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

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 3/15/21

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:

Cow Says Meow! by Kirsti Call Illustrated by Brandon James Scott

When a cow says meow, it starts an a-moo-sing chain of events.  A young boy responds with “What a copycat!” and on the next page, there is a cat.  When the page is turned, the cat responds with a neigh which helps young readers predict the next animal to appear.  Each animal utters an incorrect animal sound which will keep kids laughing and excited to keep reading. Adults will snicker at the boy’s witty retorts which use wordplay.  For example, when a owl says “WOOF”, the boy replies “You’re barking up the wrong tree!”  After a pig says hi, a young girl follows responding with moo bringing the story full circle.  

Cow Says Meow is an udderly hilarious picture book.  I had the pleasure of reading aloud the story virtually to a kindergarten class and loved that the children were able to be active participants predicting the next animal based on the sound and giggling when the animals got the their sounds mixed up. I also noticed that after a few read alouds, children would be able to read the story themselves, for Call’s text is short and sweet with all the words in speech bubbles. Scott’s bold illustrations fill the whole page and show both the boy’s frustration and the animals’ surprise as the words come out of their mouths.  Thanks to the author for sharing an e-copy.  Cow Says Meow celebrates its book birthday tomorrow on March 16, 2021. 

Watercress by Andrea Wang Illustrated by Jason Chin

A Chinese American family stops their car when the parents see watercress growing on the side of the road.  The daughter who is the narrator in the story is not happy about wading in the cold, muddy water to pick the plant.   When the family sits down for dinner, there is a dish of prepared watercress, but the daughter will not put any in her bowl.  When her parents try to encourage saying the watercress is fresh and free, she does not budge.  The word, free, evokes feelings of embarrassment since the girl wears hand-me-down clothes and sits on chairs taken from a roadside trash heap.  Her mother responds by sharing a framed photograph of her family in China and a moving childhood memory which makes her daughter see the free watercress in fresh, new light.    

Gorgeously written in free verse and beautifully illustrated in watercolor, Watercress is a powerful, emotional read.   In the author’s note, Wang shares that Watercress is based on her childhood memory and the story is both an apology and love letter to her parents.  She reminds families to share their memories, the beautiful ones and the painful ones, for these stories teach us empathy. In the artist’s note, Chin explains his process of illustrating Watercress which I greatly appreciated.  As I was reading, I kept thinking how Watercress is a perfect mentor text for personal narratives and will share this touching book with teachers. Thanks to Neal Porter/Holiday House for sharing an e-copy through Edelweiss. Watercress publishes soon on March 30, 2021. 

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Agnes’s Place by Marit Larsen Illustrated by Jenny Løvlie Translated by Kari Dickson

Young Agnes knows her home so well and the neighbors that live near her.  Everything is pretty predictable.  So when Agnes sees a girl standing on the street below her looking up, her mind is full of wonder. From inside her apartment, Agnes quietly watched the girl and her mother move their things past her door and up the stairs all the way to the fifth floor.  Agnes decided to welcome the new girl by making her an invitation to join her on the swings and dropping it into her letter box.  But when the girl doesn’t come, Agnes is sad.  As time passes, Agnes doesn’t understand. Why is the new girl interested in everything else except her?

While Agnes had a sense of belonging because she knows everyone’s patterns, likes and dislikes in her apartment building, it was clear that she was lonely with no other children around. Løvlie’s detailed illustrations show not only Agnes’s knowledge but also her solitude. The predictability of her world changed the moment she first saw the new girl (now known as Anna) on the street and then moving into the apartment on the fifth floor. Larsen’s text and Løvlie’s artwork express both how Agnes’s home has changed all because of Anna.  At the end of the story, when the two girls come face to face, my heart leaped because I believe the anticipation made their meeting more special.  Translated from Norwegian, Agnes’s Place is a sweet story that reminds us that life is always more enjoyable with surprises. To read my full review and details to enter a giveaway, click here


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.

