Blog Tour, Giveaway, Picture Books

Blog Tour & Giveaway for This is (Not) Enough by Anna Kang Illustrated by Christopher Weyant


About the Book:
Title: This is (Not) Enough
Author: Anna Kang
Illustrator: Christopher Weyant
Pub. Date: March 1, 2022

Beagles and Books is excited to be part of the blog tour for This Is (Not) Enough 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.


In the sixth book in Kang’s and Weyant’s You Are (Not) Small series, the bear friends explore the life lesson of gift giving.  Each bear is on the hunt for the perfect gift.  The brown bear wants to find a gift that is cool, fun, big and wow.  The purple bear wants a gift that is one of a kind, warm, soft, and from the heart.  



But each time one of the best friends boasts about their idea, the other second guesses their choice and worries that their gift is not enough.  


The bears both go through great lengths to impress their each other.   Will they finally decide on the perfect gift for their best friend? 


I am a big fan of the You Are (Not) Small series because the stories are a  wonderful vehicle for discussing topics like friendship, facing fears, self-regulation, sharing, and perspective with young children  Kang’s concise and lively dialogue moves the plot along.   Weyant’s bright illustrations fill up the page spreads and clearly and comically show the friends’ multitude of feelings (excited, nervous, sad, frustrated).

After reading I Am (Not) Enough to a kindergarten class, we discussed what the author and illustrator are teaching us about giving gifts to those we love.  At first, kids focused on giving a gift that was big and fun, but then a student said “At the end, both bears made a gift for each other.” Then I asked the class, “What do you call a gift you make?”   A child excitedly said “It is a gift from your hands.”  Another child then shared “It’s from your heart AND your hands!”   We wrapped up our discussion categorizing gifts from the heart and hands such as making a card rather than buying a card or drawing a picture instead of printing it from a computer. It is (Not) Enough is a sweet story reminding us that homemade gifts are the ones we most cherish. 

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, We Are (Not) Friends, and It Is (Not) Perfect. They also wrote and illustrated Christopher Award winner Eraser, Hudson and Tallulah Take Sides, 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 the Boston Globe and his cartoons are syndicated worldwide. This husband-and-wife team lives in New Jersey with their two daughters and their dog, Hudson. Visit them at and

Twitter: @annakang27 @ChristophWeyant

Instagram: annakangbookschristopherweyant   

Facebook: Anna Kang – AuthorChristopher Weyant

Blog Tour, Giveaway, Picture Books

Blog Tour: Review & Giveaway for Playing with Lanterns by Wang Yage


About the Book:

Title: Playing with Lanterns 
Author: Wang Yage
Illustrator: Zhu Chengliang
Translator: Helen Wang
Pub. Date: January 11, 2022

Beagles and Books is thrilled to be part of the blog tour for Playing with Lanterns 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. 


Playing with Lanterns shares the age old New Year folk custom in the Shaanxi province of northwest China.  On the third day of the fifteen day celebration, children begin receiving lanterns from their uncles.  Chengliang’s warm and lively watercolor illustrations pairs perfectly with Wang’s smooth translation of Yage’s original text. 

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When Zhao Di gets her lantern, she excitedly joins her friends to show off her gift.  I love this page spread which shows the beauty and uniqueness of each lantern.   As the story continues, readers learn the tradition of walking around the village with their lanterns in hand.  When Zhao Di’s candle goes out, her friends huddle around her to relit it.  

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On the fifteenth day, Zhao Di feels sad all day long.  Is her gloomy disposition due to the end of Chinese New Year?  At sundown, she and her friends join their village for the final celebration.  The translated text reads “It was the LAST EVENING for lanterns.”   

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The friends share one last moment together with their lanterns before they hear the words “SMASH THE LANTERNS.”  Zhao Di is not ready to say goodbye to her lantern but if she doesn’t smash it before the candle goes out, tradition says her uncle’s eyes will be red and sore from pink eye.  While Zhao Di is depressed that her lantern is gone and the celebration is over, she is grateful for the memories and reminded that New Year returns every year.  

While the lantern tradition will be new learning, kids will relate to Zhao Di’s range of emotions during a holiday celebration.  I love how the author does not allow Zhao Di’s to dwell in her sadness, for she begins to feel excited knowing she will have the opportunity to celebrate again.  And no surprise, I enjoyed seeing Zhao Di’s little dog in the illustrations as the pup accompanied her in all the festivities. At the end of the story, an author’s note provides more specific information about the tradition of “Smashing Lanterns.”  With its gentle text and expressive illustrations, I highly recommend Playing with Lanterns as a read aloud to teach kids about Chinese New Year. 

