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

It’s Monday! What are You Reading? 6/18/18

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

Our Reads This Week:

Lost in the Library by Josh Funk Illustrated by Stevie Lewis

Ever since its announcement, I have been anxiously waiting to read Lost in the Library.  I am a huge fan of Josh Funk’s books, but the fact that the setting is the New York Library makes it even more exciting.

Fortitude and Patience are the names of the lions that greet visitors to the New York Public Library.  One morning Fortitude awakens to see Patience has left his post.  In search of his friend, Fortitude enters the library after hours taking the reader on a tour through Astor Hall, the Rose Reading Room, the Edna Barnes Salomon Room, and the Children’s Center.  Will Fortitude ever find his best friend?

Written in rhyme, Josh Funk beautifully tells Fortitude’s quest to find his friend.  Illustrator Stevie Lewis captures not only the beauty of the New York Public Library but also the sad and concerned emotions of Fortitude who is missing his beloved friend.  After reading the melodic text, I had to reread to savor the illustrations which are simply gorgeous. Lost in the Library is a timeless story that reminds us reading is a shared experience.  At the end of the story, Josh Funk and Stevie Lewis pay tribute to such classics as Caps for Sale, Sylvester, and Amelia Bedelia. 

A very special thanks to Christian Trimmer of Henry Holt for Young Readers for sending Lost in the Library to my #bookexcursion group.  Pre-order like me, for it releases in late August 2018.

Megabat by Anna Humphrey Illustrated by Kass Reich

Daniel is unhappy about moving to a new house but a surprise friendship with a bat makes the transition more bearable.  At first, Daniel thinks a ghost is living with him in his attic bedroom but quickly discovers that the ghost is really a fruit bat who can talk! Like Daniel, Bat is homesick.  He needs Daniel’s help to get back to the land of Papaya Premium, which Daniel learns from researching is Borneo.

Daniel is determined to help his new friend whose is renamed Megabat due to Daniel’s bat research and his love for Star Wars. Daniel soon meets next door neighbors Talia and her brother Jamie. An animal lover, Talia offers to help Daniel get Megabat home, but the two encounter obstacles with every attempt. And it doesn’t help that Jamie’s  blackmailing Talia to be his servant in exchange for keeping talking Megabat a secret from their mom.

For readers transitioning to chapter books, Megabat is a great addition to a classroom library.  Young readers will be able to identify with Daniel and enjoy the Star Wars references.  Reich’s adorable illustrations of Megabat along with his fun personality will also draw in the reader.  Fingers crossed this is the first of many books in an engaging series for early elementary readers.

A very special thanks to NetGalley for providing an e-book for me to read and review.  Already pre-ordered, Megabat will be published in August 2018.

Etta’s and 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.

Wonderland by Barbara O’Connor

Mavis, Rose, and Henry’s lives intersect in his tender and heartwarming story about fitting in, finding your voice, and most importantly, the power of friendship.

Mavis Jeeter and her mom never stay in one place for a long time, which makes making friends challenging.  At the beginning of the story,  Mavis’ mom accepts a job as a housekeeper for the Tully family.  Mavis desperately wants a true best friend and hopes she has found one in Rose, the Tully’s daughter.  Like Mavis, Rose has never had a real best friend either.  She does not like spending time with the other girls who live in Magnolia Estates like Amanda Simm, for Amanda says mean things behind parents’ backs and only cares about going to the mall.  Rose would rather spend time with Mr. Duffy, the Magnolia Estates gatekeeper although since his dog’s death, Mr. Duffy is grumpy, forgetful, and very lonely.

After being introduced to Rose, assertive and daring Mavis immediately tells Rose that she is her new best friend.  Worrier Rose accepts the friendship but struggles with having the confidence to be as bold as Mavis.  Mavis is convinced that Mr. Duffy will be happy again if he get a new dog.  So when she and Rose hear about a stray dog named Henry living in the woods, Mavis hatches a plan to catch Henry and give him to Mr. Duffy.  Of course, no plan is not without its obstacles and unlike Mavis, Rose is apprehensive about everything from going into the woods to find Henry to riding bikes outside of Magnolia Estates.  And every time Mr. Duffy makes a mistake and Rose hears her mother complaining, she worries that he may be fired and leave her forever.

I just loved everything about Wonderland-the setting, characters, plot, the writing, and the message.  I identified a lot with Rose because I have always been a worrier and fortunately, with age, I have become more confident and brave.  Rose’s friendship with Mavis was the catalyst helping her finding her own voice, and it was amazing to see Rose’s confidence grow.  And I just loved Mr. Duffy and couldn’t get enough of Mr. Duffy’s sayings.  There are so many but my favorite was  “You can’t keep trouble from coming, but you don’t have to give it a chair to sit on.”  Told from not only Mavis and Rose’s point of view, but also Henry’s, Wonderland gave me a glimpse into a dog’s perspective which is always a treat.  Not to give the story away, but I truly enjoyed reading Henry’s account from beginning to end.

A very special thanks to author Barbara O’Connor for sending Wonderland to my #bookexcursion group and for the beautiful acknowledgement that reminds me of my collaborative role in helping to grow readers.

Pre-order Wonderland now,  for it will be released in August 2018.

Etta, Bella, and I thank you for visiting Beagles and Books.  Happy Reading!

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

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 6/11/18

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

Our Reads This Week:

The House that Lou Built by Mae Respicio

Having her own room would be awesome-sauce.  Living in San Francisco, Lou shares a bedroom with her mother and lives in her grandmother Lola’s house.  Lou’s father died before she was born and he left her a plot of land.  On that land, Lou dreams of building a tiny house. Her timeline for building has to be accelerated because her mom was offered and accepted a nursing job in Washington State.  If Lou can build her house this summer, then perhaps her mom will change her mind.

