Blog Tour, Giveaway, Picture Books

Blog Tour & Giveaway for A Christmas Too Big by Colleen Madden


About the Book:

Title: A Christmas Too Big
Author/Illustrator: Colleen Madden
Pub. Date: November 2, 2021

Beagles and Books is thrilled to be part of the blog tour for A Christmas Too Big  Special thanks to Two Lions and Barbara Fisch of Blue Slip Media for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.


It’s the day after Thanksgiving and Kerry’s family cannot contain their Christmas spirit.  Bring on the decorations, Christmas carols, cookie baking, binge holiday movie watching, and elves on a shelf.  It’s Christmas around the clock!  AChristmasTooBig-9781542028004-large-1

Even when the family chooses a tree, they choose one the size of the Rockefeller Center tree.   Overwhelmed, Kerry needs some space and heads outdoors in hopes for some simplicity.  As Kerry walks down her street, she sees massive holiday decorations in her neighbors’ yards.  Has everyone decided to have a Christmas too big?


Kerry’s saving grace is Mrs. Flores.  After helping Mrs. Flores get her cart out of the snow, Kerry is invited into her house for un poco de cacao (cocoa).  She notices that Mrs. Flores’ decorations are simple-a small Christmas tree with a picture of her family who live in Mexico.  I love Kerry’s and Mrs. Flores’ interactions because their dialogue is written in English and Spanish.  As Mrs. Flores teaches Kerry how to make paper flowers and they sing a song together, my heart tugged; Mrs. Flores is missing her family and Kerry is a source of comfort. When Kerry helps Mrs. Flores use her Christmas present from her family, my heart melted because the tablet allowed Mrs. Flores to communicate with her family.  


A Christmas Too Big is full of humor and heart! The very detailed illustrations show how Kerry’s family goes full out for the holiday. I especially love the page spread of the entire house which shows there is not one area not adorned in Christmas decor.  After spending time with Mrs. Flores, Kerry realizes that a small Christmas can still be big because the most important thing about Christmas is to be with those you love and care about. When she gets home, Kerry makes more paper flowers and adds them to her family’s decorations which propels her mom to suggest inviting over Mrs. Flores for Christmas dinner.  By bringing Mrs. Flores’ small Christmas to her house, Kerry made Christmas big in heart for both her family and Mrs. Flores.  At the end of the story, directions explain how to make Flores de Navidad (Christmas Flowers).  Highly recommend this heartwarming holiday story!  

Praise for A Christmas Too Big!

“An intergenerational friendship and a busy holiday made meaningful set this title apart.” 
Kirkus Reviews

“Madden’s bilingual tale strikes both humorous and poignant notes; the visual blend of
comic-style panels, playful fonts, speech bubbles in both English and Spanish, and
traditional spreads offers readers plenty to celebrate.” 
Publishers Weekly

About the Author/Illustrator:

Colleen Madden grew up in a crazy Christmas house and, like Kerry, she found a break by spending time with her neighbor who was from another country. She has illustrated many children’s books, including the bestselling What If Everybody? series, written by Ellen Javernick, and the picture-book adaptation of All I Want for Christmas Is You, by Mariah Carey. She recently published Monkey Walk, her debut as both author and illustrator, and is currently working on her first graphic novel. She lives in the Philadelphia area with her husband and two sons.

Blog Tour, Giveaway, Picture Books

Blog Tour & Giveaway for A Sari for Ammi by Mamta Nainy


About the Book:

Title: A Sari for Ammi
Author: Mamta Nainy
Illustrator: Sandhya Prabhat
Pub. Date: November 9, 2021

Beagles and Books is thrilled to be part of the blog tour for A Sari for Ammi published by Amazon Crossing Kids which aims to increase the diversity of children’s books in translation and encourage young reading from a range of cultural perspectives. Special thanks to the publisher and Barbara Fisch of Blue Slip Media for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.


Making saris is a family affair for a young girl, her sister, Sadaf, and her mother (Ammi) and father (Abba).  In fact, weaving has been a family trade for generations.  One day, the very observant daughter recognizes that Ammi weaves the most colorful and gorgeous saris but she never keeps any of her beautiful creations for herself.  When she asks why, Ammi responds “If we keep the saris, what will we eat?” Young readers learn that making saris is the the family’s job and the way they earn money for the things they need.  As Ammi looks in the mirror wearing one of her sari, Prabhat captures her feelings that perhaps once, she wishes she could keep a sari as her own. 

A Sari for Ammi_9781542035071_large-1

But what if they bought a sari for Ammi?  The girl shares her idea of breaking their gullak (piggybank) with Sadaf.  They decide to forego buying themselves things from the bazaar and use the money for Ammi.  After the money is counted, a new problem arises.  They do not have enough.  The sisters need to work together to get more money.  

A Sari for Ammi_9781542035071_large-2

First, they sell old junk like paper, bottles, and metal to Jhammu Kaka, the scrap dealer earning more money, but not quite enough for a sari. As they walk through a wheat field, they get another idea to help Amina Khala color thread. Do they finally have enough?  “Just enough!” screams Sadaf.  

