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

Review & Giveaway: The Duchess and Guy A Rescue to Royalty Puppy Love Story by Nancy Furstinger

 

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It’s a boy!  Beagles and Books is celebrating the birth of Archie Harrison Monbatten-Windsor, the son of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex with a review and giveaway of The Duchess and Guy: A Rescue to Royalty Puppy Love Story written by Nancy Furstinger and illustrated by Julia Bereciartu. I received a copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Publisher’s Summary: 
A heartwarming tale about a beagle and the Duchess who adopted him, this picture book is inspired by the true story of Meghan Markle and her rescue dog, Guy. When he was a pup, Guy was just like any dog in the shelter; he liked to bark and follow his nose, and dreamed of a forever home above all things. But when Guy met Meghan, he had no idea he was about to star in his own Cinderella story. Guy can now be spotted escorting Queen Elizabeth and frolicking in Buckingham Palace. This rags-to-riches story of how one regal beagle got a second chance at life will charm and delight.

Review:

It’s pretty clear that I love dogs and books, but when the book is about a rescue beagle, it is even better.  And the fact that the beagle was rescued by a future Duchess, well, it is the absolutely best!

Although I know Guy has a happy ending, my heart still hurt when I read Furstinger’s poignant first words and Julia Bereciartu’s gorgeous yet forlourn illustration of Guy in the shelter.  

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When I turned the page, my heart leaped for joy when Guy was adopted by Meghan and finally got his furever home.The story focus shifts to Meghan’s impending marriage to Prince Harry and how Guy wants to prove he is a regal beagle.  Being among royalty is a bit overwhelming for Guy and despite his best intentions, his transition isn’t as smooth as he envisioned.  Meghan reminds Guy to be the happy go lucky dog he is. 

Whether you are two legged or four legged, adjustment to a new situation or surrounding can be challenging; I love that Furstinger emphasizes the way to capture hearts (even the Queen of England’s) is to simply just be yourself.   

At the end of the book, Furstinger includes a factual account of Guy’s rags to riches story.  What especially warms my heart is information on dog adoptions which is a cause close near and dear to me.  Like Guy, both Etta and Bella are rescues from the south and were sponsored and saved by Penny Angels Beagle Rescue in New Jersey.  

Special thanks to author Nancy Furstinger for sharing a copy of The Duchess and Guy with Beagles and Books.  It recently published in January 2019. 

Meet the Author:

Nancy Furstinger has been speaking up for animals since she learned to talk, and she hasn’t shut up yet. She is the author of nearly 100 books, including many on her favorite topic: animals! She started her writing career in third grade, when her class performed a play she wrote while recovering from chicken pox. Since then, Nancy has been a feature writer for a daily newspaper, a managing editor of trade and consumer magazines, and an editor at two children’s book publishing houses. She shares her home with big dogs, house rabbits, and a chinchilla (all rescued), and volunteers with several animal organizations.

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Giveaway!
One lucky winner will receive a copy of The Duchess and Guy (U.S. addresses only).  Enter the giveaway by retweeting my blog post tweet on Twitter and/or by making a comment on this blog post.  Giveaway ends Sunday, May 19, 2019.

 

Blog Tour, Debut Author, Giveaway, Middle Grade Literature, Rockstar Book Tours

Blog Tour & Giveaway: The Planet Earth is Blue by Nicole Panteleakos

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Beagles and Books is excited to be part of the The Plant Earth is Blue blog tour organized by Rockstar Book Tours. 

About the Book:
Title: PLANET EARTH IS BLUE
Author: Nicole Panteleakos
Pub. Date: May 14, 2019
Publisher: Wendy Lamb Books
Formats: Hardcover, eBook
Pages: 240

Find it: GoodreadsAmazonKindleB&NiBooksKoboTBD

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Publisher’s Summary: 

“Tender and illuminating. A beautiful debut.” –Rebecca Stead,
Newbery Medal-winning author of When You Reach Me 

A heartrending and hopeful debut novel about a nonverbal girl and her passion for space exploration, for fans of See You in the CosmosMockingbird, and The Thing About Jellyfish.

