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

It’s Monday! What are You Reading? 6/18/18

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Summer vacation has begun! 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 Reads This Week:

Lost in the Library by Josh Funk Illustrated by Stevie Lewis

Ever since its announcement, I have been anxiously waiting to read Lost in the Library.  I am a huge fan of Josh Funk’s books, but the fact that the setting is the New York Library makes it even more exciting.

Fortitude and Patience are the names of the lions that greet visitors to the New York Public Library.  One morning Fortitude awakens to see Patience has left his post.  In search of his friend, Fortitude enters the library after hours taking the reader on a tour through Astor Hall, the Rose Reading Room, the Edna Barnes Salomon Room, and the Children’s Center.  Will Fortitude ever find his best friend?

Written in rhyme, Josh Funk beautifully tells Fortitude’s quest to find his friend.  Illustrator Stevie Lewis captures not only the beauty of the New York Public Library but also the sad and concerned emotions of Fortitude who is missing his beloved friend.  After reading the melodic text, I had to reread to savor the illustrations which are simply gorgeous. Lost in the Library is a timeless story that reminds us reading is a shared experience.  At the end of the story, Josh Funk and Stevie Lewis pay tribute to such classics as Caps for Sale, Sylvester, and Amelia Bedelia. 

A very special thanks to Christian Trimmer of Henry Holt for Young Readers for sending Lost in the Library to my #bookexcursion group.  Pre-order like me, for it releases in late August 2018.

Megabat by Anna Humphrey Illustrated by Kass Reich

Daniel is unhappy about moving to a new house but a surprise friendship with a bat makes the transition more bearable.  At first, Daniel thinks a ghost is living with him in his attic bedroom but quickly discovers that the ghost is really a fruit bat who can talk! Like Daniel, Bat is homesick.  He needs Daniel’s help to get back to the land of Papaya Premium, which Daniel learns from researching is Borneo.

Daniel is determined to help his new friend whose is renamed Megabat due to Daniel’s bat research and his love for Star Wars. Daniel soon meets next door neighbors Talia and her brother Jamie. An animal lover, Talia offers to help Daniel get Megabat home, but the two encounter obstacles with every attempt. And it doesn’t help that Jamie’s  blackmailing Talia to be his servant in exchange for keeping talking Megabat a secret from their mom.

For readers transitioning to chapter books, Megabat is a great addition to a classroom library.  Young readers will be able to identify with Daniel and enjoy the Star Wars references.  Reich’s adorable illustrations of Megabat along with his fun personality will also draw in the reader.  Fingers crossed this is the first of many books in an engaging series for early elementary readers.

A very special thanks to NetGalley for providing an e-book for me to read and review.  Already pre-ordered, Megabat will be published in August 2018.

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.

Wonderland by Barbara O’Connor

Mavis, Rose, and Henry’s lives intersect in his tender and heartwarming story about fitting in, finding your voice, and most importantly, the power of friendship.

Mavis Jeeter and her mom never stay in one place for a long time, which makes making friends challenging.  At the beginning of the story,  Mavis’ mom accepts a job as a housekeeper for the Tully family.  Mavis desperately wants a true best friend and hopes she has found one in Rose, the Tully’s daughter.  Like Mavis, Rose has never had a real best friend either.  She does not like spending time with the other girls who live in Magnolia Estates like Amanda Simm, for Amanda says mean things behind parents’ backs and only cares about going to the mall.  Rose would rather spend time with Mr. Duffy, the Magnolia Estates gatekeeper although since his dog’s death, Mr. Duffy is grumpy, forgetful, and very lonely.

After being introduced to Rose, assertive and daring Mavis immediately tells Rose that she is her new best friend.  Worrier Rose accepts the friendship but struggles with having the confidence to be as bold as Mavis.  Mavis is convinced that Mr. Duffy will be happy again if he get a new dog.  So when she and Rose hear about a stray dog named Henry living in the woods, Mavis hatches a plan to catch Henry and give him to Mr. Duffy.  Of course, no plan is not without its obstacles and unlike Mavis, Rose is apprehensive about everything from going into the woods to find Henry to riding bikes outside of Magnolia Estates.  And every time Mr. Duffy makes a mistake and Rose hears her mother complaining, she worries that he may be fired and leave her forever.

