Blog Tour, Giveaway, Picture Books

Blog Tour & Giveaway for Magic Candies by Heena Baek


About the Book:

Title: Magic Candies
Author: Heena Baek
Translator: Sophie Bowman
Pub. Date: September 1, 2021

Beagles and Books is excited to be part of the blog tour for Magic Candies published by Amazon Crossing Kids which aims to increase the diversity of children’s books in translation and encourage young reading from a range of cultural perspectives. Special thanks to the publisher and Barbara Fisch of Blue Slip Media for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.


A young boy named Tong Tong plays marbles alone in the park while his dog watches.  Depressed, Tong Tong goes to a shop to buy new marbles.  Instead he finds hard candies that look like his round toy.  As soon as Tong Tong puts one in his mouth, the magic begins, for the candies give him the ability to hear things such as the sofa talking.  Tong Tong not only finds the missing remote but also that his dad has a stinky habit that the sofa does not like.  Once the candy dissolves, the sofa is silent.  Tong Tong wonders what will happen if he eats another?  

Guess who starts talking? Yup! Tong Tong’s dog, Marbles who gives him important information.  This page spread is just precious because while I wouldn’t want Bella to talk all the time, I love that Marbles can verbally communicate his feelings. 


When his dad comes home, Tong Tong only hears questions and commands which appear in the form of words and take up the space of an entire page.  Angered by his dad’s barks, he puts a spotty candy in his mouth and then hears three words over, I love you, over and over again.  Perhaps, these magic candies tell the honest truth? 

Not long after Tong Tong puts a pink candy in his mouth and blows a bubble, he hears his decreased Grandma’s voice and discovers she is doing well. I love this page spread which shows his range of emotions from shocked to determined.


With the last candy, the only word uttered was bye.  This page spread is gorgeous because Baek cleverly blends in the word with the falling leaves.  As Tong Tong walks through the park, he sees another boy in the distance.  Since the candy did not produce sound, Tong Tong realizes that maybe, he should do the talking and asks the boy “Do you want to play with me?”


Always eager to share books with students, I read aloud Magic Candies to a class of third graders yesterday.  I was blown away by their observations. Here are some of their thoughts regarding the lesson.  

  • “The boy got the magic candies to learn how others were feeling.”
  • “The shopkeeper knew Tong Tong needed help and sold him the candies.”
  • “The candies gave him the courage to make friends.”
  • “At the beginning, Tong Tong was lonely but the candies made him realize he was not alone.”

The last statement really resonated with me.  Magic Candies is a story of hope, for with each candy, Tong Tong realizes he is not alone.  His dog, father, and grandma are there with him.  The photographed clay molds make the story come alive because readers see the transformation of Tong Tong from lonely to loved.  What I loved the most is the back endpages which show the effect of Tong Tong’s brave actions- he and another boy are playing together in the park.  Baek does a magnificent job of bringing the story full circle; at the beginning, Tong Tong was shooting marbles by himself and now he is riding with a friend. I highly recommend Magic Candies because the story will promote engaging discussion no matter what the age! 

Praise for Magic Candies!

★“Show-stopping spreads by Baek, similar to art by Red Nose Studio, feature molded, emotive figures in meticulously constructed scenery with miniature furniture, photographed under dramatic lighting—an effect startlingly close to animation. It’s a fully realized world that considers discerning meaning and making friends, while offering artwork that lingers in the memory.”
Publishers Weekly (starred)

“The enhanced artwork establishes depth and perspective…depictions of facial expressions are skillful and endearing, and the interplay between text and illustrations will cause readers to linger and ponder. An enigmatic, quirky representation of an active imagination in search of understanding and companionship.” —Kirkus Reviews

“Deeply touching, funny, and incredibly odd, this is the kind of picture book that gets you excited about picture books all over again…Magic Candies is so remarkable…a book that is both about giving voice to the voiceless and finding your own.” —Betsy Bird, School Library Journal

About the Author/Illustrator:
Heena Baek is an acclaimed picture book author and illustrator from South Korea. She won the 2020 Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, a huge international award honoring the body of work of children’s book creators. She studied educational technology at Ewha Womans University and animation at the California Institute of the Arts. Utilizing her diverse animation production experience, Heena creates powerful and interesting picture books, often sculpting characters and building sets. She is the author and illustrator of a number of picture books, many of which have been translated and have received awards from South Korea and internationally. Follow her on Twitter @heenastory and on Instagram: @baekheena

About the Translator:
Sophie Bowman is a PhD student at the University of Toronto, studying Korean literature. She was awarded the ICF Literature Translation Fellowship at Ewha Womans University. In 2015, she won the Korea Times Modern Korean Literature Translation Award grand prize for poetry with her translations of Jin Eun-young and co-translated Kim Bo-Young’s I’m Waiting for You and Other Stories. Follow her on Twitter @SophieOrbital.


