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

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 7/26/21

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:

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Isabel and Her Colores Go to School by Alexandra Alessandri Illustrated by Courtney Dawson 

Isabel is all set for her first day of school except for one thing-she is fluent in Spanish and doesn’t feel confident speaking or understanding English.  Alessandri cleverly connects Isabel’s emotions to color, for Isabel associates bright colors to Spanish, but less vibrant colors to English.  Dawson’s vivid artwork complements the text well. for these colors swirl around Isabel along with her facial expression clearly show her feelings.  Before Isabel walks into school, her mother gives her advice, “To bad times, a good face.”

When Isabel is unsure of what to do in class, she follows along with the rest of her classmates. When they count in English, she chants in Spanish,  but then feels dark colors engulfing her.  At story time, a classmate named Sarah offers a place next to her on the carpet.  When Sarah asks to be friends, Isabel does not understand which makes both girls feel awkward.  Fortunately, drawing becomes the way for Isabel to articulate.  She shows Sarah a picture of the two of them and says “Amigas”  Sarah repeats and then says “Friends,”   I love that Isabel’s artwork is her communication and makes the stormy blues and blizzards colors of English soften to aquamarine. 

Written in both English and Spanish, Isabel and Her Colores Go to School was inspired by Alessandri’s own experience of starting kindergarten.  A must read for the first day of school.  Isabel will be a friend to all anxious about a new school year. Back matter includes Spanish to English translations. Thanks to Sleeping Bear Press for sharing a finished copy.  Isabel and the Colores Go to School recently published on July 15, 2021. 


I Can Read Comics from Harper Alley

This addition to the I Can Read line introduces children to the graphic novel format.  To the left of the title page, guidance on cartooning basics is provided including vocabulary (panel, gutter, tier, word balloons) and how to read the panels.   To learn more about I Can Read Comics, click here. 

 

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Fish and Sun by Sergio Ruzzier

Fish is bored at the bottom of the cold, dark ocean and decides to venture to the surface.   When Fish first pokes out of the water, it is still cold, dark, and boring until Sun rises in the sky.  Fish and Sun become fast friends playing together until Sun starts to set.   Confused and sad, Fish thinks Sun has disappeared forever, but is reunited with Sun when Fish returns to the surface the next day.  I am a big fan of Ruzzier’s work especially Fox and Chick.  With concise text including high frequency words in speech bubbles and warm full panel illustrations that show both character’s feelings, young readers have support to read and enjoy Fish and Sun.  

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Friendbots: Blink and Block Make a Wish by Vicky Fang

Frowning Block sits on a bench while the other shapes play.  Using the sensor on its head, Blink roams nearby in search of gold, silver or gems.  Each time, Blink excitedly finds an item such as a bottle cap or a gum wrapper, Block immediately discounts it as insignificant.   When Blink finds a penny, Block is not impressed but Blink proudly says ” a penny can turn into a wish”  After throwing it in a puddle, Blink prances with glee because the wish came true.  Block is bewildered and argues with Blink.  It turns out Blink’s wish was for a new friend.  Block’s frowning face turns into a smile and the duo search for more wishes. 

I love how kids will takeaway that friendship is truly something to treasure!  Fang’s Blink and Block are adorably drawn and reinforce shape and color concepts.  In fact, I can see kids drawing their own Blink and Block adventures or based on the first page spread, choose another shape bot (triangle, rectangle, oval, etc.) as a character in their story.  Book 2: Blink and Block Bug Each Other publishes in September. 

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Tiny Tales: Shell Quest by Steph Waldo

While exploring the backyard, a lonely slug sees two creatures that look similar but they have “things” on their backs.  After learning the “thing” is a shell,  the snails tell the slug to find a shell so the slug can play with them.  Thinking a shell is the solution to making friends, the slug searches for one.  An acorn, a thimble, and even a real snail shell seems like good alternatives, but unfortunately, none of them  stay put.  Luckily, one of the snails offers to help the distraught slug find a new shell and on their travels in a rainstorm, the slug discovers the snail is a true friend.  A  downpour carries them to a hollow log where the duo meet other creatures without shells.  Without hestitation, the slug and snail are invited to stay.   With themes of empathy, friendship, and self-acceptance and the cutest slug I have ever seen, Waldo’s debut as author/illustrator is gastropod-tastic!  Book 2: A Feast for Friends publishes in September. 


