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

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 4/15/19

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

Our Recent Reads: 

Junior Monster Scouts: The Monster Squad by Joe McGee  Illustrated by Ethan Long

Junior Monster Scouts is a new early chapter book series featuring the children of “classic” monsters.  In the first book of the series, The Monster Squad, Wolfy, Vampyra, and Franky work together to dispel the belief that monsters are dangerous, which has been spread by cranky Baron Von Grump who did not like noise or monsters. When Peter, the piper of the village loses his cat, the trio have only one mission-to help find Shadow.  After all, the Junior Monster Scouts’ oath includes the promise to be nice, not scary and to help, not harm.

The Monster Squad is fun and entertaining and will definitely appeal to children transitioning into chapter book reading. I love that at times, McGee allows the narrator to directly speak to the reader, which makes the story more engaging. Ethan Long’s adorable illustrations of the monsters make them so endearing. The Junior Monster Scouts also are great role models demonstrating the virtues of kindness, collaboration, and helpfulness. Special thanks to Joe McGee for sharing an ARC with my #bookexcursion group.  The Monster Squad and its follow up Crash! Bang! Boo! will be released in September 2019.

Llama Destroys the World by Jonathan Stutzman Illustrated by Heather Fox

Llama’s gluttonous appetite for cake sets off a chain reaction that almost leads to a disaster of planetary proportions. Because he ate so much cake, Llama’s pants are too tight.  When he dances, his pants rip so loudly that it causes a black hole to open.  Rather than warn others, oblivious Llama carries on with his life and at the end of week, the world ends with the black hole swallowing everything.  Fortunately, for Llama, on the other side of the black hole, the universe survives intact and unharmed.  What a lucky llama! But has Llama learned his lesson when he stumbles upon a lot of pie?

Strutzman’s witty text and Fox’s charmingly whimsical illustrations will make both kids and adults laugh out loud. Special thanks to the author, for I was one of the lucky winners of a recent Twitter giveaway. Llama Destroys the World releases on May 7, 2019.

Vacation for Dexter by Lindsay Ward

Breaking the fourth wall, Dexter speaking directly to readers sharing his excitement and anxiety about traveling.  In Vacation for Dexter, Dexter accompanies his best buddy Jack on a trip to FLOR-I-DA, but planes are not this T-Rex’s preferred mode of transportation.  In true Dexter fashion, he begins his larger than life melt down, but one look at Jack’s anxious face makes Dexter stop worrying about himself and switch gears to comforting his boy.  Vacation for Dexter is a hilarious and heartwarming story reminding young children that it’s easier to be brave with a buddy.  To read my full review, click and enter a DINO-mite giveaway courtesy of Two Lions Publishing, click here.

Etta and Bella’s Dog Pick of the Week

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

My Furry Foster Family: Truman the Dog by Debbi Michiko Florence Illustrated by Melanie Demmer

Being a huge fan of Florence’s Jasmine Toguchi series, I was so excited to find out she has a new early chapter book series. What makes my heart truly happy is the series features a family fostering animals from a local shelter.

Narrated by eight year old Kaita Takano, Truman the Dog, the first book in the series introduces the reader to her family who begins to foster animals from Happy Paws Rescue, the shelter where they adopted their dachusund Ollie. Their first foster is Truman, an older yet energetic black lab mix . As first time fosters, Kaita and her parents learn lessons daily such as never leave Truman in a room unattended because he finds “trouble.”

What I love about this story is Truman is never blamed for his behavior; rather, the family makes adjustments such as making sure items are out of Truman’s reach. While it is bittersweet when Truman finds his furever home, Kaita realizes that Truman’s adoption allows her family to help another animal in need.  Demmer’s charming illustrations pop off the page and provide support to young readers who are transitioning to chapter books.  I was especially tickled seeing Kaita wearing a flamingo shirt like Jasmine Toguchi!

After the story ends, readers are introduced to real life Kaita who inspired the series and learn how she and the book character are similar and different.   This bonus feature teaches young readers the difference between fiction and nonfiction and could also spark children to write their own fictional stories based on their own lives.  Special thanks to Capstone Publishing for sharing an ARC with my #bookexcursion group. The entire four book series will be released in August 2019.