I just loved everything about Wonderland-the setting, characters, plot, the writing, and the message.  I identified a lot with Rose because I have always been a worrier and fortunately, with age, I have become more confident and brave.  Rose’s friendship with Mavis was the catalyst helping her finding her own voice, and it was amazing to see Rose’s confidence grow.  And I just loved Mr. Duffy and couldn’t get enough of Mr. Duffy’s sayings.  There are so many but my favorite was  “You can’t keep trouble from coming, but you don’t have to give it a chair to sit on.”  Told from not only Mavis and Rose’s point of view, but also Henry’s, Wonderland gave me a glimpse into a dog’s perspective which is always a treat.  Not to give the story away, but I truly enjoyed reading Henry’s account from beginning to end.

A very special thanks to author Barbara O’Connor for sending Wonderland to my #bookexcursion group and for the beautiful acknowledgement that reminds me of my collaborative role in helping to grow readers.

Pre-order Wonderland now,  for it will be released in August 2018.

Etta, Bella, and I thank you for visiting Beagles and Books.  Happy Reading!

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

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 6/11/18

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5 days until summer reading officially begins!  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 Reads This Week:

The House that Lou Built by Mae Respicio

Having her own room would be awesome-sauce.  Living in San Francisco, Lou shares a bedroom with her mother and lives in her grandmother Lola’s house.  Lou’s father died before she was born and he left her a plot of land.  On that land, Lou dreams of building a tiny house. Her timeline for building has to be accelerated because her mom was offered and accepted a nursing job in Washington State.  If Lou can build her house this summer, then perhaps her mom will change her mind.

With the help of her cousins and friends, Lou secretly begins building.  At first, her house seems to be on its way, and Lou is bursting with excitement over her plan.  But then a notice of public auction arrives in the mail because taxes are due.  Lou discovers they have 30 days to pay or the auction will occur.  After Lou finally comes clean about her tiny house building project, her mom is not happy.  Lou is grounded with no more trips to the land.  Fearful of losing her only connection to her father, Lou is desperate to save her land.  Lou though soon realizes that home is not about a particular place; “it’s more of a feeling,-of comfort and trust, of people that are a part of you.” Home is a family who loves you and supports you.

The House that Lou Built is a story about dreaming big.  Lou embodies the quote Seize the day that her shop teacher and mentor, Mr. Keller displays in his classroom.  While her dreams are big, Lou knows that perseverance, hard work, and faith in oneself are essential to making dreams come true. What I truly love about Lou’s story is that it can also be a mirror and window to readers.  Lou is Filipino-American and throughout the book, her Filipino culture is seamlessly interwoven into the story from language to food to traditions such as annual Barrio Fiesta.  As a reading specialist, I am always on the lookout for new #ownvoices titles to share with students as well as share with my media specialist to order for our school library.

A very special thanks to author Mae Respicio for sending an ARC of The House That Lou Built to my #bookexcursion group.  Lou celebrates her book birthday tomorrow on June 12, 2018.  Pre-order so you can get your copy and meet Lou, her family, and friends right away!

Off and Away by Cale Atkinson

I am a big fan of Cale Atkinson’s books and Off & Away is “sea-sational!”   It is a touching and uplifting story about having the courage to face your fears. Jo always wanted to be a great adventurer like her dad, but her apprehension about what lurked below the sea always kept her from stepping off their dock.  When Jo’s dad falls ill and bottles keep piling up, Jo takes a deep breath in before embarking on her bold journey.  To read my full review and enter a giveaway, please click here.

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.

Emma and Muse by Nancy Lemon

Emma is a young artist and her most favorite thing to draw, paint, sculpt is her dog named Muse until one day Muse decides to join her in creating her next masterpiece. Emma shouts “BAD DOG MUSE!” and a heartbroken Muse leaves home.  Without Muse, Emma is no longer inspired and needs him to regain her creative juices. Will Emma come up with a plan to find Muse and get him back?  Will Muse forgive Emma?