Praise for Playing with Lanterns!

“A colorful wintry tale ushers in Chinese New Year over two weeks…A charming illustration of childhood memories during the holiday season.” ―Kirkus Reviews

“Quiet, elegant passages stud the text…Tenderly detailed gouache paintings by Zhu render the children as small, patterned bundles frolicking against expanses of snow…A quiet celebration of a Northwestern Chinese tradition.” ―Publishers Weekly


About the Author:

Wang Yage was born in Shaanxi, a central and historical province of China, where the custom of playing with lanterns was once a popular Chinese New Year tradition. A doctor of classical Chinese literature, she teaches at the University of Tibet. Playing with Lanterns is her first picture book. First published in China, the book made the prestigious White Ravens international book list.

About the Illustrator: 

Zhu Chengliang is an award-winning Chinese illustrator. Born in Shanghai and raised in Suzhou, he studied at the Department of Fine Art, Nanjing University, and has worked as an author, illustrator, editor, and designer. He was nominated for the Hans Christian Andersen Award in 2016, which is the highest international distinction given to authors and illustrators of children’s books. His books have been named one of the Ten Best Illustrated Books by the New York Times and to the IBBY Honor List.

About the Translator:

Helen Wang is a writer and translator from the UK. In 2017 she was given a Special Contributor of the Year honor as part of the Chen Bochui International Children’s Literature Awards for her work in bringing Chinese children’s literature to English-speaking audiences. Wang has translated novels, picture books, and graphic novels, including Cao Wenxuan’s Bronze and Sunflower, which won the Marsh Christian Award for Children’s Literature in Translation.


Blog Tour, Giveaway, Picture Books

Blog Tour & Giveaway for I am You: A Book About Ubuntu


About the Book:

Title: I Am You: A Book About Ubuntu
Author: Refiloe Moahloli
Illustrator: Zinelda McDonald
Pub. Date: February 1, 2022

Beagles and Books is thrilled to be part of the blog tour for I Am You: A Book About Ubuntu 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 Southern Africa, ubuntu means connectedness.  It is the belief that people form their identities based on their relationship with others.   I Am You teaches children the meaning of ubuntu using a concise, melodic text and bold and expressive illustrations.  As I read aloud the text and showed the first page spread to a first grade class, I asked them how they felt.  Most students said happy.  When I asked why, here are some of their responses.

  • “The kids are smiling.”
  • “The flowers are pretty.”
  • “I love butterflies.”


As I continued to read aloud, I asked the children to check their feelings.  Are your feelings changing or staying the same?   

  • “I still feel happy because I see animals in the tree and under the tree.”
  • “I still feel happy because the girl is smiling hugging the tree.”
  • “I still feel happy because the flowers on the tree look like cotton candy.”


After reading the next pages, I asked the same question.  Children shared their continued feelings of happiness and explained why.

  • “The kids are smiling and dancing.”
  • “The boy can still dance in a wheelchair with the girl.”
  • “They are having fun performing on stage under the lights.”


As I read the remainder of the story, I kept questioning kids about their feelings.  Did they change or stay the same?  As illustrations of kids smiling, hugging, sharing a scarf, dancing, laughing,  happiness persisted.   As I read the text, “We may look different, you and I…sound different, act different, eat different foods, and live in different places. But are hearts beat the same,” I posed the question-What is the author trying to teach us? One student responded with such conviction.

“We are all people that love things but we might not love the same thing.  That’s ok because I can like something and someone can like something different like a food or a game.” 

At my school, each class considers themselves a family.  After reading the whole story, we discussed how this book helps them as a class.  Collectively, we came up with this statement.

“When we are all being kind and helpful, our class will be happy. But if one person is being mean, it can hurt the whole class’ happiness.”

Wow!  This first grade class knows the meaning of ubuntu.  We are better together. 

Praise for I Am You: A Book About Ubuntu

★“[Refiloe] Moahloli’s work makes for a stunning picture book for young readers and their grown-ups that focuses on our shared sense of community…. Celebrates our shared humanity and the strength in treating others with love and respect. A recommended first purchase.”
 ―School Library

Journal (starred review)“An edifying, unifying picture book that’s much needed in these divisive times.” 
―Kirkus Reviews

About the Author:
Refiloe Moahloli
is a bestselling South African picture book author. She is passionate about writing stories that bring out the best in the human spirit. She spent the early part of her career in the corporate world, but an eye-opening assignment to Mumbai led her to pursue her dream of becoming a full-time writer. She currently lives and works in Johannesburg. Learn more at, and follow her on Instagram @RefiloeMoahloli.

