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

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 2/12/18

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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 Battle of Junk Mountain by Lauren Abbey Greenberg

Shayne lives in Maryland and always spends summers on Thomas Cove with her grandmother Bea and her best friend Poppy.  Nostalgic for summers past, this vacation is different.  Poppy’s free time is limited because she has to work at her father’s grocery store. Bea is not ready to let go of her treasured collectibles as Shayne is organizing  and pricing them for sale at a flea market. Then to her surprise, Shayne develops an unlikely friendship with Civil War obsessed Linc, the grandson of Bea’s neighbor Cranky.

The Battle of Junk Mountain is a definitely a page turner. Lauren tackles not only familiar topics like changing and new friendships but also the serious topic of hoarding.  Although she can tackle new situations like banding lobster claws and driving a boat, it is evident that Shayne like Bea is holding on to the past and apprehensive about change.  Growing up and letting go is hard, but Shayne learns that change can actually surprise you in a good way.

A sincere thank you to fellow Marylander Lauren Abbey Greenberg for sharing an ARC of The Battle of Junk Mountain with my #bookexcursion group.  Look for its release in April 2018.  To read my full review, click here.

Beep and Bob: Too Much Space by Jonathan Roth

Bob attends Astro Elementary, a school near Saturn where only the bravest and smartest students get admitted.  Bob never intended to go to school in space but his plan of failing the admissions test backfired.  Who knew that choosing C for every answer would result in the only perfect score? Each chapter is Bob’s space blog entry or SPLOG with his alien sidekick Beep drawing the illustrations.  In Bob’s first SPLOG,  he explains how he met Beep, a little lost alien who thinks Bob is his new mother.

Bob’s adventures include getting his tongue stuck to ice on Pluto and accidentally having alien brain freeze sprayed in his eyes, which alters Bob’s personality.  His new-found confidence and knowledge propels Professor Zoome to take the class on a trip to a super massive black hole.  Will Bob and his classmates survive this dangerous class trip?

Like Lauren Abbey Greenberg, author/illustrator Jonathan Roth hails from my home state of Maryland.  Beep and Bob is a humorous and “sporky” transitional chapter book series that I look forward to sharing with students.  I was excited to discover that Too Much Space is the first book in the series.

Thank you to fellow #bookexcursion member Allison Stout for sharing her ARC from NCTE.  Beep and Bob: Too Much Space along with Book 2 Party Crashers publishes in March 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.

Tiny and the Big Dig by Sherri Duskey Rinker Illustrated by Matt Myers

Tiny smells a bone. A BIG bone. So he starts digging. When a larger dog, a cat, and a bird discount his ability,  Tiny maintains his confidence that he is strong enough to bring that bone home. Tiny isn’t the only one who is optimistic, for his young owner also believes in him.

Written in rhyme, Tiny and the Big Dig is a story that celebrates strength and determination.  This quote sums its theme completely.

Matt Myers’ bold illustrations capture Tiny’s sheer willpower in obtaining his goal-a BIG, BIG bone. Tiny and the Big Dig will be a great addition for #classroombookaday.

Thank you so much 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? 2/5/18

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Etta, Bella, and I are eager to share our latest reads for 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 Mad Wolf’s Daughter by Diane Magras

Wee lass Drest and her family are attacked by knights from Faintree Castle.  Drest desperately wants to join her father, Mad Wolf of the North and her five brothers in this battle, but Mad Wolf orders her to hide. She witnesses her family bound, captured, and sailing away from her.  Her only hope of finding her family is a young knight named Emerick who Drest witnessed being attacked by one of his own men.  She strikes a deal with Emerick to take him to Faintree Castle and in return, he will release one of her brothers, although Drest plans to rescue her entire family.

Throughout their journey, Drest hears tales of her family’s brutality from Emerick, which she does not believe to be true.  In addition, a bandit by the name of Jupp shares his own story of her father’s cruelty.  Drest begins to realizes that words are strong weapons because not only is she beginning to doubt her family but also she is struggling to figure out her own identity. Can a warrior be brave and kind?

The Mad Wolf’s Daughter is an adventure that has action and heart.  With each chapter, Diane Magras kept me on the edge both excited and afraid to read on.  I absolutely love Drest who learns that you can’t always control our own legend, and sometimes words not swords can save lives.