With the help of her cousins and friends, Lou secretly begins building.  At first, her house seems to be on its way, and Lou is bursting with excitement over her plan.  But then a notice of public auction arrives in the mail because taxes are due.  Lou discovers they have 30 days to pay or the auction will occur.  After Lou finally comes clean about her tiny house building project, her mom is not happy.  Lou is grounded with no more trips to the land.  Fearful of losing her only connection to her father, Lou is desperate to save her land.  Lou though soon realizes that home is not about a particular place; “it’s more of a feeling,-of comfort and trust, of people that are a part of you.” Home is a family who loves you and supports you.

The House that Lou Built is a story about dreaming big.  Lou embodies the quote Seize the day that her shop teacher and mentor, Mr. Keller displays in his classroom.  While her dreams are big, Lou knows that perseverance, hard work, and faith in oneself are essential to making dreams come true. What I truly love about Lou’s story is that it can also be a mirror and window to readers.  Lou is Filipino-American and throughout the book, her Filipino culture is seamlessly interwoven into the story from language to food to traditions such as annual Barrio Fiesta.  As a reading specialist, I am always on the lookout for new #ownvoices titles to share with students as well as share with my media specialist to order for our school library.

A very special thanks to author Mae Respicio for sending an ARC of The House That Lou Built to my #bookexcursion group.  Lou celebrates her book birthday tomorrow on June 12, 2018.  Pre-order so you can get your copy and meet Lou, her family, and friends right away!

Off and Away by Cale Atkinson

I am a big fan of Cale Atkinson’s books and Off & Away is “sea-sational!”   It is a touching and uplifting story about having the courage to face your fears. Jo always wanted to be a great adventurer like her dad, but her apprehension about what lurked below the sea always kept her from stepping off their dock.  When Jo’s dad falls ill and bottles keep piling up, Jo takes a deep breath in before embarking on her bold journey.  To read my full review and enter a giveaway, please click here.

Etta’s and 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.

Emma and Muse by Nancy Lemon

Emma is a young artist and her most favorite thing to draw, paint, sculpt is her dog named Muse until one day Muse decides to join her in creating her next masterpiece. Emma shouts “BAD DOG MUSE!” and a heartbroken Muse leaves home.  Without Muse, Emma is no longer inspired and needs him to regain her creative juices. Will Emma come up with a plan to find Muse and get him back?  Will Muse forgive Emma?

Emma and Muse is not only a story about friendship and forgiveness but also a wonderful picture book that exposes young readers to the world of art.  Author/ illustrator Nancy Lemon fills the book with dog paintings drawn in the style of famous artists as well as a glossary of art terms at the end of the book.  I shared Emma and Muse with the art teacher at my school (whose name is coincidentally Emma) and she absolutely loved it.

Etta, Bella, and I thank you for visiting Beagles and Books!  Happy Reading!

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

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 6/4/18

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

Our Reads This Week:

The Haunted Serpent by Dora Mitchell

Spaulding Merriweather lives with his Aunt Gwen, a mystery writer because his paranormal investigator parents are busy with their TV show. After being homeschooled for most of his life, Spaulding is ready to attend regular school and make some friends his age.    He quickly discovers making friends is harder than he thought especially when you mention seeing an undead man in the woods.  Things get a little creepier for Spaulding when he sees a gigantic snake on his neighbor’s roof and then meets his undead neighbor Mr. Radzinsky.  Yikes! Add smoke puffing out of the abandoned Slecht-Tech factory, and Spaulding has a case perfect for his parents’ TV show, Peering into the Darkness.  If only they would believe him.  Spaulding is determined to prove that paranormal activity is alive (or undead) in Thedgeroot. Spaulding sets out to investigate on his own and to his surprise, gains the help of three other kids, Mr. Radinsky, and his pet snake David Boa (how cool is that?)

Author illustrator Dora Mitchell has written a eerily hilarious story which I will immediately recommend to students.  Young readers will love both the characters (both alive and undead) and the plot as well as the black and white illustrations from Spaulding’s notebook which provide humor and details that are integral to the story.

A very special thanks to Dora Mitchell for providing an ARC of The Haunted Serpent to my #bookexcursion group.  Already pre-ordered so I can put it into kids’ hands before school ends.  It will celebrate its book birthday tomorrow on June 5, 2018.

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The Mortification of Fovea Munson by Mary Winn Heider

It’s not easy being Fovea Hippocrates Munson.   Your first name in medical lingo means “eyeballs.”  Your surgeon parents own a cadaver lab.  Your summer camp is closed due to a snake infestation which means you are stuck working as the receptionist at the lab.  And there’s more.  Your parents think you want to follow in their footsteps as a Future Doctor of America, and your best friend has traded you in for a more sportier and cooler model.   There’s no way things can get worse, right? Except things can and they do when at the lab, three disembodied heads not only start talking to Fovea but also ask her for a favor.  To read my full review and enter a giveaway, please click here.

Etta’s and 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.

Operation Rescue Dog  by Maria Gianferrari Illustrated by Louisa Uribe

Missing her mami who is stationed in Iraq, Alma and her abuela decide to welcome a rescue dog into the family.  The story goes back and forth sharing Alma and her abuela’s preparations and trip to the Operation Rescue Dog truck as well as rescue pup Lulu’s journey to meet her new family.  While Alma is eagerly anticipating meeting Lulu, Lulu is apprehensive with her tail tucked between her back legs.  Both Alma and Lulu experience some bumps along the road, but once they meet, they both know they are home.

