Bookexcursion

When You Are Brave by Pat Zietlow Miller

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

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

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

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

Bookexcursion

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

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Beagles and Books is excited to share another edition of It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #IMWAYR is a community of bloggers who link up to share what they are reading. Kellee Moye of Unleashing Readers and Jen Vincent of Teach Mentor Texts decided to give it a #kidlit focus and encourage everyone who participates to visit at least 3 of the other #kidlit book bloggers that link up and leave comments for them.

Our Recent Reads: 

 The True History of Lyndie B. Hawkins by Gail Shepherd

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Good Egg by Jory John Illustrated by Pete Oswald

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

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

Etta’s & Bella’s Dog Pick of the Week:

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

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

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

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

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#Bookexcursion, Bookexcursion, Middle Grade Literature

Shouting at the Rain by Lynda Mullaly Hunt

Delsie lives on Cape Cod with her game showing watching Grammy who has loved and cared for her since she was a baby. Recently, Delsie is feeling especially vulnerable wondering why her mother is not in her life and why her summer best friend Brandy has outgrown her.

I am a big fan of Mullaly Hunt’s novels because she creates such dynamic characters like Delsie. Written from her point of view, Delsie reveals her insecurities and struggles which makes her journey from feeling abandoned to recognizing how much she is truly loved so bittersweet. In time Delsie realizes that loyal friends Aimee, Michael, and newcomer Ronan, wonderful neighbors Henry, Esme, and Olive and most importantly her dear devoted Grammy will be there to help her weather any storm.

Shouting at the Rain is a truly heartprint story because it celebrates non traditional families by reminding us all that “family isn’t really about having blood and having the same last name. It’s made by the people who love you, who worry about you, and champion you.”

Special thanks to Nancy Paulsen and Penguin Kids for sending an ARC to my #bookexcursion group.  Pre-order this touching story about family and friendship now, for Shouting at the Rain releases in May 2019.

Book Birthday, Bookexcursion, Debut Author

The Adventures of a Girl Called Bicycle by Christina Uss

Happy Book Birthday to Christina Uss’ The Adventures of a Girl Called Bicycle! 

Ever since she was three years old, Bicycle has lived at the Mostly Silent Monastery in Washington, DC. with Sister Wanda and the mostly silent monks. With Sister Wanda as her teacher, Bicycle excels at her studies and is especially good at making anagrams.  On an errand to buy groceries with Brother Otto, Bicycle and the monk see a old orange bicycle for sale in front of the post office.  Buying it for less than a dollar, Bicycle brings the two-wheeler home to clean and repair it.  She names it Clunk.

Sister Wanda hopes that Clunk will help Bicycle make friends but sadly Sister Wanda’s dream does not come true.  Due to Bicycle being a fast cyclist, her chances of making friends is low because no one can keep up with her. Concerned for Bicycle, Sister Wanda decides to send her to sleepaway camp at the Friendship Factory where she is guaranteed to make three friends or your money back.  Bicycle has a different idea.  Polish cyclist Zbig Sienkiewicz is visiting America for the first time to host a blessing of bicycles.  Bicycle desperately wants to travel to California to meet her hero.  Sister Wanda will not acquiesce; therefore, Bicycle boldly decides to make the journey to San Franscisco with Clunk to meet Zbig who will become her first and only friend.

On her travels to California, Bicycle befriends a friendly ghost named Griffin who haunts her handlebars, the Cookie Lady, Chef Marie, fried pie making Jeremiah, and Dr. Luck Alvarado.  While she hits some bumps in the road (well actually pigs), Bicycle remains focused on proving to Sister Wanda that she can make a friend on purpose.  With Clunk out of commission, Bicycle is fortunate to buy a new bike, the Fortune 713-J at an auction except now Bicycle is being followed by a lady in black who she believes wants to steal her new riding companion.  So many questions remain. Will Bicycle be able to avert the lady in black? Will she get to San Francisco in time to meet Zbig? Will they become friends?  Will Sister Wanda forgive Bicycle for her transgression?