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And the sisters don’t just buy any sari.  They purchase a sari that Ammi has weaved.  What tugged at my heart is the sari they chose was the sari that Ammi was wearing while looking in the mirror.  Prabhat’s vivid artwork shows Ammi’s pure joy in her smile and the single tear streaming down her cheek as she tightly hugs her daughters.  

With themes of family, kindness, cooperation, and problem solving, A Sari for Ammi is a touching story that all children can relate to.  What I love most is kids learn more about the culture and traditions of a rural Indian Muslim family and their lifestyle.  Nainy seamlessly weaves Indian words into the text which are defined in a glossary and shares background about the history of making saris in Kaithoon, the Rajasthan town where the story takes place.  The love that the sisters not only for their ammi but also for their whole family was evident in Nainy’s engaging plot and Prabhat’s bright and lively illustrations.  I adored the way they collaborated to earn enough money to buy a sari.  Their good deed will make readers want to pay it forward and show kindness to a loved one.  Highly recommend A Sari for Ammi for home libraries, classroom libraries, school libraries, and public libraries!  

Praise A Sari for Ammi!

“This delightful picture book shines a spotlight on a rural, underrepresented Indian Muslim community.” 
Kirkus Reviews

About the Author:
Mamta Nainy
is a children’s writer, editor, and translator based in New Delhi, India. She is the author of many children’s books, including A Brush with Indian Art, illustrated by Aniruddha Mukherjee, which won the Hindu Young World-Goodbooks Award in 2019; and Bioscope, illustrated by Shanti Devi, which was named to the IBBY Honor List in 2012. Follow the author on Instagram @mamtanainy.

About the Illustrator:
Sandhya Prabhat
is an independent animator and illustrator from Chennai, India, who resides in the United States. She has a master’s degree in animation and digital arts from New York University. She has illustrated nearly a dozen picture books, including her recent book I Am Brown, written by Ashok Banker. She animates for TV and movies and creates content for social media websites such as Facebook, Google, and Snapchat. Follow the artist on Instagram @sandhyaprabhat.




Blog Tour, Giveaway, Middle Grade Literature

Blog Tour & Giveaway for Susie B. Won’t Back Down by Margaret Finnegan


About the Book:

Title: Susie B. Won’t Back Down
Author: Margaret Finnegan
Pub. Date: October 5, 2021

Beagles and Books is excited to share a review and giveaway for Susie B. Won’t Back Down published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers/Simon and Schuster. Special thanks to the publisher and Barbara Fisch of Blue Slip Media for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.


Susie Babuszkiewicz is a peppy fifth grade student who has a lot of opinions.  For starters, she can’t be called Susie because Soozee Gupta is also in her class which seems unfair.  B comes before G right?  But after reading about Susan B. Anthony and her crusade fighting for women’s rights, Susie embraces being called Susie B. and when choosing a personal hero for the fifth grade Hero Project, Susie immediately knows her choice, duh.  

I absolutely love the format of the novel, for Susie narrates in the form of letters penned to Susan B. Anthony.  The letters are written in a conversational tone so readers feel that Susie is speaking directly to them.  What I love most is that Susie does not hold back; she tells it like it is.  For instance, she shares her honest feelings about Chloe Howard who she secretly calls “Old Fakey Fake” because of her phony personality and how Dylan Rodriguez is one of usual geniuses-kids who always get pick for everything.  And Susie reveals her life long dream of running for student council president because who wouldn’t want to use the big microphone to say The Pledge of Allegiance at assemblies? 

As Susie researches Susan B. Anthony more, she learns that her hero made alliances with individuals who did not believe in equality for all people.  Susie is deeply troubled by this revelation and feels betrayed especially since her half-brother Locke is biracial.   But once more students do research, they also discover their heroes’ flaws.  As her friend Carson who chose Picasso as his hero eloquently states, “It’s easier when you just know what people did, not who they were.”  

Susie also discovers that friends can surprise you too.  Jocelyn has always been her best spark, but as she is running for student council treasurer, Jocelyn sees an opportunity to befriend Chloe.  Susie tries but finds it difficult to be friendly with “Old Fakey Fake.”  When Susie asks her to choose, her best spark chooses the other side which I agree was pretty stabby-stabby.  Susie, I would be proud to eat lunch with you every day.  

Susie B. Won’t Back Down is an authentic story of a young girl trying to figure out who she is.  Is she passionate or high maintenance? Her brother Locke tells her it to her straight-“Fill yourself up by being your best.” Susie realizes that her best means being true to herself.  With that revelation, Susie and Jocelyn may not be besties right now, but sparks don’t happen with only one person.  Susie learns that friends Carson, Soozee, and even Dylan can help her Inner Light shine.  Thanks Susie for being real.   

Praise for Susie B. Won’t Back Down!