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

Our Recent Reads: 

All of Me by Chris Baron

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

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

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

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

Carl and the Meaning of Life by Deborah Freedman

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

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

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

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

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

Etta and Bella’s Dog Pick of the Week

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

Love is My Favorite Thing by Emma Chicester Clark

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

Our Recent Reads: 

A Kind of Paradise by Amy Rebecca Tan

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

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

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

A Monster Like Me by Wendy Swore

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

Noah Noasaurus by Elaine Kiely Kearns Illustrated by Colin Jack

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

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

Etta and Bella’s Dog Pick of the Week

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

Let’s Have a Dog Party! by Mikela Prevost

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

Our Recent Reads: 

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Cogheart by Peter Benzl

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

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

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

Sweety by Andrea Zuill

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

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Waiting for Pumpsie by Barry Wittenstein Illustrated by London Ladd

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

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

Good Boy by Sergio Ruzzier

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

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

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

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

 

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

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 2/4/19

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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: 

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 be brave 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 melodious 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 visualize 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 vivid 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.  When You Are Brave publishes soon on March 5, 2019.

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Duck and Hippo: The Secret Valentine by Jonathan London Illustrated by Andrew Joyner

Like all the books in the Duck and Hippo series, the theme of friendship is at the center of the story.  In The Secret Valentine, no one knows for sure who the mystery valentine is but all the animals have their suspicions.  To read my full review and enter a giveaway, click here.

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.

Wolf Camp by Andrea Zuill

I love books that are told from a dog’s point of view. Homer is a dog but he feels wolfish at times.  Curious about what it would be like to live as a real wolf, he cannot pass up the opportunity to enroll in Wolf Camp.  After convincing his family, Homer attends Wolf Camp where he and other dogs learn the basics of how to be real wolves. 

Homer soon discovers that the food and sleeping accommodations contrast his comfortable life at home but he sticks it out and becomes a honorary wolf by the end of camp. While Homer adjust backs to his dog life in his warm bed and electric blanket, his certificate hanging in his room and his howl show that he will always be a wolf at heart.

I can’t wait to read this aloud to students. Kids will find humor in the text and illustrations especially as Homer shared his experiences at Wolf Camp. His letter home is hysterical! Special thanks to my fellow #bookexcursion member Lisa Maucione for recommending this wolf-tastic picture book.

 

 

 

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

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 1/28/19

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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 Simple Art of Flying by Cory Leonardo

I love stories told from multiple points of view.  You know what’s even better?  Each point of view is written in a different form.  In The Simple Art of Flying, Pete’s Pet Shack is where the lives of Alastair, an African grey parrot,  12 year old doctor in training Fritz, and elderly yet young at heart Albertina known as “Bertie” intertwine.

Written in prose and verse, Alastair yearns to leave his cage and fly away to a palm tree with his devoted sister Aggie. Unfortunately, his anxiousness coupled with some injuries have thwarted his ability to successfully escape.  Readers soon learn that Alastair has quite an affinity for eating words which inspires him to write poetry.   Fritz shares his thoughts and feelings in his Official Medical Logbook.  He meets Alastair and Aggie when he helps out at Pete’s after school.  Aside from his dream of becoming a doctor, Fritz wants to save enough money to buy Aggie, which of course impedes Alastair’s plans. Bertie’s story is written in the form of letters to her husband.  Seeing Alastair in his sad state, lonely Bertie decides he will make a good companion.

As I read each character’s story, I quickly realized that Alastair, Fritz, and Bertie are all trying to cope with loss and change on their own. Author Cory Leonardo’s writing is exquisite. What touched me is how beautifully she was able to weave all the characters’ stories together.  Each of them was shouldering a heavy load alone.  But through their relationships, they learned an important lesson-“You don’t always get what you want out of life because what you do get is better than you ever imagined, better than what you even thought possible.”

The Simple Art of Flying is a must read for amid all my tears, the message of hope & love is abundantly clear.  Special thanks to Cory Leonardo and Simon Kids for sharing an ARC with my #bookexcursion group.  Pre-order this touching and heartwarming story now because The Simple Art of Flying publishes soon on February 12, 2019.

Pie in the Sky by Remy Lai

Illustrated novels are becoming one of my favorite formats.  Told from the point of view of 11 year old Jingwen, Pie in the Sky is his story of immigrating to Australia with his mother and his annoying yet adorable little brother Yanghao.