Reading The Adventures of a Girl Called Bicycle was an exhilarating ride.  Debut author Christina Uss’ story of a girl biking towards a solution is equally heartwarming and humorous.  While the plot is fantastical, the message is real.  As Dr . Alvarado states, “Luck flows around us like a river, but we have our own paddles.”  In other words, we have the ability to change where we are headed.  Through Bicycle’s journey across the country, readers will discover that while friendships may begin due to some luck, true friendships remain because of two people’s ability to talk, listen, and actually hear each other.  And that is a lesson worth learning and remembering.

A very special thanks to Christina Uss for sending an advanced reader’s copy of The Adventures of a Girl Called Bicycle to my #bookexcursion group.

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

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 5/14/18

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Beagles and Books is excited to share another edition of It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #IMWAYR is a community of bloggers who link up to share what they are reading. Kellee Moye of Unleashing Readers and Jen Vincent of Teach Mentor Texts decided to give it a #kidlit focus and encourage everyone who participates to visit at least 3 of the other #kidlit book bloggers that link up and leave comments for them.

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The Frame-Up by Wendy McLeod MacKnight

The Frame Up is a fast paced, intriguing mystery adventure set in the real life Beaverbrook Art Gallery located in Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada.  In this fictional story, Beaverbrook is not your ordinary art gallery because all the paintings are actually alive.  Once the gallery is closed, all the “residents” interact with each other.  Painted in 1915, Mona Dunn is a 100 year old painting but she is perpetually a thirteen-year-old who loves to visit the beach in the San Vigilio, Lake Garda painting and hang out with her partner in crime, Clem Cotterell who lives in a portrait with his family.

Mona knows that the most important rule of the gallery is don’t let the humans know that the paintings are alive.  One day Mona accidentally breaks that rule and reveals the gallery’s secret to Sargent Singer, the son of the gallery director.  Sargent who is visiting his estranged father for the summer promises Mona that he won’t divulge this incredible secret, and the two become fast friends.   Their friendship becomes crucial when Mona discovers a plot to steal paintings and replace them with reproductions.  Can Mona and Sargent stop the heist before it’s too late?

I enjoyed The Frame Up from start to finish!  Wendy McLeod MacKnight has written a fascinating middle grade mystery weaving elements of both the past and the present.  While living in the present, Mona and the residents give you a glimpse of life long ago. Because they are alive, the “residents” are aware of modern amenities such as movies, popular music, and even the internet.  The mystery involving the art heist kept me guessing until almost the very end. Sargent’s distant relationship with his father also affected me because I know some readers may identify with his struggle to connect with a parent.

Special thanks to Wendy McLeod MacKnight for sending an ARC of The Frame-Up to my #bookexcursion group.  The Frame-Up releases on June 5, 2018, which will include full color glossy pictures of all the paintings highlighted in the novel.  Since a visit to Beaverbrook is not possible right now, I can’t wait for my hardcover copy to arrive!

Fox & Chick: The Party and Other Stories by Sergio Ruzzier

Fox and Chick remind me of the iconic Frog and Toad, two friends who don’t always see eye to eye.  This early chapter book includes three stories.  In The Party, Chick interrupts Fox’s reading  asking to use his bathroom but not for the reason one would expect.  In Good Soup, as Fox is gathering vegetables, Chick questions his food choices until he mentions that foxes are supposed to eat little birds.  Oops!  In Sit Still, Fox is in the midst of painting a landscape when Chick suggests a portrait of him would be more exciting. If only Chick would sit still….

I read Fox and Chick to my second grade #classroombookaday class; they absolutely loved each story.  While it is a great read aloud, the illustrations deserve full attention to see both Fox’s and Chick’s expressions throughout each story.  After sharing Fox and Chick, the students wanted to know if there are more Fox and Chick adventures.  I can only hope!

Etta’s and Bella’s Dog Pick of the Week: 

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

Dog Loves Books by Louise Yates

Dog loves everything about books so he decides to open his own bookstore.  On the day of his Grand Opening, no one came and when they finally did visit, it was not to buy books.  While Dog was a little sad, he did not dwell on it.  Instead, he took a book off the shelf and began to read.  When he read, he forgot he was alone because each book took him on a new adventure.  At the end , a little girl visits his bookstore and while Dog loved books, he realized he enjoys sharing them even more!

