#Bookexcursion, Biography, Graphic Novel, It's Monday! What Are You Reading?, Middle Grade Literature, Picture Books

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 1/23/23

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


IMG_6051

The Many Fortunes of Maya by Nicole D. Collier

12 year old Maya relies on her Wheel of Fortunes for good luck and lately, she really needs the help.  She wants to make the Chargers club soccer team to make her dad, a former Charger, proud.  She gave up the flute lessons for soccer, but she still secretly plays her flute in the Cave aka her closet.   Her best friend Ginger seems a little distant and the worst blow of all, her parents just announced a trial separation for the summer. 

Her parents are open to answering questions, but Maya is too hurt to ask.  She is close to her uncle Jimmy, her dad’s twin, who shares many words of wisdom with her.  

  • ‘Listen to your own songs. Sometimes that means tuning everything and everyone out so you can really tune into you.”
  • “Even in the middle of pain, there’s always a sweetness if you know where to look.”
  • “You gotta release the things you’re done with so you can embrace the things that bring you joy.”

Gradually, Maya tunes into her uncle’s words as well as her parents and begins to listen to her own voice.  Like her debut novel Just Right Jillian, Collier’s The Many Fortunes of Maya fills your heart with hope. With short chapters, 231 pages total as well as strong characters and an engaging plot, the reading specialist in me loves that this novel is appealing and accessible to readers transitioning to middle grade.   Thanks to the author for sharing an ARC with my #bookexcursion group. The Many Fortunes of Maya celebrates its book birthday tomorrow on January 24, 2023. 


IMG_6049

Bad Kitty: Supercat by Nick Bruel

When Kitty is bored, she is prone to make a mess. When Kitty doesn’t clean up, her humans schedule a playdate stipulating no electronics. The first 3 playdate candidates are a bust, but when Strange Kitty suggests pretending to be superheroes, Kitty is intrigued.  Strange Kitty aka Captain Fantasticat and his rodent sidekick Power Mouse help transform Kitty into Supercat. Not long after, Dr. Lagomorph (a rabbit) shows up with the three orbs of destiny (tennis balls) that are hidden in the kitchen, basement, and backyard. If the orbs can’t be found,  Dr. Lagomorph will turn 92 universes into cheese. Will the superheroes triumph over the villainous bunny? 

It’s easy for kids to laugh out loud when reading Bad Kitty, but Bruel makes sure adults also gets the giggles with subtle sarcasm. I love that when Kitty was evaluating playdates, Bruel created Kitty’s View, a talk show with guests Logic, Instinct, and Emotion to provide commentary. Another highlight was comparing the illustration of animals dressed in superhero costume with the illustrations of how they perceive themselves to look. While Kitty’s humans are happy she took a day off from electronics, they might feel differently after observing the additional mess playing superheroes created.  Thanks to Macmillan Children’s Publishing for sharing a copy. Bad Kitty: Supercat recently released on December 27, 2022. 


IMG_6050

Love Made Me More by Colleen Rowan Kosinski Illustrated by Sonia Sanchez 

On a random day, a young boy’s grandma makes him an orange origami crane with blue and white spots. The crane has a prominent place on the boy’s nightstand so when the boy experiences a loss in his life, the crane is there to provide support, protection, and wishes.  For a while, the boy forgets about the crane placing a picture of himself and his girlfriend in front of it. but when the boy, now man, decides to propose marriage, the crane is an integral part. Years later, the crane is one of many birds hanging from a wire on a mobile overlooking his newborn son.  

A modern day Giving Tree, Love Made Me More is a sweet story about the connection between a boy and his origami crane.  While time passed when the crane was ignored, the boy realizes the importance of the crane in his life and moving forward, includes the crane in future milestones.  Kosinski’s lyrical text coupled with Sanchez’s warm, expressive illustrations make Love Made Me More a heartprint story. Thanks to Barbara Fisch of Blue Slip Media for sharing a copy. Love Made Me More published on December 13, 2022. 


Bella’s Dog Pick of the Week

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

IMG_6048

The Corgi and the Queen by Caroline Perry Illustrated by Lydia Corry

While the Windsor family has a long history with corgis, this picture book biography features the incredible bond between the future queen Elizabeth and her first corgi pup Susan.  A gift on her 18th birthday, the princess and her pup were inseparable which made it imperative that Susan approve of her future husband Philip.  Thankfully, Philip passed the Susan test and when Elizabeth and Philip were married, unbeknownst to the public, Susan joined her family in the wedding carriage courtesy of the palace staff.  Susan was by Elizabeth’s side for times of joy such as when her first son, Charles, was born and times of grief when King George unexpectedly passed away and she assumes the throne.

As a dog mom and a royal aficionado, I absolutely adored The Corgi and the Queen. I love that the picture book not only highlights the close relationship between a human and their pup but also credit Susan with helping Elizabeth successfully transition from young princess to beloved queen.  Perry’s gentle, informative text and Corry’s warmhearted illustrations perfectly complement each other. Back matter includes a family tree of both Queen Elizabeth and Susan, who is the matriarch of 14 generations of royal corgis. Thanks to Macmillan Children’s Publishing for sharing a copy.  The Corgi and the Queen released on November 22, 2022. 


Bella and I thank you for visiting Beagles and Books!

“People love dogs. You can never go wrong adding a dog to the story.”
Jim Butcher
#IMWAYR is dedicated to dear Etta, my original book beagle. Blessed that Etta is part of my story.
Early Readers, Graphic Novel, It's Monday! What Are You Reading?, Middle Grade Literature, Nonfiction

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 11/21/22

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


IMG_5492

Oodles of Doodles by Aletheta Kontis Illustrated by Christopher Jacques 

This humorous Ready to Read book features two oval shaped creatures and a poodle. When the two creatures meet, the larger one sees artwork on easels and asks the smaller one “Do you doodle?”  Not only does the small creature doodle, but also his poodle and they can both doodle oodles of noodles.  The larger creature joins in doodling the poodle doodling noodles in exchange for two doodles from the doodling poodle and his owner.  Whoa! That’s a lot of oo-dles! 