A very special thanks to Diane Magras for providing our #bookexcursion group with an ARC of The Mad Wolf’s Daughter.  Pre-order NOW so you have it in your hands on March 6, 2018.

Mrs. Smith’s Spy School for Girls by Beth McMullen

Abby Hunter is a student at Smith School for Children.  But it turns out that the boarding school is not what it appears to be.  The school is actually a cover for an elite spy ring named the Center.  And Abby’s mother, Jennifer, is the Center’s most talented agent.  At first, Abby cannot believe her mother hid her occupation from her, but as Abby looks back on her childhood, she begins to connect the dots.

For the past decade, Jennifer has been chasing the Ghost, a threatening criminal.  Mrs. Smith informs Abby that her mother is missing; therefore, they need Abby’s help in finding her.  During Spy Training 101, Abby does find a friend in Toby, a fellow student who is a whiz with technology.  His iPhone apps are amazing! But frenemy Veronica is less than enthused with teaching Abby.  After a failed attempt to locate her mom, Abby decides to take matters in her own hands and show everyone that she is indeed her mother’s daughter.

Beth McMullan’s new series is definitely one I will recommend to students.  In fact, after reading the synopsis, I have a student waiting for me to bring this book to school tomorrow. Taking place in present day, young readers will be able to relate to the characters even though the setting and plot is far different from their own lives.  Mrs. Smith’s Spy School for Girls published in July 2017 but readers only have to wait until July 2018 for the second installment-Power Play. Can’t wait to read and share on Beagles and Books!

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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The Pillow Keeps Moving by Laura Gehl Illustrated by Christopher Weyant

A dog and cat are shivering outside of a pillow store.  While the cat stands guard, the dog enters the pillow store, curls up in the warmth, and is bought by a man.  When the man complains that his “pillow” is broken, the salesman asks him a series of questions which are all answered in the affirmative.  The story continues with the dog posing as a footstool and coat.  Finally, the man who lives alone realizes that the dog has other talents, as all dogs do!

Told with relatively few words, The Pillow Keeps Moving is a story that begs to be read again and again.  Readers must pay close attention to the illustrations because they are crucial to the plot.

The Pillow Keeps Moving was released in January 2018.  I can’t wait to read it as a pick for #classroombookaday with students.

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

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 1/29/18

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Etta, Bella, and I are eager to share our latest reads for 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:

11:11 Wish by Kim Tomsic

Megan is going through a lot of adjustments.  Her mom recently passed away and her family has moved from Colorado to Arizona.  Moving means leaving her best friend Hannah and starting over at a new middle school.

On her very first day, Megan gets zapped, which is a ritual for new students.  She must do a dare by the end of the day.  Her assignment-do something exciting by 3 p.m.  If that isn’t enough on her plate,  Megan becomes stuck in the middle of the battle for Spirit Week Captain between fellow seventh graders, Rhena and Ally.  Megan’s luck changes when in her history class, she sees a cat clock identical to one her grandmother had in her kitchen.  She recalls a rhyme that her grandmother said “Pop. Click. Seconds tick. Wish at eleven-eleven, and watch it stick.”  It can’t hurt to wish for something exciting like snow, right?  After her wish does comes true, Megan slowly realizes that this newly acquired magical power comes with some adverse consequences.

11:11 Wish is an enchanting story not only trying to fit in but also finding yourself. Readers will be sympathetic of  Megan’s dilemma.  She wants to have a fresh start at her new school and becomes caught up in Rhena and Ally’s rivalry as soon as she arrives.  As the drama unfolds at school, Megan needs to decide whether she wants to keep using magic to get friends or show her true self.

Special thanks to Kim Tomsic for providing our #bookexcursion group with an ARC of 11:11 Wish.  Look for its release soon on February 13, 2018.

Walter & Dragon: 100 Friends by Ariel Bernstein

Warren and his family are moving, which means he will need to make new friends.  But unlike his twin sister, Ellie, making friends does not come easy to Warren.  Besides, Warren already has a best friend, Dragon.  To everyone else, Dragon may be a stuffed animal, but to Warren, Dragon is real and he is the only one who sees Dragon in that way.

Making friends is a challenge, but losing a contest to Ellie is worse; therefore, Warren declares that he will make 100 new friends.   Accepting Dragon’s advice that friends like compliments, Warren attempts to make friends in school.  Warren’s compliments though are not always taken well. By the end of the first day of school, Warren hasn’t made any new friends, and Dragon goes missing!  Can Warren find his one and only friend? Will Warren ever make a real friend?