How can you not love a dog that loves books!  Author illustrator Louise Yates reminds young readers about the power of finding the right book as well as the joy of sharing books with others.

I look forward to read the rest of the books in the series: Dog Loves Drawing, Dog Loves Counting, and Dog Loves Fairy Tales.

Etta, Bella, and I thank you for visiting Beagles and Books!  Have a great week! Happy Reading!

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

Bookexcursion

Front Desk by Kelly Yang

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Front Desk is a semi autobiographical account of young Mia Tang who recently immigrated with her parents from China to the United States. When her parents get the opportunity to manage the Calivista Motel, they jump at the chance to earn $150 a day plus free rent. After signing the contract, what they don’t know is the owner Mr. Yao can change the terms at any time.  This not only means less money a day but also the financial responsibility of paying for refunds and broken appliances.  Still, Mia and her family continue to manage the Calivista with her parents taking care of the housekeeping and Mia managing the front desk.  Mia becomes friends with the Calivista weeklies who become her extended family.

Managing the front desk and being the new student at Dale Elementary School is a lot to handle but Mia is determined to succeed even when things get tough. While Mia wants to focus on becoming a better writer, her mother encourages Mia to spend more time doing math.  Her mother says “You just can’t be as good as the white kids in their language honey.  It’s their language,”  Mia though is insistent in proving her mother wrong practicing and perfecting her writing with the help of Calivista weekly Mrs. T’s dictionary-thesaurus.  Writing also becomes therapeutic when Mia wants to express her feelings after being teased at school or write an apology to a friend.  When weekly Hank who is African American gets wrongly accused of  a crime and subsequently loses his job, Mia decides to write a reference letter which helps him secure a new job.  Her writing also helps a friend of the family get his passport back from his dishonest employer.

Knowing that her writing has changed people’s lives for the better, Mia realizes she has the power to change her life too and for the first time in school, Mia honestly writes from the heart sharing a personal experience.  Hoping to change her family’s life, Mia also takes a leap of faith entering an essay contest to win a motel. As her friend Lupe says, “You can’t win if you don’t play.”

Front Desk is a story of hope and heart.  Mia is an exceptional character who shows not only a genuine kindness but also immense courage to help others.  She has good role models in her parents who help fellow immigrants by hiding them in empty motel rooms. Despite the obstacles they face, Mia and her parents continue to pick themselves up and keep going.

Kelly Yang’s story is a window for me to see life through the eyes of an immigrant family but also can be a mirror for young readers who have endured similar experiences.  At the end of the novel, she includes an author’s note sharing information about her own life as well as the struggles of Chinese families immigrating to America. When I am having a rough day, I will reread Front Desk and remember these important lessons:

  • Sometimes a mistake is actually an opportunity.
  • Words have the power to change lives.
  • Sometimes the people you least expect can blow you away with their courage and kindness.
  • Dreams can come true with kindness, courage, and determination.
  • Success is sweeter when shared with friends.

A very special thanks to Arthur A. Levine Books and Lizette Serrano of Scholastic for sending an ARC of Front Desk to my #bookexcursion group.  Pre-order Front Desk now, for it releases on May 29, 2018. Your life will be forever changed after reading. I know mine has.

Bookexcursion

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 4/9/18

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Monday! What Are You Reading? #IMWAYR is a community of bloggers who link up to share what they are reading. Kellee Moye of Unleashing Readers and Jen Vincent of Teach Mentor Texts decided to give it a #kidlit focus and encourage everyone who participates to visit at least 3 of the other #kidlit book bloggers that link up and leave comments for them.

Our Reads This Week

Front Desk by Kelly Yang

Front Desk is a semi autobiographical account of young Mia Tang who recently immigrated with her parents from China to the United States.  Mia and her family manage the Calivista with her parents taking care of the housekeeping and Mia managing the front desk.  Mia becomes friends with the Calivista weeklies who become her extended family.