I love how Kantis playfully uses rhyming words (doodle, poodles, oodles, noodles and toodle) and sight words to engage young readers. The repetition will support kids reading the rhyming words in the story and the sight words make the text very accessible. While Jacques’ creatures are simply drawn, they have a wide range of emotions based on their eyes and mouths.  I am though partial to the adorable beret and sweater wearing poodle who doodles a caboodle of doodles one after another. Thanks to Simon & Schuster for sharing a copy.  Oodles of Doodles released October 11, 2022.


IMG_5493

The Greatest in the World (Tater Tales #1) by Ben Clanton

Picture book mutant potato Rot makes his debut in Tater Tales, a graphic novel series.  In his first adventure, Rot and his brother Spud argue who is the best.  They vie for the title, The Greatest in the World. competing in a potato sack race with their younger sister, Tot, serving as judge.  When Tot rules the race a tie, they face off in a rolling game down Hot Potato Hill.  Since neither brother was able to catch her, the final competition is a laugh off.  Who will be the spud to laugh last and claim victory?  

Where do I even starch?  With carbo-rific characters, an a-peeling plot, and lots of potato puns, The Greatest in the World is a tuberous tale that is tater-ly hilarious!  I love the sibling rivalry between Rot and Snot and how Tot keeps them both in check.  Clanton’s cartoon illustrations are full of action and expression.  Thanks to Simon & Schuster for sharing a copy.  The Greatest in the World published on November 8, 2022.


IMG_5494

How Do Meerkats Order Pizza? Wild Facts about Animals and the Scientists Who Study Them by Brooke Barker

Do you know a kid (or adult) who loves learning new and intriguing facts about animals?  This nonfiction text is unique because it introduces readers to real scientists and their animal research. Through the lens of a specific scientist, Barker teaches us about meerkats, deep-sea mussels, seaside sparrows, bees, bonobos, Japanese macaques, crows, gars, birds, dogs, lizards, humpback whales, jaguars, roosters, Antarctic midge (my favorite), white-tailed deer, and endangered marsupials. 

In the text, Barker explains how the scientists are researching the animals to support their survival or to help us better understand big ideas such as communication, emotions, and preservation.  I must be honest that a few of the animals featured were new to me which is fascinating.  Barker’s text reminds me of a sketch notebook with engaging artwork and annotations that will keep kids reading until the very last page. I especially loved the animals’ commentary throughout the text which gave me smiles and giggles. Thanks to Simon & Schuster for sharing a copy.  How Do Meerkats Order Pizza? celebrates its book birthday tomorrow on November 22, 2022. 


Bella’s Dog Pick of the Week

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

IMG_5491

New Kids and Underdogs by Margaret Finnegan

Due to her mom’s job as an university professor, Robyn has moved a lot which means she has had plenty of practice being the new kid.  Before moving to San Luis Obispo, their sixth city and beginning fifth grade, Robyn makes a list of ten rules for herself to make the transition smooth.  The rules are especially important because her mom hopes San Luis Obispo to be their permanent home and Robyn knows that means she only has one chance to make a first impression.

Her mom is big on extracurricular activities so when Robyn sees an agility dog training class, she is willing to jump right in, but her mom brings up their rescue Jack Russell terriers’  physical and emotional needs. Fudge is deaf and vision impaired and Sundae has anxiety.  The dog trainer agrees with her mom which angers Robyn.  When she discovers one of her classmates, Nestor, is the dog trainer’s grandson, Robyn asks him to teach her dogs agility.  Nestor’s initial answer is no, but with the support of fellow classmates Jonathan (Nestor’s cousin) and Alejandra (who is a semi new kid since she skipped fourth grade), Nestor agrees.  Robyn’s excitement is quickly deflated when she worries that making their acquaintance may be breaking her rule to lay low and blend in. 

New Kids and Underdogs is a story that pulls the reader right in.  Although Finnegan wrote in the third person, readers really get to know Robyn as a character and given her past experiences, it’s easy to have empathy or sympathy for her. But after spending time with Nestor, Jonathan and Alejandra, you realize that they are kids with whom you would want to be friends. Robyn learns that the rules don’t allow her or others to ever share their whole story which is important in building relationships. As a dog mom, I especially loved Robyn for being such an advocate for her dogs Sundae and Fudge believing they could succeed.  Thanks to Barbara Fisch of Blue Slip Media and Simon & Schuster for sharing a copy.  New Kids and Underdogs released October 25, 2022.


Bella and I thank you for visiting Beagles and Books!

“People love dogs. You can never go wrong adding a dog to the story.”
Jim Butcher
#IMWAYR is dedicated to dear Etta, my original book beagle. Blessed that Etta is part of my story.
#Bookexcursion, Graphic Novel, It's Monday! What Are You Reading?, Middle Grade Literature, Picture Books, Poetry

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 10/17/22

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


Our Recent Reads:

Rover and Speck: This Planet Rocks by Jonathan Roth

After Rover lands on an unknown planet, the robot discovers another rover in a ditch. With Rover’s help, Speck is able to recharge in the sun. Rover shares its mission to study all the amazing things in the galaxy and it seems Speck is headed the same way. Coincidence or budding friendship?  As the two explore together, their personalities emerge. Rover is methodical keeping to the mission whereas Speck has a bit more whimsy programmed. For example, he can play music when he is scared. I don’t blame him because giant rock people would scare me too! But don’t worry. It turns out that rock people really like to rock and roll in more ways than one.

The first book in this new graphic novel has a lot a kid appeal. The engaging and fun characters, the intriguing and humorous plot, and detailed and expressive illustrations will capture kids’ attention. I appreciate how Roth intersperses fun science facts teaching kids about microseconds, space caves, echoes and more.  What I love most is the speck-tacular message that “finding new friends is the most important discovery of all.” This Planet Rocks celebrated its book birthday on October 4, 2022. 