Maria Gianferrari’s words are sheer poetry.  She conveys Alma’s longing for her mom saying “Alma wears Mami’s scarf like a hug.”  But a few pages later states “Can a dog feel like a hug?” while Alma rubs Mami’s scarf on her cheek.  Luisa Uribe’s illustrations are warm and evoke a sense of calm even in the midst of uncertainty.

Being a dog mom of two rescue beagles,  this book has my whole heart.  Even more so because my husband and I met Etta as rescue transporters.  Like Lulu, Etta was transported from the south to the north although she was rescued due to hoarding situation.  We met Etta in Maryland at one of the stops and immediately knew she was meant to become part of our family.  After contacting her rescue and getting approved, we drove up to New Jersey to adopt Etta and bring her home.  7 years later, the same rescue shared a photo of Bella on social media, and our family grew by four more paws.

I love that Maria dedicated the book to her rescue dog, Becca and tells Becca’s story in the author’s note.  She also shares how readers can support pet rescue and how a portion of the book’s proceeds will benefit Best Friends Animal Society in Kanab, Utah.  Operation Rescue Dog is a beautiful story that will continue to give back by raising awareness to animals in need.

A very special thank you to Maria Gianferrari for sharing an ARC of Operation Rescue Dog with my #book excursion group.  Pre-order now like me, for it releases in September 2018.

Etta, Bella, and I thank you for visiting Beagles and Books!  Happy reading!

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

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 5/21/18

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

Rosetownby Cynthia Rylant

Told over the course of one year, Rosetown is the story of nine-year-old Flora Smallwood who lives in fictional Rosetown, Indiana.  For a young girl that does not like change, Nora is having to learn to make adjustments.  Her beloved dog recently passed away, and her parents have separated.  Fourth grade is also more difficult than third grade. While Flora is not eager to embrace change, she finds comfort spending time with her best friend, Nessy, who she has known since she was five and her new friend, Yurie, who recently moved to Rosetown from the Ukraine.

Reading Rosetown was nostalgic for me.  Like Nora, I loved to read as a child. Nora frequents Wings and a Chair Used Books where her mother works part-time.  My mother took my brother and me to Middle River Public Library weekly where Mrs. Johnson always had a stack of books waiting for me.  I also took piano lessons and just like Nora, I was tolerable but it never developed into a true passion.  One of my favorite parts of Rosetown was Nora sharing her excitement for Encyclopedia Hour.  Once a week, Nora and her classmates had the opportunity to explore the 22 volumes of the World Book Encyclopedia. Encyclopedias were my internet.  If I needed to do research and just wanted to discover facts, I always reached for an encyclopedia.  We actually had a set of Rand McNally Encyclopedias at home, but nothing compared to the full color World Book!

Rosetown is a quiet and comforting read which takes a reader back to a simpler time. Thanks to Simon and Schuster for providing an ARC of Rosetown to my #bookexcursion group.  Rosetown recently published on May 8, 2018.

Right Now by Jessica Olien

Right Now is an affirming picture book that celebrates being present.  The book begins with “You are right now. What are you?”  On each page, Olien shares a vivid and colorful digital illustration of a child caught in a “moment.”  Sometimes the moments are happy whether it be laying in the grass with a pet, belly laughing, riding a tricycle or eating a piece of cake.  Sad moments are also depicted such as making a mistake, feeling lonely or upset. At the end of the book, Olien shares a tender message to young readers. “No matter what you do.  Not matter where you live. Or what you look like. You are you. And that is perfect.”   A perfect book to share with students for #classroombookaday to teach them about self-acceptance.

Etta’s and 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.

Help Find Frank by Anne Bollman

Oh no! A french bulldog named Frank is lost! Can you help in the search to find him?  Labeled as exhibits, the narrator offers key information about Frank such as his love for playing fetch, his favorite animal is a squirrel, and beware of his stinky toots so under no circumstances, feed him cheese.   Pay close attention to these facts, for they will be crucial to locating Frank.  Interviews follow with notes that provides more clues and the reader is asked to make inferences based on some of the previously shared exhibits.  Embedded within the story are double page spreads of the park, the baseball field, and the pool where the reader is asked to find objects and of course, finally Frank!

Author illustrator Anne Bollman’s highly interactive picture book is quite original.  As a teacher, I love that young readers will have to use text evidence from exhibits, interviews, and hints to locate Frank.  The seek and find maps provide an opportunity to revisit the book again for a different purpose.  As summer approaches, I can see Help Me Find Frank as a great book to engage young readers in the car during travel or inside when it’s too hot outside to play.

For a sneak peek, click below and check out the book trailer!

Etta, Bella, and I thank you for visiting Beagles and Books!  Happy reading!

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

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 5/14/18

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

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The Frame-Up by Wendy McLeod MacKnight

The Frame Up is a fast paced, intriguing mystery adventure set in the real life Beaverbrook Art Gallery located in Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada.  In this fictional story, Beaverbrook is not your ordinary art gallery because all the paintings are actually alive.  Once the gallery is closed, all the “residents” interact with each other.  Painted in 1915, Mona Dunn is a 100 year old painting but she is perpetually a thirteen-year-old who loves to visit the beach in the San Vigilio, Lake Garda painting and hang out with her partner in crime, Clem Cotterell who lives in a portrait with his family.

Mona knows that the most important rule of the gallery is don’t let the humans know that the paintings are alive.  One day Mona accidentally breaks that rule and reveals the gallery’s secret to Sargent Singer, the son of the gallery director.  Sargent who is visiting his estranged father for the summer promises Mona that he won’t divulge this incredible secret, and the two become fast friends.   Their friendship becomes crucial when Mona discovers a plot to steal paintings and replace them with reproductions.  Can Mona and Sargent stop the heist before it’s too late?