Good Dog series by Cam Higgins Illustrated by Ariel Landy

Follow the adventures of rescue dog Bo Davis in this new early chapter book series!  In the first book, Home is Where the Heart Is, readers are introduced to Bo who lives on a farm with his family.  After a good rain, Bo decides to join his pig pal, Zonks, for a romp in the mud. After his human brother, Wyatt and sister, Imani, give Bo a much needed bath, they realize that his dog tag is missing.  Not having a tag greatly bothers Bo because it reminded him of his life at the pound before he was adopted and became a Davis.  Determined, Bo retraces his steps, uncovers some clues talking to the farm animals (and some spiders), which all lead him to his treasured tag. 

In Raised in a Barn, the second book in the series, Bo believes he is the fastest animal on the farm so he and the newest foal, Comet, race to prove it once and for all.  Bo wins the race, but not because he is truly faster.  Comet is young and easily distracted by a butterfly.  After being chastised by Nanny Sheep for gloating, Bo apologizes and with the help of his best puppy friend Scrapper, he gets the idea that he can teach Comet how to be a great horse.  But a dog may not be the best teacher for a horse especially when Comet needs to be groomed and ready for the foal parade at the local fair the next day.    Bo learns that it is more important to be Comet’s friend than his teacher.  

The third book in the series, Herd You Loud and Clear, Bo plays games with his sheep buddy Puff.  Because of Puff’s fluffy wool, he is not the best at playing hide and seek and wants to find a game that Bo has not played.  Bo finds out from his human dad, Darnell, that it’s shearing season so Bo has to help herd the sheep to the barn.  Bo attempts to collect the sheep but they complain of being too hot to walk to the barn.  When Bo finally sees Puff, he is standing on a large rock and challenges Bo to catch him.  When Bo can’t, Puff makes fun of him.  While Bo is good at a lot of things, he feels down that he is not at climbing rocks or herding sheep.  Fortunately, Nanny Sheep is willing to teach Bo all about shepherding. And when Puff gets stuck on rocks in the forest, Bo relies on the confidence he gained from Nanny Sheep and help from Scrapper to save his friend.

Well, Bo is now one of my favorite literary pups because of his curiosity, determination, and willingness to always lend a paw to his friends.  The Good Dog series is perfect for readers transitioning to chapter books.  With large print, short chapters, adorable, expressive illustrations on almost every page, well developed characters and an engaging plot, I can’t wait for my young readers to meet Bo.  The first three books published in December 2020. Thanks to Jenny Lu of Simon & Schuster for sharing Good Dog with Beagles and Books.  Three more titles will be published in the series throughout this year.  For more information, click here. 

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, Bit About Books Winter Reading Challenge, Early Chapter Books, It's Monday! What Are You Reading?, Middle Grade Literature, Picture Books

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 2/15/21

 

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.

Continue reading “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 2/15/21”

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

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 1/11/21

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.

Continue reading “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 1/11/21”

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 10/5/20

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.link up below, leave a comment, and support other IMWAYR bloggers by visiting and commenting on at least three of the other linked blogs.

Continue reading “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 10/5/20”

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 9/21/20

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.link up below, leave a comment, and support other IMWAYR bloggers by visiting and commenting on at least three of the other linked blogs.

Continue reading “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 9/21/20”

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

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 6/15/20

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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.

Seven Clues to Home by Gae Polisner and Nora Raleigh Baskin 

It’s been exactly one year since Joy’s best friend Lukas died   While Joy admits the pain got smaller, the grief did not. Today turning thirteen is not a happy occasion especially since every year Joy and Lukas celebrated their August birthdays together with a scavenger hunt.  For the past year, the unopened envelope with the first clue has remained in the bottom of her desk drawer.  Joy finally gets the courage to open the envelope and read and follow the first clue.