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Animals Go Vroom! by Abi Cushman

“Roar!! goes the….” Through the die-cut windows, readers see a tiger but when the page is turned, a truck the tiger is driving is the cause of the sound.  Subsuquent sounds include hiss, screech, and squeak, but astute kids will quickly recognize the pattern that the vehicles, not the animals, are making the sounds.  I love that the Cushman chose to begin the story on the title page with the snake family buying a yellow car.  Each page spread gradually reveals how the traffic jam occurred and the chain reaction. Cushman has a gift for adding details into her illustrations, which creates stories within the story.  Opposite of the title page, a young crow receives a toy car that is identical to the snake’s.  The crow and his mother show up in the background of many page spreads and it’s fun to hunt for them and see what they are doing.   

I loved Cushman’s debut picture book Soaked so I was eager to read her Animals Go Vroom! This interactive story which encourages children to be active participants exceeded my expectations.  Children will beg for repeated readings and parents won’t complain!  The expressions on all the animals are priceless and a second read focusing on the illustrations is crucial to follow the painting otter.  Pre-order now so you can check it out for yourself!

Thanks to the author and Viking/Penguin Random House for sharing an eARC.  Animals Go Vroom! publishes on August 17, 2021. 


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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Mayor Good Boy by Dave Scheidt Illustrated by Miranda Harmon

After a dog named Good Boy is elected as mayor of Greenwood, the town is divided.  During his first speech as mayor, a group of angry constituents storm the city hall.  Abby gets her younger brother Aaron to willingly expose his stinky socks thus creating a diversion to rescue Good Boy.  In gratitude for their effort, Good Boy’s chief of staff, Ms. Monica, offers the siblings a job to work with in the mayor’s office.  Their first order of business is to enhance the public image of Mayor Good Boy with all the people in town.  Can Abby and Aaron help get the town on Mayor Good Boy’s side by exposing Old Man Mervis for his dastardly deeds?  

Schiedt’s humorous plot and Hamron’s energetic illustrations will bring smiles and giggles to readers.  Not only will kids laugh out loud especially at Aaron’s gross antics, but also they will learn about how they actively get involved in their own community.    I especially liked seeing Abby’s confidence grow and the reinforcement of teamwork makes the dream work. Following the story is The Mayor Good Boy Pledge promoting positive change and a mini-comic on how kids can contact elected officials to voice their concerns.  Tutorials on how to draw Mayor Good Boy, Abby, and Aaron will support budding ilustrators create their own adventures. 

Two more books in the series are forthcoming-Mayor Good Boy Goes Hollywood in 2022 and Mayor Good Boy Turns Bad in 2023.  Thanks to Random House Graphic for sharing an eARC.  Mayor Good Boy publishes next month on August 31, 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.

Early Chapter Books, Early Readers, Graphic Novel

Reviews of New Ready-to-Read Graphics from Simon and Schuster Children’s Publishing

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Thank you to Simon & Schuster’s Children’s Publishing for sending review copies of Ready-to-Read Graphics, a new addition to their Ready-to-Read line.  All opinions are my own.  Ready-to-Read Grpahics are a great way to introduce beginning readers to graphic novels.  Check out the characteristics below!

The first book in each series will be published next week on Tuesday, June 29, 2021.  Subsequent books in each series will be forthcoming. For more information, click on Ready-to-Read Graphics!


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Thunder and Cluck: Friends Do Not Eat Friends by Jill Esbaum Illustrated by Miles Thompson (Level 1)

Thunder, a large carnivorous dinosaur, attempts to scare Cluck, a small pterodactyl with his loud roar, but Cluck isn’t convinced.  In fact, as Thunder continues to make noise, Cluck is pretty chill staying put to enjoy his rest on the grass.  Cluck’s lack of response infuriates Thunder but as the two banter back and forth, it is pretty clear that Cluck’s comments are making Thunder rethink his whole plan.  Can a friendship truly blossom between these two dinosaurs?  

