#classroombookaday, Earth Day, It's Monday! What Are You Reading?, Nonfiction, Picture Books

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? Earth Day Edition 4/18/22

Bella and I are excited to share our latest 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.

Grateful for my spring break to relax and reset. We took a short getaway to Luray, Virginia. When we discovered small dogs were allowed in Luray Caverns as long as they are carried during the tour, we knew it would be one of our stops. Bella even donned a had hat for the tour.

We stayed in a cozy cottage right on the Shenandoah River enjoying its peaceful sounds.


School resumes tomorrow and while this year has been challenging, always appreciative of time to recharge and the knowledge that summer vacation is getting closer. 

This Friday, April 22, 2022 is Earth Day! Read my reviews of newly released picture books perfect for celebrating our planet and encouraging kids to take action to preserve our precious resources.

Our Recent Reads:


Only One by Deborah Hopkinson Illustrated by Chuck Groenink

An exuberant young girl educates young readers about our universe and all its wonders. She begins sharing her knowledge with her brother defining content vocabulary such as stars, galaxies, and the Milky Way. As the siblings stroll the neighborhood, they encounter other children who accompany them on their walk. The sun, our solar system, and the atmosphere are a few additional terms explored by the girl. Towards the end of book, the children reach the woods where they observe the wonders of nature and join their community in tree planting. 

I love that Hopkinson’s chose to have the young girl narrate the story because it makes the content more accessible to kids. Groenink’s soft illustrations convey the message that while the universe is indeed immense, our actions make an impact on Earth.  Only One teaches that it is our responsibility to treat our planet with care.  Thanks to Barbara Fisch of Blue Slip Media and Anne Schwartz Books for sharing a copy.  Only One recently released on April 5, 2022.


Be Thankful for Trees by Harriet Ziefert Illustrated by Brian Fitzgerald

This narrative nonfiction picture book celebrates trees and their importance in our lives. Ziefert’s short, rhyming phrases and Fitzgerald’s large, bright illustrations are pleasing to the ear and eye making the content easy for young children to understand. Kids learn trees provide food, comfort, music, art, recreation, and homes for living things.  The last chapter celebrates that life would not be possible without trees and stresses how humans must do their part to protect trees. Thanks to Barbara Fisch of Blue Slip Media and Red Comet Press for sharing a copy.  Be Thankful for Trees published on March 29, 2022.


Once Upon a Forest by Pam Fong

On the first page spread, an adorable marmot is tending to her garden while her bird friend looks on. At the top of the page, smoke is in the air. Concerned, the marmot follows the smoke into the forest and sees the damage. She quickly returns home to fetch her wagon carrying tree seedlings and garden tools and the bird accompanies her. In this wordless picture book, no text is necessary, for the breathtaking artwork shows the animals’ dedication throughout the seasons toward restoring the area ravaged by fire. I love Fong’s choice of utilizing mostly gray tones and representing life with pops of color. Once a Upon a Forest is a perfect read aloud to teach kids how a small act of kindness can make a big difference.  Thanks to Barbara Fisch of Blue Slip Media and Random House Kids for sharing a copy.  Once Upon a Forest published on February 8, 2022.

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 character.


Apple and Magnolia by Laura Gehl Illustrated by Patricia Metola

Every day, Britta and her pup visit two trees named Apple and Magnolia. Britta believes the trees are best friends. Apple drops her fruit and it rolls under Magnolia and Magnolia’s leaves fly to Apple in thanks. As she and her dog dance under a starry sky, Apple and Magnolia careen together. Both her father and her sister disagree with Britta; however, her grandmother is on her side. When Britta discovers Magnolia with patchy bark and yellow leaves, she is worried. Being her only ally, Britta consults Nana who asks if Britta has a plan. Britta is one smart girl creating ways to connect Magnolia with Apple and her pup “helps” her with her tasks. It appears that the trees are getting closer to each other each day. Britta takes measurements and the data proves her observation is correct. Over time, Apple’s support allow Magnolia to bloom again. 