Emma and Muse is not only a story about friendship and forgiveness but also a wonderful picture book that exposes young readers to the world of art.  Author/ illustrator Nancy Lemon fills the book with dog paintings drawn in the style of famous artists as well as a glossary of art terms at the end of the book.  I shared Emma and Muse with the art teacher at my school (whose name is coincidentally Emma) and she absolutely loved it.

Etta, Bella, and I thank you for visiting Beagles and Books!  Happy Reading!

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

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 6/4/18

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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.

Our Reads This Week:

The Haunted Serpent by Dora Mitchell

Spaulding Merriweather lives with his Aunt Gwen, a mystery writer because his paranormal investigator parents are busy with their TV show. After being homeschooled for most of his life, Spaulding is ready to attend regular school and make some friends his age.    He quickly discovers making friends is harder than he thought especially when you mention seeing an undead man in the woods.  Things get a little creepier for Spaulding when he sees a gigantic snake on his neighbor’s roof and then meets his undead neighbor Mr. Radzinsky.  Yikes! Add smoke puffing out of the abandoned Slecht-Tech factory, and Spaulding has a case perfect for his parents’ TV show, Peering into the Darkness.  If only they would believe him.  Spaulding is determined to prove that paranormal activity is alive (or undead) in Thedgeroot. Spaulding sets out to investigate on his own and to his surprise, gains the help of three other kids, Mr. Radinsky, and his pet snake David Boa (how cool is that?)

Author illustrator Dora Mitchell has written a eerily hilarious story which I will immediately recommend to students.  Young readers will love both the characters (both alive and undead) and the plot as well as the black and white illustrations from Spaulding’s notebook which provide humor and details that are integral to the story.

A very special thanks to Dora Mitchell for providing an ARC of The Haunted Serpent to my #bookexcursion group.  Already pre-ordered so I can put it into kids’ hands before school ends.  It will celebrate its book birthday tomorrow on June 5, 2018.

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The Mortification of Fovea Munson by Mary Winn Heider

It’s not easy being Fovea Hippocrates Munson.   Your first name in medical lingo means “eyeballs.”  Your surgeon parents own a cadaver lab.  Your summer camp is closed due to a snake infestation which means you are stuck working as the receptionist at the lab.  And there’s more.  Your parents think you want to follow in their footsteps as a Future Doctor of America, and your best friend has traded you in for a more sportier and cooler model.   There’s no way things can get worse, right? Except things can and they do when at the lab, three disembodied heads not only start talking to Fovea but also ask her for a favor.  To read my full review and enter a giveaway, please click here.

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.

Operation Rescue Dog  by Maria Gianferrari Illustrated by Louisa Uribe

Missing her mami who is stationed in Iraq, Alma and her abuela decide to welcome a rescue dog into the family.  The story goes back and forth sharing Alma and her abuela’s preparations and trip to the Operation Rescue Dog truck as well as rescue pup Lulu’s journey to meet her new family.  While Alma is eagerly anticipating meeting Lulu, Lulu is apprehensive with her tail tucked between her back legs.  Both Alma and Lulu experience some bumps along the road, but once they meet, they both know they are home.

Maria Gianferrari’s words are sheer poetry.  She conveys Alma’s longing for her mom saying “Alma wears Mami’s scarf like a hug.”  But a few pages later states “Can a dog feel like a hug?” while Alma rubs Mami’s scarf on her cheek.  Luisa Uribe’s illustrations are warm and evoke a sense of calm even in the midst of uncertainty.

Being a dog mom of two rescue beagles,  this book has my whole heart.  Even more so because my husband and I met Etta as rescue transporters.  Like Lulu, Etta was transported from the south to the north although she was rescued due to hoarding situation.  We met Etta in Maryland at one of the stops and immediately knew she was meant to become part of our family.  After contacting her rescue and getting approved, we drove up to New Jersey to adopt Etta and bring her home.  7 years later, the same rescue shared a photo of Bella on social media, and our family grew by four more paws.

I love that Maria dedicated the book to her rescue dog, Becca and tells Becca’s story in the author’s note.  She also shares how readers can support pet rescue and how a portion of the book’s proceeds will benefit Best Friends Animal Society in Kanab, Utah.  Operation Rescue Dog is a beautiful story that will continue to give back by raising awareness to animals in need.

