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

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 9/23/19

Beagles and Books is excited to share our recent 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:

Hand Me Down Magic: Stoop Sale Treasure by Corey Ann Haydu Illustrated by Luisa Uribe

Alma is excited to be living in the same place as best friend and cousin Del but moving from her old home by the lake is still an adjustment.  It’s a lot noisier in the city and more commotion since Alma and her family now live in the same building as her extended family.  And she doesn’t know a lot about helping out at the Curious Cousins Secondhand Shoppe. But the biggest challenge is Del believes in magic and Alma isn’t convinced.  So when Del finds a pair of hand me down earrings while stoop sale shopping, she believes they are magical.  Why? Well, the earrings are clip on and Del’s ears aren’t pierced. And almost immediately after putting the earrings on, Del’s good luck doesn’t stop (or show she thinks).  Alma is tired of Del acting like she knows everything about everything so she decides to get rid of the earrings which are the cause of their disagreement.  Will Alma and Del be able to come to a understanding about magic to mend their friendship?

I am always looking for a series that will appeal to readers who are transitioning to chapter books or striving readers in the intermediate grades. Written in 110 pages with short chapters, charming illustrations, an engaging plot and themes of friendship, family, and forgiveness, Stoop Sale Treasure will be a hit with many of my students!  Looking forward to reading more in the series. Thanks to Corey Ann Haydu and Katherine Tegen Books for sharing an ARC with my #bookexcursion group.  Stoop Sale Treasure releases on January 20, 2020.

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A Crazy Much Love by Joy Jordan-Lake Illustrated by Sonia Sánchez

There are many picture books I could recommend about welcoming a new baby in the family but A Crazy-Much Love is the first story I have read that celebrates the joy of adoption.  Inspired by the author’s own experiences adopting a child, A Crazy-Much Love reminds us that love makes a family.  To read my full review and enter a giveaway, click here.

Gross as a Snot Otter by Jess Keating Illustrations by David DeGrand

Because Jess Keating’s The World of Weird Animals series is a hit with all ages of students at my school, I feel blessed to get a sneak peek at her latest book.  From reading the title, I assumed that all the animals featured would be offensive due to their appearance, but I quickly discovered that Keating choose animals for their foul looks or behaviors.  My biggest takeaway was the majority of animals are disgusting in order to survive.  For example, snot otters are covered in mucus to protect themselves against infections and to easily slip away from predators.  The cute Siberian chipmunk rubs dead snake flesh or rolls in snake pee so that predators stay far away.  At the end of the text, Keating discusses the Science of “Ewww” by reminding readers that gross is truly in the eye of the beholder, for it can depend on where and how you live.  David DeGrand’s cartoon style illustrations provide a chuckle and help readers better understand other characteristics of each animal.   Thanks to Alfred A. Knopf/Random House for sharing a F & G with my #bookexcursion group.  Gross as a Snot Otter publishes next month on October 29, 2019.

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

Pearl and Pascal are back to teach us about coding.  In this adventure, they are spending the day at an amusement park.  With so many options and only 10 tokens, Pearl uses code by using the variable MyTokens to ensure her tokens will last her the whole day. Pearl’s main goal is to ride the Python Coaster, but the line is ridiculously long.  No worries!  Pearl and Pascal develop another variable called ShortLine, which has a value of true or false.  Using IF-THEN-ELSE, Pearl decides if the line at the Python is short, they will ride the rollercoaster but if it’s long, they will choose another activity.  But what happens when the Python line is short and Pearl is one token shy of being able to ride?  Luckily, Pearl is a problem solver and with Pascal’s help, they figure out a solution.

How to Code a Roller Coaster is a great follow up to How to Code a Sandcastle and reinforces the same concepts. While the story teaches kids about coding, a guide to coding which defines vocabulary words, code, variable, loop, if-then-else and sequence is included in the back matter.  Thanks to Penguin Random House for sharing a copy with my #bookexcursion group. How to Code a Rollercoaster publishes tomorrow!

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.

