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:

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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. 


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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. 


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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.

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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. 


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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:

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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. 


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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.


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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.

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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:

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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. 


 

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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.  


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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.

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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.
Board Books, Debut Author, Graphic Novel, It's Monday! What Are You Reading?, Middle Grade Literature, Nonfiction, Picture Books

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 11/1/21

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:

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The Hunger Heroes: Missed Meal Mayhem by Jarrett Lerner

Comprised of Mr. Toots, a bean, Chip Ninja, Tomato Tammy, and Leonard, a nervous chunk of cheese, the Hunger Heroes are a team of food who have one mission-saving kids from a missed meal.  When the quartet gets an alert from a nearby elementary school, they quickly jump in their taco hovercraft in hopes of arriving in time before a student, Jason, takes his math test. The Hunger Heroes must not only gain access to the building but also get past his teacher, Mrs. Sternbladder whose classroom is a no-snack zone. Once inside, the team realizes that time is of the essence because Jason is fading fast. Mr. Toots knows that they need to distract Mrs. Sternbladder but how? Will the Hunger Heroes be successful in achieving their objective?

I am a big fan of anything Jarrett Lerner writes and illustrates because his books not only engage and entertain readers but also educate in a non preachy way.  In Missed Meal Mayhem, Mrs. Sternbladder appears cranky and then readers learn the backstory behind the teacher’s no snack policy. Prior to reading, Lerner even cautions readers that the chapter may cause them to empathize with an adult.  The Hunger Heroes are so adorable and remind me of the Del Monte Country Yumkins; we saved many, many labels to get the whole family (although we did not have the pineapple and plum). 

Del Monte Fruit & Vegetable 7 Piece Plush Toy Set 1983 Vintage Fruits  Vegetables Country Yumkins Del Monte : Toys & Games - Amazon.co.jp

Thanks to Simon and Schuster Children’s Publishing for sharing a finished copy. Missed Meal Mayhem celebrates its book birthday next week on November 9, 2021. Already eagerly awaiting the Hunger Heroes’ next adventure, Snack Cabinet Sabotage, due out in August 2022!


 
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Barb The Last Berzerker by Dan Abdo and Jason Patterson 
 

In the land of Bailiwick, humans and monsters are at war and the Berzerkers keep the monsters in check.  Spunky Barb is the youngest and smallest Berzerker and is always told to stay back because of her age and size.  But when the Berzerkers are tricked by the evil Witch Head, Barb is only one able to escape and she doesn’t leave empty handed; she takes the legendary Shadow Blade, a magical sword with her.  Befriending a yeti named Porkchop, Barb is on a mission to find the Northern Zerks to help her her Berzerker family.

Character development is on point.  Readers will immediately determine from her words and actions that Barb is no pipsqueak; she is determined to not only help her Berzerker family but also others she meets in her quest to find the Northern Zerks.  Amid the humor, there is a lot of heart, for Barb is always putting others before herself.  Through her relationship with Porkchop, Barb shows that humans and monsters are not that much different and surprisingly, can be friends.  This friendship forever changes her, for even when she defeats the monster Grom, she feels compelled to save him from drowning in mud.   With an intriguing fast paced plot, dynamic characters, and vivid comic panels, kids will love this graphic novel adventure! Thanks to Simon and Schuster’s Children Publishing for sharing a finished copy.  Barb the Last Berzerker recently released on September 28, 2021.  And don’t worry.  Barb will be back in Barb and the Ghost Blade in May 2022!


 

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A Home Again by Colleen Rowan Kosinski Illustrated by Valeria Docampo

A newly built house eagerly awaits its first family to call their home.   As the family grows, their level of activity and noise increases until one day they leave the house with tears in their eyes.    Readers see a For Sale but the house is unaware. When people come to look at it, the distraught house makes it shingles shake and steps creak in hopes the family will return.. As times passes, the house’s despair in evident in its roof sagging and brown, weed filled garden until one day two men and their dog see past the squeaks, cracks, and weeds. Will the house be willing to be a home again?  