A very special thank you to Maria Gianferrari for sharing an ARC of Operation Rescue Dog with my #book excursion group.  Pre-order now like me, for it releases in September 2018.

Etta, Bella, and I thank you for visiting Beagles and Books!  Happy reading!

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

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 5/21/18

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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.

Rosetownby Cynthia Rylant

Told over the course of one year, Rosetown is the story of nine-year-old Flora Smallwood who lives in fictional Rosetown, Indiana.  For a young girl that does not like change, Nora is having to learn to make adjustments.  Her beloved dog recently passed away, and her parents have separated.  Fourth grade is also more difficult than third grade. While Flora is not eager to embrace change, she finds comfort spending time with her best friend, Nessy, who she has known since she was five and her new friend, Yurie, who recently moved to Rosetown from the Ukraine.

Reading Rosetown was nostalgic for me.  Like Nora, I loved to read as a child. Nora frequents Wings and a Chair Used Books where her mother works part-time.  My mother took my brother and me to Middle River Public Library weekly where Mrs. Johnson always had a stack of books waiting for me.  I also took piano lessons and just like Nora, I was tolerable but it never developed into a true passion.  One of my favorite parts of Rosetown was Nora sharing her excitement for Encyclopedia Hour.  Once a week, Nora and her classmates had the opportunity to explore the 22 volumes of the World Book Encyclopedia. Encyclopedias were my internet.  If I needed to do research and just wanted to discover facts, I always reached for an encyclopedia.  We actually had a set of Rand McNally Encyclopedias at home, but nothing compared to the full color World Book!

Rosetown is a quiet and comforting read which takes a reader back to a simpler time. Thanks to Simon and Schuster for providing an ARC of Rosetown to my #bookexcursion group.  Rosetown recently published on May 8, 2018.

Right Now by Jessica Olien

Right Now is an affirming picture book that celebrates being present.  The book begins with “You are right now. What are you?”  On each page, Olien shares a vivid and colorful digital illustration of a child caught in a “moment.”  Sometimes the moments are happy whether it be laying in the grass with a pet, belly laughing, riding a tricycle or eating a piece of cake.  Sad moments are also depicted such as making a mistake, feeling lonely or upset. At the end of the book, Olien shares a tender message to young readers. “No matter what you do.  Not matter where you live. Or what you look like. You are you. And that is perfect.”   A perfect book to share with students for #classroombookaday to teach them about self-acceptance.

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.

Help Find Frank by Anne Bollman

Oh no! A french bulldog named Frank is lost! Can you help in the search to find him?  Labeled as exhibits, the narrator offers key information about Frank such as his love for playing fetch, his favorite animal is a squirrel, and beware of his stinky toots so under no circumstances, feed him cheese.   Pay close attention to these facts, for they will be crucial to locating Frank.  Interviews follow with notes that provides more clues and the reader is asked to make inferences based on some of the previously shared exhibits.  Embedded within the story are double page spreads of the park, the baseball field, and the pool where the reader is asked to find objects and of course, finally Frank!

Author illustrator Anne Bollman’s highly interactive picture book is quite original.  As a teacher, I love that young readers will have to use text evidence from exhibits, interviews, and hints to locate Frank.  The seek and find maps provide an opportunity to revisit the book again for a different purpose.  As summer approaches, I can see Help Me Find Frank as a great book to engage young readers in the car during travel or inside when it’s too hot outside to play.

For a sneak peek, click below and check out the book trailer!

Etta, Bella, and I thank you for visiting Beagles and Books!  Happy reading!

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

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 5/7/18

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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.

Just Under the Clouds by Melissa Sarno

Ever since her father’s death six years ago, Cora and her family have struggled to find stability especially with housing.  Money is tight so Cora, her mother, and her younger sister Adare move a lot with hopes of finding permanent housing they can afford.  Because of her mom’s long work hours, taking care of Adare after school has become Cora’s responsibility.  Adare who lost oxygen to the brain during birth “sees things a different way” which makes caring for her sometimes challenging.

Set in Brooklyn and told in Cora’s point of view, Just Under the Clouds is a honest and touching story about homelessness through the eyes of a twelve year old girl.  While she technically has had a “roof over her head,” Cora never lived in a place that felt like home.