“Susie is energetic, breathless, enthusiastic, and genuinely, charmingly funny.” —Kirkus Reviews

A Junior Library Guild Selection

About the Author:

Margaret Finnegan is the author of the middle-grade novels Susie B. Won’t Back Down and We Could Be Heroes. Her writing often focuses on themes on inclusion, hard choices, and being true to yourself. She also makes a really good chocolate cake. To learn more, and to download free discussion guides, visit

Twitter: @FinneganBegin

Instagram: @finneganbegin


Check out the fun mock newspaper, The Susie B News–available for download here!

Blog Tour, Book Birthday, Giveaway, Picture Books

Happy Book Birthday & Giveaway for Between the Lines by Lindsay Ward


About the Book:

Title: Between the Lines
Author/Illustrator: Lindsay Ward
Pub. Date: October 1, 2021

Happy Book Birthday to Between the Lines written and illustrated by Lindsay Ward! Beagles and Books is excited to be part of the blog tour! 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.


A young boy recalls how the colors began fading from his neighborhood street.  


A lightning storm not only takes the color away but also creates a split in the road that separates the community.  As I read aloud the story to a kindergarten class, the kids were surprised with their mouths open when I turned the page and the color was gone.  I asked them the questions that author/illustrator Ward poses on the page spread below.  Like most 5 year olds, their responses to the first question was literal. 

  • “The rain made the colors go away.”
  •  “The lightning made a hole in the street and took away the colors.”

The answers to the second question showed their thinking skills.

  • “I think the colors will come back because they will fix the hole.”
  • “They look sad so if they fix the hole, they will be happy again, and then the colors will come back.”


As I continued reading, the kids immediately noticed that the boy and girl remained sad.  When the boy stopped dreaming about the colors, he realized that he must take action. 


From their windows, the community observes the boy’s initiative and determination and gradually joins him in repairing the crevice that divided them.  When rain begins to fall, the boy’s and girl’s smiles fade but instead of going their separate ways, the community stands together.  Their unity allows color to return and makes the community whole again.  When I turned the page and the kids saw the color, they clapped. My heart melted seeing their excitement and hearing the sound of their happiness. 


After the clapping ended, I revisited the question, “Why did the color come back?’ and the kindergarteners were bursting with their thoughts.

  • “The boy started fixing the street and then everyone else helped.”
  • “The boy was sad so he decided fixing the street would make him happy.”

One particular student was bubbling with lots of ideas while I was reading aloud.  At the end of the story, she said, “They worked as a team and you know, teamwork makes the dream work! That’s why the colors came back.”  

Wow! I was blown away by their thoughtful responses!  Ward’s colorful and black and white illustrations are the perfect vehicle to teaching theme with our youngest learners. Kindergarteners could see easily the change in mood and feelings through the use (or absence) of color.  We also discussed the importance of working together as a class family when there is a problem.  Between the Lines is a picture book that promotes deep thinking at all ages. 

Praise for Between the Lines!

“A vibrant neighborhood loses its color, literally, as the community becomes fractured.” 
Kirkus Reviews

“The illustrations…bring the atmosphere and ideas of the story to life. The depictions of both isolation and community in a dense urban neighborhood are poignant, especially after a year when COVID-19 forced people worldwide to forgo, and then to reinvent, community togetherness.”

Lindsay Ward author

About the Author/Illustrator:

Lindsay Ward is the creator of the Dexter T. Rexter series as well as Rosie: Stronger than Steel; This Book Is Gray; Brobarians; Helping Hospital; the Wheels on the Go series; Rosco vs. the Baby; and The Importance of Being 3. Her book Please Bring Balloons was also made into a play. Lindsay lives with her family in Peninsula, Ohio with her family. Learn more about her online at

Twitter: @lindsaymward
Instagram: lindsaymward

Click the picture below to check out a storytime for Between the Lines and other books on Lindsay Ward’s website!


Blog Tour, Giveaway, Picture Books

Blog Tour & Giveaway for Magic Candies by Heena Baek


About the Book:

Title: Magic Candies
Author: Heena Baek
Translator: Sophie Bowman
Pub. Date: September 1, 2021

Beagles and Books is excited to be part of the blog tour for Magic Candies published by Amazon Crossing Kids which aims to increase the diversity of children’s books in translation and encourage young reading from a range of cultural perspectives. Special thanks to the publisher and Barbara Fisch of Blue Slip Media for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.


A young boy named Tong Tong plays marbles alone in the park while his dog watches.  Depressed, Tong Tong goes to a shop to buy new marbles.  Instead he finds hard candies that look like his round toy.  As soon as Tong Tong puts one in his mouth, the magic begins, for the candies give him the ability to hear things such as the sofa talking.  Tong Tong not only finds the missing remote but also that his dad has a stinky habit that the sofa does not like.  Once the candy dissolves, the sofa is silent.  Tong Tong wonders what will happen if he eats another?  