Twelve-year-old Nova is eagerly awaiting the launch of the space shuttle Challenger–it’s the first time a teacher is going into space, and kids across America will watch the event on live TV in their classrooms. Nova and her big sister, Bridget, share a love of astronomy and the space program. They planned to watch the launch together. But Bridget has disappeared, and Nova is in a new foster home.

While foster families and teachers dismiss Nova as severely autistic and nonverbal, Bridget understands how intelligent and special Nova is, and all that she can’t express. As the liftoff draws closer, Nova’s new foster family and teachers begin to see her potential, and for the first time, she is making friends without Bridget. But every day, she’s counting down to the launch, and to the moment when she’ll see Bridget again. Because Bridget said, “No matter what, I’ll be there. I promise.”

Review:

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

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

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

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

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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About Nicole:

Nicole Panteleakos is an author, playwright, thespian, and Ravenclaw. Her debut novel PLANET EARTH IS BLUE (Wendy Lamb Books, Penguin Random House) will be out in bookstores nationwide on May 14, 2019, with a second middle grade novel to follow in 2020. She is represented by agent Katie Grimm at Don Congdon Associates and belongs to the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators: Metro NY. She is also a Lifetime Member of the VFW Auxiliary and National Home for Children, a godmother of three, and a regular contributor to Nanny Magazine. When not writing, she can usually be found reading fanfiction, playing board games, doing community theatre, or adding to her Alice in Wonderland coffee cup collection.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Goodreads

 

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Giveaway Details:
3 winners will receive a finished copy of PLANET EARTH IS BLUE, US Only. Click the link below to enter.

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/e2389ba2930/?

Tour Schedule: Join us on the other stops of this tour to read more reviews.

Week One:

5/6/2019- Lifestyle Of Me– Review
5/7/2019- Lone Tree Reviews– Review
5/8/2019- Beagles & Books– Review
5/9/2019- Book-Keeping– Review
5/10/2019- Feed Your Fiction Addiction– Review

Week Two:

5/13/2019- BookHounds YA– Review
5/14/2019- Bri’s Book Nook– Review
5/15/2019- The Layaway Dragon– Review
5/16/2019- Here’s to Happy Endings– Review
5/17/2019- Novel Novice– Excerpt

 

 

Blog Tour, Giveaway, Picture Books

Blog Tour & Giveaway for VACATION FOR DEXTER! by Lindsay Ward

 

Beagles and Books is excited to be part of the blog tour for Vacation for Dexter by Lindsay Ward which publishes on April 16, 2019.  Special thanks to Two Lions Publishing and Barbara Fisch of Blue Slip Media for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Praise for Vacation for Dexter!
“The illustrations are just as laugh-out-loud funny as ever, with the toy’s expressions stealing every scene…Jack and Dexter have become a beloved duo, and the dino’s behavior-modeling sure goes down easily.” —Kirkus Reviews

Review:
In the latest Dexter T. Rexter book, Dexter joins Jack on vacation to an exotic place called  FLOR-I-DA.  In the first few page spreads, Ward’s illustrations clearly shows both Jack and Dexter’s excitement for their trip as they sing together.

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But when Dexter finds out their mode of transportation is a plane, his anxiety begins to emerge and it’s difficult for him to remain cool and confident.  Just as in other books, Dexter speaks directly to the reader sharing his symptoms such as stiff spikes, back pain, and leg cramps which is sure to make children laugh out loud.  

One look at Jack’s anxious face makes Dexter stop worrying about himself, for he realizes his best buddy needs his support.  Using the dangling headphone cord, Dexter shimmies up into Jack’s lap reminding him that he and Jack can be brave together singing as the plane lifts off into the sky.  And once you have a movie to watch, a comfy blanket and cookies to eat, flying isn’t nearly as scary.

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I have enjoyed all the Dexter books, but I really loved Vacation for Dexter because it tenderly shows the genuine love that Dexter has for Jack.  While Dexter is drawn large when he is addressing readers, he is always drawn small when he is with Jack, which conveys how a little stuffed animal can provide so much comfort to a child.

Check out the fun coloring sheet here!