Jingwen’s story really hit me because author Remy Lai’s writing and art was so authentic and honest.  While Jingwen is struggling to learn English and make friends, he sees Yanghao excelling at both.  The art is especially revealing for readers get to understand Jingwen’s real thoughts, for he truly feels he has landed on another planet where people look like aliens and speak in symbols.

What is most heartbreaking is Jingwen’s father passed away unexpectedly which leaves him with some unresolved issues.  Jingwen believes there is the only way for him to be able to make peace with his papa, improve his English, and get friends.  He must make all the Pie in the Sky cakes which were to be featured in the bakery his father planned to open.  Making these desserts isn’t a piece of cake because his mother has forbidden her sons to use the oven while she is at work.  But Jingwen is determined and convinces himself that a few little white lies won’t hurt anyone right?

Remy Lai’s debut novel gave me all the feels.  I laughed every time Jingwen and Yanghao called each other “booger” (which is A LOT!) and during their cake making escapades. I teared as the brothers fought with one another and learned more about the heavy weight that Jingwen was carrying in his heart.  Pie in the Sky is a book that can be a mirror or window for readers of all ages.  As a teacher, Jingwen’s story gives me a better insight into the lives of my English Language Learner students and the challenges they face acclimating to living in a new country.  Special thanks to Remy Lai and Macmillian Kids for sharing an ARC with my #bookexcursion group. I highly recommend that you pre-order Pie in the Sky now so it is delivered promptly on its May 14, 2019 release.

 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.

Ragweed’s Farm Dog Handbook: (Learn from the best!) by Anne Vittur Kennedy

Ragweed is one smart dog and he is willing to pass on his secrets to others who aspire to be a farm dog like him. As Ragweed shares this knowledge about pigs, cows, chickens and sheep, readers clearly discover that he doesn’t actually follow his own advice.  I wonder why?  Well, biscuits may have something to do with it.  Actually, biscuits have EVERYTHING to do with it.  Ragweed has his priorities! 

As a dog mom, I know Ragweed’s voice is perfect!  Etta and Bella are all about the biscuits too.  Anne Vittur Kennedy’s adorable illustrations make you fall in love with Ragweed even more!  Special thanks to Margie Myers-Culver for recommending this book.  Check out her awesome blog by clicking here. Love my Twitter PLN!

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

 

 

 

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

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 1/21/19

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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: 

Unicorn Is Maybe Not So Great After All by Bob Shea

It’s been a long wait, but the unstoppable team of Unicorn and Goat are back!  It’s the first day of school and Unicorn is being upstaged by the latest craze-rubber bands that look like well anything circular.  Feeling like a yawn-icorn, Unicorn decides a transformation is the key to regaining the spotlight. Unicorn does get noticed, but the attention is NOT positive which leaves Unicorn feeling even worse.  How can Unicorn gets his mojo back and make up with his friends?

Like Unicorn Thinks He Is Pretty Great, this highly anticipated follow up teaches valuable lessons on self-acceptance, forgiveness, and friendship.  Special thanks to Dina Sherman of Disney Book Group for sharing a F & G with my #bookexcursion group.  This pretty great picture book releases in July 2019 so plan ahead!

The Night Library by David Zeltser Illustrated by Raul Colon

Were you ever disappointed by a gift you received as a child?  In The Night Library, a boy about to turn eight is less than elated to receive his early birthday present-a book.  During his restless sleep, the boy is visited by Patience and Fortitude, the lions who guard the New York Public Library.   Soon he is touring the library with the lions rediscovering the magic of books and how they connect us with the ones we love, even those who are no longer with us.

Zeltser’s poetic writing coupled with Colon’s gorgeous artwork makes The Night Library a must read.  An author’s note shares the history of Patience and Fortitude.  I can’t wait to share this story about the power of books with my students.  Special thanks to Random House Kids for sending a F & G to my #bookexcursion group.  The Night Library publishes in April 2019.

 

Yasmin the Zookeeper by Saadia Faruji Illustrated by Hatem Aly

Yasmin is back with 4 new books for young readers to enjoy!  In this adventure, Yasmin is excited about her school field trip to the zoo.   I can relate to Yasmin’s enthusiasm about riding a school bus!  Like her, I never rode a bus to school so the ride alone was thrilling to me!  During the field trip, the class get to see the animals up close. While Yasmin is overjoyed when she is picked to help feed the monkeys, a mishap occurs that requires some quick problem solving.  Luckily, Yasmin thinks fast on her feet which makes her zoo trip one she will always remember!