Guess who starts talking? Yup! Tong Tong’s dog, Marbles who gives him important information.  This page spread is just precious because while I wouldn’t want Bella to talk all the time, I love that Marbles can verbally communicate his feelings. 


When his dad comes home, Tong Tong only hears questions and commands which appear in the form of words and take up the space of an entire page.  Angered by his dad’s barks, he puts a spotty candy in his mouth and then hears three words over, I love you, over and over again.  Perhaps, these magic candies tell the honest truth? 

Not long after Tong Tong puts a pink candy in his mouth and blows a bubble, he hears his decreased Grandma’s voice and discovers she is doing well. I love this page spread which shows his range of emotions from shocked to determined.


With the last candy, the only word uttered was bye.  This page spread is gorgeous because Baek cleverly blends in the word with the falling leaves.  As Tong Tong walks through the park, he sees another boy in the distance.  Since the candy did not produce sound, Tong Tong realizes that maybe, he should do the talking and asks the boy “Do you want to play with me?”


Always eager to share books with students, I read aloud Magic Candies to a class of third graders yesterday.  I was blown away by their observations. Here are some of their thoughts regarding the lesson.  

  • “The boy got the magic candies to learn how others were feeling.”
  • “The shopkeeper knew Tong Tong needed help and sold him the candies.”
  • “The candies gave him the courage to make friends.”
  • “At the beginning, Tong Tong was lonely but the candies made him realize he was not alone.”

The last statement really resonated with me.  Magic Candies is a story of hope, for with each candy, Tong Tong realizes he is not alone.  His dog, father, and grandma are there with him.  The photographed clay molds make the story come alive because readers see the transformation of Tong Tong from lonely to loved.  What I loved the most is the back endpages which show the effect of Tong Tong’s brave actions- he and another boy are playing together in the park.  Baek does a magnificent job of bringing the story full circle; at the beginning, Tong Tong was shooting marbles by himself and now he is riding with a friend. I highly recommend Magic Candies because the story will promote engaging discussion no matter what the age! 

Praise for Magic Candies!

★“Show-stopping spreads by Baek, similar to art by Red Nose Studio, feature molded, emotive figures in meticulously constructed scenery with miniature furniture, photographed under dramatic lighting—an effect startlingly close to animation. It’s a fully realized world that considers discerning meaning and making friends, while offering artwork that lingers in the memory.”
Publishers Weekly (starred)

“The enhanced artwork establishes depth and perspective…depictions of facial expressions are skillful and endearing, and the interplay between text and illustrations will cause readers to linger and ponder. An enigmatic, quirky representation of an active imagination in search of understanding and companionship.” —Kirkus Reviews

“Deeply touching, funny, and incredibly odd, this is the kind of picture book that gets you excited about picture books all over again…Magic Candies is so remarkable…a book that is both about giving voice to the voiceless and finding your own.” —Betsy Bird, School Library Journal

About the Author/Illustrator:
Heena Baek is an acclaimed picture book author and illustrator from South Korea. She won the 2020 Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, a huge international award honoring the body of work of children’s book creators. She studied educational technology at Ewha Womans University and animation at the California Institute of the Arts. Utilizing her diverse animation production experience, Heena creates powerful and interesting picture books, often sculpting characters and building sets. She is the author and illustrator of a number of picture books, many of which have been translated and have received awards from South Korea and internationally. Follow her on Twitter @heenastory and on Instagram: @baekheena

About the Translator:
Sophie Bowman is a PhD student at the University of Toronto, studying Korean literature. She was awarded the ICF Literature Translation Fellowship at Ewha Womans University. In 2015, she won the Korea Times Modern Korean Literature Translation Award grand prize for poetry with her translations of Jin Eun-young and co-translated Kim Bo-Young’s I’m Waiting for You and Other Stories. Follow her on Twitter @SophieOrbital.


Blog Tour, Giveaway, Middle Grade Literature

Blog Tour & Giveaway for Once Upon a Camel by Kathi Appelt


About the Book:

Title: Once Upon a Camel
Author: Kathi Applelt
Illustrator: Eric Rohmann
Pub. Date: September 7, 2021

Beagles and Books is excited to share a review and giveaway for Once Upon a Camel published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers/Simon and Schuster. Special thanks to the publisher and Barbara Fisch of Blue Slip Media for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.


In the foothills of the Chiso Mountains in West Texas lives an old camel named Zada and a family of American kestrels.  Zada is Auntie to Wims and Beulah, two chicks who are barely two weeks old.  When a dust storm quickly and violently comes across the canyon, Zada tucks the chicks in her fur, for after all, camels are the ships of the desert.  But when a stray dust devil seizes the chicks’ parents, Perlita and Pard, and they go adrift,  Zada knows her mission is even more important. She must keep Wims and Beulah safe at all cost until they can be reunited with their parents.  Aging and wise Zada travels with her two fledglings to the closest shelter.  The only issue is the trio’s refuge is mountain lion Pecos de Leon’s territory, but Zada is certain that it is their best chance.