Blog Tour, Giveaway, Middle Grade Literature

Blog Tour & Giveaway for Once Upon a Camel by Kathi Appelt


About the Book:

Title: Once Upon a Camel
Author: Kathi Applelt
Illustrator: Eric Rohmann
Pub. Date: September 7, 2021

Beagles and Books is excited to share a review and giveaway for Once Upon a Camel published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers/Simon and Schuster. Special thanks to the publisher and Barbara Fisch of Blue Slip Media for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.


In the foothills of the Chiso Mountains in West Texas lives an old camel named Zada and a family of American kestrels.  Zada is Auntie to Wims and Beulah, two chicks who are barely two weeks old.  When a dust storm quickly and violently comes across the canyon, Zada tucks the chicks in her fur, for after all, camels are the ships of the desert.  But when a stray dust devil seizes the chicks’ parents, Perlita and Pard, and they go adrift,  Zada knows her mission is even more important. She must keep Wims and Beulah safe at all cost until they can be reunited with their parents.  Aging and wise Zada travels with her two fledglings to the closest shelter.  The only issue is the trio’s refuge is mountain lion Pecos de Leon’s territory, but Zada is certain that it is their best chance.

Once Zada reaches Pecos’ den, she is relieved it is empty. He could come back at anytime; therefore, Zada remains standing and on alert because if she sits down, she might not be able to get back up in time. With two scared chicks in her fur missing their parents, Zada realizes the only way to console Wims and Beulah is to tell them stories about her early days as a racing camel in Turkey, her friendship with fellow camel Asiye, and her voyage to the United States.  So once she has OOD (Official Okie Dokie) from the chicks, Zada begins telling her story which gives you ALL the feels-happy, sad, excited, scared, and most importantly, hopeful. 

Appelt’s words are pure joy to read, for she  writes directly to the reader and her concise text carries a lot of weight and meaning.  As I read, I was literally transported to West Texas as well as Turkey and felt I was on the caravan with Zada. Rohmann’s illustrations complement the text showing readers the feelings of the characters.  I would highly recommend Once Upon a Camel as a class read aloud, for with short chapters, engaging characters, and an intriguing plot, kids would be captivated by the story begging the teacher to continue reading.  What touched my heart the most was Zada’s love for everyone she met in life-Asiye, Perlita, Pard, Wims, Beulah, and many others.  Zada was truly the brighest star because of her love, perseverance, and courage.   As a reading specialist, I love that Zada reminds us that stories both comfort and save us.  And in my opinion, once upon a time… in a land far away… is always a perfect beginning to a story. 

About the Author:

Kathi Appelt is the author of the Newbery Honoree, National Book Award Finalist, and bestselling The Underneath as well as the National Book Award Finalist for The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp. Some of her award-winning books include Maybe a Fox (with Alison McGhee), Keeper, and Max Attacks to name just a few. She lives in College Station, Texas. To learn more, visit her website at

Find Kathi Appelt on Facebook and Pinterest!

Blog Tour, Giveaway, Picture Books

Blog Tour & Giveaway for Pug, Pig & Friends by Sue Lowell Gallion


About the Book:

Title: Pug & Pig and Friends 
Author: Sue Lowell Gallion
Illustrator: Joyce Wan
Pub. Date: August 17, 2021

Beagles and Books is excited to share a review and giveaway for Pug & Pig and Friends published by Beach Lane Books/Simon and Schuster. Special thanks to the publisher and Barbara Fisch of Blue Slip Media for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.


Pug and Pig first meet in Pug and Pig.  After a rocky start, the two become friends.  In Pug & Pig Treat or Treat, Pig is excited to dress up and go trick or treating.  While Pug feels differently. he remains a loyal friend.  In the third book in the series, new friends Squirrel, Robin, and Cat are introduced.  Cat does not partake in exploring or running around the yard.  She prefers watching her friends.  Wan’s illustrations are perfect for emerging readers. The artwork is simple and keeps the readers attention on the characters’ actions and feelings.  I love this artwork with all the animals’ butts in the air and Cat’s smirk!  

Interior illus © 2021 Joyce Wan from PUG & PIG AND FRIENDS by Sue Lowell Gallion 3

The dashed lines that loop and swirl show the happy energy of Pug, Pig, Squirrel, and Robin. Cat is licking her paws and licking her paws.  Is she up to something? 