Managing the front desk and being the new student at Dale Elementary School is a lot to handle but Mia is determined to succeed even when things get tough. While her mother encourages Mia to spend more time doing math, Mia wants to focus on becoming a better writer. Her mother says “You just can’t be as good as the white kids in their language honey.  It’s their language,”  Mia though is insistent in proving her mother wrong practicing and perfecting her writing with the help of Calivista weekly Mrs. T’s dictionary-thesaurus. After Mia’s writing changes a few people’s lives for the better, Mia realizes her written words could have the power to change her life too. As her friend Lupe says, “You can’t win if you don’t play.”

Front Desk is a story of hope and heart.  Mia is an exceptional character who shows not only a genuine kindness but also immense courage to help others.  For my full review, click here.

A very special thanks to Arthur A. Levine Books and Lizette Serrano of Scholastic for sending an ARC to my #bookexcursion group.  Pre-order Front Desk now, for it releases on May 1, 2018.

Neither by Airlie Anderson

“Once upon a time, there were two kinds: this (a blue rabbit) and that (a yellow bird).” An egg hatches and out comes a green creature that has characteristics of both a rabbit and a bird.  “You can’t be both.  You must be a neither!” said this and that which forces “Neither” to fly off to Somewhere Else.  As “Neither” soars in the sky, the reader can see a bird’s eye view of the Land of This and That, which is predominantly blue and yellow while the land adjacent to it includes many more colors. “Neither” soon finds out that she has not found Somewhere Else but rather the Land of All where animals of different kinds are welcome. Anderson’s colorful and vivid illustrations are captivating to the eye. In the Land of All, creatures are a blend of different animals such as a cat butterfly and a dog fish celebrating both uniqueness and inclusiveness.

Reminiscent of Strictly No Elephants by Lisa Manchev, Neither is an engaging and thoughtful story about tolerance, diversity, and acceptance.  I cannot wait to share this with students for #classroombookaday.

Etta’s and Bella’s Dog Pick of the Week: 

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

Can I Be Your Dog? by Troy Cummings

Arfy is a dog in search of a forever home.  Living in a cardboard box in an alley, he decides to write letters to residents on Butternut Street asking “Can I be your dog?” In each letter, Arfy states why he would be a good fit for them.  Unfortunately, Arfy receives letters back turning him down for different reasons.   A sad Arfy returns to his “home” in the alley and wakes up to find a letter addressed to him.  Unbeknownst to Arfy (although readers can infer from the illustrations), the mail carrier has been reading some of his letters.  She writes her own letter to Arfy asking him “Can I be your person?” stating why they would be a good match.

From the bold and lively illustrations, the plot being told through letters, and determination of Arfy to find a home, Can I Be Your Dog is not only the perfect read aloud but also a great resource for teaching persuasive writing or composing letters. What especially warms my heart are the tips for how to help a homeless animal in the end papers.

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Etta, Bella, and I thank you for visiting Beagles and Books!  Have a great week! Happy Reading!

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Bookexcursion

My #MustReadin2018 Spring Update

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Is it really already April? In January, I compiled my Must Reads in 2018 joining host Carrie Gelson of of There’s a Book for That and a community of other bloggers.  It’s time for a spring update to check in on my progress.  To read other bloggers’ progress, search using the hashtag #mustreadin2018.

2018 is my first year participating in #mustreadin2018.  I choose 20 middle grade books. Some are books in my TBR stack that weren’t read in 2017, some are #bookexcursion ARCs generously provided by authors, and others are titles recommended by authors and book bloggers I follow on Goodreads and Twitter.

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I am slightly behind in my reading.  I have read 3 books and am in the process of reading 2 books.  I am not worried though because in about 50 days, I will have a summer truly free to devote more time to read many of the books on my list. Plenty of time to catch up!

#MustReadin2018 Middle Grade Books Read

Takedown by Laura Shovan

A book that was out of my comfort zone.  Sports has never been my thing but I devoured Takedown. I absolutely loved the format of the novel hearing from both Mikayla’s and Lev’s perspective, which revealed their determination, competitiveness, and insecurities.  For my full review, click hereTakedown releases in June 2018.