Once Zada reaches Pecos’ den, she is relieved it is empty. He could come back at anytime; therefore, Zada remains standing and on alert because if she sits down, she might not be able to get back up in time. With two scared chicks in her fur missing their parents, Zada realizes the only way to console Wims and Beulah is to tell them stories about her early days as a racing camel in Turkey, her friendship with fellow camel Asiye, and her voyage to the United States.  So once she has OOD (Official Okie Dokie) from the chicks, Zada begins telling her story which gives you ALL the feels-happy, sad, excited, scared, and most importantly, hopeful. 

Appelt’s words are pure joy to read, for she  writes directly to the reader and her concise text carries a lot of weight and meaning.  As I read, I was literally transported to West Texas as well as Turkey and felt I was on the caravan with Zada. Rohmann’s illustrations complement the text showing readers the feelings of the characters.  I would highly recommend Once Upon a Camel as a class read aloud, for with short chapters, engaging characters, and an intriguing plot, kids would be captivated by the story begging the teacher to continue reading.  What touched my heart the most was Zada’s love for everyone she met in life-Asiye, Perlita, Pard, Wims, Beulah, and many others.  Zada was truly the brighest star because of her love, perseverance, and courage.   As a reading specialist, I love that Zada reminds us that stories both comfort and save us.  And in my opinion, once upon a time… in a land far away… is always a perfect beginning to a story. 

About the Author:

Kathi Appelt is the author of the Newbery Honoree, National Book Award Finalist, and bestselling The Underneath as well as the National Book Award Finalist for The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp. Some of her award-winning books include Maybe a Fox (with Alison McGhee), Keeper, and Max Attacks to name just a few. She lives in College Station, Texas. To learn more, visit her website at

Find Kathi Appelt on Facebook and Pinterest!

Blog Tour, Giveaway, Picture Books

Blog Tour & Giveaway for Pug, Pig & Friends by Sue Lowell Gallion


About the Book:

Title: Pug & Pig and Friends 
Author: Sue Lowell Gallion
Illustrator: Joyce Wan
Pub. Date: August 17, 2021

Beagles and Books is excited to share a review and giveaway for Pug & Pig and Friends published by Beach Lane Books/Simon and Schuster. Special thanks to the publisher and Barbara Fisch of Blue Slip Media for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.


Pug and Pig first meet in Pug and Pig.  After a rocky start, the two become friends.  In Pug & Pig Treat or Treat, Pig is excited to dress up and go trick or treating.  While Pug feels differently. he remains a loyal friend.  In the third book in the series, new friends Squirrel, Robin, and Cat are introduced.  Cat does not partake in exploring or running around the yard.  She prefers watching her friends.  Wan’s illustrations are perfect for emerging readers. The artwork is simple and keeps the readers attention on the characters’ actions and feelings.  I love this artwork with all the animals’ butts in the air and Cat’s smirk!  

Interior illus © 2021 Joyce Wan from PUG & PIG AND FRIENDS by Sue Lowell Gallion 3

The dashed lines that loop and swirl show the happy energy of Pug, Pig, Squirrel, and Robin. Cat is licking her paws and licking her paws.  Is she up to something? 

Interior illus © 2021 Joyce Wan from PUG & PIG AND FRIENDS by Sue Lowell Gallion 4

Once readers turn to the next page, they learn excatly what Cat is up to-surprising Pug when he is sleeping.  Of course, Pug, along with Squirrel and Robin, does not appreciate Cat’s antics.  When a thunderstorm rolls in, all the animals seek refuge in their homes and frightened Cat climbs up the tree.  Even after the storm ends, Cat remains in the tree afraid to climb down.  Recalling Cat’s favorite activity, Pug lays down for a nap.  Will Cat pounce on Pug or will Pug pounce on Cat?  No matter what, the friends have a good giggle which will encourage readers to join them in the laughter!

Friendship is always at the core in the books in the Pug and Pig series.  I appreciate how Gallion reminds kids that you don’t always have to agree or like the same things to be friends.  This idea is important to reinforce especially with young children.  As a reading specialist, I love Gallion’s text because it support children just learning to read with repetition, high frequency words, and short sentences. Questions are also posed which gives children the opportunity to actively interact with the text.  They can answer questions based on the illustrations as well as make and then confirm predictions.  With the start of the school year fast approaching, I look forward to sharing Pug & Pig and Friends along with the rest of the series with my primary students and teachers.  

About the Author:

As the daughter of a printer, Sue Lowell Gallion has a life-long love of type, paper, and the aroma of ink. She is the author of the Pug & Pig series and the picture book All Except Axle as well as a nonfiction board book, Our World: A First Book of Geography, and three books in the Tip and Tucker early reader series. Sue lives in Leawood, Kansas, with a black lab mix who provides her with daily inspiration. To learn more and download free activities for all of her books, Visit her at,Twitter @SueLGallion and Instagram @suelowellgallion

About the Illustrator:

Joyce Wan is the author and illustrator of several books for children, including Pug Meets Pig, Pug & Pig Trick-or Treat, Sleepyheads,You Are My Cupcake, We Belong Together, and The Whale in My Swimming Pool. Joyce lives with her husband and daughter in New Jersey. Visit her at, TwitterFacebook, & Instagram: @joycewanbooks

Personalized and signed books are available at Rainy Day Books!