Interior illus © 2021 Joyce Wan from PUG & PIG AND FRIENDS by Sue Lowell Gallion 4

Once readers turn to the next page, they learn excatly what Cat is up to-surprising Pug when he is sleeping.  Of course, Pug, along with Squirrel and Robin, does not appreciate Cat’s antics.  When a thunderstorm rolls in, all the animals seek refuge in their homes and frightened Cat climbs up the tree.  Even after the storm ends, Cat remains in the tree afraid to climb down.  Recalling Cat’s favorite activity, Pug lays down for a nap.  Will Cat pounce on Pug or will Pug pounce on Cat?  No matter what, the friends have a good giggle which will encourage readers to join them in the laughter!

Friendship is always at the core in the books in the Pug and Pig series.  I appreciate how Gallion reminds kids that you don’t always have to agree or like the same things to be friends.  This idea is important to reinforce especially with young children.  As a reading specialist, I love Gallion’s text because it support children just learning to read with repetition, high frequency words, and short sentences. Questions are also posed which gives children the opportunity to actively interact with the text.  They can answer questions based on the illustrations as well as make and then confirm predictions.  With the start of the school year fast approaching, I look forward to sharing Pug & Pig and Friends along with the rest of the series with my primary students and teachers.  

About the Author:

As the daughter of a printer, Sue Lowell Gallion has a life-long love of type, paper, and the aroma of ink. She is the author of the Pug & Pig series and the picture book All Except Axle as well as a nonfiction board book, Our World: A First Book of Geography, and three books in the Tip and Tucker early reader series. Sue lives in Leawood, Kansas, with a black lab mix who provides her with daily inspiration. To learn more and download free activities for all of her books, Visit her at,Twitter @SueLGallion and Instagram @suelowellgallion

About the Illustrator:

Joyce Wan is the author and illustrator of several books for children, including Pug Meets Pig, Pug & Pig Trick-or Treat, Sleepyheads,You Are My Cupcake, We Belong Together, and The Whale in My Swimming Pool. Joyce lives with her husband and daughter in New Jersey. Visit her at, TwitterFacebook, & Instagram: @joycewanbooks

Personalized and signed books are available at Rainy Day Books!

Blog Tour, Giveaway, Picture Books

Blog Tour & Giveaway for Turkey Goes to School by Wendi Silvano


About the Book:

Title: Turkey Goes to School 
Author: Wendi Silvano
Illustrator: Lee Harper
Pub. Date: August 1, 2021

Beagles and Books is excited to be share a review and giveaway for Turkey Goes to School published by Two Lions. Special thanks to the publisher and Barbara Fisch of Blue Slip Media for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Publisher’s Summary:

Turkey is off to school—or is he?—in this addition to the much-loved Turkey Trouble series.

School is starting soon and Turkey can’t wait. Each day, he and his barnyard friends practice their writing and math. But when the school bus rolls up, they are booted off. It turns out that animals aren’t allowed to attend school. Pig calls it “hogwash,” and Turkey agrees. All he has to do is find a way to show the students and the principal that turkeys—and their friends—do belong in school. With a gobble, gobble here; a gobble, gobble there; and a few clever costumes, he just might.


The start of a new school year brought excitement to not only Max and Millie but also all the barnyard nimals because “Farm Days” is the theme of the first week.  But when the animals are told they are not allowed in school, Turkey and they hop in the truck determined to join the kids.  


TURKEY GOES TO SCHOOL interior illus by Lee Harper_1

Once the animals arrive at school. they need to plan to get in.   First, Turkey disguises himself as a backpack, next, a book, then a ball, and finally, a lunch assistant.  Unfortunately, Turkey’s true identify is exposed every time.  

TURKEY GOES TO SCHOOL interior illus by Lee Harper_3

When Rooster reminds Turkey of the “Farm Day” theme,  Turkey sees the scarecrow outside the school and gets a brilliant idea dressing up as Farmer Jake and bringing in the rest of the animals as special guests to sing their own version of Farmer in the Dell.  Luckily, the teacher had a change of heart allowing the animals to remain the rest of the day. 

TURKEY GOES TO SCHOOL interior illus by Lee Harper_4

If you are ever in a foul mood, reading a book in the Turkey Trouble series will make you feel gobbledly good!  A common thread is all the books is Turkey takes action when faced with a problem and will perservere when his first attempt is not successful.  Turkey’s positive mindset is important to share with kids as well as his creativity and resourceful.   Teamwork is also emphasized because the animals work together to reach a common goal.