IMG_5146

The Tryout by Christina Soontornvat and Joanna Cacao

Middle school is a tough transition especially when Christina and her best friend Megan only have lunch together. As one of the only Asian Americans in her school, Christina has to endure micro aggressions from not only a classmate who calls her Rice Girl, but also teachers who choose not to learn to correctly pronounce her last name. When the cheerleading tryout sign up is posted, Christina and Megan take the plunge in hopes of making the squad will allow them to fit in rather than sticking out. Their friendship is tested when Megan decides to choose someone to be her partner for tryouts. What if Megan makes the team without her?

In the author’s note, Soontornvat shares that she never planned to write a memoir but signs kept telling her to tell her story. I am so glad she did because kids will relate to the many challenges she faced in middle school. What I love most is her family who keep her grounded and remind Christina that they are good people in their town.  And by the end of the school year, Christina learns that sometimes life gives you something better that you expected.  Honest, heartfelt, and hopeful, The Tryout is a must read middle grade novel. Cacao’s expressive artwork brings Soontornvat’s story to life. Thanks to Scholastic for sharing a copy with our #bookexcursion group. The paperback edition released in September and the hardcover publishes on November 1, 2022. 


IMG_5049

Ice Cycle: Poems About the Life of Ice by Maria Gianferrari Illustrated by Jieting Chen

Ice is created from freezing water, but it can take on many forms,  On the very first page, I love how Gianferrari starts with something familiar-shapes and how Chen’s illustrations and labels will help young readers understand.  

Using rich, rhyming text, the next poem, “Ice Grows” describes how ice builds on plants, for it swirls and curls and binds and winds.   The imagery continues with “Ice Plays” as Chen’s illustrations capture the ice’s movement as it drips and drops, sticks and pricks, and smacks and cracks.  This poem introduces readers to cat ice and pancake ice, which are forms I have never heard of before. 

The last poems transition from ice on land to ice at sea.  Readers find out that wind and waves play a role in how ice is shaped.  In the poem, “Sea Ice Ages,”  Gianferrari’s text is full of emotion as ice “weeps, leaks, ebbs, and oozes, and floods.”  I love how kids are exposed to rich vocabulary to help them visualize the ice as it changes forms.

Beyond the poems is extensive back matter providing definitions of terms, experiments with ice, and additional resources which includes books, websites, photos, videos, and sounds.  Combining poetry and science, Ice Cycle warms souls and stimulates minds of readers of all ages.  Ice Cycle celebrated its book birthday on October 4, 2022.  To read my full review, click here.



B
ella’s Dog Pick of the Week

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

IMG_5141

Busy Betty by Reese Witherspoon Illustrated by Xindi Yan 

Always on the go, Betty is constantly making, doing, and playing.  So when her pup Frank is in need of a bath, Betty gets busy filling the kiddie pool with water.  And while she doesn’t have any soap, Betty improvises with bubbles which momentarily distract her.  She recalls her mother’s words saying “I have to focus to finish” but that is no easy task.  With her best friend Mae arriving soon for a playdate, Betty must mask the messiness.  When Mae arrives, she sees Frank in the pool and thinks Betty is amazing for her resourcefulness, for now they can start a neighborhood dog washing business. Teamwork makes the dream work! 

Witherspoon’s bouncy text and Yan’s lively illustrations capture Betty’s energy.  I love that while Betty’s family gives her advice about slowing down and focusing, they embrace her enthusiasm.  Busy Betty just celebrated its book birthday on October 4, 2022. 

 

Bella and I thank you for visiting Beagles and Books!

 

“People love dogs. You can never go wrong adding a dog to the story.”
Jim Butcher
#IMWAYR is dedicated to dear Etta, my original book beagle. Blessed that Etta is part of my story.
Early Chapter Books, Graphic Novel, It's Monday! What Are You Reading?, Middle Grade Literature, Picture Books

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 10/3/22

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


Our Recent Reads:

The Hunger Heroes: Snack Cabinet Sabotage by Jarrett Lerner

In the first book of the series, the Hunger Heroes saved a hungry kid about to take a math test.  Now, the quartet (Mr. Toots, Chip, Tammy and Leonard) have a new assignment.  A young girl, Gabby, is babysitting at the Richardson’s house and with no snacks to be found, she is getting hangry.   Chip is skeptical, for this is not typical Richardson family behavior and when the Hovercraft’s crash lands and they find dog treats on the Richardson’s lawn, his suspicion grows. Is someone trying to sabotage the Hunger Heroes?  If the Hungry Heroes can’t get to Gabby on time, she could hit guac (I mean rock) bottom.  Wait a minute.  The other day, Ava the avocado was not acting “allripe.”  Could she be responsible for this “pitiful” situation? 

Ever since his first novel, Enginerds, I anxiously await any story that Jarrett Lerner writes and illustrates. I love how his novels engage and entertain readers but also educate in a non preachy way.  While Ava was responsible for the hangry alert, she apologizes admitting her jealousy.  Her honesty reminds the Hunger Heroes that “there’s always more to someone’s story than meets the eye.”  Always love a story that is full of both humor and heart!  Thanks to Simon and Schuster for sharing a copy with me.  The Hunger Heroes: Snack Cabinet Sabotage celebrates its book birthday tomorrow on October 4, 2022. 


Bella’s Dog Pick of the Week

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

Is This Your Class Pet? by Troy Cummings

Arfy is back with another adventure.  On the third book of the series, Arfy is working at the local elementary school as a library helper dog listening to kids read.  When Arfy returns home with his human, he discovers a stowaway in his vest pocket.  It’s a small turtle. Without hesitation, Arfy sends an email to the school principal in hopes of returning the turtle to its home.  When Arfy gets an away from my desk auto reply, he writes a note to the lunchroom cooks who respond that the turtle (now named Hidey) does not belong in the cafeteria.  Determined to locate Hidey’s home, Arfy writes to the gym coach, the art teacher, and lastly, video chats with Mrs. Tortuga’s class who have been missing their pet.  Mystery solved right?  Well, yes, until another animal hides in Arfy’s vest pocket!