The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl by Stacy McAnulty

Mathematical genius Lucy discovers that all things aren’t easy to calculate, and sometimes numbers aren’t all that matters.  For my full review, click here.  Lightning Girl releases in May 2018.

Pashmina by Nidji Chanani

This graphic novel was a window into the world of Priyanka, an Indian American teenager being raised by a single mother. Like Pri, I questioned why her mother left India and why she refused to discuss it.  The mysterious and magical pashmina allowed me to join Pri on her journey to uncover the truth.

#MustReadin2018 Books Currently Reading

The Stars Beneath Our Feet by David Barclay Moore

I am currently listening to the audio version.  I have about an hour and a half left. Another window book for me. Lolly is a good kid trying to make the right choices which isn’t easy living in the projects in Harlem.  Rooting for Lolly to fully realize his talents and potential to do great things in life.

Grump: The (Fairly) True Tale of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves by Liesl Shurtliff

I just started reading Grump and am already intrigued by his fascination with humans and wanting to go above the surface.  Stay tuned!

Professional Books

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While I have not read the books in their entirety, I have read portions of Preventing Misguided Reading and From Striving to Thriving as they support my teaching of students as well as assist me in my work supporting teachers in professional learning.  I have not yet received my copy of Understanding Text as Readers. 

Thanks for joining me in my book journey!

Bookexcursion

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 1/15/18

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Etta, Bella, and I are eager to share our latest reads for It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #IMWAYR is a community of bloggers who link up to share what they are reading. Kellee Moye of Unleashing Readers and Jen Vincent of Teach Mentor Texts decided to give it a #kidlit focus and encourage everyone who participates to visit at least 3 of the other #kidlit book bloggers that link up and leave comments for them.

Our Reads This Week:

Night of the Living Cuddle Bunnies by Jonathan Rosen

Devin is an ordinary 12-year-old boy.  He desperately wants an iPhone and his little sister Abby gets on his nerves with her constant temper tantrums.  When movers carry in a huge pot and giant glass ball to a house across the street from Devin’s family, his cousin Tommy is convinced that the new neighbor is a warlock.  Normally, Devin does not believe in Tommy’s conspiracy theories, but his feelings begin to waver when Herb comes over for dinner and then the next day when he drops off a Cuddle Bunny, the hottest toy of the Christmas season for Abby.   When the Cuddle Bunny comes to life, Devin realizes Herb is responsible; therefore, Tommy’s theory is actually true.  Since his parents do not believe him, Devin and Tommy are left to expose Herb and in the meantime, save their town from being overrun by the evil Cuddle Bunnies.

Reading Night of the Living Cuddle Bunnies took me back to my childhood.   In 1983,  I vividly remember going to Toys R Us and writing my name on a wait list for a Cabbage Patch Doll, the most in-demand toy of the year.  In addition, there is a scene in the book where all the Cuddle Bunnies are reeking havoc at the mall; I laughed hysterically recalling the movie Gremlins, one of my brother’s and my favorite movies.

Night of the Living Cuddle Bunnies is a fast paced, hilarious story that middle grade readers will devour; adult readers my age will equally enjoy it since it allows us to take that trip down memory lane.  I also loved the book because Devin truly changes and grows in his quest to locate and eliminate the head bunny, Mr. Flopsy-Ears.  And stay tuned because the ending gives me hope for another adventure with Devin and Tommy.

A very special thanks to Jonathan Rosen for fulfilling one of my Christmas wishes and sending me a copy of Night of Living Cuddle Bunnies during #MGBookmas.   I loved this “hare raising” story and excited to share and discuss it with readers at my school!

Zoey and Sassafras: Marshmallows and Dragons by Asia Citro  Illustrated by Marion Lindsay

Zoey is an inquisitive young scientist who is always exploring, observing, and thinking with her trusty kitty Sassafras.  When she needs to think of brilliant ideas. Zoey wears her Thinking Goggles on top of her head because they are closer to her brain.  One day,  she notices a purple frog in a photo on her mom’s desk.  Her mom is amazed that Zoey can see Pip, one of the many magical animals that live in the forest.

