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

It’s Monday! What Are You Are Reading? 5/6/19

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Beagles and Books is excited to share 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 Reads This Week:

Jaclyn Hyde by Annabeth Bonner-Stone and Connor White

Always striving for perfection, Jaclyn stumbles upon a finds a recipe for perfect potion. At first, Jaclyn thinks the potion will solve all her problems but she soon discovers that when things don’t go her way, she transforms into her ulter ego Jackie, who will stop at nothing to ensure Jaclyn’s victory.   How can she stop Jackie from ruining her life as well as the lives of her dear friends?

A humorous and heartwarming retelling of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Jaclyn Hyde is a story that teaches us that “growing up isn’t about hiding your mistakes. It is about learning from them.” As an adult reader, this message is as important to me as it is to middle grade readers.

Special thanks to author Annabeth Bonner Stone and Harper Collins Publishing for sending an ARC to my #bookexcursion group.  Jaclyn Hyde celebrates its book birthday tomorrow on May 7, 2019.

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We Are (NOT) Friends We Are (NOT) Friends written by Anna Kang Illustrated by Christopher Weyant

I am a big fan of the Kang & Weyant’s You are Not Small series which features two fuzzy friends managing differences in size and perspective, sharing and their fears.  In their latest collaboration, We Are (Not) Friends,  the two friends tackle the age old question “If two is company, is three really a crowd?”  To read my full review and enter a giveaway for a copy of your own, click here.

The Book Hog by Greg Pizzoli

The Book Hog is a heartwarming picture book that celebrates the power of reading.   It is about a pig who loves books but is harboring a big secret-he never learned how to read. On a search for more books, he stumbles upon the library and is invited to story time by the sweet librarian, Miss Olive.  Gradually with Miss Olive’s support and lots of practice, the Book Hog learns to read and appreciate books for not just how they looked, felt, and smelled, but for the stories they tell.  This line brought happy tears to my eyes.

Of course, the plot stole my heart but so did Greg Pizzoli’s illustrations.  I adore the salmon and mint green color palette and what I especially loved is that the titles of his books are not revealed until the Book Hog learned to read.

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.

Good Dog, McTavish by Meg Rosoff  Illustrated by Grace Easton

I am firm believer that dogs rescue people and in this charming first story in the series, shleter dog McTavish does just that for his newly adopted family, the quirky Peacheys.

Feeling unappreciated, Ma Peachey resigns from her job as mother and decides to devote her time to yoga leaving Pa Peachey and children Ava, Ollie, and Betty to fend for themselves.  Feeling lost, lonesome and lacking in love, Betty, the youngest and most sensible Peachey, decides that the solution to the family’s problems is to get a dog.  What the family doesn’t realize is that McTavish is actually adopting them, and with Betty’s help, McTavish slowly mends this broken family.

While I am big fan of dog books, it is always a treat to read books that truly “get” dogs.  Reading author Meg Rosoff’s description of McTavish settling into his dog bed digging around with his paws and turning around four times is stop on.  In our house, we call it “making the bed.”  With short chapters and totaling only 104 pages, Good Dog McTavish is a great novel for those students who are transitioning to chapter books or are in want of quick read.  Looking forward to more adventures with the Peacheys in the second book, McTavish in the Wild.

Thank you for visiting Beagles & Books! Happy reading!

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

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 4/29/19

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Beagles and Books is excited 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: 

Extraordinary Birds by Sandy Stark-McGinnis

Obsessed with birds, 11 year old foster child December is used to flying from nest to nest & wants a place to call home.  In order to cope with a traumatic incident with her mother, December believes that her wings will emerge from the scar on her back and she will one day become a bird and take flight.

Amid the heartache, Extraordinary Birds is December’s story of healing & hope. Helping December on her journey is case worker Adrian, foster mother, Eleanor, and friend, Cheryllyn.  Eleanor, a taxidermist and wildlife rescuer is a gentle soul accepting December as she is. Eleanor helps December emotionally mend through working to rehabilitate an injured hawk. Cheryllyn, a transgender girl, befriends December on her very first day of school and gradually together, they form a friendship supporting each other from the mean girls at school.