About the Illustrator:
Zinelda McDonald is an award-winning South African illustrator who lives in Wellington in the Western Cape of South Africa. She has illustrated numerous children’s books and is also a well-known designer and illustrator of children’s book covers. Awards for her work include the Alba Bouwer Prize and the Exclusive Books IBBY SA Award. Follow her on Instagram @Zinelda.


Blog Tour, Giveaway, Picture Books

Blog Tour: Review & Giveaway for Dancing with Daddy by Anitra Rowe Schulte


About the Book:

Title: Dancing with Daddy 
Author: Anitra Rowe Schulte
Illustrator: Ziyue Chen
Pub. Date: December 1, 2021

Beagles and Books is thrilled to be part of the blog tour for Dancing with Daddy. Special thanks to Two Lions and Barbara Fisch of Blue Slip Media for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.


Excited to go to her first father-daughter dance, Elsie picks out a beautiful red dress with a matching bow because the color matches Daddy’s soccer jersey.  As they drive home from the store, Elsie sees snow flurries and begins to worry. Will the weather ruin her special night?

Inspired by the author’s own daughter, the main character, Elsie, has Wolf-Hirschhorn Syndrome (WHS). Through the illustrations and text, readers learn how Elsie moves through the use of a wheelchair, eats by way of a plastic tool that pushes food in her stomach, and talks by touching picture squares in a book.  To the reader, this way of life will be new, but to Elsie’s family, this is normal daily activity which is evident in Chen’s beautiful illustrations.  


Schulte’s text is a pleasure to read.  I love how her words create mental images for the reader.  For example, when the store clerk wrapped up Elsie’s dress and bow, the tissue paper crunched like fresh snow.  When Elsie listened to her father reading a bedtime story, her heart did pirouettes.  She also uses vivid verbs such as hurried, squealed, swayed, twirled, dipped, and thumped to provide great opportunities for visualization.











Spoiler.  The snow did not cancel the dance  (Yay!) and Elsie, her sisters Daphne and Rosalie, and father enjoy a night to remember.  When her sisters take a break from dancing, my heart melted when her father asked Elsie “May I have this dance?”  The following page spread shows the boundless love between father and daughter dancing as if they are the only ones in the room.  I love the final page spread because all three daughters are dancing with their father having the time of their lives. 


Reading Dancing with Daddy is like being wrapped in a warm hug.  The immense love of the family is beautifully conveyed in Schulte’s uplifting text and Chen’s gorgeous artwork.  Highly recommend to add to libraries big or small-public, school, classroom and home!  

Praise for Dancing with Daddy!

★“Refreshingly, Elsie’s disability is seamlessly presented as simply another aspect of family life…As she swings and sways in her father’s arms, her forehead against his, their love is palpable; Chen’s illustrations fairly glow with affection…A heartwarming portrayal of a family embracing disability.” ―Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“[Anitra] Rowe Schulte uses accessible, rhythmic language…conveying Elsie’s thoughts in pink- and red-colored text. Light-filled digital illustrations by [Ziyue] Chen make use of differing angles and dynamic shots, emphasizing the love the family has for one another.” ―Publishers Weekly

“This sweet story is a great addition to any diverse and inclusive library.” ―TODAY

About the Author:

Anitra Rowe Schulte has worked as a journalist for The Kansas City Star and the Sun-Times News Group, as a staff writer for Chicago Public Schools, and as a publicist. She is the mother of three beautiful girls, one of whom has Wolf-Hirschhorn syndrome and is the inspiration for Elsie in this book. She lives in the Chicago area, and this is her first picture book. Learn more about her at and follow her at @anitraschulte on Twitter.

About the Illustrator: 

Ziyue Chen is the Deaf illustrator of a number of children’s books, including Mela and the Elephant by Dow Phumiruk, How Women Won the Vote by Susan Campbell Bartoletti, and Rocket-Bye Baby: A Spaceflight Lullaby by Danna Smith. She lives with her loved ones in Singapore. Find out more at or follow her @ziyuechen on Instagram.