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About Lindsay:
Lindsay Ward is the creator of the Dexter T. Rexter series. Although she isn’t afraid of flying, she always looks forward to cookies during her flights. She is also the author and illustrator of Brobarians, Henry Finds His Word, and When Blue Met Egg. Her book Please Bring Balloons was also made into a play.
 Most days you can find Lindsay with her family, writing and sketching at her home in Peninsula, Ohio. Learn more about her online at www.LindsayMWard.com or on Twitter: @lindsaymward.
Enter A Dino-Mite Giveaway!

If If you haven’t read any of the previous Dexter books or want your own copies, this giveaway is for you! One lucky winner will receive a set of all three books–Don’t Forget Dexter! , It’s Show and Tell, Dexter!, and Vacation for Dexter!  courtesy of Two Lions (U.S. addresses).

Blog Tour, Giveaway, Picture Books, Rockstar Book Tours

Blog Tour & Giveaway: Wonder Walk by Ilham Alam

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Beagles and Books is excited to be part of the Wonder Walk blog tour organized by Rockstar Book Tours. 

Title: WONDER WALK
Author: Ilham Alam
Illustrator: Kerry Bell
Pub. Date: April 16, 2019
Publisher: Iguana Books
Formats: Hardcover, Paperback, eBook
Pages: 20
Find it: GoodreadsAmazonB&NTBD

 

Publisher’s Summary: 

Get out there with curious Johnny and his patient Mommy, in this colourful, rhyming book, celebrating all the wonders of the everyday world. What do they see? What do they hear? What do they talk about?

Review:

Wonder Walk explores the simple pleasures of a walk between a boy and his mom.  Johnny is very observant first noticing the pretty sunflowers.  As he and his mom continue their walk, he sees something that he perceives as scary.  Calmly, his mom explains that it is a cuddle bug and will cause him no harm.  In fact, it wants to wish him goodnight. IMG_0974

Since the sun is still out and the sky is blue, inquisitive Johnny questions his mother’s response.  Quick thinking mom distracts Johnny by pointing a mother bird and her baby.  Soon Johnny tires from his curiosity and falls asleep sweetly dreaming about his walk of wonder.  

With big. bold illustrations and concise, rhyming text, Wonder Walk is a story that young children will enjoy and may prompt families to take their own walk together to observe nature and ask questions.  

Disclaimer: I received an electronic copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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About Ilham:

My name is ILHAM which is pronounced the way its spelled. As a kid, I hated my name and did get teased for being a “ham”. But now that I’m an adult, I love the uniqueness and the strength that my name conveys. I definitely have not met another Ilham for sure. It means inspiration in Arabic, by the way.   

Mary.JPGI live with my 2 sons & my husband and my 20 lb kitty, Beauty, within a house that’s booby-trapped with Legos. My crazy family are my inspiration for story writing and story-telling.  I love to travel with them as well as earning new memories through adventures abroad, some of which I have documented in this blog.

 

Website | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

 

 

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Giveaway:

3 lucky winners will win WONDER WALK Swag Packs, US Only.   Click the link below to enter.

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/e2389ba2912/?

 

Tour Schedule:

Check out the rest of the stops of this tour for more giveaway chances and to read more about Ilham and WONDER WALK. 

Week One:
4/8/2019- Lone Tree Reviews– Review
4/9/2019- Beagles & Books– Review
4/10/2019- Character Madness and Musings– Excerpt
4/11/2019- BookHounds YA– Review/Interview
4/12/2019- Do You Dog-ear?– Review

Week Two:
4/15/2019- Mama Panda Bear– Review
4/16/2019- Almost a Reader– Review
4/17/2019- Kelly P’s Blog– Spotlight
4/18/2019- Novel Novice– Excerpt
4/19/2019- Two Chicks on Books– Interview

Week Three:
4/22/2019- D. Books and Reviews– Review
4/23/2019- She Dreams in Fiction– Review
4/24/2019- ❧Defining Ways❧– Review
4/25/2019- Twirling Book Princess– Excerpt
4/26/2019- Two points of interest– Review

 

 

 

Blog Tour, Giveaway, Picture Books

Blog Tour & Giveaway for I USED TO BE FAMOUS by Tara Luebbe & Becky Cattie

Beagles and Books is excited to be part of the blog tour for I Used to Be Famous written by Tara Luebbe and Becky Cattie and illustrated by Joanne Lew-Vriethoff.  Special thanks to Albert Whitman and Company 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:
Kiely’s been famous her entire life, but when a baby sister appears on the scene, she feels like a has-been. Now Kiely has to figure out how to gain back the attention of her adoring fans (her family), even if it means sharing the spotlight.