Uh-Oh, Rollo! by Reed Duncan Illustrated by Keith Frawley

Young readers love dog books so I am excited to find a beginning reader series featuring a rambunctious bulldog named Rollo.  In the first book, Uh-Oh, Rollo, Rollo gets into a lot of mischief and is constantly being scolded by his young owner.  But even though Rollo doesn’t make the best decisions, he always makes things better by saying he’s sorry.  Rollo is a series I can easily give to primary grade students, for it is written with decodable text and high frequency words with some repeated phrases. The expressive and humorous illustrations make the text even more accessible and fun! Thanks to Penguin Kids for sharing with my #bookexcursion group.  Check out the Rollo series here.

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

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

 

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

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 9/16/19

Beagles and Books is back to share our recent 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:

Filigree’s Midnight Ride by Pam Berkman and Dorothy Hearst Illustrated by Claire Powell

Filigree’s Midnight Ride, the first book in the At Heels in History series. is an entertaining, engaging, and educational story about Paul Revere’s ride taught through the eyes of a pint size Pomeranian named Filigree.  Written in under 200 pages with short chapters and charming illustrations,  it is an appealing text for a variety of readers from those transitioning to chapter books to striving readers in the intermediate grades. To read my full review and enter a giveaway, click here.

Emergency Kittens by Jody Jensen Shaffer Illustrated by Dave Mottram

In Emergency Kittens, readers meet Mimi, Twee-Twee and Adorbs who make everything better.  And one look at the cover and it is pretty clear why.

When a group of kids won’t give Sheldon his basketball back, it’s up to this trio of felines to save the day.  What is their super power?  Even this dog fan is mesmerized by their immense kitty cuteness. Shaffer’s text is so fun and Mottram’s illustrations are utterly adorable.  Special thanks to Doubleday Books/Random House for sharing an F & G with my #bookexcursion group.  Emergency Kittens publishes in January 2020.

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.

Two Brothers, One Tail by Richard T. Morris  Illustrated by Jay Fleck

Two Brothers, One Tail is a heartwarming picture book that celebrates the unconditional love between a boy and his dog. Written in rhyme, Morris sweetly tells the story of their friendship by recounting the simple activities the boy and his dog do together such as laying on the grass, riding in a car, fishing, eating, and my favorite, reading. Fleck’s illustrations tenderly convey the boy and beagle’s warm relationship. The story reminds me so much of my husband’s first beagle, Beaglie, who was his best friend and taught me to be a dog mom. We still talk about him everyday.

Special thanks to fellow reading specialist and book blogger Michele Knott for recommending this precious book to me.

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

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

 

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

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

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 Textsdecided to give it a #kidlit focus and encourage everyone who participates to visit at least 3 of the other #kidlit book bloggers that link up and leave comments for them.

It’s summer! Excited for time to relax, renew & of course, read!

Thanks to my administrators, I was blessed to participate in the TCRWP June Writing Institute at Columbia University. Even though I have been writing this blog for almost 2 years, I really didn’t identify myself as a writer. A reader, definitely, but a writer? This institute provided me with the opportunity to engage in my own writing and learn how to support teachers and students in writers’ workshop. One of the best professional learning experiences in my career! And the fact that I was able to explore and enjoy New York City made it even more memorable.

 

 

After returning home, I couldn’t pass up the chance to attend ALA Annual Conference in Washington, DC. I was only able to spend 1 day but what an incredible day meeting authors, personally thanking authors & publishers for sharing ARCs and finally getting to meet fellow literacy specialist and #bookexcursion member Lisa Maucione in real life after being virtual friends for years. At the end of the day, my heart, bags, and TBR list were (& still are) full.

 

Our Current Reads:

The Problim Children: Carnival Catastrophe by Natalie Lloyd

In the second book in the series, The Problims have 2 big missions ahead of them.  The 7 siblings need to find the remaining 3 twigs which when snapped together, create a water witch.  According to their Grandpa Problim, this water witch will lead them to “a treasure beyond measure.” They also need to find Mama Problim, who is still missing.  Set during the Annual Love Cove Corn Dog Carnival,  Mona Problim encourages all her siblings to enter one of the contests, for the prize is a boat trip to Pirates Cove which she believes is key to locating the treasure and their mother.