Arfy is a favorite character with my primary students.  I love how he exhibits positive values such as kindness and persistence with his actions.  As a reading specialist, I appreciate that kids can learn about letter writing in many formats.  Prior to 2020, I would have never expected to see students on a video call, but now, it is just another way to communicate.  And while Mrs. Tortuga’s class may have had a turtle as a pet, a note from Arfy’s human explains why turtles are not good pets for people and advocates adopting a dog or cat.   Is This Your Class Pet? published in June 2022. 

Bella and I thank you for visiting Beagles and Books!

“People love dogs. You can never go wrong adding a dog to the story.”
Jim Butcher
#IMWAYR is dedicated to dear Etta, my original book beagle. Blessed that Etta is part of my story.
Debut Author, Early Readers, Graphic Novel, It's Monday! What Are You Reading?, Nonfiction, Picture Books

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 9/26/22

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


Our Recent Reads:


How to Eat a Book
by Mrs. & Mr. MacLeod

A young girl sits down criss cross on a chair to enjoy a book. But her enjoyment is cut short when the book eats her. Her cousin, Gerald,  innocently walks by a bookshelf when a book jumps off and eats him. Tired of her tea party, his twin sister visits their home library and finds the biggest book although it takes a few minutes for the book to eat her. The trio each go on an intriguing adventure in their books. I love how the background of their travels matches the color of their books’ cover to help kids keep track of their journeys. Will the children ever return home?

Using dipped pen and ink cut out art photographed in a 3 dimensional stage diorama, the MacLeods, a husband and wife team, have created a feast for the eyes. From the very first page, the text builds suspense which continues until the final page. With their quirky personalities, I sincerely hope the Grunion children return with another adventure. Thanks to Union Square Kids for sharing a copy. How to Eat a Book publishes soon on October 4, 2022.



Raising Don: The True Story of a Baby Tapir
by Georgeanne Irvine

This heartwarming nonfiction narrative text follows the journey of a tapir named Don through his first year of life. When his mother wouldn’t care for him, the wildlife care specialists at the San Diego took on the role bottle feeding Don with his mother’s milk, introducing him to a swallow pool and later, a larger and deeper pond.  While all these acts warmed my heart, I was especially moved when they consciously paired Don with Bristle, a young capybara whose mother had died. Don and Bristle slowly bonded. The wildlife care specialists tried to expand Don’s circle with other animals but they did not accept him like Bristle. Don learned how to navigate his habitat without getting in their way. Not long after his first birthday, Don left San Diego to live at the Nashville Zoo in hopes of mating with Juju, a young female tapir. 

Irvine’s narrative text is perfectly written so that young children can understand how Don grew to be a healthy young tapir with the support of the San Diego Zoo wildlife care specialists. Tapirs are an endangered species so Don’s survival was essential. Included in the back matter are tapir fun facts, where tapirs live in the world, threats to wild tapir, and ten things kids can do to help wildlife. To learn more about additional titles in this series, visit shopzoo.com. Thanks to Barbara Fisch of Blue Slip Media and the publisher, San Diego Wildlife Alliance Press, for sharing a copy. Raising Don publishes soon on October 11, 2022. 


Bella’s Dog Pick of the Week

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

Pepper and Boo: A Cat Surprise by Charise Mericle Harper

This early graphic novel series is about two dogs, Pepper and Boo, and a cat.  When the cat has a nap attack, it lands on Boo’s bed. Boo is distraught and desperately wants his bed back. Pepper tries to help him with a plan but Boo is too scared.  When the cat has a snack attack, it vacates the bed to Boo’s delight. But what if the cat makes a sneak attack and comes back?

I love how Harper chose to tell the story from all points of view. Readers will discover that the cat has no agenda against Boo. It just wants to meet its needs which surprisingly creep up and are visually explained with maps, menus and checklists. With concise and simple vocabulary and bold and expressive illustrations, young readers will be able to easily access this humorous text.

Bella and I thank you for visiting Beagles and Books!

“People love dogs. You can never go wrong adding a dog to the story.”
Jim Butcher
#IMWAYR is dedicated to dear Etta, my original book beagle. Blessed that Etta is part of my story.
#Bookexcursion, Early Chapter Books, Graphic Novel, It's Monday! What Are You Reading?, Middle Grade Literature, Picture Books

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 7/18/22

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


Our Recent Reads:

IMG_4115

Invisible by Christina Diaz Gonzalez and Gabriella Epstein

Five students who have been completing community service hours in the cafeteria are called to Principal Powell’s office at Conrad Middle School.  Why?  To share their recollections of what happened on April 18th.  On the surface, they all appear to be similar in that they speak Spanish, but they are completely different.  As the synopsis states, George is the brain, Sara, the loner, Dayara, the tough kid, Nico, the rich kid, and Miguel, the athlete.  Wait a minute…wasn’t there a 1980’s movie with the same cast of characters?  These kids are usually invisible to everyone around them, but once they meet someone in need, they need to decide whether to extend a helping hand knowing they could get in trouble. 

As I read Invisible, I was a rollercoaster of emotions.  Angry at first that an adult thinks they are all Mexican.  Worry for George because his family has moved, but doesn’t want it to jeopardize his chance to get into the magnet school.  Sadness for Miguel who is talented artist but his father wants him to concentrate fully on baseball.  Heartache for Dayara who needs support in learning English as well as Sara who has a huge heart but is shy.  Annoyance for Nico who seemed to think he was better than everyone else.  But as I read on, I got to know the characters better and witnessed the kids gradually becoming a team which warmed my heart and on the final pages, I cried happy tears.  Written in both English and Spanish, Diaz Gonzalez’ text is authentic and moving.  Epstein’s detailed comic panels are full of energy and expression making the the story come alive.  Can’t wait to see the finished color artwork!  Highly recommend pre-ordering Invisible.  It is a middle grade must read!  Thanks to Scholastic for sharing a copy with my #bookexcusion group.  Invisible releases on August 2, 2022. 