Blog Tour, Giveaway, Picture Books

Blog Tour & Giveaway for Turkey Goes to School by Wendi Silvano


About the Book:

Title: Turkey Goes to School 
Author: Wendi Silvano
Illustrator: Lee Harper
Pub. Date: August 1, 2021

Beagles and Books is excited to be share a review and giveaway for Turkey Goes to School published by Two Lions. Special thanks to the publisher and Barbara Fisch of Blue Slip Media for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Publisher’s Summary:

Turkey is off to school—or is he?—in this addition to the much-loved Turkey Trouble series.

School is starting soon and Turkey can’t wait. Each day, he and his barnyard friends practice their writing and math. But when the school bus rolls up, they are booted off. It turns out that animals aren’t allowed to attend school. Pig calls it “hogwash,” and Turkey agrees. All he has to do is find a way to show the students and the principal that turkeys—and their friends—do belong in school. With a gobble, gobble here; a gobble, gobble there; and a few clever costumes, he just might.


The start of a new school year brought excitement to not only Max and Millie but also all the barnyard nimals because “Farm Days” is the theme of the first week.  But when the animals are told they are not allowed in school, Turkey and they hop in the truck determined to join the kids.  


TURKEY GOES TO SCHOOL interior illus by Lee Harper_1

Once the animals arrive at school. they need to plan to get in.   First, Turkey disguises himself as a backpack, next, a book, then a ball, and finally, a lunch assistant.  Unfortunately, Turkey’s true identify is exposed every time.  

TURKEY GOES TO SCHOOL interior illus by Lee Harper_3

When Rooster reminds Turkey of the “Farm Day” theme,  Turkey sees the scarecrow outside the school and gets a brilliant idea dressing up as Farmer Jake and bringing in the rest of the animals as special guests to sing their own version of Farmer in the Dell.  Luckily, the teacher had a change of heart allowing the animals to remain the rest of the day. 

TURKEY GOES TO SCHOOL interior illus by Lee Harper_4

If you are ever in a foul mood, reading a book in the Turkey Trouble series will make you feel gobbledly good!  A common thread is all the books is Turkey takes action when faced with a problem and will perservere when his first attempt is not successful.  Turkey’s positive mindset is important to share with kids as well as his creativity and resourceful.   Teamwork is also emphasized because the animals work together to reach a common goal.

Silvano’s text is chocked full of puns which makes it a fun read for both kids AND adults.  Here are some of my favorites.

  • Tote-ally foolish” ” when Turkey is disguised as a backpack
  • “We’ll create a little distraction out here while you book it inside”  when Turkey is dressed as a book (My favorite, of course!)
  • “I call a fowl! when Turkey pretends to be a soccer ball.

Harper’s playful and expressive illustrations are full of detail especially in the classroom.  How fun is it to see tennis balls on the chair legs, a projector on a chart, the teacher reading Turkey Trouble for read aloud, and shelves full of bins of books!  

Turkey Goes to School is on my list to share with students during the first week of school as well as the rest of the Turkey Trouble series throughout the year! 

Praise for Turkey Goes to School!

  • “A cute twist on both the farm and school themes.” ―Kirkus Reviews

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

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 Great Pyrenees, two barn cats, eleven chickens…but no turkeys. Yet. He lives with his wife in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. Visit him online at


Turkey giveaway_5 books final

A Fantastic 5 Book Giveaway!

To celebrate this latest installment in the Turkey Trouble series, Two Lions is offering a set of all 5 books in the series: Turkey Trouble, Turkey Claus, Turkey Trick or Treat, Turkey’s Eggcellent Easter, and Turkey Goes to School to one lucky winner (U.S. addresses).

This giveaway is open Friday, August 6, 2021 to Monday, August 9, 2021 ending at 10:00 p.m. EST.   Please note that book may take longer to ship so patience is appreciated.  Enter below or head over to my Twitter account, @lauramossa and retweet my Turkey Goes to School post.

#classroombookaday, Blog Tour, Giveaway, Nonfiction, Picture Books

Review & Giveaway for Let Liberty Rise! How America’s Schoolchildren Helped Save the Statue of Liberty by Chana Stiefel


About the Book:

Title: Let Liberty Rise! How America’s Schoolchildren Helped Save the Statue of Liberty
Author: Chana Stiefel
Illustrator: Chuck Groenink
Pub. Date: March 3, 2021

Beagles and Books is excited to be share a review and giveaway for Let Liberty Rise! published by Scholastic. Special thanks to the publisher and Barbara Fisch of Blue Slip Media for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.