While all the Problim siblings are part of this adventure, Mona is the center of the  intriguing plot.  After being called cruel (more than once) and feeling misunderstood by others, Mona seeks the support of her father.  His advice is simple.  “Lead with the good. Find one good truth about someone and mention that. See how they react.”  This advice aids Mona to learn not to judge others, for she realizes everyone wants to shine and be seen in their own unique way.

In Carnival Catastrophe, readers will discover the roots of Desmonda O’pinion’s distaste for the Problims and why there was a falling out between the two families.  Amid all the mystery and mayhem, the youngest Problem keeps us chuckling with his myriad of over 200 toots.  As in Book 1, the siblings teach us the power of collaboration because it’s hard to outsmart the Problims when they are working together.  So pile up readers.  You are in for quite an adventure! But don’t worry when you get to the end. The story will continue in The Problim Children 3.

Special thanks to author Natalie Lloyd for sharing an ARC with my #bookexcursion group. The Carnival Catastrophe recently celebrated its book birthday on June 25, 2019.

Max Attacks by Kathi Appelt Illustrated by Penelope Dullaghan

With a simple yet intriguing title & the cover illustration of a striped blue cat sitting quietly in the top right corner, what reader could resist opening this picture book?

As the title states, Max likes to attack things but the question is…Can Max catch his prey?  Throughout the story, the thing Max wants to catch most are the fish swimming in a bowl. But every time he gets ready to pounce, something distracts him such as a lizard, a toy bird, a basket full of socks or shoe strings.  Will Max ever be victorious?

Written in rhyme with rich vocabulary, author Kathi Appelt’s words beg to be read aloud.  I also love that the narrator keeps score of who is winning.  For example, after Max attacks the socks in the basket, the next page spread simply states “Socks, None. Max, Ninety One.”  Illustrator Penelope Dullaghan’s artwork is gorgeous and it’s hard to believe that Max Attacks is her debut picture book.   Her expressive illustrations capture Max’s feisty and confident personality.  And I can’t forget to mention the black and white dog who watches Max’s escapades with concern, surprise, and satisfaction.

When school begins in the fall, I will be sharing Max Attacks widely with both teachers and students! Special thanks to the publisher Atheneum Books for Young Readers/Simon & Schuster and Barbara Fisch of Blue Slip Media for sending me a copy to share with my #bookexcursion group. Max Attacks recently published in June 2019.

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.

Diary of a Pug: Pug Blasts Off  by Kyla May

I love the Scholastic Branches series because the books are specifically written for readers transitioning into chapter books.  Pug Blast Off, the first in the new Diary of a Pug series, is a fun and engaging story written from a pug’s point of view in the form of diary entries.

Baron Von Bubbles, Bub for short, was rescued by young Bella at a pet adoption fair.  In this story, Bella must craft her own creation to enter in her school’s Inventor Challenge. When Bub’s accidentally ruins Bella’s invention, he is determined to make it up to her.  Through words and illustrations, readers see Bub’s brainstorming and planning process which helps Bella realize that sometimes accidents happen for a reason and collaboration makes a better invention.

With comic illustrations and written in under 75 pages, readers will think Diary of a Pug is simply paw-tastic.  Thanks to publisher Scholastic for sharing an ARC at ALAAC19. Look for Pug’s release on October 1, 2019. Three more books will be published in 2020.

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

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

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 6/10/19

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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 Current Reads:

Awesome Dog 5000 by Justin Dean

A video game fanatic, Marty is nervous about starting a new school and making friends.  While he failed to follow any of his first day rules (do not do anything weird, embarrassing or uncool), Marty did meet Ralph and Skyler who both share his love for his favorite video game Sheriff Turbo-Karate.  One day, the trio find a robot dog at Marty’s house which was was left behind by the previous owner who was an inventor.  The robot dog, Awesome 5000, is well, pretty awesome because a walk means a flight in the air at 300 miles per hour.  But Marty’s adventure hits a snag when he and Awesome 5000 accidentally ruin Dr. Crazybrains’ birthday party, an eccentric scientist with a mad passion for making evil potions.  Dr. Crazybrains vows revenge on Marty which leads to a comical adventure that is so engaging, it will be hard to put Awesome Dog 5000 down.