IMG_4119 (2)

Llama Rocks the Cradle of Chaos by Jonathan Stutzman Illustrated by Heather Fox 

“I AM LLAMA” is back for a third adventure in the series.  Llama just celebrated his birthday with his friends and a doughnut with extra sprinkles.  The yummy dessert consumes his mind and as a result, he gets a deliciously dangerous idea to go back in time to savor the donut again.  Unlike his dancing pants, time travel pants come with directions. But Llama is too rushed to read them. so when he goes back in time, he goes back way farther than a day.  Based on the clothing and music, Llama traveled back to the 1980’s to his birthday when he was a wee, little llama.  After eating the donut, Llama travels back to the present bringing his younger self with him.  Not one for sharing, Llama sends Baby Llama back to the past but is unsuccessful and with each attempt. Baby Llama bring more “friends” with him.  Worried about his house but mostly about his secret cake cellar, Llama wonders how can he end the chaos?

Llama is one of my favorite picture book characters because his penchant for food especially sweets always gets him in trouble.  I love how Llama is just reckless and doesn’t worry about any ramifications from his risky decision thinking once he has satisfied his stomach, life can just go back to normal.  His lone action sets off a chain reaction that seems impossible to solve but somehow, Llama wins!  Stutzman’s lively and witty text and Fox’s adorable and whimsical illustrations perfectly complement each other.  Thanks to Macmillan Kids for sharing an eARC.  Llama Rocks the Cradle of Chaos recently released on July 5, 2022. 


IMG_4117

K is for Kindness by Rina Horiuchi  Illustrated by Risa Horiuchi

Looking for an alphabet book with a positive message?  This ABC book teaches young children the 26 letters with animals showing kindness to each other.  As a reading specialist, I love so many aspects of K is for Kindness!  On each page, a sentence concisely captures one animal’s goodwill to another.  The targeted letter is blue and begins each sentence. Not only does the text have some alliteration, but it also rhymes with the subsequent sentence.  For example, “Cow covers Cat with a coat ’cause he’s cold. Donkey gives Dog her dear dolly to hold.”  Accompanying the text is a charming, uncluttered illustration that shows the animal’s altruism.  All the benevolent acts are simple yet powerful such as saying thank you, reading a book or signing XOX in a letter showing kids that good deeds are free.  At the end of the book, kids are asked to think about something considerate they could do which will promote a rich conversation and inspiration. Thanks to the author for sharing a copy.  K is for Kindness published in April 2022. 


Bella’s Dog Pick of the Week

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

IMG_4103

Millie, Daisy, and the Scary Storm (Life in the Doghouse #3) written by Danny Robertson, Ron Danta & Crystal Velasquez Illustrated by Laura Catrinella

In the third book in the Life in the Doghouse series, Millie and Daisy are bonded pups rescued during Hurricane Katrina.  Although they are best friends, they are completely different.  Daisy is scared of storms and Millie watches them from the front door. Millie is excited about getting adopted in contrast to the worried Daisy.  What if the two get separated?  Millie hatches a plan to ensure they are adopted together, but Daisy isn’t certain that is what she wants.  She likes living at Danny and Ron’s Rescue.  Will both Daisy’s and Millie’s dreams come true? 

At only 108 pages with short chapters and black and white illustrations, Millie, Daisy, and the Scary Storm (along with the other books in the series), is a great chapter book for children transitioning to middle grade.  Kids will also enjoy learning about the true story of Daisy and Millie which comes after the fictionalized story.  Of course, being a rescue dog mom, I love that this series features a rescue dedicating to finding furever homes for dogs and the text shows how the dogs like Daisy can be scared or anxious given the trauma they experienced. Thanks to Simon Kids for sharing for a copy. Millie, Daisy, and the Scary Storm recently released on July 12, 2022.   To learn more about this engaging and informative series, click here

Bella and I thank you for visiting Beagles and Books!

“People love dogs. You can never go wrong adding a dog to the story.”
Jim Butcher
#IMWAYR is dedicated to dear Etta, my original book beagle. Blessed that Etta is part of my story.
Board Books, Chapter Books, Graphic Novel, It's Monday! What Are You Reading?, Middle Grade Literature, Picture Books

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 6/27/22

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


Our Recent Reads:

IMG_3880 (2)

Party Animals (Cranky Chicken #2) by Katherine Battersby

Chicken & Speedy are back to keep kids smiling and giggling. Chicken hasn’t lost her crankiness; however, her friendship with Speedy definitely keeps it in check. In the first chapter, Chicken is hangry and Speedy does everything he can do to help her (except ask her what she wants to eat). In the next chapter, Speedy plans Chicken an unsurprising birthday party because Chicken loves parties but not surprises. In the final chapter, Speedy takes Chicken on a bus trip to the beach and of course, beaches and buses make Chicken cranky.

Battersby’s Cranky Chicken series is pure delight.  As in the first book, Speedy accepts Chicken’s peevish personality and it is through their friendship that Chicken mellows reevaluating at times what makes her cranky. Speedy’s energy and positive attitude shine through in Battersby’s artwork and while Chicken’s facial expressions remain consistent for most of the novel, readers can see the genuine love for her adventurous friend.  I adore their playful exchanges with one another because while Chicken’s dialogue is somewhat predictable, one never knows where Speedy is going to go.    Their relationship is a reminder to kids that friends do not have to agree on everything; being together and supporting each other is what counts. Thanks to Simon and Schuster Children’s Publishing for sending me a copy. Party Animals celebrates its book birthday tomorrow on June 28, 2022. 


IMG_3872 (2)

The Big Scream by Kirsti Call Illustrated by Denis Angelov

What happens when a child wants more and mom says no? First, come tears. Next, comes temper tantrum, and finally, a big scream. As a result, the boy gets a time out. His disposition starts out pouty and angry but it is clear that he has been taught calming strategies. He breathes in and out and as he slowly counts to ten, his scowl turns into a smile. While he did not get another cookie, he does get a big hug from mom!