In the author’s note, Gehl shares how trees can communicate and help each other. While the story is about the relationship between two trees, Gehl also sweetly highlights the bond between a girl and her Nana who has faith in her. And while Britta’s dog is not central to the story, Metola’s soft, gentle illustrations show her pup is always there by her side supporting her. Gorgeous artwork and a heartwarming plot make Apple and Magnolia a touching story for Earth Day or any day!  A discussion and activity guide on how trees are connected to each other and to us can be found here.  Thanks to Barbara Fisch of Blue Slip Media and Flyaway Books for sharing a copy.  Apple and Magnolia released on February 8, 2022.

Bella and I thank you for visiting Beagles and Books!

“People love dogs. You can never go wrong adding a dog to the story.”
Jim Butcher
#IMWAYR is dedicated to dear Etta, my original book beagle. Blessed that Etta is part of my story.
#classroombookaday, Blog Tour, Giveaway, Nonfiction, Picture Books

Review & Giveaway for Let Liberty Rise! How America’s Schoolchildren Helped Save the Statue of Liberty by Chana Stiefel


About the Book:

Title: Let Liberty Rise! How America’s Schoolchildren Helped Save the Statue of Liberty
Author: Chana Stiefel
Illustrator: Chuck Groenink
Pub. Date: March 3, 2021

Beagles and Books is excited to be share a review and giveaway for Let Liberty Rise! published by Scholastic. Special thanks to the publisher and Barbara Fisch of Blue Slip Media for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.


Truth.  I only know the basic facts about the Statue of Liberty.

  • It was a gift from France.
  • It sits in New York Harbor.
  • It is a national monument.
  • Emma Lazarus’ poem is on the pedestal.

After reading Let Liberty Rise, I am a little ashamed at my lack of knowledge. But that is the great thing about reading nonfiction picture books. Even as an adult, I can learn more information about a topic and wow did I!


Interior illustration © 2021 Chuck Groenink from LET LIBERTY RISE! How America's Schoolchildren Saved the Statue of Liberty by Chana Stiefel_1

Today, the Statue of Liberty is a symbol of pride and freedom, but back in 1885, she arrived at Bedloe’s Island in 350 pieces and wasn’t able to be unpacked. Why? France had asked the United States to build a pedestal for the statue to stand on, but it was only half built. Why? Apparently, the the price of the pedestal was $100,000 and Americans weren’t too keen on contributing to the fund. 

These illustrations was particularly eye opening to me, for I did not know about the Americans’ indifference toward the statue which would become a national treasure.  Another new fact was that crates with her parts were just laying around Bedloe’s Island out in the elements.  Groenink’s illustrations show the honest feelings of New Yorkers.  It was too expensive and she should be send back to Paris.  Interior illustration © 2021 Chuck Groenink from LET LIBERTY RISE! How America's Schoolchildren Saved the Statue of Liberty by Chana Stiefel_3

Interior illustration © 2021 Chuck Groenink from LET LIBERTY RISE! How America's Schoolchildren Saved the Statue of Liberty by Chana Stiefel_4

Luckily, Lady Liberty had a an ally-Joesph Pulitzer, a Jewish Hungarian immigrant who now owned a newspaper, The New York World. In March 16,1885; Pulitizer encouraged people to donate to the pedestal fund and promised to print all contributors’ names in The World, no matter the sum or age of person.


Newspaper across the country reprinted Pulitizer words and over $2000 was raised in the first week. Children were instrumental in raising money emptying out their piggy banks of the precious coins they have saved.. By August 11, 1885, thanks to the generosity of 120,000 donors had collectively raised $100,000 to reach the goal.  The Statue of Liberty would soon be freed from her crates and rise for all to see and admire whether one was an immigrant sailing into New York Harbor, a visitor to New York City or a native Native Yorker.  


With Stiefel’s spirited text and Groenink’s energetic illustrations, Let Liberty Rise is an uplifting story that makes me proud to be an American.  What I love most is the 120,000 donors were a diverse group made up of all ages and professions and it especially warms my heart that Stiefel made a conscious decision to highlight the contributions of children.  Children from all over the country gave up their earned or saved money to be a part of something bigger.  After reading Let Liberty Rise to kids, imagine the conversation that can occur about how a small act can add up to a great difference.   Backmatter includes a timeline, more facts about the Statue of Liberty, a bibliography, and a look back in time through photographs.  