Author/illustrator Justin Dean’s new series (yup, Book 2 comes out in Spring 2020) is perfect for a wide variety of readers.  At 160 pages long with short, illustrated chapters. Awesome Dog 5000 will appeal to kids who are transitioning into chapter books. Within those 160 pages is an intriguing plot with dynamic characters so solid middle grade readers will devour the novel in one sitting. As an adult who grew up in the 80’s and fondly remembers playing video games at an arcade or at home on our Atari system,  Dean’s old school video illustration transported back to my childhood which was a lot of fun! What I love most about Awesome Dog 5000 is it’s also a story of friendship between 3 kids who not only love playing Sheriff Turbo-Karate but also have each other’s back.  Special thanks to Random House for sending an ARC to my #bookexcursion group. Awesome Dog 5000 releases on July 2, 2019.

Being Small (Isn’t So Bad After All) by Lori Orlinsky

Being one of the smallest in my class for pretty much my entire school career (and still only 5′ 3), I can easily relate to the main character in Being Small (Isn’t Bad After All).  While the little girl focuses on all the negatives of being small (having to stand on a stool to get a drink, getting picked last for a team), her mother identifies the benefits of her small stature (squeezing through small spaces and having the most leg room on a plane).

Written in rhyme, Being Small (Isn’t Bad After All) is a heartwarming story that promotes a positive self image for the mother tells her daughter to not dwell on her height because “you can do anything when you give it your might.”   As a reading specialist, I have shared this picture book with primary grade teachers as well as our guidance counselor to teach the virtues of empathy, respect, and tolerance.

Special thanks to the author for sending a copy to Beagles & Books. Being Small (Isn’t Bad After All) recently published in April 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.

Kayla & King and the Case of the Found Fred by Dori Hillestad Butler Illustrated by Nancy Meyers

Our second graders have a mystery genre unit and at our school, students have an option of reading books from the Kayla and King series.  In the Case of the Found Fred, King discovers a lost dog who needs help finding his family.  Told from King’s point of view, he is able to learn the dog’s name (Fred) and his family’s location (campground).  But of course Kayla doesn’t know this but with King’s help (and nose), the duo works together to piece the clues together.

To solve the case, Kayla models effective problem solving skills by making a list of all that she knows and writes questions about what she doesn’t know.  King’s amusing narration (nine or three days go by showing a dog’s concept of time) keeps the reader both interested and entertained.  With less than 50 pages, short chapters, an engaging plot, and humorous and colorful illustrations, King and Kayla is perfect for early readers transitioning to chapter books.  Special thanks to Peachtree Publishers for sending an ARC to my #bookexcursion group.  Kayla & King and the Case of the Found Friend recently published in March 2019.

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

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

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 6/3/19

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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 Current Reads:

The Vanderbeekers to the Rescue by Karina Yan Glaser

Once you meet the Vanderbeekers, you instantly fall in love with this family! So blessed to have the opportunity to read an ARC of the eagerly anticipated The Vanderbeekers to the Rescue, which is the third book in this beloved series.

It may be spring break but the Vanderbeekers’ schedule is jam packed! Isa is prepping for a violin audition and Oliver can’t wait to build a treehouse with Uncle Arthur. The most exciting news of all is Mama’s cookie business will be featured in an upcoming issue for Perch Magazine and the brownstone needs to be photo shoot ready.  But when an inspection of Mama’s baking business uncovers serious violations, the kids need to think and work fast without Mama and Papa knowing.  And while the Vanderbeekers are huge animal lovers, the animals that mysteriously appear at their door every morning are making their job even harder.