Told from the house’s point of view, Kosinki’s lyrical text and Docampo’s use of light and dark in the illustrations beautifully conveys the house’s range of emotions.  A Home Again teaches the important lesson that we can all can heal after a loss and learn to love again.  Thanks to Two Lions Publishing and Barbara Fisch of Blue Slip Media for sharing a finished copy.  A Home Again celebrates its book birthday today!


 

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Odd Beasts: Meet Nature’s Weirdest Animals by Laura Gehl Illustrated by Gareth Lucas

Toddlers and preschoolers will be captivated by this nonfiction picture book that introduces them to animals with unique characteristics. On each page spread, children learn a fact about an animal and as the concise text is read aloud, the rhyme scheme is revealed.  Lucas makes use of the whole page spread for his large and appealing illustrations of each animal. Even as an adult, I learned new information like the immense weight of a sunfish and glass frogs have see through skin.  And I especially love that at the end of the book, Gehl has included real photographs of all the animals and an explanation about their unusual trait.  

Thanks to Abrams and Barbara Fisch of Blue Slip Media for sharing a finished copy.  Odd Beasts: Meet Nature’s Weirdest Animals celebrates its book birthday tomorrow on November 2, 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 main character.

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Awake by Mags DeRoma

A girl and her pup Oscar are all ready for a good night’s sleep but right before she turns off her light, she spies a spider and its web in her window. Now she is wide awake because she can’t go to sleep knowing a spider in her bedroom! As she ponders her options, Oscar holds the book titled Itsy Bitsy Spider in his mouth but she doesn’t give him credit when she thinks of the nursery rhyme.  The girl continues to brainstorm ideas until finally her frustration overtakes her and she captures the spider under a glass.  DeRoma’s illustration of the spider under the glass  tugs at the heart because the arachnid looks small and harmless to not only the reader but also the girl. This revelation changes the girl’s perspective resulting in her releasing the spider and naming it Harry.  

I love DeRoma’s debut picture book because it teaches kids about empathy.   The plot conveys the theme and on the back endpapers, DeRoma cleverly provides kids with illustrated step by step directions for how to kindly and carefully relocate a spider.  Oscar is a loyal companion never leaving his girl’s side.  Thanks to Macmillan Children’s Publishing for sharing a finished copy.  Awake recently released 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.
Debut Author, Graphic Novel, It's Monday! What Are You Reading?, Middle Grade Literature, Picture Books

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 10/25/21

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:

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The Bookshop of Dust and Dreams by Mindy Thompson 

Set in Sutton, New York in 1944, 13 year old Poppy Fulbright and her family own the bookshop, Rhyme and Reason. What makes Rhyme and Reason unique is that it searches in the past and the future for customers who need light and hope and brings them to the shop. When her older brother Al’s best friend dies in World War II, Al wants to go back in time to save him.  Rhyme and Reason has strict rules, one of them being shopkeepers must never use the magic for their own gain.  But Al becomes obsessed with moving forward with his plan undeterred when their father, who has mysteriously fallen ill, tells them the rule was made because the magic is complicated; it has more than one side. 

An observant Poppy begins to see odd things occurring at the bookshop and after some research discovers while bookshops spread light, love, and hope through stories, the Dark lies in wait searching for an open door.  Poppy must be the girl who chases the light to save Rhyme and Reason and all those she loves. 

Debut author Mindy Thompson time travel fantasy appealed to me immediately.  I cannot deny I was first drawn to the book because of the setting (a magical bookshop is a dream!),  but once I began reading, it was Poppy who made the story hard to put down. I liked her instantly because of her love for books, her kindness, and her want to make everything right.  Since Al was the oldest, he would inherit Rhyme and Reason and this hurt Poppy, for she had a deep connection with the shop. When strange things started to happen, she was not only worried for her family but also her best friend, Rhyme and Reason who she sensed was suffering.  Poppy learns that while the bookshop was magical, she has magic inside of her too. She just needs to believe in her own strength to find it.  

Thanks to the author and publisher for sharing an eARC.  The Bookshop of Dust and Dreams celebrates its book birthday tomorrow!