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PRAISE FOR I USED TO BE FAMOUS!

“This clever exploration of the mixed emotions of welcoming a new baby into a family is sure to elicit more than a few laughs from the divas accustomed to having all the attention.” —Kirkus Reviews

Review:

Capturing our attention and hearts in I Am Famous, Kiely returns in I Used to Be Famous.  While Kiely still enjoys star treatment such as a personal shopper, it seems that her fan club is not following her as closely as in the past. Who is the new fresh face getting all the publicity?
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To Kiely’s dismay, her baby sister is now center stage which is ridiculous because little Abby is not multi-talented like her.  Will Kiely allow herself to be upstaged or will she learn to share the spotlight?
Kiely’s voice is pitch perfect.  With humor and honesty, authors Luebbe and Cattie aptly capture the range of emotions a child may feel with the addition of a sibling.  At first, Kiely is critical of her sister identifying all the things Abby cannot do.  Then Kiely begins to judge herself wondering if she needs to change.  It is not until Kiely stops trying to compete with her sister that she realizes there is room for two stars in the household.  In fact, it appears that being a duo is just what the paparazzi wants!
Illustrator Lew-Vriethoff’s bright and bold illustrations perfectly complement the text showing the changes in Kiely’s feelings as she gradually learns that being a big sister also has its perks because her little sister will always be her biggest fan.
Pre-order now, for I Used to Be Famous releases soon on April 1, 2019.  In the meantime, view the star studded book trailer below!

About the Authors: 
Becky Cattie has always had a flair for the dramatic and loves all things entertainment—especially character-driven narratives. She was a casting producer for reality TV shows like NBC’s America’s Got Talent, ABC’s Extreme Makeover, and E!’s The Simple Life in Los Angeles. She lives in Chicago. Tara Luebbe is a self-described “Picture Book Nerd.” In her previous life, she owned a toy and book store in Atlanta, which was a catalyst for writing her own books. This is the third picture book collaboration for sisters Tara and Becky; their first two books, I Am Famous and Shark Nate-O, were published in 2018. To learn more, visit http://beckytarabooks.com/ or find them on social media.
Facebook: BeckyTara Books
Twitter: @t_luebbe and @b_cattie
Instagram: @taraluebbe and @beckycattie
About the Illustrator: 
Joanne Lew-Vriethoff is an award-winning illustrator who was born in Malaysia, grew up in Los Angeles, worked in New York, and now lives in Amsterdam. Besides making art, she loves exploring the world with her family and road trips with her husband and kids, photographing street art, cycling along the Amsterdam canals at midnight, snorkeling, day dreaming, collecting picture books. Visit her website at  
 
Enter An Amazing Giveaway!

 

Albert Whitman and Company is offering one copy of I USED TO BE FAMOUS to one lucky winner (U.S. addresses only).  Enter below!

Blog Tour, Giveaway, Picture Books

Blog Tour & Giveaway for Turkey’s Eggcellent Easter by Wendi Silvano

Beagles and Books is excited to be part of a blog tour for Turkey’s Eggcellent Easter written by Wendi Silvano and illustrated by Lee Harper. Special thanks to Two Lions Publishing 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:
Easter is almost here—and Turkey knows just how to celebrate. He’s going to win the eggstra-special Easter egg hunt! The only problem is that animals aren’t allowed to enter. So he and his barnyard friends come up with a top-secret plan. With his trademark disguises and a whole lot of help, Turkey goes undercover. Will his basket of tricks help him win a prize?