I enjoyed The Frame Up from start to finish!  Wendy McLeod MacKnight has written a fascinating middle grade mystery weaving elements of both the past and the present.  While living in the present, Mona and the residents give you a glimpse of life long ago. Because they are alive, the “residents” are aware of modern amenities such as movies, popular music, and even the internet.  The mystery involving the art heist kept me guessing until almost the very end. Sargent’s distant relationship with his father also affected me because I know some readers may identify with his struggle to connect with a parent.

Special thanks to Wendy McLeod MacKnight for sending an ARC of The Frame-Up to my #bookexcursion group.  The Frame-Up releases on June 5, 2018, which will include full color glossy pictures of all the paintings highlighted in the novel.  Since a visit to Beaverbrook is not possible right now, I can’t wait for my hardcover copy to arrive!

Fox & Chick: The Party and Other Stories by Sergio Ruzzier

Fox and Chick remind me of the iconic Frog and Toad, two friends who don’t always see eye to eye.  This early chapter book includes three stories.  In The Party, Chick interrupts Fox’s reading  asking to use his bathroom but not for the reason one would expect.  In Good Soup, as Fox is gathering vegetables, Chick questions his food choices until he mentions that foxes are supposed to eat little birds.  Oops!  In Sit Still, Fox is in the midst of painting a landscape when Chick suggests a portrait of him would be more exciting. If only Chick would sit still….

I read Fox and Chick to my second grade #classroombookaday class; they absolutely loved each story.  While it is a great read aloud, the illustrations deserve full attention to see both Fox’s and Chick’s expressions throughout each story.  After sharing Fox and Chick, the students wanted to know if there are more Fox and Chick adventures.  I can only hope!

Etta’s and 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.

Dog Loves Books by Louise Yates

Dog loves everything about books so he decides to open his own bookstore.  On the day of his Grand Opening, no one came and when they finally did visit, it was not to buy books.  While Dog was a little sad, he did not dwell on it.  Instead, he took a book off the shelf and began to read.  When he read, he forgot he was alone because each book took him on a new adventure.  At the end , a little girl visits his bookstore and while Dog loved books, he realized he enjoys sharing them even more!

How can you not love a dog that loves books!  Author illustrator Louise Yates reminds young readers about the power of finding the right book as well as the joy of sharing books with others.

I look forward to read the rest of the books in the series: Dog Loves Drawing, Dog Loves Counting, and Dog Loves Fairy Tales.

Etta, Bella, and I thank you for visiting Beagles and Books!  Have a great week! Happy Reading!

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

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 5/7/18

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

Just Under the Clouds by Melissa Sarno

Ever since her father’s death six years ago, Cora and her family have struggled to find stability especially with housing.  Money is tight so Cora, her mother, and her younger sister Adare move a lot with hopes of finding permanent housing they can afford.  Because of her mom’s long work hours, taking care of Adare after school has become Cora’s responsibility.  Adare who lost oxygen to the brain during birth “sees things a different way” which makes caring for her sometimes challenging.

Set in Brooklyn and told in Cora’s point of view, Just Under the Clouds is a honest and touching story about homelessness through the eyes of a twelve year old girl.  While she technically has had a “roof over her head,” Cora never lived in a place that felt like home.

At school, Cora has always kept to herself until she meet Sabina, who until recently had been home-schooled her whole life and lives an untethered life on a houseboat. I just love their friendship because Cora finally takes a chance to truly trust someone outside her family.  I also admire Cora’s mother for maintaining stability in their unstable world and for recognizing Cora’s strength and encouraging her to “climb high.”  Cora’s story reminds us that “you can only grow things if you have faith in them from the beginning.” This is a heart print book that I can’t wait to share with students.

A very special thanks to Melissa Sarno for sending an ARC of Just Under the Clouds to my #bookexcursion group.  It publishes on June 5, 2018.

Power Forward by Hena Khan Illustrated by Sally Wern Comport

Date/Time:  May 5, 2018   11:25 a.m.

What I Read: Power Forward is the first book in a new chapter book series about fourth-grader Zayd Saleem.  Zayd lives for basketball, not the violin.  He is determined to move up from the D league to the gold team playing along side his best friend Adam.  Zayd knows that practicing basketball is crucial to achieving his dream; therefore, he decides to skip his morning advanced orchestra practice to play basketball with Adam and other members of the gold team.  All is well until Zayd forgets his violin in the car, and his mother discovers his lie.  As a result, he is grounded from basketball.  Will Zayd be able to convince his parents how important basketball is to him in order to make try outs?

How I Feel:  Sports have never been my thing but Power Forward is so much more than a basketball story.  Zayd is such a relatable character and can be a mirror for young readers.  He is underweight for his age which makes him work harder to prove he is gold team material.  Things come more easily to his sister Zara, which is frustrating for him. His parents wish that he had the same passion for violin that he has for basketball.  What I truly love about Zayd’s story is that it can also be a window.  Zayd and his family are Pakistani American and throughout the book, their culture is seamlessly interwoven into the story from language to food to sports.  As a reading specialist, I am always on the lookout for new #ownvoices titles to share with students as well as share with my media specialist to order for our school library.

Thanks so much to Simon & Schuster for sending an ARC of Power Forward to our #bookexcursion group. It publishes on May 8, 2018. For more information about ZaydSalem, Chasing the Dream series, click here.