 

Waffles and Pancakes: Planetary-Yum (Book 1) by Drew Brockington 

A prequel to Brockington’s CatStronauts series, this early graphic novel series focuses on a young Waffles as a kitten. In this first adventure, Waffles and his sister Pancake go to the science museum with Cat-Dad. Young readers will giggle at the exhibits which are feline themed-Dino Cats, Hairballs in 4-D, and a planetarium show with cat constellations. When they visit the Hall of Planets, Cat-Dad reminisces about the CatStronauts’ moon landing. They join a guided tour of the exhibit and are so mesmerized, they get separated from Dad-Cat. These kittens are smarty cats and seek help from the guide and are soon reunited with their worried father.  On the drive to Mom-Cat’s house, Dad-Cat asks their favorite part. While the siblings say lunch, it is clear that the outing sparked an interest in the night sky as they gaze as stars. Readers will see the beginnings of Waffles’ interest in space travel.

 

What I love most about Planetary-Yum is the sweet relationship between the cat siblings and their divorced parents. Written in under 60 pages with engaging and expressive comic panels, primary age kids will enjoy this STEM adventure that is full of both facts and fun. Thanks to Wunderkind PR for sharing an ARC. Planetary-Yum celebrates its book birthday tomorrow.


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.

The Longest Letsgoboy by Derick Wilder Illustrated by Catia Chen

You will need to grab some tissues before you open Wilder’s debut picture book about an old dog’s last walk with his girl who he calls Little. I love that Wilder chose to have the dog narrate the story because while the story is sad, the dog’s words will make you smile. He calls the sun “fireball”, dirt “diggiedirt” and memories “waybacks.”  Wilder’s inventive use of language coupled with Chen’s gorgeous artwork lets readers know the dog has enjoyed the very best life with Little and their love will continue even after he leaves the earth.  

What sets The Longest Letsgoboy apart from other picture books about loss is that the story does not end with the dog’s passing.  After he closes his eyes, he feels the “flutter of beautifuls” lifting him up high. Again, Wilder’s lyrical text and Chin’s brilliant illustrations warmed my heart.  The dog watches over Little and her pack of “twopaws” (parents) as each  seasons comes and goes until finally he catches a glimpse of an “awwpuppy” on a “letsgoboy” with Little. Little acknowledges him by looking up at the sky and smiling showing that their love is forever.  And the last page spread is just breathtaking.  I know the loss of a beloved pet is devastating.  The Longest Letsgoboy helps the heart heal by focusing on the joy rather than the pain. 

Thanks to the author and Chronicle Books for sharing a finished copy.  The Longest Letsgoboy celebrates its book birthday tomorrow. 


Bella and I thank you for visiting Beagles and Books!

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is etta-beagles-and-books-e1624813174378.jpg
“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

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 8/2/21

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.

Last week, I featured a review of Animals Go Vroom! written and illustrated by Abi Cushman publishing later this month.  As a thank you for my review, Abi shared an adorable illustration of my book beagle Bella reading the book. 

Abi Cushman 2021

My heart just melted seeing my sweet girl and am awe of the neverending kindness of the #kidlit community.  Educators, authors, and illustrators are all in this together to share stories with kids.  With less than a month left until my school year begins, I am grateful for the time to read and share reviews of upcoming releases that readers of all ages will enjoy.


Our Recent Reads:

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Hope Springs by Jaime Berry

Since her father died in a motorcycle accident and her country singer mother is on the road, 11 year old Jubilee lives with her grandmother, Nan and they move around a lot.  Nan calls it a “search for substance” but observant Jubilee sees the pattern.  When things get tough, Nan gets out the maps and recites one of their 19 Relocation Rules such as Why fight on the battlefield when new fields await?  But this time, Jubilee has a plan to steer Nan to Hope Springs, Texas, the hometown of her idol Arletta Paisley, star of the crafting show, Queen of Neat.   Nan is aware of Jubilee’s scheme, but is all for the move. 