Blog Tour, Giveaway, Picture Books

Blog Tour & Giveaway for A Christmas Too Big by Colleen Madden


About the Book:

Title: A Christmas Too Big
Author/Illustrator: Colleen Madden
Pub. Date: November 2, 2021

Beagles and Books is thrilled to be part of the blog tour for A Christmas Too Big  Special thanks to Two Lions 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 the day after Thanksgiving and Kerry’s family cannot contain their Christmas spirit.  Bring on the decorations, Christmas carols, cookie baking, binge holiday movie watching, and elves on a shelf.  It’s Christmas around the clock!  AChristmasTooBig-9781542028004-large-1

Even when the family chooses a tree, they choose one the size of the Rockefeller Center tree.   Overwhelmed, Kerry needs some space and heads outdoors in hopes for some simplicity.  As Kerry walks down her street, she sees massive holiday decorations in her neighbors’ yards.  Has everyone decided to have a Christmas too big?


Kerry’s saving grace is Mrs. Flores.  After helping Mrs. Flores get her cart out of the snow, Kerry is invited into her house for un poco de cacao (cocoa).  She notices that Mrs. Flores’ decorations are simple-a small Christmas tree with a picture of her family who live in Mexico.  I love Kerry’s and Mrs. Flores’ interactions because their dialogue is written in English and Spanish.  As Mrs. Flores teaches Kerry how to make paper flowers and they sing a song together, my heart tugged; Mrs. Flores is missing her family and Kerry is a source of comfort. When Kerry helps Mrs. Flores use her Christmas present from her family, my heart melted because the tablet allowed Mrs. Flores to communicate with her family.  


A Christmas Too Big is full of humor and heart! The very detailed illustrations show how Kerry’s family goes full out for the holiday. I especially love the page spread of the entire house which shows there is not one area not adorned in Christmas decor.  After spending time with Mrs. Flores, Kerry realizes that a small Christmas can still be big because the most important thing about Christmas is to be with those you love and care about. When she gets home, Kerry makes more paper flowers and adds them to her family’s decorations which propels her mom to suggest inviting over Mrs. Flores for Christmas dinner.  By bringing Mrs. Flores’ small Christmas to her house, Kerry made Christmas big in heart for both her family and Mrs. Flores.  At the end of the story, directions explain how to make Flores de Navidad (Christmas Flowers).  Highly recommend this heartwarming holiday story!  

Praise for A Christmas Too Big!

“An intergenerational friendship and a busy holiday made meaningful set this title apart.” 
Kirkus Reviews

“Madden’s bilingual tale strikes both humorous and poignant notes; the visual blend of
comic-style panels, playful fonts, speech bubbles in both English and Spanish, and
traditional spreads offers readers plenty to celebrate.” 
Publishers Weekly

About the Author/Illustrator:

Colleen Madden grew up in a crazy Christmas house and, like Kerry, she found a break by spending time with her neighbor who was from another country. She has illustrated many children’s books, including the bestselling What If Everybody? series, written by Ellen Javernick, and the picture-book adaptation of All I Want for Christmas Is You, by Mariah Carey. She recently published Monkey Walk, her debut as both author and illustrator, and is currently working on her first graphic novel. She lives in the Philadelphia area with her husband and two sons.

Blog Tour, Giveaway, Picture Books

Blog Tour & Giveaway for A Sari for Ammi by Mamta Nainy


About the Book:

Title: A Sari for Ammi
Author: Mamta Nainy
Illustrator: Sandhya Prabhat
Pub. Date: November 9, 2021

Beagles and Books is thrilled to be part of the blog tour for A Sari for Ammi 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.


Making saris is a family affair for a young girl, her sister, Sadaf, and her mother (Ammi) and father (Abba).  In fact, weaving has been a family trade for generations.  One day, the very observant daughter recognizes that Ammi weaves the most colorful and gorgeous saris but she never keeps any of her beautiful creations for herself.  When she asks why, Ammi responds “If we keep the saris, what will we eat?” Young readers learn that making saris is the the family’s job and the way they earn money for the things they need.  As Ammi looks in the mirror wearing one of her sari, Prabhat captures her feelings that perhaps once, she wishes she could keep a sari as her own. 

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But what if they bought a sari for Ammi?  The girl shares her idea of breaking their gullak (piggybank) with Sadaf.  They decide to forego buying themselves things from the bazaar and use the money for Ammi.  After the money is counted, a new problem arises.  They do not have enough.  The sisters need to work together to get more money.  