Warren & Dragon is a fun new transitional chapter book series that is sure to be a hit with young readers.  Author Ariel Bernstein has created a relatable character in Warren, for he encounters typical kid problems such as sibling rivalry and making friends. Warren’s relationship with Dragon show his imagination, for what child hasn’t pretended his/her favorite animal was alive?

Special thanks to author Ariel Bernstein for providing our #bookexcursion group with an ARC of Walter & Dragon: 100 Friends.  Look for its release along with Book 2 Warren & Dragon: Weekends with Chewy in August 2018.

The Boo-Boos That Changed the World: A True Story About An Accidental Invention (Really!) by Barry Wittenstein Illustrated by Chris Hsu

Did you ever wonder how Band-Aids were invented?  If so, you are in luck.  Author Barry Wittenstein humorously tells the story of Earle Dickson and how Band-Aids came to be.

It seems Earle’s wife, Josephine was accident prone especially in the kitchen. When preparing meals, it was common for Josephine to cut or burn herself. To make matters worst, bandaging herself with bulky towels caused her to injure herself even more.  Earle took pity on his young wife fearing her cuts would become infected.  Fortunately, for Josephine, Earle was not only the son of a doctor but also worked for a hospital supply company.  Ever hear of Johnson & Johnson?

After some thoughtful pondering, Earle designed the first “band aid” which consisted of adhesive tape, sterile gauze, and crinoline.  Josephine’s boo boos were now covered, and they lives happily ever after, right?  But..wait!  Earle realized that Josephine was not the only person who could benefit from his invention. He shared his bandage with his boss, James Johnson, who agreed to produce and sell them as Band-Aids.

To the readers’ surprise, Band-Aids were not an overnight success.  It was not until they were mass produced by a machine and given away to the Boy Scouts and the army during World War II that Band-Aids became a hit not just in the United States but all over the world!

Told in a playful narrative, Wittenstein’s account of Earle’s invention is highly engaging and entertaining.  In my district, our third graders just finished a unit, Inventions and Innovations so I cannot wait to share this book with students.  In the author’s note, Wittenstein admits he invented Earle and Josephine’s dialogue and shares additional information about Earle.  Chris Hsu’s illustrations transport the reader back to that time period and make the story come alive.  Also included at the end of the book is a timeline, a list of other medical inventions from the 1920s and 1930s, and websites for further research.  The next time I use a Band-Aid, I will think fondly of Earle and thank him for his ingenuity.

Special thanks to Barbara Fisch of Blue Slip Media for providing our #bookexcursion group with a copy of The Boo Boos That Changed the World.  Look for its release soon in February 2018.

Love, Mama by Jeanette Bradley

Kipling’s mama is off on a trip and he misses her.  Although he tries to soothe himself with replacements such as Pillow Mama and Picture Mama, they do not comfort him. When the doorbell rings, Kipling discovers a sad, soggy box outside his home.  It’s from Mama! Contained in the package was a paper heart with a special message from Mama who reminds Kipling how immense she loves him.  Kipling returns the favor by creating and mailing his own box which professes his mutual love for her.  To Kipling’s surprise, Mama returns home with his care package in hand!

Love, Mama is a heartwarming story that affirms love when distance separates us from family.  Jeanette Bradley’s illustrations are adorable and tenderly show Kipling’s longing for his mother, his happiness when he receives his Mama’s special delivery, and his excitement when she returns home.  In fact, reading Love, Mama takes me back to a time when receiving a card or a package in the mail from a loved one was the best present ever.

Special thanks to author Jeanette Bradley for providing our #bookexcursion group with a copy of Love, MamaLove, Mama recently published in January 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.

Back to Forth and Upside Down by Claire Alexander

It’s Principal Slippers’ birthday! Young pup Stan and his class are making him birthday cards.  Stan loves to draw but his teacher Miss Catnip reminds the class that cards include writing too. Uh oh!  As Stan begins to copy Happy Birthday from the board, he notices his letters are back to front and upside down.  Frustrated Stan is even more discouraged when all his other classmates seems to be writing with ease.

At recess, depressed Stan honestly confides to his classmate Jack that he can’t write.  Jack is supportive and tells Stan to ask Miss Catnip for help reminding him we all have to ask for help sometimes. The story ends with Stan bravely asking for help and realizing he is not the only student who struggles with writing letters.