Daring Dreamers Club: Milla Takes Charge by Erin Soderberg

Milla Takes Charge is the first book in this new chapter series about 5 fifth grade girls who become friends in their advisory group led by Ms. Bancroft, the new music teacher. As part of advisory, all students will respond to writing prompts throughout the year.  Having a thing for princesses, Ms. Bancroft asks the girls to reflect upon a princess that they feel connected with or inspired by and explain why.  While all girls share their journal entries filled with their dreams, the story centers on Milla.  Raised by her two moms, Milla is an avid reader and writer.  Like Belle in Beauty and the Beast, she yearns for adventure especially participating in the fifth grade overnight to Adventure Camp.  Concerned that her overprotective parents won’t let her go, Milla enlists the help of the Daring Dreamers to prove she is responsible.

Daring Dreamers Club is another great #ownvoices series to add to a classroom library and like Power Forward, the characters can be either a mirror or window to young readers.  What I especially love about this series is how the girls demonstrate true friendship towards one another.  Although each girl has big dreams, they realize they can all achieve their personal dreams by supporting each other!

A special thanks to Erin Soderberg for sending an ARC to my #bookexcursion group.  Milla Takes Charge publishes on June 5, 2018.  For more information on the Daring Dreamers series, click here.

Etta’s and 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.

Perfectly Norman by Tom Perchival

Disclaimer:  While having no speaking part, Norman’s dog is his loyal companion supporting him without hesitation. Sidekicks are the best!

Norman lived a perfectly normal life until….he grew a pair of wings.  Instead of celebrating his extraordinary wings, Norman hid them inside a great, big, yellow coat. The problem is now Norman is hot, uncomfortable, and miserable.    Will Norman ever learn to just be himself?

Perfectly Norman is a heartwarming story about acceptance and learning to be comfortable in your own skin, I mean wings.  Rather than celebrating his wonderful gift, Norman becomes worried about being different.  Throughout his struggle, his sweet little dog remains his loyal companion.

The illustrations are integral to the story, for author illustrator Perchival uses a minimal palette of black, white, yellow, and red in the first few page spreads. As soon as Norman discovers his wings, more vibrant colors appear in the illustrations.  Once Norman hides his wings, his yellow coat is the only color prominent on each page. Readers have to patiently wait for Norman to realize that the coat, not his wings is making him miserable. Then all the colors of the rainbow of return!

Etta, Bella, and I thank you for visiting Beagles and Books!  Have a great week! Happy Reading!

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

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 4/30/18

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Beagles and Books is back with 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 Reads This Week:

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Grump: The (Fairly True Story of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves by Liesl Shurtliff

In Shurtliff’s lastest fractured fairy tale, readers meet Borlen, a dwarf who was born just feet from the surface of the earth.  As a result, he is afraid of being deep in the cavern where dwarfs live and work.  Borlen also has a fascination with The Surface, which his parents believe is dangerous.  Humans live on The Surface and are not to be trusted.

When Borlen (nicknamed Grump) has the chance to visit The Surface, he does not hesitate.  Not long after, he befriends Queen Elfrieda Veronika Ingrid Lenore (E.V.I.L) and quickly becomes her trusted confidant.  It is no surprise that their friendship is short lived for Grump discovers the Queen’s plot to kill Snow White.  Because she snatched him by his beard (which is why humans are not to be trusted), Grump is now obliged to assist the huntsman in carrying out the queen’s orders.

Grump may have gotten his wish to visit The Surface, but he soon realizes that “getting your wish comes with its own load of rubble.” While readers know a happily ever after is in sight for Snow White, Shurtliff’s take on the fairy tale is a humorous and entertaining ride.  I especially love the relationship between Grump and Snow White and immensely enjoyed their banter.

A special thanks to Liesl Shurtlif for sending an ARC to my #bookexcursion group.  Look for Grump to be released May 29, 2018.

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Meet Yasminby Saadia Faruqi Illustrated by Hatem Aly

Pakistani-American Yasmin Ahmad is an inquisitive and spunky second grade student who has a passion for exploring, painting, building, and creating. In each section, Yasmin is challenged with a problem and must use her creative thinking skills to resolve it. While Yasmin’s family is very supportive of her, what I love about Faruqi’s writing is Yasmin works first to find a solution on her own. Yasmin is a great role model for students reminding them to be think outside the box and persevere. To read my full review, please click here.

A special thanks to Jennifer Glidden at Capstone for sending an ARC to my #bookexcursion group.  Meet Yasmin publishes on August 1, 2018.

Too Much! Not Enough by Gina Perry

Peanut and Moe could not be more different. Peanut is messy, loud, and always wants more. Moe is neat, quiet, and wants a little less. When Moe finally can’t take all the commotion, he shouts “TOO MUCH!” and leaves the house with a book in hand. As Moe sits on the porch reading, sad Peanut decides to cleans up the “too much mess.” Outside Moe realizes that life is boring because there is “not enough Peanut.” How can the two friends learn to appreciate their differences?

Too Much Not Enough is a sweet story that teaches that true friendship is about respecting each other’s differences and learning from each other. Perry’s bright and bold illustrations of the adorable Moe and Peanut will immediately appeal to young readers. I say see children begging for this book to be read again and again!

A special thanks to Gina Perry for sending a F & G of Too Much Not Enough to my #bookexcursion group.  It will be released August 2018.

How to Code a Sandcastle by Josh Funk Illustrated by Sara Palacios

On the last day of summer vacation, Pearl decides it’s her final opportunity to build a sand castle. Because Frisbees, surf boards, and dogs keep ruining her creations, Pearl devises a new plan involving her robot Pascal. In order for Pascal to assist her, Pearl must tell him how to build a sandcastle in code. She explains how coders must take one big problem and break it into smaller problems.