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First, they sell old junk like paper, bottles, and metal to Jhammu Kaka, the scrap dealer earning more money, but not quite enough for a sari. As they walk through a wheat field, they get another idea to help Amina Khala color thread. Do they finally have enough?  “Just enough!” screams Sadaf.  

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And the sisters don’t just buy any sari.  They purchase a sari that Ammi has weaved.  What tugged at my heart is the sari they chose was the sari that Ammi was wearing while looking in the mirror.  Prabhat’s vivid artwork shows Ammi’s pure joy in her smile and the single tear streaming down her cheek as she tightly hugs her daughters.  

With themes of family, kindness, cooperation, and problem solving, A Sari for Ammi is a touching story that all children can relate to.  What I love most is kids learn more about the culture and traditions of a rural Indian Muslim family and their lifestyle.  Nainy seamlessly weaves Indian words into the text which are defined in a glossary and shares background about the history of making saris in Kaithoon, the Rajasthan town where the story takes place.  The love that the sisters not only for their ammi but also for their whole family was evident in Nainy’s engaging plot and Prabhat’s bright and lively illustrations.  I adored the way they collaborated to earn enough money to buy a sari.  Their good deed will make readers want to pay it forward and show kindness to a loved one.  Highly recommend A Sari for Ammi for home libraries, classroom libraries, school libraries, and public libraries!  

Praise A Sari for Ammi!

“This delightful picture book shines a spotlight on a rural, underrepresented Indian Muslim community.” 
Kirkus Reviews

About the Author:
Mamta Nainy
is a children’s writer, editor, and translator based in New Delhi, India. She is the author of many children’s books, including A Brush with Indian Art, illustrated by Aniruddha Mukherjee, which won the Hindu Young World-Goodbooks Award in 2019; and Bioscope, illustrated by Shanti Devi, which was named to the IBBY Honor List in 2012. Follow the author on Instagram @mamtanainy.

About the Illustrator:
Sandhya Prabhat
is an independent animator and illustrator from Chennai, India, who resides in the United States. She has a master’s degree in animation and digital arts from New York University. She has illustrated nearly a dozen picture books, including her recent book I Am Brown, written by Ashok Banker. She animates for TV and movies and creates content for social media websites such as Facebook, Google, and Snapchat. Follow the artist on Instagram @sandhyaprabhat.




Blog Tour, Giveaway, Middle Grade Literature

Blog Tour & Giveaway for Susie B. Won’t Back Down by Margaret Finnegan


About the Book:

Title: Susie B. Won’t Back Down
Author: Margaret Finnegan
Pub. Date: October 5, 2021

Beagles and Books is excited to share a review and giveaway for Susie B. Won’t Back Down 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.


Susie Babuszkiewicz is a peppy fifth grade student who has a lot of opinions.  For starters, she can’t be called Susie because Soozee Gupta is also in her class which seems unfair.  B comes before G right?  But after reading about Susan B. Anthony and her crusade fighting for women’s rights, Susie embraces being called Susie B. and when choosing a personal hero for the fifth grade Hero Project, Susie immediately knows her choice, duh.  

I absolutely love the format of the novel, for Susie narrates in the form of letters penned to Susan B. Anthony.  The letters are written in a conversational tone so readers feel that Susie is speaking directly to them.  What I love most is that Susie does not hold back; she tells it like it is.  For instance, she shares her honest feelings about Chloe Howard who she secretly calls “Old Fakey Fake” because of her phony personality and how Dylan Rodriguez is one of usual geniuses-kids who always get pick for everything.  And Susie reveals her life long dream of running for student council president because who wouldn’t want to use the big microphone to say The Pledge of Allegiance at assemblies? 

As Susie researches Susan B. Anthony more, she learns that her hero made alliances with individuals who did not believe in equality for all people.  Susie is deeply troubled by this revelation and feels betrayed especially since her half-brother Locke is biracial.   But once more students do research, they also discover their heroes’ flaws.  As her friend Carson who chose Picasso as his hero eloquently states, “It’s easier when you just know what people did, not who they were.”  

Susie also discovers that friends can surprise you too.  Jocelyn has always been her best spark, but as she is running for student council treasurer, Jocelyn sees an opportunity to befriend Chloe.  Susie tries but finds it difficult to be friendly with “Old Fakey Fake.”  When Susie asks her to choose, her best spark chooses the other side which I agree was pretty stabby-stabby.  Susie, I would be proud to eat lunch with you every day.  

