Beagles and Books is excited to be part of the The Refuge blog tour. Written by Sandra le Guen, illustrated by Stéphane Nicolet, and translated by Daniel Hahn. this picture book is published by Amazon Crossing Kids, an imprint for children’s books in translation. It recently published on June 1, 2020. Special thanks to Amazon Crossing Kids and Barbara Fisch of Blue Slip Media for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
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
Find it: Goodreads, Amazon, Kindle, B&N, ibooks, Kobo, TBD, Bookshop.org.
Beagles and Books is honored to be part of the Play Like An Animal: Why Critters Splash, Race, Twirl and Chase blog tour! Play Like An Animal is written by Maria Gianferrari and illustrated by Mia Powell and celebrated its book birthday last week on April 7, 2020. Thanks to author Maria Gianferrari and Lerner Publishing for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
And on a personal note, I am so appreciative that Maria personalized my copy to not only me & Bella but also in memory of my sweet Etta.
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.
For at least the next two weeks, I am home. Last Thursday, it was announced that all Maryland public schools would be closed from March 16-March 27 in an effort the flatten the curve of COVID-19. Grateful that we were able to go to school on Friday and send our students home with lots of books from our school library. And look how many books were checked out in my district in ONE DAY!
As hard as it is to wrap my head around the magnitude of this virus, I am taking this time to make a big dent in my neverending TBR stack, get fresh air by walking Bella a couple times a day, declutter, and tackle a few home projects that I never seem to have time for. Wishing everyone good health as we weather this crisis together. Glad we can all stay connected through our love for books.
Our Recent Reads:
Beatrice Zinker Upside Down Thinker: Sabotage by Shelley Johannes
Beatrice Zinker Upside Down Thinker holds a special place in my heart because Shelley Johannes was one of the first authors to send an ARCs(advance reader copy) to our newly formed ARC sharing group, #bookexcursion. Almost 3 years later, Beatrice is back for her third adventure in Sabotage.
In Sabotage, Operation Upside is now a team of three: Beatrice, Lenny, and Sam. The trio is handing out a new batch of Upside Down awards. Lenny’s choice is new student Chloe for bravery. Sam’s choice is private, and Beatrice needs inspiration. But when Chloe is awarded for being the BEST VET rather than bravery, Beatrice and Lenny are suspicious. Who would have sabotaged the award? Lenny thinks Sam is the culprit but Beatrice does not agree and is determined to find out who is responsible.
I just love Beatrice for her curiosity, loyalty, and most especially her resolve. When faced with the possibility that Operation Upside Down could be lost, Beatrice puts all her energy into not only solving the mystery but also diverting uncomfortable situations between Lenny and Sam. And with her new break dancing moves, Beatrice can take her upside thinking to a whole new level. In addition, Johannes’ whimsical black felt tipped pen (with a splash of color) drawings of Beatrice and her friends make the book even more fun to read. Sabotage celebrated its book birthday last week on March 10, 2020. Hoping there are more Beatrice adventures to come!
Whoo-Ku Haiku by Maria Gianferrari Illustrated by Jonathan Voss
Whoo-Ku Haiku is a captivating narrative nonfiction picture book that vividly describes the life cycle of the great horned owl. Gianferari’s decision to write haiku is bold and brilliant. Using the 5-7-5 structure, she chose her words carefully using rich and strong vocabulary to convey the owl family’s story. Here’s one of my favorites.
Voss’ watercolor illustrations complement the lyrical text. His gorgeous art fills the double page spreads and intensely shows not only the astuteness but also the great agility of these amazing birds. To read my full review and enter a giveaway for your own copy, click here.
A Tiger Without Stripes by Jaimie Whitbread
When a tiger is born without stripes, her family is not concerned. But to the young tiger, it does matter; therefore, she embarks on a journey to find her stripes. Shadows, scrapes, and streaks of mud gave the tiger only temporary stripes which leave her feeling distraught. When she demands a reason why she hasn’t earned them yet, an unidentified voice responds saying “A tiger does not earn its stripes. They are a gift.”
Author/illustrator Jaimie Whitbread’s debut picture book gave me all the feels. At first, my heart hurt for the tiger who feels different but then my heart rejoiced because the tiger learns a valuable lesson on self-acceptance. I also loved how Whitbread kept to a limited palette using only a few colors in her striking illustrations. A Tiger Without Stripes reminds us that sometimes, the journey we take in life is the true gift. Thanks to author Asia Citro for sending a copy to my #bookexcursion group. A Tiger Without Stripes recently published on March 3, 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.