At school, Cora has always kept to herself until she meet Sabina, who until recently had been home-schooled her whole life and lives an untethered life on a houseboat. I just love their friendship because Cora finally takes a chance to truly trust someone outside her family.  I also admire Cora’s mother for maintaining stability in their unstable world and for recognizing Cora’s strength and encouraging her to “climb high.”  Cora’s story reminds us that “you can only grow things if you have faith in them from the beginning.” This is a heart print book that I can’t wait to share with students.

A very special thanks to Melissa Sarno for sending an ARC of Just Under the Clouds to my #bookexcursion group.  It publishes on June 5, 2018.

Power Forward by Hena Khan Illustrated by Sally Wern Comport

Date/Time:  May 5, 2018   11:25 a.m.

What I Read: Power Forward is the first book in a new chapter book series about fourth-grader Zayd Saleem.  Zayd lives for basketball, not the violin.  He is determined to move up from the D league to the gold team playing along side his best friend Adam.  Zayd knows that practicing basketball is crucial to achieving his dream; therefore, he decides to skip his morning advanced orchestra practice to play basketball with Adam and other members of the gold team.  All is well until Zayd forgets his violin in the car, and his mother discovers his lie.  As a result, he is grounded from basketball.  Will Zayd be able to convince his parents how important basketball is to him in order to make try outs?

How I Feel:  Sports have never been my thing but Power Forward is so much more than a basketball story.  Zayd is such a relatable character and can be a mirror for young readers.  He is underweight for his age which makes him work harder to prove he is gold team material.  Things come more easily to his sister Zara, which is frustrating for him. His parents wish that he had the same passion for violin that he has for basketball.  What I truly love about Zayd’s story is that it can also be a window.  Zayd and his family are Pakistani American and throughout the book, their culture is seamlessly interwoven into the story from language to food to sports.  As a reading specialist, I am always on the lookout for new #ownvoices titles to share with students as well as share with my media specialist to order for our school library.

Thanks so much to Simon & Schuster for sending an ARC of Power Forward to our #bookexcursion group. It publishes on May 8, 2018. For more information about ZaydSalem, Chasing the Dream series, click here.

Daring Dreamers Club: Milla Takes Charge by Erin Soderberg

Milla Takes Charge is the first book in this new chapter series about 5 fifth grade girls who become friends in their advisory group led by Ms. Bancroft, the new music teacher. As part of advisory, all students will respond to writing prompts throughout the year.  Having a thing for princesses, Ms. Bancroft asks the girls to reflect upon a princess that they feel connected with or inspired by and explain why.  While all girls share their journal entries filled with their dreams, the story centers on Milla.  Raised by her two moms, Milla is an avid reader and writer.  Like Belle in Beauty and the Beast, she yearns for adventure especially participating in the fifth grade overnight to Adventure Camp.  Concerned that her overprotective parents won’t let her go, Milla enlists the help of the Daring Dreamers to prove she is responsible.

Daring Dreamers Club is another great #ownvoices series to add to a classroom library and like Power Forward, the characters can be either a mirror or window to young readers.  What I especially love about this series is how the girls demonstrate true friendship towards one another.  Although each girl has big dreams, they realize they can all achieve their personal dreams by supporting each other!

A special thanks to Erin Soderberg for sending an ARC to my #bookexcursion group.  Milla Takes Charge publishes on June 5, 2018.  For more information on the Daring Dreamers series, click here.

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.

Perfectly Norman by Tom Perchival

Disclaimer:  While having no speaking part, Norman’s dog is his loyal companion supporting him without hesitation. Sidekicks are the best!

Norman lived a perfectly normal life until….he grew a pair of wings.  Instead of celebrating his extraordinary wings, Norman hid them inside a great, big, yellow coat. The problem is now Norman is hot, uncomfortable, and miserable.    Will Norman ever learn to just be himself?

Perfectly Norman is a heartwarming story about acceptance and learning to be comfortable in your own skin, I mean wings.  Rather than celebrating his wonderful gift, Norman becomes worried about being different.  Throughout his struggle, his sweet little dog remains his loyal companion.