Susie B. Won’t Back Down is an authentic story of a young girl trying to figure out who she is.  Is she passionate or high maintenance? Her brother Locke tells her it to her straight-“Fill yourself up by being your best.” Susie realizes that her best means being true to herself.  With that revelation, Susie and Jocelyn may not be besties right now, but sparks don’t happen with only one person.  Susie learns that friends Carson, Soozee, and even Dylan can help her Inner Light shine.  Thanks Susie for being real.   

Praise for Susie B. Won’t Back Down!

“Susie is energetic, breathless, enthusiastic, and genuinely, charmingly funny.” —Kirkus Reviews

A Junior Library Guild Selection

About the Author:

Margaret Finnegan is the author of the middle-grade novels Susie B. Won’t Back Down and We Could Be Heroes. Her writing often focuses on themes on inclusion, hard choices, and being true to yourself. She also makes a really good chocolate cake. To learn more, and to download free discussion guides, visit

Twitter: @FinneganBegin

Instagram: @finneganbegin


Check out the fun mock newspaper, The Susie B News–available for download here!

Blog Tour, Book Birthday, Giveaway, Picture Books

Happy Book Birthday & Giveaway for Between the Lines by Lindsay Ward


About the Book:

Title: Between the Lines
Author/Illustrator: Lindsay Ward
Pub. Date: October 1, 2021

Happy Book Birthday to Between the Lines written and illustrated by Lindsay Ward! Beagles and Books is excited to be part of the blog tour! 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.


A young boy recalls how the colors began fading from his neighborhood street.  


A lightning storm not only takes the color away but also creates a split in the road that separates the community.  As I read aloud the story to a kindergarten class, the kids were surprised with their mouths open when I turned the page and the color was gone.  I asked them the questions that author/illustrator Ward poses on the page spread below.  Like most 5 year olds, their responses to the first question was literal. 

  • “The rain made the colors go away.”
  •  “The lightning made a hole in the street and took away the colors.”

The answers to the second question showed their thinking skills.

  • “I think the colors will come back because they will fix the hole.”
  • “They look sad so if they fix the hole, they will be happy again, and then the colors will come back.”


As I continued reading, the kids immediately noticed that the boy and girl remained sad.  When the boy stopped dreaming about the colors, he realized that he must take action. 


From their windows, the community observes the boy’s initiative and determination and gradually joins him in repairing the crevice that divided them.  When rain begins to fall, the boy’s and girl’s smiles fade but instead of going their separate ways, the community stands together.  Their unity allows color to return and makes the community whole again.  When I turned the page and the kids saw the color, they clapped. My heart melted seeing their excitement and hearing the sound of their happiness. 


After the clapping ended, I revisited the question, “Why did the color come back?’ and the kindergarteners were bursting with their thoughts.

  • “The boy started fixing the street and then everyone else helped.”
  • “The boy was sad so he decided fixing the street would make him happy.”

One particular student was bubbling with lots of ideas while I was reading aloud.  At the end of the story, she said, “They worked as a team and you know, teamwork makes the dream work! That’s why the colors came back.”  

Wow! I was blown away by their thoughtful responses!  Ward’s colorful and black and white illustrations are the perfect vehicle to teaching theme with our youngest learners. Kindergarteners could see easily the change in mood and feelings through the use (or absence) of color.  We also discussed the importance of working together as a class family when there is a problem.  Between the Lines is a picture book that promotes deep thinking at all ages. 

Praise for Between the Lines!

“A vibrant neighborhood loses its color, literally, as the community becomes fractured.” 
Kirkus Reviews

“The illustrations…bring the atmosphere and ideas of the story to life. The depictions of both isolation and community in a dense urban neighborhood are poignant, especially after a year when COVID-19 forced people worldwide to forgo, and then to reinvent, community togetherness.”

Lindsay Ward author

About the Author/Illustrator:

Lindsay Ward is the creator of the Dexter T. Rexter series as well as Rosie: Stronger than Steel; This Book Is Gray; Brobarians; Helping Hospital; the Wheels on the Go series; Rosco vs. the Baby; and The Importance of Being 3. Her book Please Bring Balloons was also made into a play. Lindsay lives with her family in Peninsula, Ohio with her family. Learn more about her online at

Twitter: @lindsaymward
Instagram: lindsaymward

Click the picture below to check out a storytime for Between the Lines and other books on Lindsay Ward’s website!


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!