Silvano’s text is chocked full of puns which makes it a fun read for both kids AND adults.  Here are some of my favorites.

  • Tote-ally foolish” ” when Turkey is disguised as a backpack
  • “We’ll create a little distraction out here while you book it inside”  when Turkey is dressed as a book (My favorite, of course!)
  • “I call a fowl! when Turkey pretends to be a soccer ball.

Harper’s playful and expressive illustrations are full of detail especially in the classroom.  How fun is it to see tennis balls on the chair legs, a projector on a chart, the teacher reading Turkey Trouble for read aloud, and shelves full of bins of books!  

Turkey Goes to School is on my list to share with students during the first week of school as well as the rest of the Turkey Trouble series throughout the year! 

Praise for Turkey Goes to School!

  • “A cute twist on both the farm and school themes.” ―Kirkus Reviews

About the Author:

Wendi Silvano was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, and has lived in Oregon, Colorado, and Peru. The author of the Turkey Trouble series, she has a BA in early childhood education and taught preschool and elementary school for eleven years. She is the mother of five children and the owner of an assortment of odd pets that are not nearly as clever as Turkey. She now writes from her home in Colorado, where she enjoys hiking, reading, and playing the piano. Visit her online at

About the Illustrator:

Lee Harper is the author-illustrator of the books Coyote, The Emperor’s Cool Clothes, and Snow! Snow! Snow! Lee is also the illustrator of the Turkey Trouble series, by Wendi Silvano, as well as the Woolbur series, written by Leslie Helakoski. Lee has four children, a German shepherd, a Great Pyrenees, two barn cats, eleven chickens…but no turkeys. Yet. He lives with his wife in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. Visit him online at


Turkey giveaway_5 books final

A Fantastic 5 Book Giveaway!

To celebrate this latest installment in the Turkey Trouble series, Two Lions is offering a set of all 5 books in the series: Turkey Trouble, Turkey Claus, Turkey Trick or Treat, Turkey’s Eggcellent Easter, and Turkey Goes to School to one lucky winner (U.S. addresses).

This giveaway is open Friday, August 6, 2021 to Monday, August 9, 2021 ending at 10:00 p.m. EST.   Please note that book may take longer to ship so patience is appreciated.  Enter below or head over to my Twitter account, @lauramossa and retweet my Turkey Goes to School post.

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

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


About the Book:

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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


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

Praise for Let Liberty Rise!

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


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

Check Out This Book Extras!

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

About the Author:

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

Facebook: Chana Stiefel

Twitter:  @chanastiefel

Instagram: @chanastiefel

About the Illustrator:

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

Instagram: @c.groenink

Let Liberty Rise_Cover

Giveaway Details:

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

Giveaway, Nonfiction, Picture Books

Review & Giveaway for The Caiman by María Eugenia Manrique 


About the Book:
Title: The Caiman
Author: María Eugenia Manrique 
Illustrator: Ramón París
Translator: Amy Brill
Pub. Date: July 1, 2021

Beagles and Books is excited to be part of the blog tour for The Caiman published by Amazon Crossing Kids which aims to increase the diversity of children’s books in translation and encourage young reading from a range of cultural perspectives. Special thanks to the publisher and Barbara Fisch of Blue Slip Media for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.


In the small town of San Fernando de Apure in Venezuela, a young girl finds a baby alligator, a river caiman, who is believed to be an orphan.  Just as the girl was about to return the creature to the water, the town jeweler and watchmaker, Faoro passes by and immediately offers to take the baby alligator home.  The animal was so small that it not only fit in the palm of his hand but also in his shirt pocket.  Faoro names her Night for her dark skin. Night accompanies Faoro to his workshop and business booms.  How many places can you get a clock fixed, jewelry mended, AND pet a baby alligator?  


Night grows to more than six feet long and during this time, Faoro falls in love with his neighbor, Angela. Would Night accept Angela?  With support from Faoro, Night gives her approval and the couple marries.  I especially love this illustration because with the exception of one guest, all those invited to the wedding are smiling as Night holds Angela’s veil. Clearly, the guests are comfortable with Night too. 


Their little family is blissful full of song and laughter for many years, but then Faoro falls ill.  Night is distraught refusing to leave Faoro. Faoro’s parting words to Night are “Don’t be afraid;  Angela loves you and will take care of you.”  Night mourns Faoro’s passing and goes into hiding for weeks, but finally resurfaces when Angela is moved to sing after reading an old card written by Faoro.  The gift of song helps both Angela and Night heal keeping Faoro close to them.