The illustrations are integral to the story, for author illustrator Perchival uses a minimal palette of black, white, yellow, and red in the first few page spreads. As soon as Norman discovers his wings, more vibrant colors appear in the illustrations.  Once Norman hides his wings, his yellow coat is the only color prominent on each page. Readers have to patiently wait for Norman to realize that the coat, not his wings is making him miserable. Then all the colors of the rainbow of return!

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

#Bookexcursion, Debut Author, Picture Books

Penguin & Tiny Shrimp Don’t Do Bedtime by Cate Berry Illustrated by Charles Santoso

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Penguin & Tiny Shrimp Don’t Do Bedtime by Cate Berry Illustrated by Charles Santoso

On the very first page, pajama clad Penguin announces “This is not a bedtime book” with night cap wearing Tiny Shrimp chiming in saying “We don’t do bedtime!”  The adorable characters make it clear that there is no room for typical bedtime rituals such as toothbrushing, big beds or counting sheep.  On the contrary, readers will be enticed to stay wide awake with fireworks, vine swinging, hot air balloon rides, songs, jokes and even the rare appearance of a Uni-Hippo!  After Penguin and Tiny Shrimp engage in all their adventures, they maintain their anti-sleep position stating “This book will never make you yawn” but their actions begin to contradict their original declaration. It is not long before the two characters are crawling into bed and sleep soundly.  Clearly, storytelling is tiring work!

Penguin & Tiny Shrimp Don’t Do Bedtime is a hilarious and highly entertaining picture book from debut author Cate Berry. Not only did I pre-order this book immediately, I now have the perfect recommendation for a bedtime read aloud (sorry Penguin and Tiny Shrimp!) that parents will take great pleasure in reading again and again to their children.  Santoso’s pictures adorably depict Penguin and Tiny Shrimp’s insistence and excitement in staying awake yet by the end of the book, his illustrations subtly and sweetly transition to show their fading energy.  Even the background color of the pages becomes gray to signify the change.

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Special thanks to Cate Berry for sending an ARC of Penguin & Tiny Shrimp Don’t Do Bedtime to our #bookexcursion group.  Can’t wait for its release May 2018.   I sincerely hope there will be more Penguin and Tiny Shrimp adventures to come!

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

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 4/30/18

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Beagles and Books is back with 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:

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

In Shurtliff’s lastest fractured fairy tale, readers meet Borlen, a dwarf who was born just feet from the surface of the earth.  As a result, he is afraid of being deep in the cavern where dwarfs live and work.  Borlen also has a fascination with The Surface, which his parents believe is dangerous.  Humans live on The Surface and are not to be trusted.

When Borlen (nicknamed Grump) has the chance to visit The Surface, he does not hesitate.  Not long after, he befriends Queen Elfrieda Veronika Ingrid Lenore (E.V.I.L) and quickly becomes her trusted confidant.  It is no surprise that their friendship is short lived for Grump discovers the Queen’s plot to kill Snow White.  Because she snatched him by his beard (which is why humans are not to be trusted), Grump is now obliged to assist the huntsman in carrying out the queen’s orders.

Grump may have gotten his wish to visit The Surface, but he soon realizes that “getting your wish comes with its own load of rubble.” While readers know a happily ever after is in sight for Snow White, Shurtliff’s take on the fairy tale is a humorous and entertaining ride.  I especially love the relationship between Grump and Snow White and immensely enjoyed their banter.

A special thanks to Liesl Shurtlif for sending an ARC to my #bookexcursion group.  Look for Grump to be released May 29, 2018.

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Meet Yasminby Saadia Faruqi Illustrated by Hatem Aly

Pakistani-American Yasmin Ahmad is an inquisitive and spunky second grade student who has a passion for exploring, painting, building, and creating. In each section, Yasmin is challenged with a problem and must use her creative thinking skills to resolve it. While Yasmin’s family is very supportive of her, what I love about Faruqi’s writing is Yasmin works first to find a solution on her own. Yasmin is a great role model for students reminding them to be think outside the box and persevere. To read my full review, please click here.

A special thanks to Jennifer Glidden at Capstone for sending an ARC to my #bookexcursion group.  Meet Yasmin publishes on August 1, 2018.