Where’d My Jo Go? by Jill Esbaum Illustrated by Scott Brundage
Jo and Big Al are constant companions with Jo driving a big, blue rig and Big Al riding shotgun. Always together, wherever they go. When pup Big Al gets distracted playing and is accidentally left at a truck rest stop, he sits and stays. Two kids see Al and attempt to befriend him, but Al knows Jo will come back for him. And indeed she does and their reunion is epic. Esbaum’s rhyming text and Brundage’s expressive watercolor and pencil illustrations make Where’s My Jo Go? a heartwarming story. As a reader, I appreciate that Esbaum shares the inspiration for the story and how she wanted the dog to tell part of the story from his point of view.
As a dog mom, I can emphasize with Jo when she realizes her precious Al is not in her truck with her. When we first adopted Bella, she attempted to chase a bunny out of our fenced yard. I immediately bought a GPS tracker to ensure Bella’s safety. If you look closely, you can see Bella’s Whistle tracker in some of her shelfies. Thanks to author Jill Esbaum and publisher Sleeping Bear Press for sending a copy to Beagles and Books. Look for Where’d My Jo Go? when it’s released soon on April 15, 2020.
Bella & I thank you for visiting Beagles and Books. Happy Reading!
WHOO’s Maria Gianferrari?
Beagles and Books is excited to be part of the blog tour for This Book is Gray written and illustrated by Lindsay Ward. It recently released in November 2019. Special thanks to Two Lions/Amazon Publishing and Barbara Fisch of Blue Slip Media for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
Please sure to read the front endpapers and the title page first, for readers discover that Gray wants to be included in the rainbow, but sadly, gray is not one of the featured colors. Feeling dejected, he decides to write his own book aptly titled, This Book is Gray.
Gray proceeds to write a story about wolf, a kitten, and a hippo and draw all the illustrations in (you guessed it)…gray! Gray is so proud until the Primary colors pay him a visit and are critical of his color scheme. The Secondary colors join the Primary colors interrupting Gray’s storytelling with comments which slowly pushes Gray over the edge. Unable to remain calm, Gray finally tells (well, actually yells to) all the colors his true feelings about being left out and how gray is really a cool color.
After Gray honestly shares how he feels, all the colors show empathy for him. They offer Gray their apologies and best of all, they collaborate together to make the book both gray AND Pcolorful. In the end, Gray gets the last word stating his book is pretty GRAYt! (get it?)
This Book is Gray is a story full of humor and heart. While readers will chuckle at the many puns and the story within the story of the kitten, wolf, and hippo, children also feel empathetic with Gray’s situation. During my read aloud to my #classroombookaday students, a few children remarked that the colors were being mean to Gray and how they felt sad for him. When the colors and Gray worked together to fix and finish the book, students cheered and expressed their happiness that all the colors saw that Gray is indeed a pretty cool color.
Ward’s illustrations and page layout is visually appealing to young readers. The colors are adorably drawn adorned with hats, rosy cheeks, and other fun accessories. The witty dialogue is written in speech bubbles. Be sure to visit the front endpapers again, for Ward has included a glossary for basic color concepts to accompany her color wheel diagram.
Praise for This Book is Gray!
“This book is a fun introduction to color theory that may inspire children to use more gray in their artwork and remind them to include friends who are left out.”
Meet the Author/Illustrator:
One lucky winner will receive a copy of This Book is Gray, courtesy of Two Lions/Amazon (U.S. addresses only). There are now multiple ways to enter the giveaway.
- Follow me @lauramossa on Twitter and retweet my This Book is Gray giveaway tweet.
- If you are not on Twitter, fill out the Google form below.
This giveaway is open from December 6, 2019-December 13, 2019 and ends at 10:00 p.m. EST. Winner will be announced on December 14, 2019.
Beagles and Books is excited to be part of the blog tour for Santa’s Story written and illustrated by Will Hillenbrand. It released in September 2019. Special thanks to Two Lions/Amazon Publishing and Barbara Fisch of Blue Slip Media for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
It’s Black Friday and instead of shopping, I am relaxing and reading by the fire with my book beagles. Since the day after Thanksgiving is typically the official start of the Christmas season, it is the perfect time to share a new Christmas picture book.
It is Christmas Eve and Santa is ready to begin his monumental sleigh ride but he has a problem. None of his reindeer can be found.
Using alliteration and rich vocabulary, Hillenbrand shows the readers where the reindeer are and what they are up to. A few of the reindeer’s actions matched their names, for Dasher dashed and Prancer pranced, but Vixen vexed, Cupid crooned and Donner dozed. I love how children are exposed to sophisticated words which will enhance their oral vocabulary. Supporting the concise and rich text are warm double page illustrations with a muted color palette. If readers look closely, on some pages, they will see Santa looking for the reindeer with his binoculars. And Santa’s adorable little dog is right by his side, which makes me love the story even more.
