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.





Blog Tour, Giveaway, Picture Books, Rockstar Book Tours

Blog Tour & Giveaway: The Planet Earth is Blue by Nicole Panteleakos


Beagles and Books is excited to be part of the The Plant Earth is Blue blog tour organized by Rockstar Book Tours. 

About the Book:
Author: Nicole Panteleakos
Pub. Date: May 14, 2019
Publisher: Wendy Lamb Books
Formats: Hardcover, eBook
Pages: 240

Find it: GoodreadsAmazonKindleB&NiBooksKoboTBD


Publisher’s Summary: 

“Tender and illuminating. A beautiful debut.” –Rebecca Stead,
Newbery Medal-winning author of When You Reach Me 

A heartrending and hopeful debut novel about a nonverbal girl and her passion for space exploration, for fans of See You in the CosmosMockingbird, and The Thing About Jellyfish.

Twelve-year-old Nova is eagerly awaiting the launch of the space shuttle Challenger–it’s the first time a teacher is going into space, and kids across America will watch the event on live TV in their classrooms. Nova and her big sister, Bridget, share a love of astronomy and the space program. They planned to watch the launch together. But Bridget has disappeared, and Nova is in a new foster home.

While foster families and teachers dismiss Nova as severely autistic and nonverbal, Bridget understands how intelligent and special Nova is, and all that she can’t express. As the liftoff draws closer, Nova’s new foster family and teachers begin to see her potential, and for the first time, she is making friends without Bridget. But every day, she’s counting down to the launch, and to the moment when she’ll see Bridget again. Because Bridget said, “No matter what, I’ll be there. I promise.”


It is 1986. 12 year old Nova Vezina is anxiously awaiting for two big events- the launching of the space shuttle Challenger and reuniting with her older sister Bridget. Bridget ran away from their last foster home and Nova is adjusting to living with her new foster family, the Wests. 

While Nova’s school reports consistently included phrases such as “cannot read” or “does not speak,” her older sister Bridget always disagreed stating that Nora “is a thinker, not a talker.” Bridget has been Nova’s strongest advocate recognizing and fostering Nova’s intelligence.   With only 10 days before the Challenger launch,  Nova is clinging on to Bridget’s promise that she and Nova will reunite and watch this historic event together. 

I love the format of the novel, which alternates from third person to first person.  Nova’s first hand account is written as letters to Bridget, which everyone else calls “scribbles.”  Since Nora is autistic and nonverbal, her letters are extremely compelling sharing her deep thoughts and feelings on everything from her new foster family, new school and friends as well as past memories of her mother and Bridget.  Reading Nova’s letters is truly gut-wrenching because she shares her frustrations that people cannot understand her and how desperately she misses Bridget.  While my heart ached for Nova, Nova’s new foster family gave me hope. Francine, Billy, and their college age daughter Josie take the time to truly get to know Nova recognizing her potential rather than her limitations.  

From the very first page, Nova’s story pulled me in and I couldn’t put the novel down. While I knew the outcome of the Challenger launch, debut author Nicole Panteleakos’s well crafted novel kept me wondering until almost the very end.  A heartbreaking yet uplifting story, Planet Earth is Blue reminds us of our universal need for love, respect, and understanding.  I am a firm believer that books have the power to change you and make you a better person; Planet Earth is Blue is that story, for we can all do better in showing compassion, patience, and tolerance towards others.  

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


About Nicole:

Nicole Panteleakos is an author, playwright, thespian, and Ravenclaw. Her debut novel PLANET EARTH IS BLUE (Wendy Lamb Books, Penguin Random House) will be out in bookstores nationwide on May 14, 2019, with a second middle grade novel to follow in 2020. She is represented by agent Katie Grimm at Don Congdon Associates and belongs to the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators: Metro NY. She is also a Lifetime Member of the VFW Auxiliary and National Home for Children, a godmother of three, and a regular contributor to Nanny Magazine. When not writing, she can usually be found reading fanfiction, playing board games, doing community theatre, or adding to her Alice in Wonderland coffee cup collection.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Goodreads



Giveaway Details:
3 winners will receive a finished copy of PLANET EARTH IS BLUE, US Only. Click the link below to enter.

Tour Schedule: Join us on the other stops of this tour to read more reviews.

Week One:

5/6/2019- Lifestyle Of Me– Review
5/7/2019- Lone Tree Reviews– Review
5/8/2019- Beagles & Books– Review
5/9/2019- Book-Keeping– Review
5/10/2019- Feed Your Fiction Addiction– Review

Week Two:

5/13/2019- BookHounds YA– Review
5/14/2019- Bri’s Book Nook– Review
5/15/2019- The Layaway Dragon– Review
5/16/2019- Here’s to Happy Endings– Review
5/17/2019- Novel Novice– Excerpt



Blog Tour, Giveaway, Picture Books

Blog Tour & Giveaway for VACATION FOR DEXTER! by Lindsay Ward


Beagles and Books is excited to be part of the blog tour for Vacation for Dexter by Lindsay Ward which publishes on April 16, 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 Vacation for Dexter!
“The illustrations are just as laugh-out-loud funny as ever, with the toy’s expressions stealing every scene…Jack and Dexter have become a beloved duo, and the dino’s behavior-modeling sure goes down easily.” —Kirkus Reviews

In the latest Dexter T. Rexter book, Dexter joins Jack on vacation to an exotic place called  FLOR-I-DA.  In the first few page spreads, Ward’s illustrations clearly shows both Jack and Dexter’s excitement for their trip as they sing together.


But when Dexter finds out their mode of transportation is a plane, his anxiety begins to emerge and it’s difficult for him to remain cool and confident.  Just as in other books, Dexter speaks directly to the reader sharing his symptoms such as stiff spikes, back pain, and leg cramps which is sure to make children laugh out loud.  

One look at Jack’s anxious face makes Dexter stop worrying about himself, for he realizes his best buddy needs his support.  Using the dangling headphone cord, Dexter shimmies up into Jack’s lap reminding him that he and Jack can be brave together singing as the plane lifts off into the sky.  And once you have a movie to watch, a comfy blanket and cookies to eat, flying isn’t nearly as scary.

VACATION FOR DEXTER interior2 by Lindsay Ward.jpg

I have enjoyed all the Dexter books, but I really loved Vacation for Dexter because it tenderly shows the genuine love that Dexter has for Jack.  While Dexter is drawn large when he is addressing readers, he is always drawn small when he is with Jack, which conveys how a little stuffed animal can provide so much comfort to a child.

Check out the fun coloring sheet here!

About Lindsay:
Lindsay Ward is the creator of the Dexter T. Rexter series. Although she isn’t afraid of flying, she always looks forward to cookies during her flights. She is also the author and illustrator of Brobarians, Henry Finds His Word, and When Blue Met Egg. Her book Please Bring Balloons was also made into a play.
 Most days you can find Lindsay with her family, writing and sketching at her home in Peninsula, Ohio. Learn more about her online at or on Twitter: @lindsaymward.
Enter A Dino-Mite Giveaway!

If If you haven’t read any of the previous Dexter books or want your own copies, this giveaway is for you! One lucky winner will receive a set of all three books–Don’t Forget Dexter! , It’s Show and Tell, Dexter!, and Vacation for Dexter!  courtesy of Two Lions (U.S. addresses).