As Pearl gives Pascal instructions, she realizes the need for specificity. And when a sequence of directions need to be repeated, using a loop is much more efficient. When Pearl’s sandcastle is washed away because of high tide, she realizes that she can reuse her code to build another protected by a moat!

Josh Funk’s books are always a favorite with my students (and me too)! How to Build a Sandcastle is a great addition to #classroombookaday because one of our teachers has been running a coding club after school. Students enrolled in our summer STEM camp will also have an opportunity to engage in coding. This picture book will be a great way to introduce coding terms such as looping, and if-then-else.

A special thanks to Josh Funk for sharing a F & G of How to Code a Sandcastle to my #bookexcursion group.  Look for its release on May 15, 2018.

Etta’s and 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.

Swim Bark Run by Brian & Pamela Boyles Illustrated by Beth Hughes

Daisy, a bulldog, loves cheering on her dad Brian when he competes in a triathlon.  Wanting her own adventure, Daisy decides that it would be fun for her and her friends Dalmatian Hobie and Corgi Atticus to compete in their own race.  Rascal, a dachshund, creates a race course at the local park where they can swim across a pond, skateboard on the sidewalk, and run on a wooded trail.  On race day, Daisy, Hobie, and Atticus compete.  When any of the dogs sees another get far behind, they stop and cheer on their friend.  Swim Bark Run is an adorable story that celebrates friendship, teamwork, and determination as well as reinforces reaching a goal at your own pace.

A special thanks to Sky Pony Press for sharing a e-copy of Swim Bark Run through Edelweiss+. Look for its release on June 2018.

Etta, Bella, and I thank you for visiting Beagles and Books!  Have a great week! Happy Reading!

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

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 3/26/18

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

Our Reads This Week:

Every Shiny Thing by Cordelia Jensen and Laurie Morrison

Every Shiny Thing is a uniquely structured novel told in alternating points of view.  Told in prose, Lauren comes from an affluent family and is struggling with her parents’ decision to send her brother to her residential school for autistic teens.  Told in verse, Sierra is the foster child of Lauren’s neighbors as well as her new classmate.  In the novel, Lauren embarks on a project to help autistic children from less affluent families and enlists Sierra to help her. While well intentioned, Lauren becomes consumed with raising money at any cost which begins to negatively affect her friendship with Sierra.  Sierra is also fighting her own battle of always taking care of everyone but herself.  I absolutely adored this beautifully written novel on so many levels.  To read my full review, click here.

Special thanks to Laurie Morrison for sending an advance reading copy of Every Shiny Thing to our #bookexcursion group.  It will be published soon in April 2018.

Big Foot Little Foot by Ellen Potter Illustrated by Felicita Sala

Hugo is a young Sasquatch who yearns for adventure in the Big Wide World but exploring beyond the North Woods is off limits.  Why?  Because the most important Sasquatch rule is never be seen by a human. During a class lesson on Hide and Go Sneak, Hugo accidentally laughs at the sight of a real human while observing a boy (whose name is Boone) blowing a dandelion.  Sent home with a note from his furious teacher and punished by his parents, Hugo makes his own wish for adventure by sending his toy boat down a stream in his room.  Hugo is amazed when his boat comes back with a plastic toy human from Boone. Perhaps this is the start of not only an adventure but also a new friendship!

Like Ellen Potter’s Piper Green and the Fairy Tree series, Big Foot, Little Foot is sure to be a hit with transitional readers and their teachers.  Young readers will easily relate to Hugo and his curiosity.  Hugo and Boone also teach an important lesson about making assumptions before getting to know someone.   The ending definitely leaves readers wanting more adventures with Hugo and Boone.

Special thanks to Ellen Potter for sending an advance reading copy to our #bookexcursion group.  Look for Big Foot Little Foot’s release soon in April 2018.

Maggie & Abby’s Neverending Pillow Fort by Will Taylor

Missing her best friend Abby who has been away at Camp Cantaloupe for six weeks,  Maggie builds a pillow fort in her living room.  When Abby returns, Maggie is excited to spend time with Abby, but her best friend seems different. Wanting to expand their circle, Abby is eager to start their own summer camp and invite more kids to join in their games.

After Maggie builds a cabin-fort in her own house, the girls are shocked to discover that their forts are not only mysteriously linked to one another but also to other pillow forts around the world.  But these links are not available unless Maggie and Abby perform a good deed and become full members of NAFAFA (The North American Founding and Allied Fort Alliance).  Gaining entry to this exclusive club is further complicated because of a power struggle among the NAFAFA council members as well as Maggie’s and Abby’s differing opinions on how to gain entry into the organization.

A blend of fantasy, mystery, and realistic fiction, Maggie & Abby’s Neverending Pillow Fort will appeal to a wide variety of readers.  Reading about the history and inner workings of NAFAFA made me wonder and laugh out loud.  Maggie and Abby’s changing friendship tugged at my heart strings.  The novel ends on a cliffhanger so I am so excited that Book 2 is already in the works!

Special thanks to Will Taylor for sending an advance reading copy to our #bookexcursion group.  Get ready because Maggie & Abby’s Neverending Pillow Fort will be published shortly in April 2018.

Building Books by Megan Wagner Lloyd Illustrated by Brianne Farley

Katie loved building with blocks, and her brother Owen loved reading books. The siblings fought about which is better-building or reading.  The school librarian intervenes by giving Katie a stack of books to read while Owen receives a stack of books to shelve. Not interested in reading, Katie decides to build a castle with the books stumbling upon a book about castle engineering.  Not interested in shelving, Owen begins balancing books on top of each other.  It does not take long for the siblings to respect each other’s interests and collaborate to create something together. Librarians must be pretty smart!