Call’s concise, rhyming text and Angelov’s nostalgic and expressive illustrations perfectly complement the plot of a child who experiences the full range of emotions when he doesn’t get his way. What I love is this board board can be a great parent tool to teach kids how to handle big feelings.  Thanks to Simon and Schuster Children’s Publishing for sending me a copy. The Big Scream celebrates its book birthday tomorrow on June 28, 2022. 


IMG_3889

I Want to Be a Vase by Julio Torres  Illustrated by Julian Glander

Tired of unclogging toilets, a plunger makes an announcement.  It wants to be a vase. The sink, bathtub, toilet, and vacuum cleaner immediately scoff at its declaration.  The plunger is not deterred stating it can switch jobs.  It leaves the bathroom, enters the kitchen, and resourcefully tapes some flowers onto its handle.   A pot remarks “Oh, yay, look!  It’s a vase” to the plunger’s delight. Then the pot proclaims it wants to be a trash can.  Soon other household items follow suit wanting to be something different which does not sit well with the vacuum.  When the hair dryer decides it wants to be a vacuum, the vacuum has hit its breaking point and as a result, expel its contents all over the house.  Who can help clean up this mess? Hmmm…perhaps, a dryer?

When I read aloud I Want to Be a Vase to kids, they could not contain their laughter.  Torres’ playful conversational text gave life to a peppy plunger who dared to think differently as well as all the other household items in the story.  Glander’s unique 3-D art is so visually appealing that the kids wanted to closely examine the illustrations after I read.  Amid the humor, themes of identity, acceptance, and speaking one’s mind are explored which promotes a great discussion.  Thanks to Simon and Schuster Children’s Publishing for sending me a copy. I Want to Be a Vase recently published on June 7, 2022. 


Bella’s Dog Pick of the Week

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

IMG_3876 (2)

Hot Dog by Doug Salati

Summer in the city is no fun for a dachshund doing errands with his human. It’s too
hot to sit or sniff and the streets are so crowded. Putting his paws down, the pup lays in the street until his human gets the message. On the next few page spreads, readers see the pair in a taxi, a train, and a boat which takes them to an island where the dog can let loose literally and figuratively. Once off leash, he runs on the beach, splashes in the water, and collects rocks. As the sun sets, the pup and his human travel back to their city home to eat supper and snooze. 

As I read, I was aware of how both Salati’s text and artwork elicit emotions. I could feel the stickiness and loudness of the city as well as the dog’s frustration. The moment his human got down on her knees to rub under his chin, I knew she understood his needs and a smile never left his face. I love his use of alliteration (crowds close in, welcome whiff, skyline shimmers) and at times, Salati let his artwork alone tell the story. The format had a graphic novel feel with some pages having multiple panels of varying sizes.  The heart of the story was the relationship between the dog and its human; the immense love they have for each other poured out from the illustrations.  Hot Dog recently published on May 24, 2022. 

Bella and I thank you for visiting Beagles and Books!

 

“People love dogs. You can never go wrong adding a dog to the story.”
Jim Butcher
#IMWAYR is dedicated to dear Etta, my original book beagle. Blessed that Etta is part of my story.
#Bookexcursion, Chapter Books, Debut Author, Graphic Novel, It's Monday! What Are You Reading?, Middle Grade Literature, Picture Books

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 1/31/22

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


Our Recent Reads:

Just Right Jillian by Nicole Collier

Fifth grader Jillian is smart but unbelievably shy.  When her class plays Last Man Standing to improve speed and accuracy in math, Jillian knows the final answer to win but is unable to speak or raise her hand.  Her silence allows her classmate and foe Rashida to win.  Jillian knows she needs to find her voice, but since her Grammy died a year ago, she feels lost.  Grammy always said, “Being shy is one thing. Hiding is something else.”  Jillian knows she is hiding by being quiet and blending in with all the other girls’ wearing dull colored clothes and her hair in a ponytail, but how does she find the confidence to be true self? 

Her teacher, Ms. Warren, sees Jillian’s potential and encourages her to enter the academic competition, Mind Bender.  Rashida won the competition last year as a fourth grader.  What chance does Jillian have?  Gradually, Jillian begins to embrace small steps towards change wearing purple or her hair untwisted until she finally find her JTRA (Just the Right Amount) of courage thanks to her friend Marquez.  And the incubating chicks her class is observing remind Jillian to find the courage to break out of her shell.  

Full of hope and heart, Just Right Jillian is a touching story about family, friendship, facing your fears, and finding out who you are.  While Jillian did not share all her insecurities with her parents, her mom and dad were always sharing words of wisdom.  I just loved their positivity and encouragement. 

  • “Never start your story with the other person.”
  • “If your heart knows what’s right, you already have the answer.  It’s up to you to commit to it.”
  • “When you have a something and you do it, it teaches you to know yourself better.”
  • “You don’t need any excuses to be yourself.” 

We all have a little Jillian in us. With Just Right Jillian, debut author Collier teaches us lessons on how to be brave when it is hard.  Thankful to the author for sharing an ARC with my #bookexcursion group.  Just Right Jillian celebrates its book birthday tomorrow on February 1, 2022. 



Bad Kitty Gets Phone
by Nick Bruel

In this new full-color graphic novel adventure, Kitty is obsessed with the online game Feather Tap and keeps stealing her owners’ phone to play.  When she is given the opportunity to play with real feathers, Kitty is not amused. Instead she asks for her own phone in exchange for doing chores for three whole months.  Successfully completing the seven labors (picking up toys, making bed, washing bowl, cleaning litter box, changing the baby, repairing curtains, and giving Puppy a bath), Kitty earns a phone of her very own.  But with ownership comes responsibility and Kitty struggles in making good decisions becoming addicted to a violent game, a Cat Facebook app,  and ViewTube videos.  Her demeanor also takes a downward spiral engaging with heated online arguments with cyberbullies and ignoring her friend Chatty Kitty’s texts. As a result, her owners to take away her phone for a month.  Readers will love the hilarious chapter How to Take a Phone Away From a Cat which consists of seven not so easy steps.  