Thunder and Cluck is a great introduction to graphic novel for beginning readers, for the story is mostly one or two panels per page with some wordless page spreads.  Esbaum’s peppy dialogue is concise and includes many high frequency words that young readers can recognize and read.  With an accessible text, kids can focus on the characters especially the transformation of Thunder from ferocious to friendly.  Thompson’s lively illustrations humurously show each character’s contrast in personalities.   Stay tuned for The Brave Friends Leads the Way (Book 2) coming out in August 2021!


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Nugget and Dog: All Ketchup No Mustard by Jason Tharp (Level 2)

(Chicken) Nugget and (Hot) Dog are neighbors and best friends.  One day, they look in a chest in Great-Grandpa Frank-Furter’s attic and find a mask, a paper, and a photo.  After showing Gramps the items, he tells them of being a K.E.T.C.H.U.P. Cruscader in his youth.  Each letter stood for a positive word (kind, thoughful, courageous, etc.) and the group was formed to save Gastroplis from the evil Mayo Naze and her mold.  By being kind, emphathetic, and helpful to Mayo Naze, the Cruscaders convinced her to use power for good, not evil.  But now, her great-grandson Dijon Mustard, is hatching his own evil plan.  Can Nugget and Dog use K.E.T.C.H.U.P to save the town once again?  

With cool characters, an intriguing plot, and engaging illustrations, Nugget and Dog is a hilarious story with an affirming message!  Tharp’s comic panels are bold and playful and the text includes puns that will keep kids laughing throughout the story.  As an adult, I chuckled every time Dijon appeared on the scene, for he is perfectly evil with his slanty eyebrows and his MWAHAHA outbursts with his sidekick Crouton. 

What I especially loved is how Nugget and Dog showed the power of positivity and the message that you can do big things even if you are small.    The next Nugget and Dog adventure, Yum Fest is the Best (Book 2), publishes in August 2021. 


Geraldine Pu and Her Lunch Box Too! by Maggie P. Chang (Level 3)

Like a lot of kids her age, Geraldine’s favorite time of the school day is lunch.  Amah (Grandma in Taiwanese) makes the best food and even includes notes in her grinning lunch box, which Geraldine affectionately Biandang.  Look how cute he is!

 

But when Nico who sits by Geraldine smells her curry and loudly says “EW”! and further remarks “Your lunch is gross,” other classmates follow with words like “yuck” and “weird.” Although Geraldine loves her Amah’s Taiwanese lunches, she is now nervous to eat them at the lunch table. Geraldine is so upset that she not only does eat not the delicious bao but also takes her anger out on Biandang throwing him, but then quickly apologizing and mending him. On the next day, right before Geraldine opens Biandang, Nico makes another rude comment, but it is now directed at Deven and his lunch. Geraldine knows that she has to stand up both for herself and Deven and teach her classmates a powerful lesson to be both open minded and compassionate.

Young children need to learn about the effects of microaggressions and debut author/illustrator Chang’s Geraldine Pu and Her Lunch Box Too is the perfect story to help kids understand how their comments can be hurtful to their peers. Chang’s comic panels are bright and detailed with a large text to make it easy to read. Geraldine’s thoughts ands feelings are conveyed through the narration and the dialogue, The number of panels per page increases which shows the Ready-to-Read level progression from 1 to 3. Bonuses include an author explanation of how Geraldine and her family speak English, Madarin Chinese, and Taiwanese, as well as a glossary of Madarin and Taiwanese words with pictures. In addition, at the end of the book, Biandang shares his thoughts too about names and foods highlighted in the story, and Amah shares her steamed pork bao recipe. A second book has not been shared yet, but I am hopeful the wait won’t be long!

#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”

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

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 12/21/20

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.

Continue reading “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 12/21/20”

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

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 12/7/20

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.

Continue reading “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 12/7/20”

#Bookexcursion, Debut Author, Early Readers, Graphic Novel, It's Monday! What Are You Reading?, Picture Books, Poetry

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 11/23/20

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.

Continue reading “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 11/23/20”

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

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 7/15/19

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 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:

Count Me In by Varsha Bajaj

Count Me In is a moving story told in alternating perspectives by seventh graders Karina and Chris who are next door neighbors. At the beginning of the story, they are not friends but that all changes when Karina’s Indian grandfather, Papa moves in with her family and shortly after becomes Chris’ math tutor.  On a walk, all three of their lives are forever changed when Papa is assaulted and badly injured by a stranger who targets him because of his race. Karina refuses to let hate win and with the help of social media becomes an “accidental activist” launching a movement called #CountMeIn, which celebrates not only that Americans are from many races and cultures but also the power of speaking up and standing up for what is right. 