Wagner Lloyd has written a beautiful story that reminds us all to be open to expanding our comfort zones.  Farley’s illustrations warmly depict both Katie’s and Owen’s enthusiasm for their favorite hobbies and slowly transition to show how the siblings change their minds and appreciate each other’s interests.
Special thanks to Megan Wagner Lloyd for sending a F & G copy to our #bookexcursion group.  Building Books will be published in October 2018.

Etta’s and Bella’s Dog Read of the Week:

George the Hero Hound by Jeffrey Ebbeler

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

George was a good old hound dog.  He willingly helped Farmer Fritz with chores around the farm in exchange for an afternoon nap.  But then Farmer Fritz decides to move to the beach leaving the farm and George behind.  Not long after, the Gladstone family buys the farm.  Having moved from the city to the country, George quickly realizes that his new family needs a heap of help from fixing tractors to herding cows.  When daughter Olive goes missing, George saves the day and shows he is truly a hero hound.

George the Hero Hound is such a delightful and entertaining picture book.  I love how devoted George is to helping his new family adjust to farm life.  Author/illustrator Ebbeler’s drawings of George truly capture his personality.  And pay close attention to the illustrations especially all the cows’ antics!

Etta, Bella, and I thank you for visiting Beagles and Books!  Have a great week! Happy Reading!

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

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 3/19/18

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

Our Reads This Week:

Jasmine Toguchi: Drummer Girl by Debbi Michiko Florence   Illustrated by Elizabeth Vukovic

In the third book in the series, Jasmine is excited about the school talent show.  While she has many talents such as climbing trees, pounding mochi, and making collages, Jasmine needs to quickly find a talent she can showcase on stage.  When her mother asks Jasmine why she likes these things, she responds that they make her feel free, strong, and happy.  Her mom then shares her love of playing the taiko.  With the help of one of her mom’s college friends, Kat, Jasmine learns how to play the traditional Japanese drum.

Jasmine is worried about her performance especially because new student Maggie Milsap keeps trying to turn the talent show into a competition.  With the support of her older sister, Jasmine soon learns that practice, not natural talent, is what makes one perform well.  And of course, Kat teaches her the best lesson of all-it’s not about being perfect, it’s about having fun!

I just love Jasmine and have recommended this series to countless students this year.  I greatly appreciate how Debbie Michiko Florence has created a character that can be both a mirror and window to young readers.  Readers can identify with Jasmine’s spunk and insecurities while also learn about Japanese traditions.  Special thanks to Debbi Michiko Florence for sending Drummer Girl on an ARC tour with our #bookexcursion group.  Pre-order now like me so you will receive your copy promptly on April 3, 2018.  And if you love Jasmine as much as I do, pre-order the fourth book, Flamingo Girl, too!

 

Poe Won’t Go by Kelly DiPucchio  Illustrated by Zachariah OHora

Mysteriously, a frowning elephant named Poe shuts down the town of Prickly Valley sitting in the only road in town. Despite all the townspeople’s extraordinary efforts, Poe just won’t go.  Not tolerating a parked pachyderm in Prickly Valley, the mayor is determined to solve the problem of Poe.  But alas, not even a person dressed as a peanut on roller skates worked.  A thoughtful young girl named Marigold finally asked the mayor, “Has anyone asked Poe why he won’t go?”   As soon as Marigold approaches Poe, his frown turned into a smile and she begins to uncover why Poe has not moved and how to help him.

I love Kelly DiPucchio’s picture books because they not only entertain but also teach readers important messages.  Poe Won’t Go teaches readers that sometimes asking the right questions, listening, and observing is the best way to solve a problem.   Zachariah OHora’s gorgeous acrylic and pencil illustrations never disappoint.   I am always amazed at the amount of details that he can draw in a spread without overwhelming the reader.

Special thanks to Kelly DiPucchio for sending a F & G of Poe Won’t Go to our #bookexcursion group.  Pre-order now, for it will be released in October 2018.

 

Dude Word by Aaron Reynolds  Art by Dan Santat

Cowabunga! Two dudes (a platypus and a beaver) are totally stoked to surf but another not so righteous dude (a shark!) is getting in their way. Bummer! Can they find a way to all get along?

What is so rad about this picture book is Reynolds pretty much only uses one word, “Dude”, repeatedly in different contexts to tell the story, and Santat’s awesome illustrations support the meaning.  The use of punctuation also makes the story an epic read aloud!

Special thanks to Macmillan Kids for sending an advance reader’s copy of Dude to our #bookexcursion group.  Look for its tubular release soon in April 2018.

 

Bella’s and Etta’s Dog Read 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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Don’t Call Me Choochie Pooh by Sean Taylor  Illustrated by Kate Hindley

I love reading books from the dog’s point of view!  A little dog is fed up with the silly way his owner treats him.  He does not appreciate heart-shaped mini puppy treats, being carried in a handbag and most especially, the name Choochie Pooh!  At the dog park, feeling like a Mini-Puppy-Treat-eating-Choochie-Pooh in a handbag, he is jealous of all the other dogs who have ordinary names like Bandit, Rusty, and Chief .  When Chief invites him to play, he is surprised and has a fabulous time doing normal dog things like running around and getting muddy.  When it is time to leave, his owner get again embarrasses him by uttering his disgustingly sweet name.  Choochie Pooh soon realizes that like him, his new canine friends have similar woes.

Reading this adorable picture book makes me wonder about all the pet names I have for both Etta and Bella.  Based on their tail wagging and howling, I think they realize that it is worth the love and of course treats!

Etta, Bella, and I thank you for visiting Beagles and Books!  Have a great week! Happy Reading!