Gorgeously written and illlustrated, The Caiman is a heartwarming story about the incredible bond between loved ones.  While I admit that an alligator is not a typical pet, the message shines through, for Night loved Faoro unconditionally which is a true gift.  Another important lesson is we all react to a loss differently.   Angela stopped singing, and Night retreated to a storage room refusing to leave or eat.  Each needed their own space to grieve, but I love that Faoro, through his words, was responsible for their initial healing.  

París’ illustrations are absolutely beautiful, and the landscape format is perfect for a book that features an alligator that grows to ten feet long. The tip of Night’s tail is actually on the back of the book cover showing her immense length. After reading each page, I noticed my eyes lingered longer to take in the artwork; each page spread seemed to be its own scene in Night’s life from baby to adult.  And pay close attention to locate the animals drawn in black and white on a few of the page spreads.  Can you find armadillos, a turtle, an iguana, hedgehogs, and chickens? 

One last observation-if you typically skip an author’s biography or any backmatter, I highly suggest you take the time to read them.  Valuable information about the origins of this story are shared (and I don’t want to give it away).  The Caiman reminds us what where there is love, there is also grief, but the love is always worth it.  

Praise for The Caiman!

New York Times Globetrotting Pick!

★“The striking illustrations…have a wild and whimsical feel about them, featuring lush foliage and expressive characters, including the eventually enormous caiman. It’s a memorable and unexpected demonstration of the universality of love, grief, and kindness.” —Booklist (starred review)

About the Author:

María Eugenia Manrique is one of the girls portrayed in this story. She rode the caiman when she visited her family in San Fernando de Apure. She was born in Caracas, Venezuela, and currently lives in Barcelona, Spain. She studied fine art in Mexico City, specializing in xylography and engraving; Eastern painting at Nankín University, China; and sumi-e and calligraphy at the Nihon Shuji Kyoiku Zaidan Foundation in Japan. Her work has been exhibited in museums and galleries around the world. The Caiman is her first children’s book. For more information, visit her website:

Instagram: @mem.manrique

About the Illustrator:

Ramón París was born in Caracas, Venezuela, and as a child lived in Barinas, a plains state like Apure, where he also heard the story of the caiman. He currently lives in Barcelona, Spain. Hismost recent book for children, Duermevela, was selected for the Bologna Book Fair Illustrators Exhibition. His books have been recognized with honors including Los Mejores del Banco del Libro and  the IBBY Honor List, among others, and they have been translated into numerous languages. Visit him at:

Instagram: @ramon_paris_ilustrador

About the Translator:

Amy Brill’s fiction and nonfiction have appeared in numerous publications including the Washington Post, Medium, Real Simple,, and One Story. Her first novel, The Movement of Stars, was published by Riverhead Books. A native New Yorker, Amy lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two daughters.



Giveaway Details:
One lucky winner will receive a copy of The Caiman courtesy of Amazon Crossing Kids (U.S. and Canada addresses).  This giveaway is open from Friday, July 3 through Friday, July 10, 2021 ending at 10:00 p.m. EST.   Please note that book may take longer to ship so patience is appreciated.  Enter below or head over to my Twitter account, @lauramossa and retweet my The Caiman post. 


Blog Tour, Giveaway, Picture Books

Blog Tour & Giveaway for Tabitha and Fritz Trade Places by Katie Frawley Illustrated by Laurie Stansfield


About the Book:
Title: Tabitha and Fritz Trade Places 
Author: Katie Frawley
Illustrator: Laurie Stansfield
Pub. Date: June 1, 2021

Beagles and Books is excited to be part of the blog tour for Tabitha and Fritz Trade Places published by Two Lions/Amazon Publishing. Special thanks to the publisher and Barbara Fisch of Blue Slip Media for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.


What do animals do when they need a change of scenery?  They hop onto the website, Lair-BNB, of course!  Fritz, an elephant living in a rain forest swaps homes with Tabitha, a suburban cat.  Both animals are excited about their adventure.  Kids will love the format, for Fritz and Tabitha communicate entirely through Lair-BNB messages.


Upon arrival, Fritz is greeted by Claudia, Tabitha’s owner.  I love how Fritz calls the pool a watering hole, and how adorable that he wears a swimmy on his trunk.  


Tabitha quickly finds family in the rainforest after meeting the cheetahs.  While the text makes it seem she is feeling quite at hime, the illustrations show that Tabitha may be a little confused, for she thinks a bee hive is a scratching post, a meerkat’s burrow is a litter box, and a snake’s tail is a swatting toy. Oh wait! That tail belongs to Rocky! According to Fritz’s previous message, Rocky does not play well with others. 