I really enjoy novels written from dual perspective and Polisner and Baskin have masterfully written a moving story that will tug at your heartstrings.  Joy’s chapters take place in the present as she pieces together the clues while Lukas is in the past recounting his day planting the clues all around their Long Island town.  You can feel Joy’s pain as she engages in the scavenger hunt but you can also feel her excitement in feeling connected once again to Lukas.

Losing someone you love is one of the hardest things to experience. Seven Clues to Home reminds us you can keep that people close to your heart through remembering and reminiscing and never really have to say goodbye. Thanks to the publisher Knopf Books for Young Reader/Penguin Random House for sharing an ARC with my #bookexcursion group.  Seven Clues to Home recently published on June 9, 2020.

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The Amazing Life of Azaleah Lane by Nikki Shannon Smith Illustrated by Mari Lobo

Third grader Azaleah lives in Washington, DC with her chef mom, lawyer dad, older sister Nia, and younger sister Tiana.  In this first book in the series, Azaleah takes a class field trip to the National Zoo and is excited about a creative extra credit assignment.  She decides to focus on her project on a tiger’s habitat but her ability to begin the assignment is impacted by the disappearance of her Tiana’s stuffed frog, Greenie.  Tiana is devastated and very persistent in wanting Azaleah to help her in the search.  Azaleah is willing to help but is also concerned about completing her project in time.  Will Azaleah be successful in accomplishing both?

Written by #OwnVoices author who has worked in elementary education for over 25 years,  Nikki Shannon Smith has created an engaging new series for children transitioning to chapter books.  A blend of realistic fiction and mystery, the story has a lot of kid appeal with a fast-paced plot, about 100 pages in length, bright and lively illustrations, and an eager and smart main character.  Thanks to Capstone for sharing a copy with my #bookexcursion group.  The Amazing Life of Azaleah Lane published in January 2020.  Look for the second book in the series, The Dramatic Life of Azaleah Lane in Fall 2020.

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The Camping Trip by Jennifer K. Mann

Ernestine who lives in the city is elated to be going on her first camping trip with her Aunt Jackie and cousin Samantha.   With a stuffed duffle bag which luckily zipped, Ernestine is ready.  During the long drive to the campground, Ernestine and Samantha pass the time together and once they arrive, they learn setting up a campsite is a lot of work.  As a first time camper, Ernestine is unsure about swimming in a fish filled pond,  packs way too much in her backpack for a hike and enjoys eating broccoli salad and making s’mores (tofu dogs are not her favorite). When night falls and Ernestine can’t sleep, she begins to miss her dad.  Fortunately, Aunt Jackie and Samantha are there to hold her hand and show her the beauty of a star filled sky.

The Camping Trip is simply delightful. Readers will identify with Ernestine’s range of feelings in trying something new and Mann does a wonderful job of capturing her emotions in both words and illustrations. I love the blend of graphic novel and picture book with panel illustrations, speech bubbles, and first person narration.  And don’t miss the gorgeous case cover or undies and the end papers.  The Camping Trip recently published in April 2020.

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.

Max Explains Everything Puppy Expert by Stacy McAnulty Illustrated by Deborah Hocking

Max Explains Everything Puppy Expert is full of good advice for welcoming a new dog of any age into your family. Max has wanted to dog for a long time and after his mom sees an adoption event in the local paper, they finally say yes to Max.  Choosing the right puppy is a tough decision but once Max does, he realizes it is even more difficult to choose the right house.  Do you pick a name based on personality or behavior?  Teaching his puppy the do’s and don’t of the house and commands is a lot of work hard work but Max realizes that puppies are also a lot of fun, cute, cuddle, and love which helps him choose the perfect name.

What I love about the Max is he talks directly to the reader.  McAnulty’s bouncy text reads like a conversation and along with Hocking’s charming full page illustrations, Max’s upbeat personality shines through. I also love that kids see that Max did the research before adopting a pet and his mom holds him accountable for taking care of his puppy.  And of course, the fact that Max adopted a puppy warms my heart.  Thanks to G.P. Putnam Sons/Penguin Random House and Edelweiss for sharing an e-copy. Max Explains Everything Puppy Expert publishes on July 7, 2020.