Truth.  I only know the basic facts about the Statue of Liberty.

  • It was a gift from France.
  • It sits in New York Harbor.
  • It is a national monument.
  • Emma Lazarus’ poem is on the pedestal.

After reading Let Liberty Rise, I am a little ashamed at my lack of knowledge. But that is the great thing about reading nonfiction picture books. Even as an adult, I can learn more information about a topic and wow did I!


Interior illustration © 2021 Chuck Groenink from LET LIBERTY RISE! How America's Schoolchildren Saved the Statue of Liberty by Chana Stiefel_1

Today, the Statue of Liberty is a symbol of pride and freedom, but back in 1885, she arrived at Bedloe’s Island in 350 pieces and wasn’t able to be unpacked. Why? France had asked the United States to build a pedestal for the statue to stand on, but it was only half built. Why? Apparently, the the price of the pedestal was $100,000 and Americans weren’t too keen on contributing to the fund. 

These illustrations was particularly eye opening to me, for I did not know about the Americans’ indifference toward the statue which would become a national treasure.  Another new fact was that crates with her parts were just laying around Bedloe’s Island out in the elements.  Groenink’s illustrations show the honest feelings of New Yorkers.  It was too expensive and she should be send back to Paris.  Interior illustration © 2021 Chuck Groenink from LET LIBERTY RISE! How America's Schoolchildren Saved the Statue of Liberty by Chana Stiefel_3

Interior illustration © 2021 Chuck Groenink from LET LIBERTY RISE! How America's Schoolchildren Saved the Statue of Liberty by Chana Stiefel_4

Luckily, Lady Liberty had a an ally-Joesph Pulitzer, a Jewish Hungarian immigrant who now owned a newspaper, The New York World. In March 16,1885; Pulitizer encouraged people to donate to the pedestal fund and promised to print all contributors’ names in The World, no matter the sum or age of person.


Newspaper across the country reprinted Pulitizer words and over $2000 was raised in the first week. Children were instrumental in raising money emptying out their piggy banks of the precious coins they have saved.. By August 11, 1885, thanks to the generosity of 120,000 donors had collectively raised $100,000 to reach the goal.  The Statue of Liberty would soon be freed from her crates and rise for all to see and admire whether one was an immigrant sailing into New York Harbor, a visitor to New York City or a native Native Yorker.  


With Stiefel’s spirited text and Groenink’s energetic illustrations, Let Liberty Rise is an uplifting story that makes me proud to be an American.  What I love most is the 120,000 donors were a diverse group made up of all ages and professions and it especially warms my heart that Stiefel made a conscious decision to highlight the contributions of children.  Children from all over the country gave up their earned or saved money to be a part of something bigger.  After reading Let Liberty Rise to kids, imagine the conversation that can occur about how a small act can add up to a great difference.   Backmatter includes a timeline, more facts about the Statue of Liberty, a bibliography, and a look back in time through photographs.  

Praise for Let Liberty Rise!

  • “This charming history title is a true inspiration for the present. An informative must-have for all libraries.” — School Library Journal, starred review🟊
  • “All rise to this evocative, empowering offering.” — Kirkus Reviews


  • “[A] true tale of cooperation among all ages.” — Publishers Weekly

Check Out This Book Extras!

Download a free curriculum guide and check out the book trailer below!

About the Author:

Chana Stiefel is the author of more than 25 books for kids. She hails from sunny South Florida and now lives in New Jersey, just a ferry ride away from the Statue of Liberty. Chana loves visiting schools and libraries as well as sharing her passion for reading and writing with children. She earned a master’s degree in Science, Health, and Environmental Reporting from New York University. To learn more, visit Chana at

Facebook: Chana Stiefel

Twitter:  @chanastiefel

Instagram: @chanastiefel

About the Illustrator:

Chuck Groenink hails from an overgrown village among the peat bogs in the north of the Netherlands, where he spent his formative years climbing trees, drawing, reading, and cycling. He attended the Artez Institute of Visual Arts in Kampen, graduating from the Department of Illustration in 2004. He now resides in Valatie, New York, with his wife, dog, and two cats. Visit Chuck at

Instagram: @c.groenink

Let Liberty Rise_Cover

Giveaway Details:

One lucky winner will receive a copy of Let Liberty Rise! How America’s Schoolchildren Helped Save the Statue of Liberty, courtesy of Scholastic (U.S. addresses only). This giveaway is open on Sunday, July 4, 2021 ending at 10:00 p.m. EST.   Please note that book may take longer to ship so patience is appreciated.  Enter below or head over to my Twitter account, @lauramossa and retweet my Let Liberty Rise! post.

Blog Tour, Giveaway, Picture Books

Blog Tour & Giveaway for Tabitha and Fritz Trade Places by Katie Frawley Illustrated by Laurie Stansfield


About the Book:
Title: Tabitha and Fritz Trade Places 
Author: Katie Frawley
Illustrator: Laurie Stansfield
Pub. Date: June 1, 2021

Beagles and Books is excited to be part of the blog tour for Tabitha and Fritz Trade Places published by Two Lions/Amazon Publishing. Special thanks to the publisher and Barbara Fisch of Blue Slip Media for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.