While her mom off to conference, Zoey is charged with helping any injured animals that come to their barn. Patiently Zoey waits for the barn bell to sound.  It is not until late in the week that Zoey hears the ring and anxiously runs to find a sick baby dragon.  Using her schema as well as the scientific method, Zoey works diligently to uncover how to help the dragon named Marshmallow get better.  I especially love how Zoey documents all her notes in her science journal (which were written and drawn by Asia’s own daughter).

I am always on the look out for books for my transitional readers.  Look no further than Zoey and Sassafras. Currently, there are 4 books in the series with a fifth book publishing in April 2018. This series hits the mark on so many levels with a curious main character, short chapters, rich vocabulary, adorable illustrations, and of course, magical animals!  Can’t wait to introduce Zoey to readers at my school especially my second grade literacy lunch bunch.

I am Famous by Tara Luebbe and Becky Cattie Illustrated by Joanne Lew-Vriethoff

Told from Kiely’s point of view,  it is no wonder that she consider herself to be famous.  Since the day she was born, the paparazzi (her parents) have been taking and sharing photos of her, and her mailbox is always full of mail from her fan club (her grandma).

Kiely’s biggest show is performing at her Grandpa’s birthday party and when she reaches the stage, she sees the house is packed with her fans.  Of course, no performance is without its glitches, but Kiely knows the show must go on.  Her mantra is just keep smiling!   During the grand finale, Kiely briefly forgets her optimism, but luckily, her audience is right there to pick her up and support her.

I am Famous is a book to which all children can relate.  In this age of social media, children are used to being photographed not only for major milestones but also for performing the most minor tasks.  What I love most about I am Famous is a new definition for fame-having a family who loves you, no matter what!

A very special thanks to Tara Luebbe for sending an advance reading copy of  I Am Famous to Beagles and Books, which I will be sharing with my #bookexcursion group. Preorder now, for I Am Famous will be published in March 2018.

Featured Dog Selection of the Week

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

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A Dog Wearing Shoes by Sangmi Ko

On the way home, Mini and her mom find a lost dog in the road.  Mini wants to keep the dog for her own, but her mom reminds her, ‘He has shoes.  He belongs to someone.”  Mini and her mom go to the park where the dog with shoes garners a lot of attention  performing tricks.  When she takes him off leash to fetch a bone, the dog runs away leaving one shoe behind, and Mini heartbroken.

The next day, Mini’s mom takes her to the dog shelter in hopes of finding the dog.  Miraculously, the dog wearing only three shoes is there!  Knowing how awful it felt to lose him, Mini puts up fliers realizing that there is probably someone out there missing him too.  After the dog is reunited with his owner, Mini and her mom know just where to go-the animal shelter.

From the beautiful written story, the heartwarming black and white illustrations with a just dab of color to the incredible message, A Dog Wearing Shoes is now one of my all time favorite dog books ever.  At the end of the book, the author includes information on how to adopt a dog with links to websites like Petfinder.com

Thank you so much for visiting Beagles and Books!  Have a great week!  Happy Reading!

Bookexcursion

My Must Reads in 2018

I have always been a reader, but 2017 was a BIG reading year for me. In June, I renewed my love for picture books and began sharing #bookaday posts on Twitter with my sweet beagle Etta. In July, I joined #bookexcursion, a group of 10 educators who share a passion for reading, sharing, and reviewing kidlit from picture books to chapter books. In August, I launched my blog, Beagles and Books with the help of Etta and shared my first blog post for #pb10for10. In September, I joined the kidlit blogging community to share my favorite weekly reads with #IMWAYR.

To launch 2018, it is only fitting to now add #mustreadin2018. I am joining Carrie Gelson of There’s A Book for That and community of other book bloggers. Thanks Carrie for the encouragement. I chose the following 20 middle grade books that I will make a priority to read this year. Some are books in my TBR stack that weren’t read in 2017, some are #bookexcursion ARCs generously provided by authors, and others are titles recommended by book bloggers I follow on Goodreads and Twitter.

As an elementary reading specialist, I also do not want to forget the importance of continuing to build my content knowledge for teaching reading; therefore, I have also included 3 professional reads to support my work with both students and teachers.

Let the reading begin!