Bruel’s text and artwork gives readers not only the opportunity to laugh but also to learn, for Kitty’s actions and her owners’ response teach kids about internet safety and digital literacy.  I love that Kitty’s owners were constantly monitoring her activity and deleted apps that they deemed inappropriate or detrimental to her emotional and mental well being.  A recurring section, Uncle Murray’s Fun Facts, teaches kids the difference between fact and opinion.  Thanks to Macmillan Children’s Publishing for sharing a copy.  Bad Kitty Gets a Phone recently released on December 28, 2021. 


IMG_2275

I Am You: A Book About Ubuntu by Refiloe Moahloli Illustrated by Zinelda McDonald

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.  To read my full review including thoughts from first graders, click here.  


Bella’s Dog Pick of the Week

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

Cat Dog by Mem Fox Illustrated by Mark Teague

In this interactive picture book, Fox’s clever call and response text and Teague’s lively page filling illustrations will appeal to kids of all ages.  On the first page spread, the text says “So there was a scary dog, right?.  The illustrations shows a cat peering behind a couch and a large white dog with clenched teeth.  When the page is turned, the text reads “No!” and the dog is smaller and docile.  The story continues with questions followed by either a yes or no.  Readers will soon discover that sometimes, the illustrations match the text, but at times, reality is actually depicted in the following page spread.  And while the title is Cat Dog, a mouse is also a main character and its antics drive the plot along.   If you are looking for a picture book to teach point of view or perspective, Cat Dog is a perfect text.  Cat Dog published on October 19, 2021. 


Bella and I thank you for visiting Beagles and Books!

“People love dogs. You can never go wrong adding a dog to the story.”
Jim Butcher
#IMWAYR is dedicated to dear Etta, my original book beagle. Blessed that Etta is part of my story.
#Bookexcursion, Chapter Books, Graphic Novel, It's Monday! What Are You Reading?, Middle Grade Literature, Picture Books

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 1/17/22

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


Our Recent Reads:

IMG_2171

Dear Student by Elly Swartz

Sixth grader Autumn has a lot on her plate.  Her dad recently joined the Peace Corps which is hard enough but his leaving resulted in her family having to move in the apartment above her mom’s vet practice.  Her best friend Prisha just moved to California so Autumn is feeling alone on her first day of middle school.   Earlier that day on a video call, her dad asked her to seize the day and get involved in one thing at school.  So when Autumn sees Mr. Baker’s advertisement for a new secret voice of Dear Student in the school newspaper, she wonders… could this be it? 

When Autumn is offered the position of Dear Student, she is both surprised and elated. She feels confident offering guidance to those who write in since her identity is hidden.  But when new friends Logan and Cooper are both impacted differently by her advice, things get messy. With the support of Mr. Baker, Autumn learns that it’s impossible to please everyone.  Being Dear Student is about being honest and staying true to herself which is both frightening and fearless.

Written from Autumn’s point of view, Swartz perfectly captures her main character’s kindness, conflicts, and courage.  Out of all her struggles, her dad choosing the Peace Corps over his family made my heart break for Autumn.  I love though that Swartz is willing to tackle tough family issues that kids today may be facing.  What made my heart happy is Autumn’s tender relationship with her younger sister Pickles whether she is sharing the orange ribbon that Prisha gave her or reading aloud books like Drawn Together,  Lady Pancake & Sir French Toast, and Pink is for Blowfish.  Autumn is a character that kids will relate to and root for!  Thanks to Wunderkind PR for sharing an ARC with my #bookexcursion group.  Dear Student publishes on February 15, 2022. 


IMG_2176

Glam Prix Racers: Back on Track (Book 2) by Deanna Kent Illustrated by Neil Hooson 

Mio the Mermaid, her moto Mudwick, and the rest of the Glam Prix Racers are “back on track” competing in the second race of the Glam Prix Cup in Soft Swirl City. Their team is currently in first place, but the Vroombots are following close behind and their leader V-Best does not play fair. He spies on Glam Prix Racers, ignores rules, adds obstacles to the course, and steals all the Sparklecharge.  As in the first race, The Glam Prix Racers know that their sparkle, speed, wits, and most importantly, teamwork are the ingredients to secure another win.  Can they be victorious once again?

With fun characters and a fast paced plot, kids will devour the second adventure in this graphic novel trilogy.  As a teacher, I love that the Glam Prix Racers teach readers the value of traits such as cooperation, problem solving, perseverance, and compassion in a light and lively way.  Kent’s peppy and witty dialogue is both humorous and suspenseful and Hooson’s bright and detailed illustrations pop with both color and energy.   Thanks to the publisher for sharing an eARC.  Back on Track releases tomorrow on January 18, 2022.  And don’t worry!  Fast to the Finish (Book 3) will be out in October 2022.


IMG_2166

Over Bear! Under Where? by Julie Kedlund Illustrated by Michael Slack

Full of puns and wordplay, Hedlund humorously and skillfully uses the words, over and under, in a variety of combinations (Over is over Under; Under is over over) as the two friends, Under (a mole) and Over (a bird) play together on the see saw and swings in the park.   Once the friends see a hot-dog dog and then a bear, the plot picks up and introduces kids to more positional words such as behind and between. Slack’s large and expressive illustrations not only will make kids laugh but also reinforce the concept.  In the author’s note, Hedlund shares that under and over can be combined with other words to make compound words.  

As a reading specialist, I love finding books to introduce or reinforce a skill or concept.  In addition, Over Bear! Under Where! is a perfect book to put in developing readers’ hands because words are  repeated throughout the story making it an accessible read.  The story also has a lot of depth and is a great text for teaching plot elements as well as character traits and/or feelings.  Thanks to the author for sharing a copy with my #bookexcursion group. Over Bear! Under Where? recently published on November 9, 2021.