 

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

Blog Tour, Early Chapter Books, Giveaway, Rockstar Book Tours

Blog Tour & Giveaway: Our Friend Hedgehog by Lauren Castillo

OUR FRIEND HEDGEHOG

Beagles and Books is excited to be part of the Our Friend Hedgehog blog tour organized by Rockstar Book Tours.

About the Book:
Title:
OUR FRIEND HEDGEHOG
Author/Illustrator: Lauren Castillo
Pub. Date: May 5, 2020
Pubisher: Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers
Formats: Hardcover, eBook
Pages: 122
Find it: GoodreadsAmazonKindleB&NibooksKoboTBDBookshop.org.

Continue reading “Blog Tour & Giveaway: Our Friend Hedgehog by Lauren Castillo”

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

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 3/9/20

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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 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.

Our Recent Reads:

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Ronan The Librarian by Tara Luebbe and Becky Cattie Illustrated by Victoria Maderna

Ronan is living his best life as a barbarian invading, raiding, and trading treasures until one raid’s pillage was unusual. Instead of jewelry and weapons, Ronan’s loot was books. Since barbarians do not read books, Ronan’s solution was to use the pages for kindling, origami or even toilet paper.  But thankfully, a picture in one of the books grabs his attention and turns this reluctant reader into a voracious reader.  Even on raids, Ronan can’t stop reading and soon he has so many books that he opened a library.  But how will Ronan convince other barbarians to love books as much as he does?

I am a big fan of the sister writing duo Luebee and Cattie and as a book lover, I can’t gush enough about Ronan The Librarian.  I especially love that all it takes is a picture to hook Ronan, which reminds me of the anonymous quote “Everyone is a reader… Some just haven’t found their favorite book yet.”  Not only does the story have a great message but also kids will be laughing out loud for the text and Maderna’s illustrations are full of humor.  I particularly chuckled reading Ronan’s library rules and advice board which reminds barbarians that swords make terrible bookmarks and no juicy meats are allowed in the library.   Thanks to Tara Leubbe for sharing an ARC with my #bookexcursion group. Ronan The Librarian publishes in April 2020.

World So Wide by Allison McGhee by Illustrated by Kate Alizadeh

World So Wide is a quiet book with a big message, which is the boundless love between a parent and child. To read my full review and enter a giveaway courtesy of Two Lions/ Amazon Publishing, click here.

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.

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A Dog’s Day: Jax Protector of the Ranch by Catherine Stier Illustrated by Francesca Rosa

A Dog’s Day is an engaging new early chapter book series about working dogs.  In the first book, a Great Pyrenees named Jax describes his job as a livestock guardian dog (LGD).  Narrated by Jax, he tells how he and puppy Stormy, a LGD in training, protect their flock of sheep from predators.

Even as an adult reader, this novel was hard to put down.  I was so interested in learning about the training and duties of LGDs which was shared in the first few chapters.  Then the plot became especially suspenseful, for Bev, the lead LGD, was injured by a coyote leaving Jax and Stormy alone.  The duo must work together to guard the sheep from a mountain lion. This task becomes even more challenging because one of the ewes gave birth to a lamb that evening.   Stier does an amazing job of explaining the training and the responsibilities of LGDs so that kids can understand.  I also appreciate all the supports for young readers transitioning into chapter books. The actual story is written in 84 pages with 10 short chapters and Rosa’s appealing black and white illustrations appear every few pages.  At the end of the book, Stier includes more information about LBDs which provides even more facts about these incredible working dogs.

Thanks to Albert Whitman for sending an ARC to my #bookexcursion group. Look for Jax Protector of the Ranch and the second book in the series, Ava Seeker in the Snow in April 2020.

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

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

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 3/2/20

 

It’s been a tough week with the loss of our sweet Etta.  I am so grateful to Etta for being the inspiration for my blog and consider every post a tribute to her.  If you would like to read my blog post in memory of Etta, please click here. While Bella may be slightly camera shy, she is rising to the occasion posing for book photos.   Ever grateful to Bella for her love and support. 