If you know the Vanderbeekers, you know that when epic mistakes are made, they band together to problem solve. Better yet, when one sibling feels defeated, another sibling reminds another to think positive.  And their actions speak louder than words, for as neighbor Miss Josie beautifully states “From where I am standing, I see five kids who are growing up and wanting to do good in the world. And that fills me with hope.”  Reading the Vanderbeekers always warm my heart and soul because of their genuine kindness toward others and their love for their community.

Special thanks to Karina Yan Glaser and Houghton Mifflin Publishing for sharing an ARC for my #bookexcursion group.  The Vanderbeekers to the Rescue publishes in September 2019.

Moon: Earth’s Best Friend by Stacy McAnulty Illustrated by Stevie Lewis

The second grade class I adopted for #classroombookaday this year absolutely loves McAnulty’s Earth and Sun so I was so grateful to get an advanced reader’s edition (ARE) of Moon to read aloud before the school year ends.

McAnulty’s Our Universe series is a blend of fiction and non-fiction which is highly engaging for read aloud.  Playfully narrated by Moon, readers learn facts about the moon’s formation and its close relationship with Earth.  While I knew Earth depended on the Moon, McAnulty’s lively text and Lewis’ adorable illustrations help even me better understand space science concepts such as rotation and gravity. I love how even as an adult, I can learn from reading picture books!

After reading Moon, several students crossing their fingers eagerly asked “Is there another picture book in the series? When I visited the Macmillan website, I saw a new title, Dude, I Am Ocean slated for release in spring 2020.

Special thanks to Christian Trimmer of Henry Holt/Macmillan Kids for sharing an ARE of Moon, which releases soon on June 11, 2019.  

Rosie the Dragon and Charlie Make Waves! by Lauren Kerstein Illustrated by

Searching for a fun summer read?  Look no further than Rosie the Dragon and Charlie Make Waves!   Written by debut author Lauren Kerstein, this lively picture book provides a splash of entertainment after a hot day at the beach, pool or park.  To read my full review and enter a giveaway, please click here.

Flora’s Tree House by Gabriel Alborozo

Flora’s little brother Will has no idea that his imaginative play inspires her artwork.  Content with her sketches, she retreats to her tree house to hang up her latest masterpiece.  When Will follows her, he quickly discovers that his fantasy world is the subject of all of Flora’s drawings.  As Flora shares and explains her illustrations, the siblings bond realizing that it is even more fun to collaborate to create new and exciting adventures together.  On the very last pages, the tree house becomes a boat on rough seas and Flora joins Will in his latest romp. 

Beautifully drawn, Flora’s Tree House is a charming story about the power of imagination and how play is much more fun with a partner.  Special thanks to Christian Trimmer of Henry Holt/Macmillan Kids for sharing an ARC. Flora’s Tree House recently celebrated its book birthday on May 28, 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.

Spunky Tells All by Ann Cameron Illustrated by Lauren Castillo

I have always been a fan of Ann Cameron’s Julian and Huey series so imagine my surprise when I discovered there was a book told from the perspective of the family dog, Spunky.    Of course, Spunky loves the Bates family and knows they love him back.  Occasionally, there are misunderstandings but that is because humans do not understand the language of dog.  This language barrier causes the Bates family to think Huey needs a companion.  Rather than get another dog, the family decides to adopt a cat named Fiona.  Much to Spunky’s dismay, Fiona disrupts his normal routine so much that he refers to his old life as B.F.-Before Fiona and A.F.-After Fiona.  Fiona accompanies the family on daily walks, eats his food and drinks his water and has the audacity to join him and Huey in their Blanket Cave.  Will Spunky and Fiona ever get along?  

At only 106 pages,  Spunky Tells All is a great story for readers transitioning to chapter books or it would be an excellent and engaging read aloud.  In addition, Lauren Castillo’s expressive black and white drawings complement the text helping young readers better understand Spunky and Fiona.

Thank you for visiting Beagles & Books! Happy reading!

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

It’s Monday! What Are You Are Reading? 5/20/19

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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 Current Reads:

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Planet Earth is Blue by Nicole Panteleakos

It is 1986. 12 year old Nova Vezina is anxiously awaiting for two big events- the launching of the space shuttle Challenger and reuniting with her older sister Bridget. Bridget ran away from their last foster home and Nova is adjusting to living with her new foster family, the Wests.