Praise for Let Liberty Rise!

  • “This charming history title is a true inspiration for the present. An informative must-have for all libraries.” — School Library Journal, starred review🟊
  • “All rise to this evocative, empowering offering.” — Kirkus Reviews


  • “[A] true tale of cooperation among all ages.” — Publishers Weekly

Check Out This Book Extras!

Download a free curriculum guide and check out the book trailer below!

About the Author:

Chana Stiefel is the author of more than 25 books for kids. She hails from sunny South Florida and now lives in New Jersey, just a ferry ride away from the Statue of Liberty. Chana loves visiting schools and libraries as well as sharing her passion for reading and writing with children. She earned a master’s degree in Science, Health, and Environmental Reporting from New York University. To learn more, visit Chana at chanastiefel.com

Facebook: Chana Stiefel

Twitter:  @chanastiefel

Instagram: @chanastiefel

About the Illustrator:

Chuck Groenink hails from an overgrown village among the peat bogs in the north of the Netherlands, where he spent his formative years climbing trees, drawing, reading, and cycling. He attended the Artez Institute of Visual Arts in Kampen, graduating from the Department of Illustration in 2004. He now resides in Valatie, New York, with his wife, dog, and two cats. Visit Chuck at chuckgroenink.com

Instagram: @c.groenink

Let Liberty Rise_Cover

Giveaway Details:

One lucky winner will receive a copy of Let Liberty Rise! How America’s Schoolchildren Helped Save the Statue of Liberty, courtesy of Scholastic (U.S. addresses only). This giveaway is open on Sunday, July 4, 2021 ending at 10:00 p.m. EST.   Please note that book may take longer to ship so patience is appreciated.  Enter below or head over to my Twitter account, @lauramossa and retweet my Let Liberty Rise! post.

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

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 4/5/21

Bella and I are excited to share our latest 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:


The Great Peach Experiment 1: When Life Gives You Lemons, Make Peach Pie by Erin Soderberg Downing

Since Lucy’s mother died, her father, a university professor, threw himself into his research, and the 12 year old became surrogate parent to her two younger siblings, 10 year old Freddy and 8 year old Herb.   Then, out of the blue, their dad announces that one of their mom’s inventions sold for over a million dollars.  To fulfill one of their mom’s dreams, their dad bought a used food truck and the Peach family is going to spend the summer together traveling the Midwest selling pies.  While Freddy and Herb are excited about the opportunity, Lucy is skeptical.  Why is their dad who hasn’t taken a day off in two years suddenly willing to commit a full month to this food truck experiment?  Lucy wanted to think positively that the trip might unite them as a family, but it was difficult given their father’s track record. 

As the Peach family travels from town to town and endure highs and lows running the family business, Downing allows readers to get to know each sibling well.  An avid reader, Lucy is determined to read every book on the seventh grade summer reading list and Downing curated a list so amazing, I may adopt it for myself this summer.  Lucy is very strong person but assumed the role of problem solver not by choice and her frustration is finally manifesting.  Freddy feels he is a plum in a family of Peaches, for his passion is art, creativity, big ideas, and fun facts unlike his siblings and parents.  Throughout the Great Peach Experiment, Freddy though emerges as a natural leader and astute businessman.  While the youngest, Herb is a math whiz and feels he has a lot of contribute to the family business, but begins to feel restless when he was told he was too young to help bake pies, ingredients for his cinnaballs were too expensive or there wasn’t time to find a place to swim.  And while dad believes the main goal is to win top honors at the Ohio Food Truck Festival, Lucy, Freddy, and Herb make him realize that their family is the greatest prize. 

The Great Peach Experiment is a middle grade novel with both heartache, humor and most importantly, hope.  An added bonus were Lucy’s amusing letters to her Great Aunt Lucinda, Freddy’s sketchbook drawing for how he would spend a million dollars, maps, and Herb’s financial updates. Grateful to know that another Peach family adventure awaits in the future. Special thanks to Erin Soderberg Downing for sharing an ARC with my #bookexcursion group.  When Life Gives You Lemons, Make Peach Pie releases tomorrow on April 6, 2021. 


