Room 12 has been observing all three girls independently and believes collectively, they possess the intelligence, heart, spirit, determination, and courage to join a league of secret heroes to fight injustice.  After the superhero, Stretcher is vaporized by Hank Hissler, an evil henchman of Hitler, the girls acquire Stretcher’s cape, mask, and boots which helps them each unearth their own super hero powers.

There are so many reasons I enjoyed reading CAPE.  First, Hannigan’s unique plot makes the novel hard to put down. While CAPE is undoubtedly fiction, Hannigan intertwines real life elements of the period such as the discrimination that particular ethnic groups faced during World War II as well as characters based on actual people who supported the war effort like Josie’s cousin Kay who worked as a human computer during the war. I absolutely love the camaraderie between Josie, Akiko, and Mae.  While all strong as individuals, they soon realize their super powers are not derived from Stretcher’s costume but rather through their common belief in wanting to do good and not giving up when things get tough. This is a great lesson for middle grade readers.  Interspersed throughout the novel are Patrick Spaziante’s incredibly illustrated comic panel sequences which depict the girls’ transformation into superheroes and their fight against evil, which will make the novel even more appealing to readers. 

In an 11 page author’s note, Hannigan explains the inspiration for CAPE which began with the simple question: Who came before Wonder Woman?  As she researched early superheroes, Hannigan discovers real life female heroes such as the six women who were the ENIAC Six (Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer).  Recommended resources for further research are also included.

And what makes me even more excited is CAPE will be followed by MASK and BOOTS in The League of Secret Heroes series.  Stay tuned for release dates. I look forward to sharing CAPE with my students when school begins!

Check out the compelling plot by viewing the book trailer below.

About the Author:

Kate Hannigan is a noted author with a special passion for stories that empower girls and women. Her picture and middle grade books have received high praise, multiple starred reviews, selected for Booklist Editor’s Choice and a Golden Kite Award for Middle Grade fiction. She lives in Chicago with her husband and three children. Please visit her at


Blog Tour, Giveaway, Picture Books

Blog Tour & Giveaway for Rosie the Dragon and Charlie Make Waves by Lauren Kernstein Illustrated by Nate Wragg


Beagles and Books is excited to be part of the blog tour for Rosie the Dragon and Charlie Make Waves  written by Leslie Kerstein and illustrated by Nate Wragg which published on May 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.


Praise for Rosie the Dragon and Charlie Make Waves!

“The digital illustrations are bright, playful, and attractive, well suited to the story…There are some young dragon lovers and fans of mischief who will revel in this silly romp.”
Kirkus Reviews
“Kerstein’s playful story about friendship, patience, and responsibility for a pet is nicely matched by Wragg’s bold, colorful illustrations, rendered in blocky shapes and a vivid color palette. New pet owners are the natural choice for this one, but kids with younger siblings might appreciate it, too.” – Booklist
 Publisher’s Summary: 
It’s summertime, and you’re invited for a rollicking day at the pool with Charlie and his pet dragon (and best friend!), Rosie. But be careful—swimming with a dragon can be, um, challenging. As Rosie and Charlie blow bubbles (don’t forget your umbrella!), practice flutter kicks (watch out for tidal waves!), and offer shoulder rides (hang on tight!), Rosie proves that dragons make the most fun pets ever. Now if only Charlie can keep Rosie’s attention focused on the rules at the pool and NOT on her gummy snacks (you know, the ones that cause stinky dragon breath!)…Grab your towels and sunscreen and join Rosie and Charlie for a fun-filled summer adventure!
Searching for a fun summer read?  Look no further than Rosie the Dragon and Charlie Make Waves!   Written by debut author Lauren Kerstein, this lively picture book provides a splash of entertainment after a hot day at the beach, pool or park.  

When Charlie goes to the shelter to adopt a pet, he did not plan to come home with a dragon.  Rosie does fit his criteria, for she is silly, active, and playful.  Rosie and Charlie quickly bond enjoying outdoor activities such as flying kites, playing soccer or skateboarding.  Being a responsible pet owner, Charlie wants to ensure an enjoyable and safe pool outing which means a lot of preparation (swim gear, sunblock and snacks), rules (no drinking, no running, no diving or belly flops) and close supervision of Rosie (no eating of gummy skunks until after swimming).

Interior from ROSIE THE DRAGON AND CHARLIE MAKE WAVES_pp 12-13_illus © 2019 Nate Wragg

A good teacher, Charlie provides lessons on blowing bubbles and practicing flutter kicks but teaching these skills to a dragon can be problematic especially when other swimmers are in the pool.  Ever patient, Charlie is encouraging as Rosie embarks on her first solo swim.  When Rosie shows trepidation and concern, Charlie is right there by Rosie’s side to be her support.  

Rosie the Dragon and Charlie Make Waves is an amusing laugh out loud picture book with a lot of heart.  Amid the giggles, it is a story about the genuine love between a boy and his pet.  Charlie is caring and responsible and Rosie is determined to make her boy happy and shows remorse when she makes mistakes (gummy skunks are just so tempting).  The colorful, eye catching artwork will appeal to young readers and adorably illustrates Charlie and Rosie’s sweet relationship.

As a reading specialist, it warmed my heart when I saw Charlie reading to Rosie and his friends at the end.  Now that Rosie has conquered swimming (well, sort of), perhaps, Rosie’s next adventure is learning to read?  When you have a best friend who believes in you, anything is possible (even if your best friend is a dragon)!

Get a sneak peek at Rosie and Charlie by viewing the book trailer!

About the Author and Illustrator:

Lauren H. Kerstein is an author and psychotherapist. She is a Jersey girl at heart who, as a child, loved underwater handstands and slurping cherry Italian ice at the pool. Lauren currently lives in Colorado with her husband, Josh; their dragons…er, daughters, Sarah and Danielle; and Hudson, the dog. Learn more about the author at  Follow her on Twitter @LaurenKerstein and Instagram  @laurenkerstein


Nate Wragg works as a production designer and illustrator for animation and book projects. His animation projects include Ratatouille, Toy Story 3, and Captain Underpants.  He is the illustrator of a number of popular picture books, including At the Old Haunted House, written by Helen Ketteman. He lives in Southern California with his family. Learn more at




One lucky winner will receive a copy of Rosie the Dragon and Charlie Make Waves, courtesy of Two Lions (U.S. addresses).  Enter the giveaway by retweeting my blog post tweet on Twitter and/or by making a comment on this blog post.  Giveaway ends Tuesday, June 4, 2019.