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

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 3/12/18

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

Our Reads This Week:

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The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl by Stacy McAnulty

When Lucy was eight years old, she was struck by lightning while holding on to a metal fence.  As a result, she has acquired savant syndrome; Lucy can not only tackle any mathematical problem but she can also see math in colors and remembers every set of numbers she hears or sees.  It is no surprise that Pi is favorite number (and she can recite it to the 314th decimal place).

Having this rare condition is not without its drawbacks.  Lucy has obsessive compulsive tendencies, no offline friends, and hasn’t left the apartment she shared with her Nana for 32 days.  While Lucy wants to begin college, Nana proposes an alternate plan.  Go to middle school for at least 1 year. Make 1 friend. Join 1 activity. Read 1 book that is not math related.  Nana wins.

Lucy accomplishes her first goal quickly.  On her first bus ride to school, she becomes friends with socially conscious Windy.  But adjusting to middle school is still tough especially because of Lucy’s constant need to sanitize, her repetitive sitting behavior, and her desire to keep her giftedness hidden from her peers including Windy.   A group service project with Windy and budding photographer Levi gives Lucy the opportunity to use her math genius for a good cause-helping dogs gets adopted at a local shelter.  At the shelter, Lucy meets Cutie Pi, a chihuahua with a lightning bolt spot on its back and is determined to find him a home.  Being a dog mom, seeing Lucy’s affection for Pi was heartwarming.

Lucy soon learns that all things are not easy to calculate.   As a reader, I calculate one important lesson. If you have a couple of friends who accept you for who you are, you are pretty lucky.   Special thanks to Allison Stout, a fellow #bookexcursion member for sharing an ARC of The Miscalculations of Lighting Girl that she received at NCTE.  Look for its release in May 2018.

Baby Monkey, Private Eye by Brian Selznick and David Serlin

Baby Monkey is on the case helping clients locate lost jewels, missing pizza, and a stolen spaceship.  Putting on his pants.  Well, that is another story.

At 187 pages, Baby Monkey, Private Eye looks and even feels like a full length chapter book.  Once opened, readers will find a whole new format- a combination of  chapter book, picture book, beginning reader, and graphic novel.   Written in large font, Serlin’s text is sparse and repeats in the first few chapters which builds young readers’ confidence and provides schema for the last two chapters.  Caldecott medalist Selznick’s pencil illustrations are chocked full of details. In each chapter, the illustrations subtly provides clues of Baby Monkey’s next case.

As a reading specialist, I love Baby Monkey, Private Eye!  I can recommend it to primary grade students who yearn to read a chapter book.  The novel is also perfect for my intermediate students who are still developing readers.  Hope there will be more cases for Baby Monkey to solve!  It released in February 2018.

I’m Sad by Michael Ian Black  Illustrated by Debbie Ridpath Ohi

In the sequel to I’m Bored, a flamingo announces to a little girl and a potato that he is sad.  His friends affirm that feeling sad is natural. Everyone, even potatoes, feel sad sometimes (giggle, giggle). The little girl and potato console Flamingo by sharing things that cheer them up like ice cream, hockey, and dirt (giggle, giggle, again).   While Flamingo is still sad, he learns that his friends still like him no matter what!

I’m Sad teaches children that friends can’t always fix your problems but their loyalty can be the best support. Black beautifully conveys the book’s message with few words and Ohi’s bold and colorful illustrations perfectly match the text. Despite its title,  it would be hard to remain sad while reading. With its sense of humor, the potato will keep readers laughing from beginning to end!  Black and Ohi’s collaboration in bringing a potato to life was the highlight for me!  I can’t wait to share this read aloud for #classroombookaday!

Special thanks to Debbie Ridpath Ohi for sending an ARC of I’m Sad to our #bookexcursion group.  Look for its release in June 2018.

The Gorilla Picked Me by Michele McAvoy  Illustrated by Valentina Carboni

Olive considers herself plain and ordinary always blending in rather than standing out. Olive wishes just once that she would get picked out from a crowd.  When Olive was eight, her wish finally comes true.  Attending a dance with her father as her date, he steps away briefly telling Olive he’ll be back in a jiffy.  In his absence, a gorilla tooting a kazoo appears. He chooses Olive to be his dancing partner making her the center of attention.  Right after the gorilla leaves, her father returns and she shares her exciting news.  On the last page, as they walk home, a kazoo can be seen in her father’s back pocket.

Michele McAvoy wrote a sweet story about the love between a little girl and her father.  Illustrator Valentina Carboni’s adorable illustrations tenderly show their mutual affection for each other and how this one small act of kindness can have positive effects.

Special thanks to Michele McAvoy for sending Beagles and Books an e-copy of The Gorilla Picked Me. It published in February 2018.

Featured Dog Selection 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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My Old Pal, Oscar by Amy Hest Illustrated by Amy Bates

Regardless your age, it’s hard to say goodbye to a pet.  Amy Hest tenderly shares a story that celebrates the bond between a boy and his beloved dog while capturing how your heart still has room to love another pet.  Amy Bates’ warm and peaceful watercolor and pencil illustrations complement the story perfectly.

When a little boy meets a stray puppy on the beach, he is not interested in becoming friends.   The boy is still mourning the loss of his old pal, Oscar.  “My only and only dog,” the boy says. The persistent puppy continues to follow the boy on his walk.  During their walk, the boy recounts why Oscar was so special to him.  As a thunderstorm approaches, the boy sees the puppy’s trepidation. Carrying the puppy home, it is clear that the little boy is beginning to warm to the idea of having a new pal in his life.

Etta, Bella, and I thank you for visiting Beagles and Books!  Have a great week! Happy Reading!

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