What do animals do when they need a change of scenery?  They hop onto the website, Lair-BNB, of course!  Fritz, an elephant living in a rain forest swaps homes with Tabitha, a suburban cat.  Both animals are excited about their adventure.  Kids will love the format, for Fritz and Tabitha communicate entirely through Lair-BNB messages.


Upon arrival, Fritz is greeted by Claudia, Tabitha’s owner.  I love how Fritz calls the pool a watering hole, and how adorable that he wears a swimmy on his trunk.  


Tabitha quickly finds family in the rainforest after meeting the cheetahs.  While the text makes it seem she is feeling quite at hime, the illustrations show that Tabitha may be a little confused, for she thinks a bee hive is a scratching post, a meerkat’s burrow is a litter box, and a snake’s tail is a swatting toy. Oh wait! That tail belongs to Rocky! According to Fritz’s previous message, Rocky does not play well with others. 

As Fritz and Tabitha spend more time in their new settings, problems arise.  Fritz confuses a decorative donut as real and Tabitha appalls a herbivorous herd of elephants by adding mice as a pizza topping.  The final straw occurs when Fritz mistakes Claudia’s birthday for his own and Tabitha takes an involuntary dip in the watering hole.  Don’t elephants know cats are not fans of getting wet?  After sleepless nights for both Fritz and Tabitha, they both realize there truly is no place like home!  


Tabitha and Fritz Trade Places is an entertaining and engaging story with a sweet message to appreciate what we have. Frawley’s choice to use text messages to tell the story is clever and unique.  As an adult reading the story aloud, I enjoyed the puns and alliterative closings (feeling fierce, primal and pouncing).  I also appreciated the post scripts included in some of the messages which added useful information. Stansfield’s colorful and expressive illustrations practically leap off the page and since there are a number of wordless page spreads, her vivid artwork moves the plot along,  And pay close attention to the endpapers, for the front explains why both Tabitha and Fritz are craving a change in habitat and the back shows how Tabitha and Fritz both surprised each other on their return home.

One of the joys of my role as reading specialist is reading aloud to kids.  Last week, when I was asked to cover a class, I brought Tabitha and Fritz Trade Places with me.  The class of second graders were captiviated by the story giggling from beginning to end.  After reading, I asked them to share anything they learned from Tabitha and Fritz.  Here are some of their thoughtful responses.

  • “Sometimes people bother you and you need to get away from them.”
  • “It’s fun to go someplace new.”
  • “If it is your first time doing something, you might not know the rules. You need people to help you.”
  • “I like going on vacation, but I do miss my friends when I am away.”
  • “After they got home, they were happy and not sad anymore.”

The best books are those that make you laugh and learn. Highly recommend Tabitha and Fritz Trade Places for the mirth and messages! 

Praise for Tabitha and Fritz Trade Places!

“A satisfying spin on the trading-places trope.” —Kirkus Reviews

“Tabitha and Fritz are pretty much two of a kind, but debut author Frawley livens their epistolary exchanges with wordplay and knowing phrases…She gets a big assist from Stansfield (Poems Out Loud!), whose bright pastel settings, vivid expressions, and large cast of high-spirited supporting characters pull readers through the story.” —Publishers Weekly

“A laugh-out-loud story that spells out why the grass is not always greener, with subtle language lessons built in for emerging readers.” —School Library Journal

About the Author & Illustrator:

Katie Frawley grew up on a diet of Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle and Madeline. She went on to earn a bachelor’s in English from the University of Florida and a master’s in literature from Florida Atlantic University. These days, Katie lives in South Florida with her husband, four children, and a handsome mutt named Nantucket. When she’s not reading or writing, Katie can be found building pillow forts, testing recipes with her teensy sous-chefs, or shooing iguanas from her garden. Learn more at

Twitter: @KatieFrawley1

Instagram: @katiefrawley1

Laurie Stansfield grew up in Oxford, England, but packed her bags and moved west to study illustration at the University of the West of England. She now works as a freelance illustrator. She is the illustrator of Poems Out Loud!, published by Penguin UK, and has more books forthcoming. Laurie lives with her husband in Bristol, United Kingdom. Learn more at

Twitter: @Laurie_S_art

Instagram: @laurie.stansfield

Enter a Giveaway!


One lucky winner will receive a copy of Tabitha and Fritz Trade Places, courtesy of Two Lions (U.S. addresses). This giveaway is open from Friday, June 4, 2021 through Friday, June 11, 2021 ending at 10:00 p.m. EST.   Please note that book may take longer to ship so patience is appreciated.  Enter below or head over to my Twitter account, @lauramossa and retweet my Rescue at Tabitha and Fritz Trade Places Twitter post.