I loved hearing both Karina’s and Chris’ perspectives and how they both learned that we are all stronger together when we use our voices.  Thank you Nancy Paulsen and Penguin Kids for sharing an ARC with my #bookexcursion group.  Count Me In releases soon on August 27, 2019.

Unicorns 101 by Cale Atkinson

Would you like to earn a certificate in unicorn science? Well you’re in luck because Cale Atkinson has written and illustrated a highly entertaining and super engaging picture book that will teach you everything you want to know about unicorns.  The book is comprised of 10 sections informing readers about topics such as unicorn biology, diet, history, habitat, and social behaviors.

While Unicorns 101 is clearly fictional, it reads like an informational picture book. In fact, I strongly believe it would be a great mentor nonfiction text, for text features (diagrams, timelines, labels and captions) are prominent throughout the book.  I can’t wait to share this imaginative yet informative book with students and teachers.  (And by the way, I think I found a new rare unicorn breed if there is ever addendum to Unicorns 101).  Thank you to Random House for sharing an F & G with my #bookexcursion group.  It publishes on September 3, 2019.

Hangry by Drew Brockington

What happens when a lizard monster is hungry and angry because the best hot dog restaurant in the city is closed for vacation?  Of course, he becomes HANGRY terrorizing the city on his search for his favorite food.  When he finally gets a hot dog with the works from.a street vendor, it seems his stomach will be happy. But just as he begins to put the hot dog in his mouth, a pigeon swipes his food.  Will the monster’s hangriness ever be satisfied?

Boldly illustrated in comic panels with all dialogue in speech bubbles, Hangry is a fun read with a simple message at the end.  Before you get hangry, ask the street vendor if he has any more hot dogs left in his cart.   Hangry recently published in June 2019.

Rocket’s Very Fine Day by Tad Hills

In this early reader, Rocket and Bella feel lucky because it is a beautiful sunny day perfect for romping and playing outside. But when the sky turns dark and is full of clouds, there is worry that their fine day will be ruined.  Fortunately, the pair realize that while they do not like rain, they love puddles!

With concise text and large expressive illustrations, Rocket’s Very Fine Day is a perfect book for emerging readers.  I also love the theme of making the most out of the day rather than dwelling on the negatives.  Thanks to Penguin Random Home for sharing a F & G at American Library Asssociation’s Annual Conference (ALAAC19) this June.

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.

Dogs and Their People by Anne Lambelet

Charmingly illustrated in a vintage, art deco style, Dogs and Their People is a story about young girl walking home from school.  On her journey,  she observes the dogs and their people noticing how some dogs match their owners perfectly while others are complete opposites. What is clearly similar in all relationships is the genuine love and affection dogs and their owners have for each other. 

When the girl arrives home to greet her own pet. readers will be surprised to see her furry best friend is not a dog, but rather a cat!  It just goes to show you that even cat people can appreciate dog and their people too!  Thanks to Page Street Kids for hosting an author signing at ALAAC19 where I received a copy.  Dogs and Their People recently published in June 2019.

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

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

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

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Beagles and Books is excited to share some of our current reads in It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #IMWAYR is a community of bloggers who link up to share what they are reading. Kellee Moye of Unleashing Readers and Jen Vincent of Teach Mentor Texts decided to give it a #kidlit focus and encourage everyone who participates to visit at least 3 of the other #kidlit book bloggers that link up and leave comments for them.

Our Recent Reads: 

Extraordinary Birds by Sandy Stark-McGinnis

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Special thanks to Penguin Kids for sharing a copy with my #bookexcursion group. Flubby Is Not a Pet and a second book, Flubby Will Not Play with That! both published recently on April 23, 2019.

Etta and Bella’s Dog Pick of the Week

Wanting to spread the dog love, Beagles and Books has a weekly feature of highlighting a literary selection with a canine main character.

Felipe and Claudette by Mark Teague

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

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

Thank you for visiting Beagles and Books!  Happy reading!

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