Too Much! Not Enough by Gina Perry

Peanut and Moe could not be more different. Peanut is messy, loud, and always wants more. Moe is neat, quiet, and wants a little less. When Moe finally can’t take all the commotion, he shouts “TOO MUCH!” and leaves the house with a book in hand. As Moe sits on the porch reading, sad Peanut decides to cleans up the “too much mess.” Outside Moe realizes that life is boring because there is “not enough Peanut.” How can the two friends learn to appreciate their differences?

Too Much Not Enough is a sweet story that teaches that true friendship is about respecting each other’s differences and learning from each other. Perry’s bright and bold illustrations of the adorable Moe and Peanut will immediately appeal to young readers. I say see children begging for this book to be read again and again!

A special thanks to Gina Perry for sending a F & G of Too Much Not Enough to my #bookexcursion group.  It will be released August 2018.

How to Code a Sandcastle by Josh Funk Illustrated by Sara Palacios

On the last day of summer vacation, Pearl decides it’s her final opportunity to build a sand castle. Because Frisbees, surf boards, and dogs keep ruining her creations, Pearl devises a new plan involving her robot Pascal. In order for Pascal to assist her, Pearl must tell him how to build a sandcastle in code. She explains how coders must take one big problem and break it into smaller problems.

As Pearl gives Pascal instructions, she realizes the need for specificity. And when a sequence of directions need to be repeated, using a loop is much more efficient. When Pearl’s sandcastle is washed away because of high tide, she realizes that she can reuse her code to build another protected by a moat!

Josh Funk’s books are always a favorite with my students (and me too)! How to Build a Sandcastle is a great addition to #classroombookaday because one of our teachers has been running a coding club after school. Students enrolled in our summer STEM camp will also have an opportunity to engage in coding. This picture book will be a great way to introduce coding terms such as looping, and if-then-else.

A special thanks to Josh Funk for sharing a F & G of How to Code a Sandcastle to my #bookexcursion group.  Look for its release on May 15, 2018.

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.

Swim Bark Run by Brian & Pamela Boyles Illustrated by Beth Hughes

Daisy, a bulldog, loves cheering on her dad Brian when he competes in a triathlon.  Wanting her own adventure, Daisy decides that it would be fun for her and her friends Dalmatian Hobie and Corgi Atticus to compete in their own race.  Rascal, a dachshund, creates a race course at the local park where they can swim across a pond, skateboard on the sidewalk, and run on a wooded trail.  On race day, Daisy, Hobie, and Atticus compete.  When any of the dogs sees another get far behind, they stop and cheer on their friend.  Swim Bark Run is an adorable story that celebrates friendship, teamwork, and determination as well as reinforces reaching a goal at your own pace.

A special thanks to Sky Pony Press for sharing a e-copy of Swim Bark Run through Edelweiss+. Look for its release on June 2018.

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

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#Bookexcursion, Early Chapter Books, Mirrors and Windows

Meet Yasmin by Saadia Faruqi Illustrated by Hatem Aly

Pakistani American Yasmin Ahmad is an inquisitive and spunky second grade student who has a passion for exploring, painting, building, and creating. In each section, Yasmin is challenged with a problem and must use her creative thinking skills to resolve it. While Yasmin’s family is very supportive of her, what I love about Faruqi’s writing is Yasmin works first to find a solution on her own. Yasmin is a great role model for students reminding them to think outside the box and persevere.

Aly’s bold illustrations of Yasmin perfectly complement the text. Readers clearly see how Yasmin questions and ponders any challenge she encounters. Not only are Muslim traditions subtly integrated into Yasmin’s stories readers can also learn Urdu words, Pakistan facts, how to make lassi, a yogurt drink, and a flower motif bookmark at the end of the chapter book.

I cannot wait to introduce Yasmin to my students, for she can be both a mirror and a window. Hoping this book is not a stand alone; Yasmin has so much more she can teach us!

A special thanks to Jennifer Glidden at Capstone for sending an ARC to my #bookexcursion group.  Meet Yasmin publishes on August 1, 2018.