Something’s Wrong? A Bear, A Hare and Some Underwear by Jory John Illustrated by Erin Kraan

One morning, a bear named Jeff woke up and felt like he was forgetting something.  Readers notice right away that Jeff is still wearing the gift from his grandma-underwear! As Jeff takes a stroll through the forest, he still feels odd but clueless.  On his travels, he passes by many animals who look at him in bewilderment.  After Jeff walks away, they all speak directly to the reader uttering the same words “Why is that bear wearing underwear?”  Finally, Jeff realizes he needs to consult with his rabbit friend, Anders, whom he trusts to be honest with him.  Anders immediately knows what’s wrong and candidly tells Jeff what no other animal would say.  When confronted by all the animals,  embarrassed Jeff tries to talk his way out of his predicament, but Anders saves the day by sporting his own pair of tighty whities creating a new fashion trend.

When I read Something’s Wrong to kindergarten students for #classroombookaday, the laughter started on the very first page spread and remained until the end of the story.  John’s hilarious plot and clever solution along with Kraan’s adorably expressive illustrations were such a hit with the kids that asked if I could read it again.  As a an adult, what I loved most is the lesson of friendship.  Anders was indeed a true and trusted friend because not only did he tell Jeff the truth but his actions shows he likes Jeff no matter what he does or wears.  And support is pretty crucial with choosing friends and underwear!  Thanks to Morgan Rath of Macmillan Children’s Publishing for sharing a copy with Beagles and Books.  Something’s Wrong recently celebrated its book birthday on March 23, 2021. 

Happy Book Birthday to Albert Whitman Picture Books!


Check out my blog post, Happy Birthday Albert Whitman Picture Books, featuring recently released picture books published by Albert Whitman. Thanks to Albert Whitman for sharing ARCs with my #bookexcursion group. 

Bella’s 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.


Switched by Bruce Hale

Sloppy and spontaneous are not words that would describe sixth grader Parker Pitts for he likes things neat and orderly.  But with the recent loss of his grandmother Mimi and his older half sister Billie going away to school, he is forced to deal with a lot of change which is a bit overwhelming.  To make matters worst, his parents decide that he is now in charge of Billie’s unruly goldendoodle Boof until she returns home.  He begrudgingly takes care of the Boof, but when the undisciplined Boof gets a hold of Eshu, a trickster statue that was a gift from Mimi, Parker is furious.  As he attempts to save the precious statue, Parker makes a wish.  The very next day, Parkers wakes up in Boof’s furry body and Boof is now inhabiting Parker’s human body.  Given his penchant for cleanliness, it’s no surprise that Parker is not embracing the dog’s life.  In contrast, Boof loves the easy access to food and his free spirited nature makes Parker’s classmates see him in a whole new light.  Will Parker and Boof be stuck forever or figure out a way to switch back?

Reminscient of Freaky Friday, one of my favorite books growing up, Switched is a hilarious recreation. Once the switch happens, I thoroughly enjoyed reading both Parker and Boof’s point of view as they attempt to adjust to their new bodies.  While there are lots of laugh out loud moments, Parker learns valuable lessons about life, for yes, it can be messy and you can’t control and change it.  And if you just let it happen, you start to truly live.  Thanks to Bruce Hale for sharing an ARC with my #bookexcursion group.  Switched releases tomorrow on April 6, 2021. 

Bella and I thank you for visiting Beagles and Books!

“People love dogs. You can never go wrong adding a dog to the story.”
Jim Butcher
#IMWAYR is dedicated to dear Etta, my original book beagle. Blessed that Etta is part of my story.