Review and Thoughts:
Before I began even reading the story, I began to giggle seeing headband wearing animals exercising in the park with Sheep doing yoga, Pig checking his run time on his watch, and Cow stretching his leg.   The animals are not too health conscious though to enjoy an Easter egg hunt but how can they partake in the kids only hunt?
Every day, I have the pleasure of reading aloud to a second grade class that I have adopted for #classroombookaday.  After reading Turkey’s Eggcellent Easter, I ask children “What is the author’s purpose for writing this story?” using Burkins and Yaris’ visual which is shown below.
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Here are some of the student’s comments.
“I think the author wanted us to laugh out loud because she used the word, egg in the story a lot to make the story funny.”
“I think the illustrator wanted us to laugh because the animals were all wearing dark glasses and ties acting like spies trying to get the eggs.”
“I think the author wanted us to teach us about perseverance because the animals did not give up when Turkey’s disguises didn’t work.”
“I think the author wanted to teach us about cooperation because all the animals worked together to get an egg. They all shared the jellybean pizza at the end.”
“I think the author wanted to teach us about resourcefulness because the animals kept creating more disguises for the Turkey so he could find an egg.”
I love including seasonal books for #classroombookaday so I was especially excited to read Turkey’s Eggcellent Easter, for the story is not only humorous but also reinforces positive values.  After seeing the other Turkey books in the series on the back cover flap, the children asked me if I could get them.  One student even said “We can read them to see if they would be good read alouds next year.”  It is pretty clear that Turkey and his friends are becoming fast favorites for this class of second graders!
View the eggcellent book trailer below!

 

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 www.wendisilvano.com.
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 barn cat, and six chickens…but no turkeys. Yet. He lives with his wife in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. Visit him online at www.leeharperart.com.
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Eggstraspecial Giveaway!

Two Lions is offering one copy of TURKEY’S EGGCELLENT EASTER to one lucky winner (U.S. addresses only).

Blog Tour, Giveaway, Picture Books

Blog Tour & Giveaway: It’s Not Hansel & Gretel by Josh Funk Illustrated by Edwardian Taylor

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Beagles and Books is excited to be a part of the blog tour for It’s Not Hansel and Gretel. It celebrates its book birthday on March 1, 2019.  Special thanks to Two Lions Publishing and Barbara Fisch of Blue Slip Media for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Review:
An all-knowing narrator attempts to tell the traditional tale of Hansel and Gretel but is quickly interrupted by the characters who have their own idea of their story.  For example, Gretel rebuts the notion that her parents wanted to get rid of her and her brother; rather, they are just taking a leisurely afternoon walk in the woods.  When the siblings meet the witch, Gretel dismisses this label and refers to her as a sweet old lady. What makes my heart happy is Gretel’s championing of women’s rights with her insistence in changing the title to Gretel and Hansel and arguing about why her brother gets candy and she is stuck doing chores.  “Get with the times-this is the fifteenth century,” she retorts!

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Fed up with Gretel’s & Hansel’s (you’re welcome, Gretel) antics, the narrator turns the storytelling over to them which allows the duo to get creative growing mustaches, getting a pet unicorn named Fluffybottom, and opening up a bakery serving delicious sweets to their fellow fairy tale friends.  

For fans of It’s Not Jack and the Beanstalk, It’s Not Hansel and Gretel is a hilarious and worthy follow up. Funk’s witty writing is pure joy to read aloud and honestly, I find it difficult to not laugh myself. Taylor’s illustrations are so entertaining and chocked full of details that I reread the story just to view his comical digital art. And look closely for cameos from characters from It’s Not Jack and the Beanstalk!

If like me, you can’t wait for more fractured fairy tales from the amazing collaborative team of Josh Funk and Edwardian Taylor, you will be thrilled to hear that It’s Not Little Red Riding Hood is set for release in February 2020.  For more info, click here.

Check out the book trailer!
 

 

Josh Funk Author HeadshotAbout the Author:
Like Hansel and Gretel, Josh Funk doesn’t like being told how stories should go—so he writes his own. He is the author of a bunch of picture books, including the popular Lady Pancake & Sir French Toast series, illustrated by Brendan Kearney, and recently, How to Code a Sandcastle, illustrated by Sara Palacios, and Lost in the Library: A Story of Patience & Fortitude, illustrated by Stevie Lewis. He lives in New England with his wife and children. Learn more about him at www.joshfunkbooks.com and follow him on Twitter @joshfunkbooks.