Working with kindergarten and first grade students, I love the message of this book.  All students learn at a different pace so Back to Front and Upside Down reinforces that practice is the best way to improve a skill and it’s ok to ask for help.   Author illustrator Clare Alexander’s soft and cute drawings of the animal students will appeal to young readers.  I especially love the illustrations of Stan’s tongue out while writing, This behavior is quite common when I observe young students putting forth their best effort.

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

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 1/22/18

Etta, Bella, and I are eager to share our latest reads for It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #IMWAYR is a community of bloggers who link up to share what they are reading. Kellee Moye of Unleashing Readers and Jen Vincent of Teach Mentor Texts decided to give it a #kidlit focus and encourage everyone who participates to visit at least 3 of the other #kidlit book bloggers that link up and leave comments for them.img_2105

Our Reads This Week:

R is for Rebel  by J. Anderson Coats

Three generations before Malley was born, the country of Milea was conquered by the New Wealds. After her parents were imprisoned for being resisters to the new government, Malley was sent to a national school. The school’s mission is to reform Malley and other young girls to be loyal Wealdan subjects and train them for domestic service.  From the very first chapter, it is very clear that Malley is her parents’ daughter and is not willing to be reeducated.  She wants to do something song worthy, like her Milean ancestors. At first, she thinks she is alone in her fight, but as the story unfolds, Malley notices that other girls quietly subscribe to the same beliefs as her.  She soon realizes that resistance is all around her in many different forms.

R is for Rebel is a novel that left me thinking and questioning.  As Malley stated,  “It’s one thing to lose something; another thing to entirely give it up.”  When I first began reading, I wasn’t quite sure if R is for Rebel was a historical fiction or a fantasy.  In the end, it doesn’t matter because like other dystopian novels, Malley’s story teaches us an important lesson-to always personally fight for what you most value.

Special thanks to J. Anderson Coats for providing our #bookexcursion group with an ARC of R is for Rebel.  Look for its release in February 2018.

Isadora Moon Goes to Schoolby Harriet Muncaster

Isadora is special because she is half fairy and half vampire.  The time has come for her to attend school, but does Isadora belong in fairy school or vampire school?  In this first book of the series, Isadora amusingly discovers whether she is more fairy, more vampire or perhaps, she is something all her own. After all, different can beautiful too!

Young readers at my school will definitely sink their fangs into this transitional chapter book series.  Harriet Muncaster’s illustrations are gorgeous using only black and pink colors.  Students will be able to relate to Isadora who is learning about her own identify and how she fits in.

Currently, there are four published books in the U.S..  The fifth book, Isadora Moon Goes to the Ballet will be released on January 23, 2018.  Special thanks to fellow #bookexcursion member Amber Webb for introducing me to the Isadora Moon series.

The Bat Can Bat by Gene Barretta

Homonyms, homophones, and homographs?  No wonder children get confused!

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Permission to post visual granted from Kearson’s Classroom Blog.

Gene Barretta to the rescue! Author of picture books such as Dear Deerand Zoola Palooza is back with The Bat Can Bat, a fun and engaging picture book that teach homonyms, words that have different meanings but sound and are spelled the same.

Set at an athletic event, The Bat Can Bat features 2 homonyms on each page spread.  Readers can use context as well as the illustrations to identify the different meanings of each homonym.   The illustrations are especially important because they provide a visual to support students in understanding each word’s multiple meanings.  Last year, my school had a school-wide focus on teaching multiple meaning words. The Bat Can Bat would have been a great resource for teachers.  Makes me want to revive our initiative!

Special thanks to fellow #bookexcursion member Allison Stout for getting an ARC of The Bat Can Bat from Macmillian Children’s Publishing at the 2017 NCTE convention.

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.

Frankie by Mary Sullivan

The story begins with Francine affectionately called Frankie leaving the shelter.  As soon as Frankie enters her foster home, she takes in her new surroundings especially things like a ball, bone, toys and a bed.  Frankie quickly realizes all these things belong to Nico, the family dog, and Nico is not willing to share.  Will Frankie get her own toys or will Nico learn to share?