On the first day they arrive in Hope Springs, Jubilee meets Abby, whose mother is mayor of the town and they quickly become friends violating Relocation Rule Number 6: It’s best not to make best friends.  Because of her love for crafting, Jubilee is offered and accepts a part-time job at the Fabric Barn helping the owner Holly.  When Jubilee hears Arletta is returning to Hope Springs to open a SmartMart superstore, she is beyond excited but the rest of the town is worried about the effect on small businesses.  Jubilee discovers her idol isn’t the same in person as on television and is determined to support Hope Springs, the one place that feels like home, even if Nan and her mother whose career is finally taking off are considering another move.  

Written from the point of view of Jubilee, Hope Springs is a story that drew me in right away.  As soon as I met Jubilee, I could tell what a creative, kind and wise soul she is.  In the past, Jubilee had always gone along with packing up and moving on, but the people of Hope Springs changed her mind by touching her heart.  What I love about Jubilee is readers see both her vulnerability and her strength.  Jubilee courageously stands up not only for the town but also herself and learns that the more love she gave away, the more she got back.  Thanks to the author for sharing an ARC with my #bookexcursion group.  Hope Springs publishes soon on August 10, 2021.  


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Trubble Town: Squirrels Go Bad by Stephan Pastis

Wendy the Wanderer would love more than anything to live up to her name and explore not only her hometown of Trubble but also the world.  Her father, Worried Willy, has a much different attitude and when he leaves on a business trip, he hires Watchful Willamina to keep a close eye on his daughter.  To her surprise, Willamina is not watchful and allows Wendy to wander freely around town.  Her first stop is Mooshy Mike’s where she gets a chocolate and marshmallow drink (known as a Mooshy) and then walks to the park where she drinks it while eating nuts.  When a hungry squirrel begs for a nut and Wendy has none left, she offers him the last bit of her sweet Mooshy.  As a result of a sugar high, the squirrel’s energy level increases (as well as his penchant for Mooshies) causing a devastating yet hilarious chain of events that brings trouble to the once quiet Trubble Town.  

With a cast of eccentric characters, both human and animal, a fantastical plot that keeps one giggling while turning pages, and creative chapter titles, Pastis’ new graphic novel series will be a hit with readers because the laughter never stops.  And amid the laughter, Wendy learns that by sticking up for the squirrel, Trubble Town will not be in trouble when her father returns home.  Thanks to Aladdin/Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing for sharing an ARC.  Squirrels Go Bad releases soon on August 31, 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 main character.

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Best Buddies by Lynn Plourde Ilustrated by Arthur Lin

On the day he came home from the hospital, a boy with Down syndrome and a basset hound’s relationship began.  No surprise that their bond became stronger once the boy shared his snacks with the hound.  Soon they are inseparable enjoying car rides, playing in the yard, and snuggling at bedtime solidifying their status as best buddies.  But on the first day of school, the teary eyed boy got on a bus while the sad hound watched from the door.  Luckily, the duo was reunited at the end of the school day, but they both were still full of worry.  What about tomorrow?  How will the boy and hound cope? 

Best Buddies is a touching story celebrating the friendship between a child and his dog.  What I love most is the boy cleverly finds a way for him and his pup to stay close to one another when apart.  With the start of school approaching, Best Buddies is a perfect real aloud to support children nervous about leaving a loved one.  Thanks to Capstone Publishing for sharing an eARC.  Best Buddies publishes soon on August 15 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.

Early Readers, Graphic Novel, It's Monday! What Are You Reading?, Middle Grade Literature, Picture Books

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 7/26/21

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:

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Isabel and Her Colores Go to School by Alexandra Alessandri Illustrated by Courtney Dawson 

Isabel is all set for her first day of school except for one thing-she is fluent in Spanish and doesn’t feel confident speaking or understanding English.  Alessandri cleverly connects Isabel’s emotions to color, for Isabel associates bright colors to Spanish, but less vibrant colors to English.  Dawson’s vivid artwork complements the text well. for these colors swirl around Isabel along with her facial expression clearly show her feelings.  Before Isabel walks into school, her mother gives her advice, “To bad times, a good face.”