As Fritz and Tabitha spend more time in their new settings, problems arise.  Fritz confuses a decorative donut as real and Tabitha appalls a herbivorous herd of elephants by adding mice as a pizza topping.  The final straw occurs when Fritz mistakes Claudia’s birthday for his own and Tabitha takes an involuntary dip in the watering hole.  Don’t elephants know cats are not fans of getting wet?  After sleepless nights for both Fritz and Tabitha, they both realize there truly is no place like home!  


Tabitha and Fritz Trade Places is an entertaining and engaging story with a sweet message to appreciate what we have. Frawley’s choice to use text messages to tell the story is clever and unique.  As an adult reading the story aloud, I enjoyed the puns and alliterative closings (feeling fierce, primal and pouncing).  I also appreciated the post scripts included in some of the messages which added useful information. Stansfield’s colorful and expressive illustrations practically leap off the page and since there are a number of wordless page spreads, her vivid artwork moves the plot along,  And pay close attention to the endpapers, for the front explains why both Tabitha and Fritz are craving a change in habitat and the back shows how Tabitha and Fritz both surprised each other on their return home.

One of the joys of my role as reading specialist is reading aloud to kids.  Last week, when I was asked to cover a class, I brought Tabitha and Fritz Trade Places with me.  The class of second graders were captiviated by the story giggling from beginning to end.  After reading, I asked them to share anything they learned from Tabitha and Fritz.  Here are some of their thoughtful responses.

  • “Sometimes people bother you and you need to get away from them.”
  • “It’s fun to go someplace new.”
  • “If it is your first time doing something, you might not know the rules. You need people to help you.”
  • “I like going on vacation, but I do miss my friends when I am away.”
  • “After they got home, they were happy and not sad anymore.”

The best books are those that make you laugh and learn. Highly recommend Tabitha and Fritz Trade Places for the mirth and messages! 

Praise for Tabitha and Fritz Trade Places!

“A satisfying spin on the trading-places trope.” —Kirkus Reviews

“Tabitha and Fritz are pretty much two of a kind, but debut author Frawley livens their epistolary exchanges with wordplay and knowing phrases…She gets a big assist from Stansfield (Poems Out Loud!), whose bright pastel settings, vivid expressions, and large cast of high-spirited supporting characters pull readers through the story.” —Publishers Weekly

“A laugh-out-loud story that spells out why the grass is not always greener, with subtle language lessons built in for emerging readers.” —School Library Journal

About the Author & Illustrator:

Katie Frawley grew up on a diet of Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle and Madeline. She went on to earn a bachelor’s in English from the University of Florida and a master’s in literature from Florida Atlantic University. These days, Katie lives in South Florida with her husband, four children, and a handsome mutt named Nantucket. When she’s not reading or writing, Katie can be found building pillow forts, testing recipes with her teensy sous-chefs, or shooing iguanas from her garden. Learn more at

Twitter: @KatieFrawley1

Instagram: @katiefrawley1

Laurie Stansfield grew up in Oxford, England, but packed her bags and moved west to study illustration at the University of the West of England. She now works as a freelance illustrator. She is the illustrator of Poems Out Loud!, published by Penguin UK, and has more books forthcoming. Laurie lives with her husband in Bristol, United Kingdom. Learn more at

Twitter: @Laurie_S_art

Instagram: @laurie.stansfield

Enter a Giveaway!


One lucky winner will receive a copy of Tabitha and Fritz Trade Places, courtesy of Two Lions (U.S. addresses). This giveaway is open from Friday, June 4, 2021 through Friday, June 11, 2021 ending at 10:00 p.m. EST.   Please note that book may take longer to ship so patience is appreciated.  Enter below or head over to my Twitter account, @lauramossa and retweet my Rescue at Tabitha and Fritz Trade Places Twitter post. 


Book Birthday, Giveaway, Graphic Novel, Middle Grade Literature

Happy Book Birthday & Giveaway: Glam Prix Racers by Deanna Kent Illustrated by Neil Hooson


About the Book:
Title: Glam Prix Racers 
Author: Deanna Kent
Illustrator: Neil Hooson
Pub. Date: May 11, 2021

Beagles and Books wishes a very Happy Book Birthday to Glam Prix Racers, the first book in this fun and adventurous graphic novel trilogy! 


This review was first published on May 3, 2021.  Thanks to Imprint/MacMillan Children’s Publishing for sharing an eARC with Beagles and Books. 