Santa attempts to call the reindeer with playing a horn and ringing bells, but has no success. But with the help of Comet and his dog, Santa finally realizes why the reindeer are not responding and shouts the two words, STORY TIME, that will gather his team for their Christmas Eve tradition of reading The Night Before Christmas. After the read aloud, the reindeer are ready to bring a merry Christmas to all!
As a reading specialist, I am always promoting the power of reading aloud and I love that Hillenbrand wrote a holiday story featuring this important family activity. Reading aloud should not just be a tradition on Christmas Eve, but a daily habit. Here’s hoping Santa’s Story may be a vehicle to reminding parents, caregivers, and teachers to set aside time each day to share a good book!
Meet the Author/Illustrator:
Enter a Giveaway!
One lucky winner will receive a copy of Santa’s Story, courtesy of Two Lions/Amazon (U.S. addresses). There are now multiple ways to enter the giveaway.
- Follow me @lauramossa on Twitter and retweet my Santa Story giveaway tweet.
- If you are not on Twitter, fill out the Google form below.
This giveaway is open from November 29, 2019-December 6, 2019 and ends at 10:00 p.m. EST. Winner will be announced on December 7, 2019.
Beagles and Books is excited to be part of the blog tour for Flash, The Little Fire Engine written by Pam Calvert and illustrated by Jen Taylor. Flash celebrated its book birthday this week on November 5, 2019. Special thanks to Two Lions/Amazon Publishing and Barbara Fisch of Blue Slip Media for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
As soon as I saw the cover, I couldn’t wait to read Flash, The Fire Engine. Jen Taylor’s illustration of Flash brings the little fire engine to life. Readers can see the excitement in his face with his adorable smile. When the fire department receives a call, his attitude becomes more serious because Flash is determined to do his job well.
When the fire is too big for little Flash, his face does not hide his disappointment, but Flash remains optimistic that he can help the next time. As each subsequent call comes in, Flash races to the scene ready to save the day, but he discovers that he is too short or too late to help. Once eager, Flash becomes sad wondering if he will ever be needed. Fortunately, Flash gets a call that only he can make realizing that he is the best fit for the job. Beaming with pride, Flash learns a valuable lesson in patience and how the fire trucks collectively work together to help the community.
I have the honor of reading aloud to a second grade classroom daily for #classroombookaday. After I read aloud Flash, The Little Flash Engine to the class, they shared their thinking about what the author Pam Calvert wanted to teach readers. Here are some of their comments which relate to our virtue language.
“It teaches us to have empathy for Flash because every time he went for a fire, the other trucks were telling him he was too little. I felt sad for him. But at the end, I was happy for Flash because he saved the animals at the shelter.
“It teaches us if someone feels left out, we can try to be kind and make them feel included. I like how the firefighters had a party for Flash after he put out his first fire.”
“The fire trucks showed unity because they all put out different fires like the ladder truck put out the fire in the tall building and the airplane put out the forest fire.”
Reinforcing positive values of empathy, unity, kindness, and patience, Flash, the Little Fire Engine is a book that is a great addition to a home or classroom library.
Meet the Author and Illustrator:
Pam Calvert is an award-winning children’s book author. Her books include the Princess Peepers series, illustrated by Tuesday Mourning; more recently, Brianna Bright, Ballerina Knight, illustrated by Liana Hee; and other titles. Formerly a science teacher as well as a writing instructor and coach, she speaks to thousands of children every year. When she’s not speaking or writing, you can find her having fun with her family in Texas. Learn more about her online at http://www.pamcalvert.com or on Twitter: @PammCalvert.
Jen Taylor is an illustrator and arts-and-crafts enthusiast born and raised in New Jersey. She attended the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, where she majored in illustration and animation. She is the illustrator of the Brave Little Camper series as well as the picture book Ninja Camp, written by Sue Fliess. She previously worked in animation on such shows as Sid the Science Kid and MAD. She lives in New Jersey with her husband and their corgi, Rocket. Learn more about her online at http://www.jentaylor.net.
“Calvert deftly finds a new way to introduce kids to different kinds of firefighting vehicles…sure to slip in effortlessly with other firetruck books.”
Enter a Giveaway!
One lucky winner will receive a copy of Flash, the Little Fire Engine, courtesy of Two Lions/Amazon (U.S. addresses). Enter the giveaway by Friday, November 15, 2019 at 8 p.m.