While Nova’s school reports consistently included phrases such as “cannot read” or “does not speak,” her older sister Bridget always disagreed stating that Nora “is a thinker, not a talker.” Bridget has been Nova’s strongest advocate recognizing and fostering Nova’s intelligence.   With only 10 days before the Challenger launch,  Nova is clinging on to Bridget’s promise that she and Nova will reunite and watch this historic event together.

I love the format of the novel, which alternates from third person to first person.  Nova’s first hand account is written as letters to Bridget, which everyone else calls “scribbles.”  Since Nora is autistic and nonverbal, her letters are extremely compelling sharing her deep thoughts and feelings on everything from her new foster family, new school and friends as well as past memories of her mother and Bridget.  Reading Nova’s letters is truly gut-wrenching because she shares her frustrations that people cannot understand her and how desperately she misses Bridget.  While my heart ached for Nova, Nova’s new foster family gave me hope. Francine, Billy, and their college age daughter Josie take the time to truly get to know Nova recognizing her potential rather than her limitations.

From the very first page, Nova’s story pulled me in and I couldn’t put the novel down. While I knew the outcome of the Challenger launch, debut author Nicole Panteleakos’s well crafted novel kept me wondering until almost the very end.  A heartbreaking yet uplifting story, Planet Earth is Blue reminds us of our universal need for love, respect, and understanding.  I am a firm believer that books have the power to change you and make you a better person; Planet Earth is Blue is that story, for we can all do better in showing compassion, patience, and tolerance towards others.

Special thanks to Penguin Random House and Rockstar Book Tours for a copy of Planet Earth is Blue.  It recently published on May 14, 2019.

Frankie Sparks and the Class Pet by Megan Frazier Blakemore Illustrated by Nadja Small

When Frankie’s teacher announces that the class is going to research and vote on a class pet, Frankie is determined to convince her classmates that a rat is the best choice. Scared of rodents, Frankie’s best friend Maya disagrees and feels a fish is a better choice. Frankie struggles with Maya’s lack of support which creates a rift in their friendship. With the help of her parents, Maya gradually realizes that true friendship means accepting each other’s differences.

Frankie Sparks is an early chapter book series with a lot of depth. Megan Frazier Blackmore has created such a dynamic and passionate main character in Frankie. Readers see her at her best when she is researching and/or creating as well as her worst when she is angry and frustrated that no one is listening to her. As a teacher, I love the inclusion of the endnotes which provide more information on “problem scoping” and encourage kids to be creative.

Special thanks to Simon Kids/Aladdin for sending an ARC to my #bookexcursion group. Frankie Sparks and the Class Pet and Frankie Sparks and the Talent Show Trick will be released soon on June 18, 2019. A third book, Frankie Sparks and the Big Sled Challenge will be published in November 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.

Dog vs. Ultra Dog by Troy Wilson Art by Clayton Hammer

Pup Tuffy and his boy Tim are best buds but then suddenly, Ultra Dog, a cartoon superhero steals Tim’s attention.  Worried that he is losing his boy, Tuffy attempts to be the ultra-est dog at obedience, chores, affection, and even (gulp) flying.  Unfortunately, Tuffy isn’t as successful as he hoped. How can Tuffy convince Tim that he is top dog?

Dog vs. Ultra Dog has a lot of kid appeal. With bold comic illustrations and text written in speech bubbles, the story has a graphic novel feel. While young readers will laugh out loud at Tuffy’s efforts, they will easily relate to Tuffy’s concern over being replaced by a new and more exciting friend. Amid the humor, Troy Wilson has written a heartwarming story that teaches kids that a true and loyal friend is irreplaceable.

Special thanks to Tricia Harlan of Owlkids Books for sharing a copy with Beagles and Books.  Dog vs. Ultra Dog recently published in April 2019.

Thank you for visiting Beagles & Books! Happy reading!

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

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

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 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, 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!