#Bookexcursion, #classroombookaday, Blog Tour, Giveaway, Picture Books

Blog Tour & Giveaway: It’s Not Little Red Riding Hood by Josh Funk Illustrated by Edwardian Taylor

About the Book: Title: It’s Not Little Red Riding Hood Author:  Josh Funk Illustrator: Edwardian Taylor Pub. Date:  October 27, 2020

Beagles & Books is thrilled to be part of the blog tour for It’s Not Little Red Riding Hood.  Special thanks to Two Lions Publishing and Barbara Fisch of Blue Slip Media for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Review: The amazing duo, Josh Funk and Edwardian Taylor, are back with their third (and hopefully, not last) installment in the It’s Not a Fairytale series featuring Little Red Riding Hood. Red 1 Like Jack, Gretel, and Hansel (#girlpower Gretel), Red does questions some of the narrator’s directions remarking “You’re sending a child carrying a giant basket, into the woods, ALL ALONE? After the narrator answers with a simple yes, Red agrees stating “You’re in charge!”  But I wonder for how long? Well, not long because on the very next page spread, Red is now wearing her little sister’s blue cape to Grandma’s. And on her way to Grandma’s, she meets up with the Big Bad Wolf…wait…I mean..Captain Hook.  It turns out the the wolf is sick which does not make the narrator happy. Red 2 Still trusting, Red continues following the narrator’s directions as she journeys to Grandma’s but Captain Hook is not feeling it.  “I did not agree to people–eatin,” he says. Pirates are all about stealing loot which is why he continually conflicts with the narrator.  When Red finally gets to Grandma’s, you can imagine the antics that ensue especially when Pinocchio fills in for the woodsman to rescue her from the Big Bad Wolf…oops..Captain Hook.  And it’s NOT a Funk & Taylor fairy tale unless a character opens a restaurant serving fairy tale creatures. I am always smiling and laughing after reading Funk and Taylor’s hilarious parody of a classic fairy tale.  One of the highlights was the lively exchanges between Red and the narrator because he always told the truth and while she questioned his directions, she was still willing to follow them. What I also loved about It’s Not Little Red Riding Hood is the decision to have other fairy tale characters stand in the original characters.  Captain Hook acted like himself, not the Wolf which made the story more humorous and a more fun read aloud. Last November, the second grade class I read to for #classroombookaday, had the immense pleasure of hosting Josh Funk for an author visit where we not only got a sneak peek at It’s Not Little Red Riding Hood, but also Josh, the classroom teacher, and me engaged in a reader’s theater of taking on the voices of the narrator, Red, and Captain Hook which was such fun.  I mean, come on…who doesn’t want to talk like a pirate? I am in awe of Funk’s witty and playful writing and Taylor’s bold and engaging illustrations literally leap off the page.  And kids love searching for cameos of other fairy tale characters throughout the book.  Kids always ask which fairy tale will be next in the series as do I.  My fingers (and Bella’s paws) are crossed that there are more It’s Not a Fairytale adventures to come!
JFAbout the Author: Like the characters in his books, Josh Funk doesn’t like being told how stories should go—so he writes his own. He is the author of many popular picture books, including the popular Lady Pancake & Sir French Toast series, illustrated by Brendan Kearney, and the It’s Not a Fairytale books, illustrated by Edwardian Taylor. He lives in New England with his family. Learn more about him at www.joshfunkbooks.com, Twitter: @joshfunkbooks Instagram: @joshfunkbooks
About the Illustrator:ETEdwardian Taylor is the illustrator of multiple children’s books, including Race!, written by Sue Fliess; the Toy Academy chapter books, written by Brian Lynch; and the It’s Not a Fairytale books, written by Josh Funk. He lives in Texas with his partner and their four dogs.  Learn more about him at www.edwardiantaylor.com Twitter: @edwardiantaylor, Instagram: edwardiantaylor Tumblr: Edwardian Taylor
unnamed It’s Not a Fairytale Series Giveaway! Two Lions is offering all three books in the It’s Not a Fairytale series–It’s Not Jack and the Beanstalk, It’s Not Hansel and Gretel, and It’s Not Little Red Riding Hood  to one lucky winner (U.S. addresses).  Giveaway begins Friday, October 23, 2020 and ends at 10 p.m. Friday, October 30, 2020.  You can enter below or retweet my Twitter post.
#classroombookaday, Edelweiss, It's Monday! What Are You Reading?, Picture Books

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 5/18/20


Beagles and Books is excited to share our latest 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.