Frankie is a story with few words but a lot of heart.  The adorable illustrations visually tell the story and capture both Frankie and Nico’s emotions. Frankie hits close to home because the story was inspired by author/illustrator Mary Sullivan’s real foster puppy Frankie and a portion of the book’s proceeds are being donated to the shelter Austin Pets Alive.  Shelter pups are dear to my heart because both Etta and Bella are rescues. Luckily, from the first day we brought Bella home, Etta has been very willing to share and still does.

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

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 1/8/18

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Etta, Bella, and I are back for our first It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? in 2018! #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:

Babysitting Nightmares: The Shadow Hand by Kat Shepherd

Like Rebecca Chin, I loved to babysit when I was her age.  I loved caring for kids, demonstrating my maturity and of course, making my own money.  But if a child’s locked window mysteriously opened and a layer of cold and slimy moss appeared on the windowsill, I highly doubt that I would have babysat for Kyle again, must less any other child.

In spite of these unexplained occurrences, a visibly shaken Rebecca keeps her cool and continues to babysit Kyle.  Kyle’s mother admits he has been acting a little off, but perhaps it is just teething.  When she puts Kyle to bed, she notices small handprints on the wall and even on the ceiling.  On another occasion, Kyle bites friend and fellow sitter Clio and nips Rebecca exposing two row of white, pointed teeth.  Something is definitely not right.

Babysitting Nightmares is described as Baby Sitter’s Club meets Goosebumps.  I agree that is a perfect description for The Shadow Hand, which I hope is the first book in the series.  Rebecca and her fellow sitters band together to discover what is happening to Kyle and risk their own lives to save him before it’s too late.  I cannot wait to share this series with students.  It’s fast paced and under 200 pages so kids will quickly devour this novel. While spooky at times, the story also has a great message-None can rule the heart that loves.

Special thanks to Kat Shepherd for sharing an ARC of Babysitting Nightmares with my #bookexcursion group.  It will be released in June 2018.

Arts and Thefts by Allison K. Hymas

Do not call Jeremy Wilderson a detective.  He is a retrieval specialist who helps his fellow middle school peers get back what is rightfully theirs.  When one of his best friends and talented artist Case is accused of stealing brushes and paints from another student, Jeremy is incensed.  Especially because the accusation is coming from his nemesis, Becca Mills, the town’s tiny yet terrifying private detective.

Becca believes that the brushes were intentionally stolen to sabotage artwork entered in the Scottsville Art Show,  the most important competition of the summer.  Becca’s hunch comes true, and Jeremy is worried about his best friend.  With Case’s painting in the show, Jeremy is determined to not only clear his best friend’s name but also protect Case’s art from being a target of the saboteur.  Even if it means having to team up for a second time with Becca. (Read Under Lock and Key to find out about their first alliance, which was kept secret from Jeremy’s friends Case and Hack.)  Reluctantly, Becca agrees, and the two covertly join forces to retrieve the stolen paint and brushes and capture the culprit.

I love a good mystery, and Arts and Thefts does not disappoint.  I applaud Jeremy for his loyalty to his dear friend Case, which drives him to join forces with Becca.  Jeremy and Becca’s banter was truly the highlight of the book because while they mostly disagree, they make an amazing team.  Makes me hopeful for another Jeremy-Becca alliance in perhaps Book 3?

Special thanks to Allison Hymas for sharing an ARC of Arts and Thefts with my #bookexcursion group.  Arts and Thefts will be released in February 2018.

Hawk Rising by Maria Gianferrari  Illustrated by Brian Floca

Hawk Rising is a narrative non-fiction picture book which tells the story of mother and daughter observing a father hawk hunting for prey for his family.

At the beginning, the mood is calm with both the family and the hawk waking up to begin their day.  Father Hawk perches at the top of a pole to survey the land for his family’s next meal.  The mother and daughter notice the hawk from their suburban backyard.

The mood quickly turns tense as Father Hawk swoops down to catch a chipmunk. To the hawk’s dismay, the rodent escapes running under a porch.  However, Father Hawk is not deterred and continues his search for food even as the sun is setting for the night.  The story has a thrilling ending with Father Hawk victorious in his quest to feed his brood.

I am a such fan of Maria Gianferari’s writing.  The text is true poetry, for she chooses her words carefully to dramatically describe the family’s actions and feelings as well as the hawk’s pursuit.  Coupling Maria Gianferrari’s words with Brian Floca’s illustrations, the story takes flight.  Floca’s illustration vividly convey not only Father Hawk’s determination, but also the young daughter’s apprehension of seeing the hawk succeed in his mission.