While December’s story will remain with me long after I read Extraordinary Birds, what also struck me is Stark-McGinnis’s honest and heartfelt letter to readers sharing the inspirations for this powerful story.  December teachers readers that while it’s hard to let go of the past, it doesn’t have to define you. You can survive with the support and love of others.

Special thanks to Sandy Stark-McGinnis and Bloomsbury Kids for sharing an ARC with #bookexcursion.  Extraordinary Birds celebrates its book birthday tomorrow on April 30, 2019.  Looking forward to getting my own copy to share with students and teachers.

 Flubby Is Not a Good Pet! by J. E. Morris

When compared to other pets, Flubby is well, kind of lazy.  He doesn’t sing, catch or jump or even run. While Flubby may not be full of energy, he truly is a good pet when it matters most providing comfort to his owner during a thunderstorm.

Flubby is a new fun series perfect for children just learning to read, which makes this reading specialist’s heart happy!  Written with early readers in mind,  Morris includes sight words and decodable text.  The eye catching, adorable illustrations support the reader making the text even more accessible.  And I especially love that Morris dedicated Flubby to a cat shelter.

Special thanks to Penguin Kids for sharing a copy with my #bookexcursion group. Flubby Is Not a Pet and a second book, Flubby Will Not Play with That! both published recently on April 23, 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.

Felipe and Claudette by Mark Teague

Mrs. Barrett’s shelter has a good track record for getting pets adopted quickly but for some reason a cat named Felipe and dog named Claudette have been at the shelter longer than any other animals.  Grouchy Felipe blames Claudette’s unruly behavior which includes snoring and rolling in garbage.  After each adoption day, Mrs. Barrett wonders “What will I do with you two?”

When Claudette finally gets adopted, Felipe is shocked and sad. And it turns out that Claudette isn’t the same boisterous pup at her new home.  Readers quickly realize that Felipe and Claudette are at their best together at Mrs. Barrett’s house. Felipe and Claudette is a sweet story about an unlikely friendship between a cat and dog.

Thank you for visiting Beagles and Books!  Happy reading!

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

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 4/22/19

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Beagles and Books is excited 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: 

Up for Air by Laurie Morrison

Rising eighth grader Annabelle lacks confidence in school but excels in the pool. When she is asked to join the high school swim team. Annabelle is elated especially since her friend Mia who she always feels in competition with wasn’t invited.

Wanting to be accepted by her high school teammates, Annabelle finds herself in uncharted waters having to make choices such as meet her tutor or hang out with the team. Making things even more confusing is the attention Annabelle gets from cute high school sophomore Connor. Is he just flirty or does he really like her? Added to her summer drama is a letter from her estranged father and the worry that she will never live up to mom’s and stepfather’s expectations.

Up for Air is a story that I would have devoured when I was in middle school. It is definitely a solid book for readers not quite ready for YA. Annabelle is a good kid but is struggling to really figure out who she is and where she fits in. Morrison’s voice for Annabelle is spot on capturing both her vulnerability and new-found boldness to go with the crowd. As I read, it was clear that Annabelle knows what she should do but having your first crush means you aren’t always thinking clearly. Haven’t we all been there? What I love most about Up for Air is that readers see Annabelle learn from her mistakes which helps her grow and decide who she wants to be. Special thanks to the author and Amulet/Abrams Books for sending an ARC to my #bookexcursion group.  Up for Air releases soon on May 7, 2019.

Snazzy Cat Capers: The Fast and the Furriest by Deanna Kent Illustrated by Neil Hooson

In this “meow-nificent” follow-up to Snazzy Cat Capers, classy and classic cat burglar Ophelia Von Hairball’s Vegas vacation is cut short when an encrypted map is stolen from the Furry Feline Burglary Institute’s (FFBI) secure vault.  If the map is deciphered, the three pieces of the Scarlet Claw, a powerful laser pointer will be found, which could threaten the lives of all cats.