While blogging is a solitary activity, I never feel alone, for I am blessed to be part of a larger community of kid lit bloggers.  We share our love of reading and always makes sure our TBR stack is tall!  Grateful to have Beagles and Books highlighted on two lists of kid lit blogs to follow along with many other fellow bloggers: Afoma Umesi’s 22 Best Kid Lit Blogs to Follow and Feedspot’s Top 100 Children’s Book Blogs and Websites for Parents, Teachers and Kids in 2020.

This week is devoted to picture books that I was digitally sent by Penguin Random House.  As I mentioned last week, I initially wasn’t a big fan of electronic picture books largely due to the fact I regularly shared F & G and ARCs with my #classroombookday second grade.  The kids felt honored when I read aloud these yet-to-be published books.  Once our teaching went virtual, I will admit it was hard to hold a picture book while reading.  PDFs of picture books allow kids to see not only the text but also the gorgeous illustrations during a virtual Google Meet class meeting.  While I do miss holding a picture book and have had to get creative snapping photos of Bella with just picture book covers, e-books have allowed me to keep the live read alouds engaging for kids.  As always, trying to find the silver lining.

Recent Reads:

Brick by Brick by Heidi Woodward Sheffield

From the immense grin on his face to calling him strong with arms like stone, readers see how deeply Luis admires his father who is a bricklayer.  On subsequent pages in both text and illustrations, Sheffield shows the parallels between Luis and his father as they both work.  As Luis’ father builds brick by brick, Luis reads book by book.  As his father makes mortar, Luis builds with his art supplies. Verbs such as SCRRRAPES and WHIRRRRRRR are overly emphasized in the text which made me almost hear the sounds as I was reading.  Luis has a dream that his family will have nuestra casa para siempre-our always home.  On a Saturday morning after breakfast, Luis’ father has una sopresa (surprise) and after a ride in the truck with his eyes closed, Luis discovers that dreams can come true, for his father has built the family a brick house to call home.

Brick by Brick is a feel good story about family, hard work, and dreams.  Sheffield’s use of mixed media made her art literally jump off the page.  And I love the exuberant expressions of Luis and his father, for they will warm your heart. Thanks to the author and Nancy Paulsen Books/Penguin Random House for sharing an e-copy of Brick by Brick which was recently published on May 4, 2020.

Soaked by Abi Cushman 

According to a bear, rain ruins everything he loves.  Ice cream. Sand castles. Cashmere sweaters (Really? Not sure about that last one).  Seeking shelter in his cave, he invites his friends but it gets a little crowded when one of your friends is a hula hooping moose.  If only you could find your bumblebee umbrella.  Hmm. Seems odd that the badger found hers. (Wait a minute. Why would a badger have the same umbrella?)  But when one of moose’s hula hoops get stuck in a tree, the wallowing bear can’t just sit there. As he, rabbit, and badger free the hula hoop, they all fall into a huge puddle with the hoop around bear’s neck.  Could hula hoop + puddle + rain =fun?

Last week, I had the opportunity to do a live read aloud of Soaked to my #classroombookaday second grade class.  After I read, we discussed the lesson of the story.  A student said Soaked teaches us to look for the good, not the bad.  The conversation grew with the realization that while we all wish we were together in the classroom listening to the story, we are happy that we can be together virtually through Google Meets.  We are learning how to change our perspective and seeing the positive rather than dwelling on the negative.  Great message for today and every day!  Thanks to Viking Books/Penguin Random House and Edelweiss for an e-copy.  Look for Soaked on June 14, 2020.

The Stray by Molly Ruttan

When I first saw the title, I immediately thought The Stray was about a dog looking for a home. The cover made me realize the stray was an alien from another planet who crashed to Earth.  A kind family rescues him wrapping him up in a baby blanket, brings him home, and name him Grub.

What I love most about The Stray is the illustrations are integral to the story.  My #classroombooksaday observed this right away.  If a reader just read the text, the story could be about a stray dog or cat but the artwork confirms that Grub is unique.  The illustrations unveil Grub’s levitating powers which begin with a toaster and are in full force on a walk around the neighborhood. What tugged at my heart is while the family welcomed Grub as a member of their family, he still missed his home.  Recognizing his yearning, the kids put up FOUND posters which are instrumental in Grub’s reunion with his alien family.   The Stray is a tender story about a family who not only has enough love to welcome a stray into their family but also to let him go.  Thanks to Nancy Paulsen Books/Penguin Random House and Edelweiss for an e-copy. The Stray will celebrate its book birthday tomorrow on Tuesday, May 19, 2020.