Yasmin is one of my favorite series to recommend to my readers transitioning to chapter books.  Author Saadia Faruqi has created an inquisitive character that young students can easily relate, for some of Yasmin’s experiences mirror their own.  Young readers can not only learn about another culture within the text but also with the backmatter includes Urdu vocabulary and Pakistani facts.  Aly’s bold illustrations of Yasmin clearly show her exuberant personality and her curiosity.

To view all the titles in the Yasmin series, please click here.  Like me, you will need to order them all! And while you are purchasing, pre-order Yasmin in Charge, which will be released in March 2019.

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.

Fenway and Hattie in the Wild by Victoria J. Coe

Of course, dog books hold a special place in my heart so an opportunity to read the upcoming Fenway and Hattie adventure is a truly honor.  When I found out In the Wild is the last book in the series (at least for a while), the reading became more bittersweet.

Fenway, Hattie, Food Lady and Fetch Man join next door neighbor Angel, her parents and of course pups Patches and Goldie on their annual camping trip.  Being newcomers to the campgrounds, both Fenway and Hattie are navigating new relationships and experiences.  In the woods, a Pomeranian named Coco is the boss and if you step on her paws as Fenway discovers, you’re in trouble.  Hattie, on the other hand, nervous about starting a new school is caught between being one of the “crew” with Angel and her friends and hanging with book loving June who shares an interest in her drawings.  Smelling trouble whenever a boy named Marcus is around, the ever loyal Fenway is determined to protect his girl Hattie from danger even if it means jumping into a pond. And to make matters worst, someone is stealing food from the campsite.  Coco has declared herself in charge of the investigation and this does not sit well with Fenway.

While I have enjoyed all of the books in the series, I think In the Wild may very well be my favorite. Victoria Coe’s fabulous writing mixes humor with heart revealing both Fenway’s and Hattie’s struggle with fitting in and how ultimately, they realize the only way to be happy is to stay true to themselves.  Special thanks to Lisa Maucione who won a copy of the manuscript and shared it with our #bookexcursion group.  And a heartfelt thank you to Victoria Coe for creating the Fenway & Hattie series.  Pre-order now, for In the Wild releases in May 2019.

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

 

 

 

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

It’s Monday! What are You Reading? 1/14/19

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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.

It’s a snow day for me which means a day of reading and snuggling with my book beagles!  I truly love my job but a snow day helps this educator have an opportunity to read and recharge which is always appreciated!  Yesterday Bella and I enjoyed a walk in the snow while Etta snoozed in the warm house.  Priorities!

Our Recent Reads:

The Hunt for the Mad Wolf’s Daughter by Diane Magras

As a reader, I love sequels but there is always that slight worry before opening the first page.  Will I still love the character?  Will the plot be as engaging?

Oh yes!  And even better than I could have ever anticipated! Thank you Diane Magras!

In the first book, The Mad Wolf’s Daughter, Drest’s main goal was to save her imprisoned family which she bravely accomplished.  She was also struggling to figure out her own identity. Can a warrior be brave and kind?

The Hunt for Mad Wolf’s Daughter picks up immediately after the first book ended. Readers quickly learn that Emmerick’s disloyal uncle has spread false rumors that Drest is responsible for the young lord’s death.  As a result, Drest has a substantial price of her head.  While her family lauds Drest’s courage in rescuing them, she is once again relegated to the sidelines by her father Mad Wolf.  To no surprise, this does not sit well with Drest.  She remains steadfast in her determination to keep Emmerick safe disobeying her father’s orders and risking her own life to ensure Emmerick reclaims his rightful title.

The Hunt for Mad Wolf’s Daughter is a fast paced and thrilling ride that keeps you on the edge of your seats chapter after chapter.  In creating Drest, Diane Magras has created a truly amazing character and role model for readers of all ages.  Drest truly inspires me with her genuine compassion toward others as well as her determination to carve her own path & define who she is, not who others want her to be.  While it may be true that you can’t control our own legend, Drest learns it is possible to change your legend with the help of grateful and loyal friends.  It is my hope that Drest’s adventures do not end with The Hunt for Mad Wolf’s Daughter; I know I can learn so such more from this kind and brave wee lass!