On Glittergear Island, it is the first race of the Glam Prix.  Mermaid Mio and monster truck Mudwick, Fairy Flipp and freight train Furie, Dragon Deelux and car Dapper, Sprite Sookie and soft-serve mobile Smoosh, and Unicorn Uni and unicycle U-turn are one of three teams racing for the Glam Prix Cup.  Before the race begins, it is clear that one of the teams, the Vroombots, wants to win at all costs and plans on stealing all of the Sparklecharge which gives all the motos (AKA motor vehicles) life.  In order to be the champions in Race 1, Mio and her teammates must not only cross the finish line first but also collect side quests such as snapping a photo with a ghost garden gnome to earn additional points.  The team encounters a lot of bumps on the road but collaborates to overcome any setbacks.  Will the Glam Prix Racers be able to outsmart and outrun the Vroombots and claim victory of the first race?

Just like the motos in the race, the plot zips at high speed which makes Glam Prix Racers a one sitting read.  You won’t be able to stop!  Kent’s peppy and witty dialogue is both humorous and suspenseful and Hooson’s bright and detailed illustrations pop with both color and energy.  As I was reading, I was feeling nostalgic for the cartoons I used to watch on Saturday mornings for Glam Prix Racers has all the same elements-comedy, intrigue, heroes, villains, gadgets, and lessons on cooperation and persistence.  

I can’t wait to share this fun adventure with my students! Stay tuned for the next race, Back on Track, the second book in the Glam Prix Racers trilogy. It will be released in January 2022.

Check Out this Book Trailer to Meet the Glam Prix Racers!


Blog Tour, Giveaway, Picture Books

Blog Tour & Giveaway for Hudson And Tallulah Take Sides by Anna Kang Illustrated by Christopher Weyant


About the Book:
Title: Hudson And Tallulah Take Sides
Author: Anna Kang
Illustrator: Christopher Weyant
Pub. Date: May 1, 2021

Beagles and Books is excited to be part of the blog tour for Hudson & Tallulah Take Sides published by Two Lions/Amazon Publishing. Special thanks to the publisher and Barbara Fisch of Blue Slip Media for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.


 The first page spread is wordless.  Tallulah, a cat, is quietly stalking a bird perched on the fence.  Just as she is ready to pounce, Hudson barks loudly scaring away the bird. Tallulah is not amused. When Tallulah peers over the fence to discover the reason for Hudson’s outburst, she sees the dog digging his way to freedom.  From the dialogue, the neighbors clearly have a different perspective on fences.  


Curious, Tallulah follows Hudson on his freedom walk.  Hudson dives into a garbage can for food, plays with other canines at the dog park, jumps in mud, and goes after the mail carrier Dave.  That’s where Tallulah draws the line.  Dave is her friend; therefore, Hudson is now her enemy. 


As both animals stay on opposing sides of the street, they encounter a enormous puddle in the street full of birds.  Both Hudson and Tallulah can’t resist romping in the water and with each splash, realize that there may be some common ground between them.

Hudson and Tallulah Take Sides is a story of how even opposites can find some happy medium and become friends.  While Tallulah is prim and proper and Hudson is free spirited and messy, they both can’t refrain from enjoying the puddle.  This revelation is groundbreaking, for perhaps, they are not as different as they once believed.  Kang’s peppy dialogue is concise and on point which allows Weyant’s lively and humorous illustrations to not only move the plot along but also show the progression of Hudson’s and Tallulah’s relationship.  

When I read this story to kindergarten students for #classroombookaday, I asked them to tell me what did the author and illustrator want us to learn.  Here are some of their thoughts. 

  • “The dog and the cat both like to jump in puddles so that’s why they became friends.”
  • “You don’t have to like the same things to be friends.”
  • “It’s better to be friends than enemies.”
  • Dogs and cats are different but can still be friends.”

Pretty smart kids.  Thankful for picture books like Hudson and Tallulah Take Sides which support teaching theme with our youngest learners.  

Praise for Hudson And Tallulah Take Sides!