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.

This is Gus by Chris Chatterton 

Gus is a grumpy basset hound who doesn’t like being petted, going for walks or celebrating birthdays. But wait! Once a basset pup arrives on the scene, maybe Gus will change his mind. And while the text may say Gus now likes things, the illustrations clearly show his distaste for everything except…sausage.  Gus likes the smell, shape, and taste of sausage.  Guess who else likes sausage? The basset pup.  Will Gus be willing to share his sausage?  Like Ryan Higgins’ Bruce, This is Gus might be a grouch but he truly has a heart of gold. Thanks to Penguin Workshop/Penguin Random House and Edelweiss for an e-copy. Previously published in the U.K., This is Gus will celebrate its U.S. book birthday tomorrow on Tuesday, May 19, 2020.


Bella & I thank you for visiting Beagles and Books. Happy Reading! Stay safe and well!

#Bookexcursion, #classroombookaday, #nf10for10

Books Can Teach Us: NonFiction Picture Book 10 for 10


I’m excited to be participating in Nonfiction Picture Book 10 for 10  for the first time. In my very first blog post, I shared my #pb10for10.  Thank you Cathy Mere and Mandy Robek for creating #pb10for10 for book bloggers to share our #booklove of amazing picture books.  In 2013, Julie Balen suggested to add a nonfiction picture book event that worked the same.  #nf10for10 provides the opportunity to bring our reading community together to share our favorite nonfiction picture books.  To check out more fabulous lists,  please visit the Google Community site.

This year, I sponsor a second grade class for #classroombookaday.  I strive to find engaging nonfiction picture books to read aloud to students. Being a part of #bookexcursion, I had been blessed with the opportunity to read and review some picture books prior to their publication.

Before reading each story, I ask the students just one question-What do you think the author is trying to teach us?   In my #nf10for10, I have included 10 nonfiction picture books that I have either already read for #classroombookaday or plan to read before the end of the school year.  All these amazing books can teach us information, the power of our actions or to persevere.



Terrific Tongues by Maria Gianferrari  Illustrated by Jia Liu

Terrific Tongues teaches us fascinating facts about how tongues work in unique ways. I absolutely love the format of this fabulous text.  Maria Gianferrari introduces each animal with an if and a might.  For example, if you have a tongue like a mop, you might be a…. (no spoilers).  The text lends itself well to a class read aloud.  Terrific Tongues will be released in April 2018.

Thanks to Maria Gianferrari for providing my #bookexcursion group with a copy of Terrific Tongues to read, share, and review.  For my full review, click here.


Hawk Rising by Maria Gianferrari Illustrated by Brian Floca

Maria Gianferrari’s other forthcoming release, Hawk Rising,  is a narrative non-fiction picture book which tells the story of a mother and daughter observing a father hawk hunting for prey for his family. The text is true poetry, for she chooses her words carefully to dramatically describe the family’s actions and feelings as well as the hawk’s pursuit. With Brian Floca’s  gorgeous illustrations, the story takes flight. It teaches us the father hawk’s role in caring for his brood.  Hawk Rising publishes in June 2018.

Thanks to Maria Gianferrari for providing my #bookexcursion group with a copy of Hawk Rising to read, share, and review. To read my full review, click here.


Ride On Will Cody by Caroline Starr Rose Illustrated by Joe Lillington

Written in lyrical verse, Caroline Starr Rose beautifully tells the legend of young Will Cody who later gained notoriety as folk hero and Wild West showman, Buffalo Bill.    Joe Lillington’s illustrations support the text by dramatically depicting the riders’ arduous journey.  At the end of the book, the author shares historical research about the Pony Express and Will Cody.  It teaches us about an important event in the history of the American West.

Thanks to Caroline Starr Rose who provided my #bookexcursion group with a copy of Ride On Will Cody to read, share, and review.  To read my full review, click here.