When Isabel is unsure of what to do in class, she follows along with the rest of her classmates. When they count in English, she chants in Spanish,  but then feels dark colors engulfing her.  At story time, a classmate named Sarah offers a place next to her on the carpet.  When Sarah asks to be friends, Isabel does not understand which makes both girls feel awkward.  Fortunately, drawing becomes the way for Isabel to articulate.  She shows Sarah a picture of the two of them and says “Amigas”  Sarah repeats and then says “Friends,”   I love that Isabel’s artwork is her communication and makes the stormy blues and blizzards colors of English soften to aquamarine. 

Written in both English and Spanish, Isabel and Her Colores Go to School was inspired by Alessandri’s own experience of starting kindergarten.  A must read for the first day of school.  Isabel will be a friend to all anxious about a new school year. Back matter includes Spanish to English translations. Thanks to Sleeping Bear Press for sharing a finished copy.  Isabel and the Colores Go to School recently published on July 15, 2021. 


I Can Read Comics from Harper Alley

This addition to the I Can Read line introduces children to the graphic novel format.  To the left of the title page, guidance on cartooning basics is provided including vocabulary (panel, gutter, tier, word balloons) and how to read the panels.   To learn more about I Can Read Comics, click here. 

 

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Fish and Sun by Sergio Ruzzier

Fish is bored at the bottom of the cold, dark ocean and decides to venture to the surface.   When Fish first pokes out of the water, it is still cold, dark, and boring until Sun rises in the sky.  Fish and Sun become fast friends playing together until Sun starts to set.   Confused and sad, Fish thinks Sun has disappeared forever, but is reunited with Sun when Fish returns to the surface the next day.  I am a big fan of Ruzzier’s work especially Fox and Chick.  With concise text including high frequency words in speech bubbles and warm full panel illustrations that show both character’s feelings, young readers have support to read and enjoy Fish and Sun.  

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Friendbots: Blink and Block Make a Wish by Vicky Fang

Frowning Block sits on a bench while the other shapes play.  Using the sensor on its head, Blink roams nearby in search of gold, silver or gems.  Each time, Blink excitedly finds an item such as a bottle cap or a gum wrapper, Block immediately discounts it as insignificant.   When Blink finds a penny, Block is not impressed but Blink proudly says ” a penny can turn into a wish”  After throwing it in a puddle, Blink prances with glee because the wish came true.  Block is bewildered and argues with Blink.  It turns out Blink’s wish was for a new friend.  Block’s frowning face turns into a smile and the duo search for more wishes. 

I love how kids will takeaway that friendship is truly something to treasure!  Fang’s Blink and Block are adorably drawn and reinforce shape and color concepts.  In fact, I can see kids drawing their own Blink and Block adventures or based on the first page spread, choose another shape bot (triangle, rectangle, oval, etc.) as a character in their story.  Book 2: Blink and Block Bug Each Other publishes in September. 

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Tiny Tales: Shell Quest by Steph Waldo

While exploring the backyard, a lonely slug sees two creatures that look similar but they have “things” on their backs.  After learning the “thing” is a shell,  the snails tell the slug to find a shell so the slug can play with them.  Thinking a shell is the solution to making friends, the slug searches for one.  An acorn, a thimble, and even a real snail shell seems like good alternatives, but unfortunately, none of them  stay put.  Luckily, one of the snails offers to help the distraught slug find a new shell and on their travels in a rainstorm, the slug discovers the snail is a true friend.  A  downpour carries them to a hollow log where the duo meet other creatures without shells.  Without hestitation, the slug and snail are invited to stay.   With themes of empathy, friendship, and self-acceptance and the cutest slug I have ever seen, Waldo’s debut as author/illustrator is gastropod-tastic!  Book 2: A Feast for Friends publishes in September. 