★“New Yorker cartoonist Weyant’s illustrations, which use gouache, graphite, and lots of white space, carry the day, filling the dog’s and cat’s reactions to what they encounter with plenty of comic details (like the bold lettering conveying the dog-park dogs’ frantic barking at the cat). Madcap fun.” —Booklist (starred review)

“Charming cartoons convey the nearly wordless story augmented with dialogue between the two rivals…An amusing exploration of how opposite personalities can learn to appreciate their unique relationship.” —Kirkus Reviews

“Aptly captured by married team Kang and Weyant (You Are (Not) Small), the unlikely friends’ comic path to camaraderie unfolds nearly wordlessly, with expressive gouache and graphite scenes that burst with physical humor, showing that even those who fight like cats and dogs can be friends.”—Publishers Weekly

About the Author & Illustrator:

Anna Kang and Christopher Weyant are the creators of Theodor Seuss Geisel Award winner You Are (Not) Small as well as series titles That’s (Not) Mine, I Am (Not) Scared, and We Are (Not) Friends. They also wrote and illustrated Eraser, Can I Tell You a Secret?, and Will You Help Me Fall Asleep? Christopher’s work can also be seen in The New Yorker, and his cartoons are syndicated worldwide. This husband-and-wife team lives in New Jersey with their two daughters and their rescue dog, Hudson, the inspiration behind the character in this book. Visit them at and

Twitter: @annakang27 @ChristophWeyant

Instagram: annakangbookschristopherweyant   

Facebook: Anna Kang – AuthorChristopher Weyant

Enter a Giveaway!

Hudson and Tallulah Take Sides_Cover

One lucky winner will receive a copy of Hudson and Tallulah Take Sides, courtesy of Two Lions (U.S. addresses). This giveaway is open from Friday, May 7, 2021 through Friday, May 14, 2021 ending at 10:00 p.m. EST.   Please note that book may take longer to ship so patience is appreciated.  Enter below or head over to my Twitter account, @lauramossa and retweet my Rescue at Hudson and Tallulah Take Sides Twitter post. 

Book Birthday, Giveaway, Middle Grade Literature

Happy Book Birthday & Giveaway: Rescue at Lake Wild by Terry Lynn Johnson


About the Book:
Title: Rescue at Lake Wild
Author: Terry Lynn Johnson 
Pub. Date: April 1, 2021

Beagles and Books wishes a very Happy Book Birthday to Rescue at Lake Wild.  Special thanks to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and Barbara Fisch of Blue Slip Media for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.


Following in the footsteps of her late grandmother, 12 year old Madi is an “animal whisperer” rescuing orphaned and injured wild animals.  In mere weeks, Madi has the immense opportunity to meet her idol, Jane Goodall but under one condition. Her parents have forbidden Madi from bringing any more animals home.  So when Madi and her friends, Jack and Aaron discover orphaned beaver kits and rescue them, she realizes her only choice is to hide them in her clubhouse. 

Taking care of beaver kits secretively is not easy and on top of that, Madi, Jack, and Aaron learn someone is purposely shooting beavers because their dams are causing a flood in their small town of Willow Grove.  The trio along with Jack’s dog, Lid (love his name!), work together to uncover who is responsible. Madi is also determined to help the beavers find a different location for their dams so the flooding will cease. 

With an intriguing plot, well developed characters, and lots of factual information about beavers as well as being an animal rehabilitator, Rescue at Lake Wild is an engaging middle grade novel that has a lot of kid appeal. I admire Madi’s passion for not only saving the beaver kits but also tackling the flooding problem.  While Madi’s intentions are all good and she has a skill set from apprenticing under her Nana, Johnson does remind readers that Madi shouldn’t be keeping wildlife because she is not licensed and shares The Dos of Wildlife at the end of the book. 

As an educator, I took note of the book length, for the story is only 181 pages and then more specifically, the chapter length which was at most 6 pages.  Length can be an important consideration when recommending books to kids. Stamina for chapter book reading sometimes has to nurtured for developing readers which is why I love finding well written and engaging novels under 200 pages. While the novel may be short in length, RESCUE AT LAKE WILD has a lot of substance so I cannot wait to get this story into kids’ hands!  At the end of the book, Johnson includes an author’s note providing information about the novel’s inspiration.  

Check Out This Video!

To hear Terry Lynn Johnson talks directly to readers about the inspiration behind Rescue at Lake Wild, click here.

About the Author: 

Terry Lynn Johnson writes about the wild with the wisdom and passion of someone who has spent her life working to preserve and protect it – both as a backcountry canoe ranger in Quetico Provincial Park and in her current job as a conservation officer with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry. She lives at the edge of a lake in northern Ontario, Canada, where she loves watching all wildlife, including beavers. Visit her online at

Twitter: @TerryLynnJ

Instagram: terry_lynn_johnson

Enter a Giveaway!

1 winner will receive a copy of Rescue at Lake Wild courtesy of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (U.S. addresses only). This giveaway is open from Tuesday, April 27, 2021 through Friday, April 30, 2021 ending at 10:00 p.m. EST.   Please note that book may take longer to ship so patience is appreciated.  Enter below or head over to my Twitter account, @lauramossa and retweet my Rescue at Lake Wild Twitter post.