Can an Aardvark Bark

Can an Aardvark Bark? By Melissa Stewart Illustrated by Steve Jenkins

This engaging and informative nonfiction picture book asks questions such as Can an aardvark bark?, which is always answered in the negative. Then an alternative is given. No, but it can grunt and lots of other animals grunt too.  Can An Aardvark Bark? is perfect for a class read aloud because students can be highly involved in making the noises presented in the text. It teaches us that animals have different sounds to communicate.


Waiting on the Biblioburro  by Monica Brown Illustrated by John Parra

Waiting on the Biblioburro is a blend of realistic fiction and nonfiction.  It tells the story of a little girl named Ana whose teacher moved far away. As a result, Ana treasures her one and only book reading it again and again.  One morning Ana and other children in her village are awakened by the sounds of real life teacher and librarian Luis Soriano Bohorquez.  Known as the Biblioburro, Luis carries books with the help of his burros, Alfa and Beto from town to town.  Beautifully written with colorful folk art illustrations, Waiting for Biblioburro teaches us how one’s actions can have extraordinary effects and the power of reading books.

Hachiko: The True Story by Pamela Turner  Illustrated by Yan Nascimbene

Hachiko: The True Story is a narrative nonfiction picture book.  Told by a fictional young boy named Kentaro about a real dog Hachiko, who lived in Tokyo. Hachiko was owned by Dr. Uneno.  Each morning Hachiko walked to the train station with Dr. Uneno and waited there for him to come home.  One day Kentaro discovers that Dr. Uneno has died and worries what will happen to Hachiko.  Readers discover that for almost ten years after his master’s death, Hachiko waited in the train station for Dr. Uneno to return.  Hachiko: A True Story teaches us about the power of friendship and loyalty.


Shark Lady: The True Story of  How Eugenie Clark Became the Ocean’s Most Fearless Scientist by Jess Keating  Illustrated by Marta Alvarez Miguens


Shark Lady is a picture book biography about the life of Eugenie Clark.  Jess Keating eloquently shares how Eugenie’s love for sharks began at an early age after a visit to an aquarium and how despite the obstacles she faced, Eugenie held on to her dream of becoming a scientist.  Shark Lady teaches us not only that sharks should be admired rather than feared but also women can be anything that want to be.

The Books Boos That Changed the World: A True Story About an Accidental Invention (Really)! by Barry Wittenstein Illustrated by Chris Hsu


In The Boo-Boos That Changed the Word, Author Barry Wittenstein humorously tells the story of Earle Dickson and how Band-Aids came to be.  It teaches us accidents can actually be helpful. Because Earle Dickson’s wife was accident prone, Band-Aids were invented.  This picture book biography will be released on February 13, 2018.

Thanks to Barbara Fisch of Blue Slip Media for providing my #bookexcursion group with a copy of The Boo-Boos That Changed the World to read, share and review.  To read my full review, click here.

Me..Jane by  Patrick McDonnell

Me Jane.jpg

Me…Jane is a inspiring and gorgeous picture book biography about the life of Jane Goodall.  The story begins with a young Jane receiving a toy chimpanzee named Jubilee.  Told with minimal text and sweet illustrations, Patrick McDonnell beautifully shares how Jane’s childhood experiences ultimately shaped the person she is today.  It teaches us about curiosity, passion, and pursuing your dream.

A Very Young Skater by Jill Krementz

A Very Young Skater is a biography about 10-year-old skater, Katherine Healy.  I absolutely LOVED this biography as a young reader and as soon as #nf10for10 was announced, I knew I had to include A Very Young Skater in my top ten list.  When I think back to my childhood, this series and especially Katherine’s story was the first nonfiction book I can truly remember reading OVER and OVER.  I distinctly remember returning it to the public library and renewing it hopeful no one had requested it.  While the photographs may look dated to my second grade readers, I hope reading and sharing the book will teach them the same lessons that it taught me, which is to work hard and never give up on your dreams.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read my #nf10for10 selections.  I can’t wait to read other bloggers’ lists.  Have a great week!  Happy Reading!