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Animals Go Vroom! by Abi Cushman

“Roar!! goes the….” Through the die-cut windows, readers see a tiger but when the page is turned, a truck the tiger is driving is the cause of the sound.  Subsuquent sounds include hiss, screech, and squeak, but astute kids will quickly recognize the pattern that the vehicles, not the animals, are making the sounds.  I love that the Cushman chose to begin the story on the title page with the snake family buying a yellow car.  Each page spread gradually reveals how the traffic jam occurred and the chain reaction. Cushman has a gift for adding details into her illustrations, which creates stories within the story.  Opposite of the title page, a young crow receives a toy car that is identical to the snake’s.  The crow and his mother show up in the background of many page spreads and it’s fun to hunt for them and see what they are doing.   

I loved Cushman’s debut picture book Soaked so I was eager to read her Animals Go Vroom! This interactive story which encourages children to be active participants exceeded my expectations.  Children will beg for repeated readings and parents won’t complain!  The expressions on all the animals are priceless and a second read focusing on the illustrations is crucial to follow the painting otter.  Pre-order now so you can check it out for yourself!

Thanks to the author and Viking/Penguin Random House for sharing an eARC.  Animals Go Vroom! publishes on August 17, 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 main character.

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Mayor Good Boy by Dave Scheidt Illustrated by Miranda Harmon

After a dog named Good Boy is elected as mayor of Greenwood, the town is divided.  During his first speech as mayor, a group of angry constituents storm the city hall.  Abby gets her younger brother Aaron to willingly expose his stinky socks thus creating a diversion to rescue Good Boy.  In gratitude for their effort, Good Boy’s chief of staff, Ms. Monica, offers the siblings a job to work with in the mayor’s office.  Their first order of business is to enhance the public image of Mayor Good Boy with all the people in town.  Can Abby and Aaron help get the town on Mayor Good Boy’s side by exposing Old Man Mervis for his dastardly deeds?  

Schiedt’s humorous plot and Hamron’s energetic illustrations will bring smiles and giggles to readers.  Not only will kids laugh out loud especially at Aaron’s gross antics, but also they will learn about how they actively get involved in their own community.    I especially liked seeing Abby’s confidence grow and the reinforcement of teamwork makes the dream work. Following the story is The Mayor Good Boy Pledge promoting positive change and a mini-comic on how kids can contact elected officials to voice their concerns.  Tutorials on how to draw Mayor Good Boy, Abby, and Aaron will support budding ilustrators create their own adventures. 

Two more books in the series are forthcoming-Mayor Good Boy Goes Hollywood in 2022 and Mayor Good Boy Turns Bad in 2023.  Thanks to Random House Graphic for sharing an eARC.  Mayor Good Boy publishes next month on August 31, 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.

Early Chapter Books, Graphic Novel, It's Monday! What Are You Reading?, Middle Grade Literature, Picture Books

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 7/19/21

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:

Long Distance by Whitney Gardner

Named after a star, Vega loves astronomy but is not thrilled about her family’s recent move from Portland to Seattle due to her dad Wes’ new job.  Will the distance impact her relationship with best friend Halley?  To help Vega make new friends, her dad Javi enrolls her in a sleep away summer camp.  Not long after Vega arrives at Camp Very Best Friend, she realizes that things are not normal.  With the help of campers, Querty and twins Gemma and Isaac, Vega discovers truths about the camp which even caught me by surprise.  

Long Distance is a engaging and entertaining middle grade graphic novel about friendship-maintaining old and making new.  Not to give away the plot, but I love that Gardner blends genres to make the plot more intriguing.   The chapter titles are clever inspired by Vega’s internet search on how to make friends. She discovers 7 tips for making friends, and each tip is a chapter title. Because of Vega’s love for astronomy and Gemma’s love for gems, sidebars teach science concepts such the star wheel and thunder eggs. Gardner’s artwork is eye popping with bold colors and ranges from multiple panels of different sizes to splash panels.  Thanks to Simon & Schuster for a review copy.  Long Distance recently released on June 29, 2021.