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.

Our Recent Reads:

Our Friend Hedgehog: The Story of Us by Lauren Castillo

The first book in the Our Friend Hedgehog series, The Story of Us tells how Hedgehog’s circle of friends grew.  At first, it was just Hedgehog and Mutty, two friends living on an island. But when a terrible storm carries away Mutty, Hedgehog finds the courage to take a journey to find her dear pup. On her travels, Hedgehog meets Mole, Owl, Beaver, Hen and Chicks, and finally, Annika Mae, a young girl who recently moved to Hedge Hollow.  Each character is introduced in a chapter where readers gets to know their unique personality and traits.  

Reading about Hedgehog and her friends transported me back to the books of my childhood.  I grew up on friendship stories like Frog and Toad and Winnie the Pooh.  And I love that Annika Mae takes photographs with a classic Polaroid.   As a reading specialist who works with striving readers, I appreciate all the supports author/illustrator Lauren Castillo provides to help children who are transitioning to reading chapter books. A map of Hedge Hollow and an illustrated cast of characters appear before the first chapter, rich and warm artwork graces on almost every page, and short chapters make the novel less daunting.  Can’t wait for my students to meet Hedgehog, Annika Mae, and all the other animals in Hedge Hollow!  Thanks to Random House Kids for sending an ARC to my #bookexcursion group.  Our Friend Hedgehog: The Story of Us will publish in May 5, 2020.

Monsters 101 by Cale Atkinson 

Did you know…

  • One in every three homes has a monster hiding under a bed?
  • Mummies are terrified of puppies?
  • Tofu Cauliflower was the first vegetarian zombie?

Fans of author/illustrator Atkinson’s Unicorns 101 are in for a spooky treat with his upcoming release, Monsters 101.  Readers will be enlightened, not frightened as they learn top-secret monster knowledge on topics such as monster biology, daily life, diet,  habitat and homes, fears, and monster-human interactions.  

What I love about Monsters 101 is that Atkinson blends a fantasy topic with an nonfiction format including lots of engaging text features (diagrams, timelines, labels and captions)  and comical illustrations. I know this amusing and entertaining picture book will be in high demand with my students no matter what their age!  Thanks to Random House Kids for sending a F & G to my #bookexcursion group.  Look for Monsters 101 on August 4, 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 Little Pup by Laura J. Bryant

This Little Pup is a charming and creative counting book.  On the front endpapers, a little gray scruffy puppy eyes a blue ball in the grass.  On the first page spread, readers see a little boy getting ready to bounce the ball to the puppy.   Once the ball is bounced, the energetic puppy follows the ball passing by the many animals on the farm.  Written in concise text in a larger font, counting and colors are reinforced as the puppy chases the ball all over the farm. Will the puppy finally catch it? 

I especially love that author/illustrator Laura J. Bryant utilizes all the space of each page spread as well as the end papers to tell the story with delicate and warm illustrations. Bold dashes show the immense bounce of the big blue ball.  Children will love counting up all the animals on the last few spreads. And like the little pup asks for another round of fetch, young readers will also beg for second read.  Thanks to Albert Whitman for sending an ARC to my #bookexcursion group. This Little Pup publishes soon on April 1, 2020. 

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

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

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 1/27/20

 

Beagles and Books is thrilled 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:

Drew and Jot; Dueling Doodles by Art Baltazar

Dueling Doodles is the first graphic novel in the Drew and Jot trilogy. On the first day of fifth grade, new student Andrew meets Foz and the two boys become fast friends due to their love of drawing. They quickly decide to collaborate on a crossover comic strip featuring Andrew’s superhero Drew and Foz’s evil Doctor Danger. Soon other characters such as Jot, a canine sidekick for Drew and Poop Monster are born. But when Drew’s little sister Patsy borrows the sketchbook and adds her own characters to their story and Dr. Danger book jumps from Foz’s sketchbook to Andrew’s, the adventure goes to a whole other level. 