 

Edwardian Taylor

About the Illustrator:
Edwardian Taylor has worked as a visual development artist and character designer in the game and animation industry. He illustrated the picture book Race!, written by Sue Fliess and the chapter book Toy Academy: Some Assembly Required, written by Brian Lynch. He lives in Texas with his partner and their four dogs. Learn more about him at www.edwardiantaylor.com and follow him on Tumblr, Instagram, and Twitter @edwardiantaylor.

Giveaway!
Two Lions is offering one copy of IT’S NOT HANSEL AND GRETEL to one lucky winner (U.S. addresses)  Giveaway begins Wednesday, February 27, 2019 and ends at 12:00 a.m. on Saturday, March 9, 2019.  Good luck! 

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

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 2/18/19

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

Our Recent Reads: 

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Cogheart by Peter Benzl

Cogheart tells the story of Lily, a student at Miss Octavia Scrimshaw’s Finishing Academy for Young Ladies.  Posture class and French conversation lessons are not Lily’s cup of tea and while she may have frustrated a number of her governesses, she still can’t understand why her inventor father, John Hartman send her to boarding school under a false surname.

As the story quickly unfolds, Lily discovers that her father is missing after his airship crashed.  Since he is presumed dead, Lily is plucked out of school by her father’s housekeeper who Lily knows cannot be trusted.  Determined to find her father, Lily puts her trust in Robert, the son of a town clockmaker who with his father’s help repairs Malkin, Lily’s mechanical fox after he was injured.  Created by her father, Malkin shares his account of what happened on the airship the night John Hartman disappeared. As she, Robert, and Malkin navigate Victorian London thwarting off dastardly villains and attempt to uncover the truth, Lily discovers family secrets that could endanger Robert’s and her lives.

Cogheart is a book I wished I had read when I was a kid.  With dynamic characters, a fast paced intriguing plot, and an enchanting steampunk setting, I was quickly immersed in Lily and Robert’s world.  To read my full review and enter a giveaway for your own copy, click here.

Sweety by Andrea Zuill

Sweety is an uplifting story about celebrating uniqueness. Sporting glasses and braces and having a fondness for fungi, Sweety does not fit in even in the world of naked mole rats.  Fortunately, Sweety is blessed with her Aunt Ruth who instills in her that being different is in fact pretty awesome.  Author illustrator Andrea Zuill is quickly becoming a favorite storyteller of mine.  With the support of family or close friends, her characters (Homer of Wolf Camp and Jasper of Business Pig) embrace their individuality, which is a great lesson for us all.  Thanks to Random House for sending a F & G of Sweety to my #bookexcursion group.  It releases next month on March 26, 2019.

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Waiting for Pumpsie by Barry Wittenstein Illustrated by London Ladd

Since Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier as the first American African Major League baseball player in 1947, I assumed that all other teams followed their lead soon after.  Barry Wittenstein’s fictional account, Waiting for Pumpsie taught me differently.  Finding age appropriate text to teach elementary students about the history of race relations can be challenging.  Wittenstein’s narrative which tells the true story of African-American rise to Major League Baseball is a must read because it provides an accurate and accessible account of the history of racial segregation and fight for integration for this age group.  Children can easily relate to his Bernard’s disappointment as well as his hope and enthusiasm. To read my full review and enter a giveaway for your own copy, click here.

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

Good Boy by Sergio Ruzzier

Written using only verbs, Good Boy tells the story of a boy and his dog.  At first, the boy gives his pup simple commands such as sit, stay, and roll over.  The boy’s commands become more unconventional asking his furry best friend to stand, juggle,  cook, pedal,  sail and build, which the dog has no difficulties fulfilling.  After collaborating to build a spaceship, the duo blast off to another planet to interact with aliens.  Once they get home and get ready for bed, the boy repeats his command of stay which ends with the best friends snuggling in bed for the night.

I am a huge fan of Sergio Ruzzier, for his words and artwork exudes warmth and whimsy. What I love most about Good Boy is with its concise text and charming pen and watercolor illustrations, Ruzzier beautifully captures the genuine love between a boy and his dog.  Thanks to Sergio Ruzzier and Julia McCarthy of Atheneum/Simon and Schuster for sending a F & G of Good Boy to my #bookexcursion group.  Good Boy recently published on February 12, 2019.

Etta, Bella, and I thank you for stopping by Beagles and Books.  Happy reading!