Still “purr-furring” to work alone, Ophelia sets off to Cairo to locate the first piece of the Scarlet Claw. But time is of essence especially when Ophelia’s unclassy and sloppy cousin Pierre, bitter about his second class ranking, schemes to thwart her successful mission, and the Central Canine Intelligence Agency (CCIA) is also on her tail. This forces Ophelia to reconsider having her inventor Oscar Fishgerald Gold as her “paw-rtner.” for his disguises and gadgets are “fin-tastic”  Will Ophelia and Oscar be victorious in the FFBI’s most important mission to date?

Sequels can be tough but The Fast and the Furriest is “purr-fection.”  While the fast paced plot is action packed,  I especially love how Ophelia’s and Oscar’s “paw-rtnership” is evolving in the second book along with the addition of P.U.G., the robot dog created by Oscar.    A blend of graphic novel and illustrated chapter book, the unique format is cleverly drawn and appeals to both striving and thriving readers regardless of age.  Special thanks to Deanna Kent, Neil Hooson, and Imprint Books for sending an ARC for my #bookexcursion group for read and review. The Fast and the Furriest releases in September 2019. And be on alert! Book 3 Meow or Never is due out in 2020.

Sadiq and the Desert Star by Siman Nuurali Illustrated by Anjan Sarkar

Written by debut #ownvoices author Siman Nuurali, Sadiq is new transitional chapter book series.  Before the story begins, readers get to know third grader Sadiq who is of Somalian descent and lives in Minnesota with his family.  To build schema for the story, Nuurali shares facts about Somalia as well as defines vocabulary.  In Sadiq and the Desert Star, Sadiq is excited about an upcoming field trip to an observatory but worried about missing his father who is leaving for a business trip.  His father, Baba, shares a story of the Desert Star, the brightest star in Berbera, Somalia.  Hearing about the Desert Star and visiting the observatory ignites Sadiq to form a space club with his friends working together to raise money to buy their own telescope.

Themes of family, friendship, collaboration, and resourcefulness abound in this first book of the series.  Sadiq is an inquisitive character who perseveres with the help of family and friends when problems arise. Back matter includes a glossary, questions, writing prompts as well as directions for building a home telescope. I am so excited that all four books in the series will be released in August 2019 before the start of the school year so that students can meet Sadiq.  Special thanks to Capstone Publishing for sharing an ARC with my #bookexcursion group. 

Little Juniper Makes it BIG by Aidan Cassie

At home, Juniper does not appreciate her size. No matter what creative inventions she makes, she was still too little.  School is better, for compared to her classmates, Juniper doesn’t feel as small. New student Clove is tinier than her and never lets her diminutive size stand in her way.  After a sleepover at Clove’s much smaller house, Juniper gains perspective realizing that while her house isn’t perfect, it is just the right size for her.

Beautifully drawn and written, young readers will relate to Juniper’s struggle to appreciate herself.  Cassie’s illustrations warmly convey Juniper’s journey to self-acceptance.  Special thanks to the author and publisher for sending an advanced reader’s edition to my #bookexcursion group.  Little Juniper Makes It BIG! publishes in July 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.

Wake Up, Color Pup by Taia Morley

A small yellow bird brings color into Pup’s world as they take an adventure outside.  Concisely written with vivid verbs, the once white pup gradually becomes vibrant with all the colors of the rainbow.  The observant reader sees a storm brewing in the distance which washes away all of Pup’s beautiful colors.  Once the storm ends and the sun peeks out, Pup is determined to regain his colorful self.  What I love most about this gorgeously drawn book is with a hearty shake, Pup’s color spreads to his surroundings awaking the world around him.

Wake Up Color Pup is a picture book with great depth, for while it can be read to very young children to introduce and reinforce colors, themes of overcoming fears and how a bright outlook can positively affect the world can be also discussed. Special thanks to Random House Children’s Books and Barbara Fisch of Blue Slip Media for sending a copy to Beagles and Books to review.  Wake Up, Color Pup recently published in March 2019.

Thank you for visiting Beagles and Books!  Happy reading!

 

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#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!

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#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!

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#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!