I love that Baltazar draws reality with the kids’ interactions as well as their artwork in the sketchbooks. I have no doubt that readers of all ages will not only devour this series but also will be inspired to draw and collaborate on creating their own stories. Special thanks to author Jarrett Lerner for recommending Dueling Doodles which recently published on January 7, 2020.

Mack Rhino Private Eye: The Big Race Lace Case by Paul Dubois Jacobs and Jennifer Swender Illustrated by Karl West

In The Big Race Lace Case, Mack Rhino and his assistant, Redd Oxpeck have recently solved their 99th case and it doesn’t take long before they are handed Case #100. Apparently shoelaces are disappearing right before the Big Race in Coral Cove. With news of the Ant Hill Gang escaping the ant farm upstate, Mack is certain they are involved. But who are they working with? With an engaging and humorous plot, young readers will enjoy piecing together the evidence gathered by Mack to help solve the mystery.

In my district, second grade students read mysteries as part of an ELA unit but I must admit, it is difficult to find mysteries for striving readers.  So excited to read the first book in the Mack Rhino Private Eye, which is part of Aladdin’s Quix Fast Fun Reads. Launched in 2018, this book line supports developing readers in becoming independent readers. Written in under 70 pages with short chapters and illustrations on every few pages, Mack Rhino has other great supports to help children transition to chapter books. These accessible features include a list of characters with their role, the use of bold font for characters when first introduced and vocabulary words, which are then defined with pronunciation in a glossary. I plan to buy multiple copies to use with my striving reading group during the mystery unit,

Special thanks to author Jennifer Swender for sending me a review copy.  Mack Rhino Private Eye: The Big Race Lace Case just celebrated its book birthday on January 21, 2020. A second book, The Candy Caper Case will publish in May 2020.  

Trouble at Table 5: The Candy Caper by Tom Watson Illustrated by Marta Kissi

Molly likes things a certain way. She likes her socks folded not rolled up. She only reads one book at a time. Her pillows must be arranged in a particular order. So when she sees a big glass jar full of Skittles in her principal’s office, she needs to know how many Skittles are in the jar. Fortunately, Molly’s friends Rosie and Simon understand when she has something she can’t get out of her head. They not only help her concoct a plan to count the Skittles but also help her carry it out. Young readers will enjoy problem solving with the trio.

With progress bars at the end of each chapter, full and half page illustrations and only 96 pages in length, I just love this new illustrated Harper Chapters series which support kids in building stamina to read chapter books. Special thanks to the publisher Harper Collins for sharing an ARC at the NCTE convention.  The Candy Caper and Busted by Breakfast, the second book in the Trouble at Table 5 series will both be available on February 25, 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.

Honey: The Dog Who Saved Abe Lincoln by Shari Swanson Illustrated by Chuck Groenink

Most of my knowledge of Abraham Lincoln is about his career as a lawyer and of course, as our 16th U.S. president.  Debut author Shari Swanson has written a heartwarming story about Abe’s boyhood friendship with his dog Honey. 

On his way back home from the mill, young Abe finds a stray dog with an injured leg.  He makes a splint with sticks, bark, and rawhide and takes the dog home with him.  From that day on, Abe and newly named Honey are inseparable.  Loyal Honey repays Abe for rescuing him by seeking help when Abe got stuck between boulders in a cave.  What I especially love about this story is Swanson embeds young Abe’s other acts of kindness towards animals saving those in distress.  Chuck Groenik’s warm and nostaglic illustrations complement the text well showing Abe’s gentleness and compassion.  Also included is a timeline titled Abraham Lincoln and His Animal Encounters which provides even more information and an author’s note which shares the origin of this picture book, for Abe’s childhood best friend, Austin Gollaher orally recounted stories to a journalist.  Honey: The Dog Who Saved Abe Lincoln recently published on January 14, 2020.  

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