Mindy Kim and the Trip to Korea by Lyla Lee Illustrated by Dung Ho

In the fifth story in the series, Mindy, her dad, and his girlfriend Julie travel to South Korea to visit her father’s family.  This is not only Mindy’s first trip to Korea but also her first out of the country which makes her both excited and nervous.  After arriving, Mindy has the opportunity to speak Korean more often, eat her grandmother’s yummy food, visit the capital Seoul as well as take a family camping trip to Gangwon-do, a vacation spot with mountains, rivers, and beaches.  And while Florida is very far away from Korea, Mindy realizes that she and her family are all looking at the same moon. This knowledge makes Mindy feel closer to her family in Korea despite the distance.  Saying goodbye was hard but Mindy was happy to be reunited with her dog Theodore.  

Written in 77 pages with short chapters and full page illustrations in almost each chapter, Mindy Kim has great supports for primary students transitioning into chapter books.  Readers also learn about the Korean culture, for each time Lee introduces a word, she explains the meaning in kid friendly language.  I love that Mindy’s dad suggest she write a blog about her trip to record her thoughts and memories.  Thanks to Simon and Schuster for sharing a finished copy.  Mindy Kim and the Trip to Korea published on June 8, 2021.  


You Have to Read This Book by Bruce Eric Kaplan

A father bear named Morris sees a beloved childhood book in a store window, buys the book, and takes it home telling his son Benny “You have to read this book!”  Benny responds “I don’t want to.” Determined to change his son’s mind, Morris continually places the book in Benny’s view for months, bribes him with an ice cream breakfast, and even hides all the books on Benny’s bookshelf.  Benny remains firm in his stance.  Morris’ final attempt is pretty drastic but it does get Benny to at least grab the book.  Now will his son read it? 

The battle of wills between Morris and Benny is hilarious.  As I was reading, I wondered. How far would Morris go and would Benny stand his ground? Amid the laughter, I realized that the story could support the skill of assertiveness taught through Conscious Discipline, a program we use in our district.  Children are taught to use a big voice to be assertive.  Benny definitely uses his big voice to convey his feelings to his father.  Thanks to Simon and Schuster for sharing a copy with me.  You Have to Read This Book published in March 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 main character.

Ciao Sandro! by Steven Varni Illustrated by Luciano Lozano

Since he was a puppy, Sandro and gondolier Nicola do everything together, but today Sandro is venturing out in Venice solo on a very special errand. Because of his acute sense of smell and hearing, Sandro knows the city better than most Venetians which helps him locate friends Alvise and Francesca to deliver a message. Then he travels to the vaporetto stop, walks on the boat, and gets off at Murano to see Giorgio, the glassblower. With this last errand complete, Sandro returns to Venice and reunites with Nicola. After the last gondola ride for the day, Nicola and Sandro walk to meet their friends and the last page spread reveals Sandro’s secret mission-to remind their friends to attend Nicola”s birthday celebration.

My husband and I were married in Sardinia, Italy. Venice was our first stop on our honeymoon so the city will always hold a special place in my heart. I loved being able to be see Venice from Sandro’s perspective, but what especially warmed my heart was the sweet relationship of a dog and his gondolier. And it’s pretty adorable to see a dog wearing a striped shirt with a red bandana around his neck. An added bonus is a glossary pronouncing and defining Italian words immediately follows the story. Ciao Sandro! published on June 8, 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? 6/28/21

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:

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Saint Ivy: Kind at All Costs by Laurie Morrison

Having a kind heart is what makes 13 year old Ivy special.  Her nana who she bakes with every Friday worries about Ivy’s big, soft heart.  Ivy disagrees and believes caring for others is her talent; hence how she got the nickname “Saint Ivy.”  As readers get to know Ivy, it becomes apparent Ivy is navigating a lot of change in her life; her parents recently divorced and her father is now with Leo.   She is starting to feel like the third wheel in her friendships with best friends Kyra and Peyton.  And Ivy just found out her mother is pregnant, acting as a gestational surrogate for good family friends.  On the outside, Ivy claims that she is fine, but on the inside, resentful feelings begin to take root which Ivy pushes far down unwillingly to admit they are real.  