A very special thanks to Diane Magras for providing our #bookexcursion group with an ARC of The Hunt for Mad Wolf’s Daughter.  Pre-order now for Drest’s latest adventure publishes in March.  To read my review of The Mad Wolf’s Daughter, click here.

First Snow by Nancy Viau Illustrated by Talitha Shipman

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First Snow is a delightful picture book that celebrates the joy of the first snow of the season.  A brother and his little sister look out the window to see snow falling.  The children waste no time putting on their snow gear and head outside to join their neighborhood friends to play in the wintry wonderland.  Their beagle (yes beagle!) follows along to frolic in the snow!  To read my full review and enter a giveaway for your own copy, click here.

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.

Rags Hero Dog of WWI: A True Story by Morgan Theis Raven Illustrated by Petra Brown

This nonfiction narrative introduced me to two heroic war veterans.  Found by Private James Donovan on the streets of Paris, a shaggy mutt becomes his good luck charm when the soldier forgets his pass to be out in the city and is stopped by the French police.  From that day forward, the pup now named Rags is Donovan’s constant companion on base and in the trenches.  Rags quickly learns how to be a soldier warning his men of incoming shells, helping Donovan locate breaks in the lines, and running messages with the simple command “Go find!”

Author Morgan Theis Raven continues to share both Donovan’s and Rags’ amazingly heroic story which is both heartwarming and heartbreaking.  The muted brown and grey illustrations complement the story well depicting the realities of war for an elementary age audience.

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

#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.

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

It’s Monday! What are You Reading? 1/7/19

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Happy New Year! 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:

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 all her life. 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.

The Bookshop Girl by Sylvia Bishop Illustrated by Poly Bernatene

The Bookshop Girl is a story about Property Jones and her adopted family who own a small bookshop in England.  Property has been given her unique name because she was left in the bookshop when she was 5 years old and placed in the lost property cupboard by her now brother Michael.

Fast forward six years later, the Jones family enters and wins a contest to become the new owners of the Great Montgomery Book Emporium, which is every book lover’s dream.  The world’s first and only mechanical bookshop; just pull a lever and a themed book room awaits readers from the Room of Knights and Castles to the Room of Ocean Tales. Not long after taking over the infamous bookstore, Property and Michael uncover the truth behind why owner, Albert H. Montgomery gave the Book Emporium away.  In a race against time, Property must stop the villainous Eliot Pink and expose his duplicity.  While Property herself is harboring a secret of her own, her astute observational skills and determination help her ultimately saves the bookshop for her family and discover how strong she really is.

With a fast paced plot and only 125 pages long, The Bookshop Girl is a charming and enchanting mystery that readers will devour quickly. Bishop’s unique and quirky characters and whimsical setting are brought to life by the black and white illustrations by Poly Bernatene.

It’s Not Hansel and Gretel by Josh Funk Illustrated by Edwardian Taylor

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

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

For fans of It’s Not Jack and the Beanstalk, It’s Not Hansel and Gretel is a hilarious and worthy follow up that will leave you wanting more fractured fairy tales from the amazing collaborative team of Josh Funk and Edwardian Taylor.  Funk’s witty writing is pure joy to read aloud and honestly I find it difficult to not laugh myself.  Taylor’s illustrations are so entertaining and chocked full of details that I reread the story just to view his comical digital art.  Please tell me there are more twisted tales to come!

Special thanks to Two Lions/Amazon Publishing and Barbara Fisch of Blue Slip Media for sending a F & G copy of It’s Not Hansel and Gretel to my #bookexcursion group. Pre-order now so you can share this laugh out loud story with kids, for it publishes on February 1, 2019.

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.

Bow-Wow-Meow by Blanca Lacasa Illustrated by Gomez

Bow-Wow-Meow is a charming story about being loved and accepted for who you really are.  Fabio is a small hound that doesn’t enjoy acting like a dog. His family including young Max continually try to coax him to bark, fetch, chase or roll over but Fabio is not persuaded.  When Max notices Fabio is not curled up in his usual spot at night, he stays awake and follows Fabio.  To Max’s surprise, he discovers that Fabio joins a group of cats nightly because he would much rather chase mice, play with yarn and bow-wow-meow with his feline friends.  Max sees how happy Fabio so once back at home, he shows his understanding by giving Fabio a dish of milk.  Finally, Fabio’s tail wags with excitement which makes my heart full.

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