#Bookexcursion

Endling #1: The Last by Katherine Applegate

In the first book of Applegate’s new middle grade series,  Endling #1: The Last, readers travel to Nederra, a world inhabited by not only humans but also other sentient animal species.  The main character, Byx is a dairne, one of the six great governing species of Nederra.  Dairies resemble dogs but can walk upright like humans. Because dairnes possess the unique ability to always detect an untruth, they don’t lie but they do sometimes hope.  Hope is crucial due to the fact that dairnes are becoming scarce in the land. While Byx is away from her family on an unsanctioned venture, she returns to find her entire pack slaughtered.  As a result, Byx realized that she may indeed be the endling, the last of her species.

Desperate to find the first colony of dairnes she heard about from her lessons, Byx embarks on an ambitious quest.  Fortunately, she is not alone, for she befriends Tobble, a wobbyk who is a loyal companion and becomes her best friend.  And note to self.  Wobbyks may appear small and meek but don’t ever get them mad.  While Byx struggles with the loss of her family, pack, and possibly species, she slowly begins to attract a new pack which includes members of other species from humans to Gambler, a felivet, a huge feline resembling a panther.

At the start of her journey, Byx comes to learn that “sometimes questions do not have answers and even when they are answers, they may not be what we want to hear.”  This realization becomes true when Byx and her new pack begin to uncover secrets that not only threatens the dairnes but also other species. While I was reading Endling the Last, I was truly transported to another place.  Applegate created an imaginative world that while fantasy, I was amazed how real the story felt.  It is not difficult to imagine one species attempting to gain control at the expense of another. It’s real life considering the number of species in danger of extinction.  This series can be a sliding glass door for young readers inspiring them to take action to help protect endangered species.

To find out about Katherine Applegate’s partnership with the Animal Welfare Institute, check out the video below.

Endling the Last is an epic tale of an underdog (no offense Byx) who always thought of herself as “too young to be clever and too small to be helpful.” Through her quest, Byx realizes an inner strength she never knew, family can extend beyond her own species, and while there may be danger ahead, “hope is the one thing that even heroes need in order to go forward.”  After reading the last page, all I can say is I can’t wait for Book 2.  Please tell me my wait won’t be long.

A very special thanks to Harper Stacks at Harper Collins for sending Endling the Last to my #bookexcursion group.  Pre-order now so that you can meet Byx and her pack on May 1, 2018.

#Bookexcursion

The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl by Stacy McAnulty

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The  Miscalculations of Lightning Girl by Stacy McAnulty

When Lucy was eight years old, she was struck by lightning while holding on to a metal fence.  As a result, she has acquired savant syndrome; Lucy can not only tackle any mathematical problem but she can also see math in colors and remembers every set of numbers she hears or sees.  It is no surprise that Pi is favorite number (and she can recite it to the 314th decimal place).

Having this rare condition is not without its drawbacks.  Lucy has obsessive compulsive tendencies, no offline friends, and hasn’t left the apartment she shared with her Nana for 32 days.  While Lucy wants to begin college, Nana proposes an alternate plan.  Go to middle school for at least 1 year. Make 1 friend. Join 1 activity. Read 1 book that is not math related.  Nana wins.

Lucy accomplishes her first goal quickly.  On her first bus ride to school, she becomes friends with socially conscious Windy.  But adjusting to middle school is still tough especially because of Lucy’s constant need to sanitize, her repetitive sitting behavior, and her desire to keep her giftedness hidden from her peers including Windy.   A group service project with Windy and budding photographer Levi gives Lucy the opportunity to use her math genius for a good cause-helping dogs gets adopted at a local shelter.  At the shelter, Lucy meets Cutie Pi, a beagle mix (Yes, you heard it, a beagle!) with a lightning bolt spot on its back and is determined to find him a home.  Being a dog mom, seeing Lucy’s affection for Pi was heartwarming.  Her relationship with Pi was one of my favorite parts of the story.

Lucy soon learns that all things are not easy to calculate.   As a reader, I calculate a few important lessons from this must read middle grade novel.

  • Sometimes numbers aren’t all that matters.
  • No problem is unsolvable.
  • If you have a couple of friends who accept you for who you are, you are pretty lucky.

The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl is a touching and engaging story about fitting in, finding yourself and most of all, friendship. I already pre-ordered and look forward to its release so that I can share with students.  Special thanks to Allison Stout, a fellow #bookexcursion member for sharing an ARC that she received at NCTE.  It will publish on May 1, 2018.