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

 

Giveaway, Picture Books

Review and Giveaway for Waiting for Pumpsie by Barry Wittenstein Illustrated by London Ladd

Beagles and Books is excited to share a review for Waiting for Pumpsie  written by Barry Wittenstein and illustrated by London Ladd. Special thanks to Charlesbridge Publishing 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:

“Change is coming real soon.”

In 1959 the Boston Red Sox was the last team in the Major Leagues to integrate. But when they call Elijah “Pumpsie” Green up from the minors, Bernard is overjoyed to see a black player on his beloved home team. And, when Pumpsie’s first home game is scheduled, Bernard and his family head to Fenway Park. Bernard is proud of Pumpsie and hopeful that this historic event is the start of great change in America.

This fictionalized account captures the true story of baseball player Pumpsie Green’s rise to the major leagues. The story is a snapshot of the Civil Rights Movement and a great discussion starter about the state of race relations in the United States today.

Review:

Since Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier as the first American African Major League baseball player in 1947, I assumed that all other teams followed their lead soon after.  Barry Wittenstein’s fictional account, Waiting for Pumpsie taught me differently.

It’s 1959. Bernard is a huge Boston Red Sox fan but he cannot understand why his beloved team still doesn’t have any African-American players on their roster.  Jackie Robinson is already retired from the Dodgers for two years so why are the Red Sox dragging their feet?  Through Bernard’s narration, Wittenstein shares that while many baseball teams and fans were ready for integration, it was clear that the Boston Red Sox did not share the same sentiment.  As the Red Sox plummet to last place in the standings, Bernard patiently waits and finally on a hot July day, Bernard’s prayers are answered.  Pumpsie Green is called up from the minors!  Aware of this historic day in Boston baseball history, Bernard’s father buys tickets for Pumpsie’s first home game. Although the Sox did not win the game, Wittenstein’s text and Ladd’s illustrations on the last few pages beautifully convey Bernard’s sheer excitement for being a part of that unforgettable day not only in Boston Red Sox history but also in his own life.

Finding age appropriate text to teach elementary students about the history of race relations can be challenging.  Wittenstein’s account is perfect because it provides an accurate and accessible account of the history of racial segregation and fight for integration for this age group.  Because it is written from Bernard’s point of view, children can easily relate to his disappointment as well as his hope and enthusiasm. Ladd’s acrylic and colored pencil artwork truly transports readers to Fenway Park in the 1950’s.

I highly recommend Waiting for Pumpsie as a read aloud and with the Wittenstein’s author note, I am grateful to learn even more about “Pumpsie” Green and his role in fully integrating all Major League Baseball teams.

Praise for WAITING FOR PUMPSIE!
 
★“A grand slam.”  —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
 
“Bernard’s conversational narration creates a warm bond with readers from the get-go, and although Wittenstein and Ladd never sugarcoat instances of racial prejudice, the story’s moments of triumph sound the loudest notes.”  —Publishers Weekly

Barry Wittenstein photo_Waiting for Pumpsie.jpeg

About the Author: 
Barry Wittenstein has tended bar, driven a taxi, worked at CBS Records and CBS News back in the day, spent a decade writing music and lyrics, toiled six years as a web editor and writer for Major League Baseball, and three years as a substitute elementary school teacher.  He could be Walter Mitty’s brother.
Barry loves to write narrative nonfiction picture books. He is the author of Waiting for Pumpsie and The Boo-Boos That Changed the World. In 2019, he will publish two more nonfiction picture books—Sonny’s Bridge, about the legendary jazz saxophonist Sonny Rollins; and A Place to Land (with illustrations by Caldecott Medalist Jerry Pinkney) about how Martin Luther King Jr. wrote his “I Have a Dream” speech. He is currently working on a YA novel. He lives in New York City with his wife. To learn more, and to download free curriculum guides, visit his website: https://onedogwoof.com/ or follow him on Twitter: @bwittbooks
Giveaway!
One lucky winner will receive a Giveaway begins Sunday, February 17 and ends at 12:00 a.m. on Sunday,  Giveaway begins Sunday, February 24, 2019 and ends at 12:00 a.m. on Sunday, February, 24, 2019.  Enter below.