So when Ivy receives an anonymous email from bythebay@mailme.com who thanks her for turning her awful day into an almost okay one, Ivy plunges into a new project-to uncover the identity of the person behind the email. This quest gives Ivy the ability to neglect her own needs and fears because she is so busy being kind to all the people she thinks may be the sender.  Ivy soon learns that she needs to extend the same kindness to herself by sharing her honest feelings with both her family and friends. 

Like her last novel, Up for Air, Saint Ivy is a story that I would have devoured when I was in middle school.  It is definitely a solid book for readers not quite ready for YA.  Middle grade readers (including a thirteen year old me) can relate to Ivy because change is scary and it can be difficult to own your feelings especially when you should feel grateful for your good life.  Morrison beautifully captures Ivy’s genuine concern for others but at the same time, her vulnerability .  What I love most about Saint Ivy is that readers see Ivy gradually realize that she can’t pour from an empty cup.  She (We) need to take of yourself first. Thank you to Laurie Morrison for sharing a finished copy with my #bookexcursion group. Saint Ivy  released on May 18, 2021.


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Dear Librarian by Lydia M. Sigwarth Illustrated by Romina Galotta

Debut author Sigwarth shares a personal story of how one librarian changed her life.   When Sigwarth was five years old, she and her family (nine in total) relocated to Iowa from Colorado.  When they first moved, the family could not buy their own home; therefore, they took turns staying with relatives.  Her grandma’s house was too small, aunt’s too nice, and cousin’s too full of people.  When her mom took her and his siblings to the library one day, Sigwarth finally found her special spot not only because of the wide space but also due to the friendship of the librarian.   Even after Sigwarth’s family moved into their own home, the library always held a special place in her heart for she affectionally calls it “a Library Home.”  On the final pages, Sigwarth shares that she is now a librarian inspired by the kindness of Debra Stephenson, the librarian who made her feel safe and happy as a child.

Dear Librarian is a beatiful story that tugged at my heart.  As a young child, I never experienced homelessness like Sigwarth, but I was a regular patron at my local library.  Mrs. Johnston, the librarian, always held books for me that she thought I’d enjoy and along with my mother, I credit her with instilling my love of reading.   Galotta’s warm illustrations complement the text well evoking a nostagic feel.  Thank you to MacMillan Children’s Publishing for sharing a finished copy with me. Dear Librarian recently released on June 1, 2021.


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New Ready-to-Read Graphics from Simon and Schuster Children’s Publishing

Do you know a beginning reader that would enjoy graphic novels?  I can’t wait to share Simon & Schuster’s new Ready to Read Graphics, which complements their popular Ready-to-Read line with my students.  The first book in each series will be published tomorrow on June 29, 2021. 

  • Thunder and Cluck: Friends Don’t Eat Friends by Jill Esbaum Illustrated by Miles Thompson
  • Nugget and Dog: All Ketchup! No Mustard! by Jason Tharp
  • Geraldine Pu and Her Lunchbox Too! by Maggie P. Chang

 To read my full reviews of each book, click here.   Thank you to Cassie Malmo for sending review copies of Ready-to-Read Graphics to Beagles and Books.


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.

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Puppy In My Head: A Book About Mindfulness by Elise Gravel

To help young children cope with anxiety, Gravel uses the analogy of a “puppy in my head.”  In the story, the young female narrator tells introduces readers to her puppy, Ollie, who is quiet most of the time, but when Ollie is excited, scared or upset, he runs around in her mind making noises.   To help Ollie (and her) calm down, she takes out her magical leash which is actually a breathing strategy taking deep, slow, gentle breaths.  Other calming techniques include exercising and talking to someone. 

Gravel’s distinctive comic like illustrations and large, colorful text not only appeal to the eyes but also help get the message to kids.  I especially love how a specific word or phrase on each page (feelings, breath, slowly, talk about it) is written in bubble letters to emphasize its importance.  At the end of the book, a pediatrican briefly shares her thoughts on the value on introducing children to mindfulness to support their mental health.  Puppy in My Head will be a perfect read aloud at the beginning of the year with my primary students!


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.