Bella’s Dog Pick of the Week

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

IMG_2169

The Barking Ballad: A Bark-Along Meow-Along Book by Julia Paschkis

Inspired by the fourth stanza in Oliver Goldsmith’s “An Elegy on the Death of a Mad Dog,” The Barking Ballad tells the tale of a stray cat who go unnoticed hiding in bushes and tall grasses until a black dog discovers her.  Just as they are ready to meet, a rock falls on the dog’s head leaving him unconscious. The cat comes to the dog’s rescue licking its wound and from that moment on, the two become best friends always by each other’s side.  

While the rhyming text and folk art illustrations will appeal to young children’s ears and eyes, kids will fall in love with this story because author/illustrator Paschkis encourages barks and meows as the story is read aloud.  Prior to the actual story, instructions explain how to bark and meow along, for a red circle cues a canine sound and a yellow diamond cues a feline sound.  Can’t wait to share The Barking Ballad with my kindergarten #classroombookaday class! The Barking Ballad published on October 5, 2021.  


Bella and I thank you for visiting Beagles and Books!

 

“People love dogs. You can never go wrong adding a dog to the story.”
Jim Butcher
#IMWAYR is dedicated to dear Etta, my original book beagle. Blessed that Etta is part of my story.
#Bookexcursion, Early Chapter Books, Graphic Novel, It's Monday! What Are You Reading?, Middle Grade Literature, Picture Books

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 11/8/21

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


Our Recent Reads:

IMG_1540

Batpig: When Pigs Fly by Ron Harrell

It’s a bird. It’s a plane. It’s….Batpig!

Gary was just an ordinary pig until he plays a prank on his sleepy bat friend Brooklyn and she bites his nose when she awakes.  The next day, Gary feels odd and discovers he has super strength, the ability to float, and move things with his brain. Gary can now identify with his favorite comic book superhero, The Crimson Swine.  Because their fish friend, Carl, cannot keep a secret, Gary and Brooklyn withhold Gary’s new powers and superhero alter ego, Batpig.  As a result of being out of the loop, Carl becomes angry and unintentionally turns his pet lizard into a supervillain with a potty mouth.  Thankfully, the friends collectively put the lizard back in its place, but now Carl has to stay mum about Gary which is tough for the fish.  The quiet doesn’t last long because a butcher who enjoys pig puns and wants to control the world challenges Batpig.  Can Gary, Brooklyn, and Carl save the town again? 

Batpig is pure fun! I laughed from the first page to the last and I know kids will be do the same.   Amid all the giggles, the friendship between the trio was the core of the story. My heart kind of hurt for Carl when he was excluded but I soon understood Gary’s and Brooklyn’s decision.  Carl is a loudmouth but he did redeem himself in the story.  I can’t wait for the adventure to continue with the second book, Too Pig To Fall which publishes in June 2022. Thanks to Penguin Random House for sharing with #bookexcursion.  When Pigs Fly celebrates its book birthday tomorrow. 


 

IMG_1534

A Hundred Thousand Welcomes by Mary Lee Donovan Illustrated by Lian Cho

Written in verse, this beautiful picture book inspires us all to be inclusive.  Donovan’s soulful, rhyming text includes 13 translations for the English word, welcome. Embedded into Cho’s soft and warm artwork is the pronunciation of the word, welcome, to support the reader.  The expressive illustrations convey how the act of accepting others brings joy, for people are smiling or laughing all across the world as they welcome one another.  What I love is at the end of the book there is a fold page where all the people featured in the artwork are gathered together at a very long table (that is the width of of the double page spread) sharing food, conversation, and each other’s company.  

A Hundred Thousand Welcomes celebrates diversity as well as acknowledges our connectedness. Back matter includes notes from the author and illustrator, information about pronunciation, selected sources, and further reading.  Thanks to SparkPoint Studio and Harper Collins Publishers for sharing a copy.  A Hundred Thousand Welcomes recently published October 12, 2021.  


Ammi

A Sari for Ammi by Mamta Nainy Illustrated by Sandhya Prabhat

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!  


Bella’s Dog Pick of the Week

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

IMG_1539

I Am Tucker, Detection Expert (A Dog Day’s 6) by Catherine Stier Illustrated by Francesca Rosa

A Dog’s Day is an engaging early chapter book series about working dogs.  In the sixth book, a beagle named Tucker describes his job as detector dog at the airport.  Narrated by Tucker, he shares his journey to becoming a member of the Beagle Brigade, for “the tale of his life has a few bumps along the way.”

When Tucker was a puppy, he was adopted by Edward.  First, Edward trained Tucker to compete in dog shows, but his beagle nose made it difficult to concentrate when Tucker smelled food.  Then Tucker became a therapy dog greeting air travelers to ease their stress  When Edward falls ill and can no longer care for Tucker, his niece Melissa gets the idea to apply for Tucker to become a detection dog to keep his mind and body busy.   

AROO! Tucker is accepted into the Beagle Brigade and Stier does an fabulous job of explaining the training and the responsibilities of detection dogs so that kids can understand. Since the story is written from Tucker’s viewpoint, he gets to share his feelings with readers.  Tucker recalls even when he made mistakes, Edward still loved him.  Throughout his detection training, mistakes happen which worry Tucker.  Can he trust his nose stay focused and out of trouble?

As a reading specialist, I appreciate all the supports this series provides young readers transitioning into chapter books. The actual story is written in 85 pages with 10 short chapters and Rosa’s engaging black and white illustrations appear every few pages.  At the end of the book, Stier includes more information about detector dogs which provides even more facts about these incredible working dogs Thanks to the author and Albert Whitman & Company for sharing a copy. For more information about A Dog’s Day series, click here.


Bella and I thank you for visiting Beagles and Books!

“People love dogs. You can never go wrong adding a dog to the story.”
Jim Butcher
#IMWAYR is dedicated to dear Etta, my original book beagle. Blessed that Etta is part of my story.