Special thanks to Maria Gianferrari for sharing an ARC of Hawk Rising with my #bookexcursion group.  It will be published in May 2018.

Our Featured Dog Selection of the Week:

Granted by John David Anderson

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

Pretty much any book with a dog has my heart so Granted’s cover alone compelled me to read this novel. Being a fan of John David Anderson, I knew it would be a great story and boy, did he deliver.

Ophelia Delphinium Fidgets is a fairy, but not just any fairy.  She is a Granter, which gives her the opportunity to grant the wishes of humans.  Eager Ophelia is finally sent on her first assignment-to give a purple bike to a girl named Kasarah.   Her mission is pretty simple.  Travel to an Ohio mall. Retrieve Kasarah’s coin from a fountain.  Sprinkle a little fairy dust.  Say those four magic words. Your wish is granted.  Boom. Bam. Done.

But Ophelia encounters more obstacles than she anticipated, and her mission does not progress as planned.  Ophelia’s silver lining is befriending a nameless stray dog who comes to her aid when she is injured. She bestows him the name, Sam.  At first, Sam is her travel companion on her quest to grant Kasarah’s wish; but to Ophelia’s surprise, he becomes so much more-her friend.  I love Ophelia for her pluckiness and determination, but I cannot deny.  Sam got my heart.

Granted is a magical story about having faith, filling empty holes, and following your heart not the rules.  Ophelia and Sam also remind readers what is truly important-having a haven where people love you and care for you, no matter what.

Special thanks to fellow #bookexcursion member Lisa Maucione who received an ARC of Granted from Harper Collins at NCTE.  Granted will be published in February 2018.

Thanks for visiting Beagles and Books! Happy reading!

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 12/18/17

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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:

Terrific Tongues  by Maria Gianferrari  Illustrated by Jia Liu

Did you know that tongues can be like a sword, straw, nose, whip or even a windshield wiper?   I learned so much from reading Terrific Tongues, an amazing non-fiction picture book which teaches readers fascinating facts about an important organ.

I absolutely love the format of this fabulous text.  Maria Gianferrari introduces each animal with an if and a might.  For example, if you have a tongue like a mop, you might be a…. Readers turn the page to discover not only the animal but also a short description of how the animal’s tongue is similar to its comparison.  Jia Liu’s lively illustrations literally jump off the page;  I especially love the monkey’s facial expressions and emotions as each new animal is introduced.  Readers of all ages will enjoy Terrific Tongues from start to finish.  At the end of the book, there are additional facts about tongues, which will make readers tongue-tied with all the incredible facts!

A very special thanks to Maria Gianferrari for sending an ARC of Terrific Tongues to my #bookexcursion group. Since I sponsor a second grade class for #classroombookaday, I am always in search of nonfiction picture books to read and share with students.  Look no further than Terrific Tongues!  It publishes in April 2018 so pre-order now to secure your copy!

Anna, Banana and the Friendship Split by Anica Mrose Rissi Illustrated by Meg Park

In the first book of the series, Anna is excited about celebrating her birthday with her best friend Sadie and her dog, Banana.  She knows her birthday wish-a trip to Water World.  Right before she blows out her candles, Sadie tells Anna to wish for a pony.  Because Anna cannot say no to Sadie, she changes her wish at the last minute. Surprisingly, Anna receives a pony necklace from her grandparents, which Sadie now feels is half hers.

Being a good friend, Anna lets Sadie wear the necklace.  Not long after, the best friends get into an awful fight with Sadie leaving wearing the necklace.  The next day at school, Sadie ignores Anna and acts like their friendship never existed.  Anna desperately wants to save their friendship, but she wonders… what if Sadie no longer wants to be friends?

Anna, Banana and the Friendship Split is a realistic story about friendship. Like Anna, I am a pleaser and always want to fix things. With her mom’s help, Anna realizes that sometimes friends need a break from each other, and it is possible to have more than one friend.  This is a good lesson for children to learn because all true friendships have their ups and downs.  I can’t wait to share the Anna, Banana series with my transitional readers.

Our Featured Dog Selection of the Week:

The Very Very Very Long Dog by Julie Patton

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

Bartelby is a lucky dog. He lives in a bookstore; he loves his home, his walks, and his friends.  Bartelby’s only problem is he is very, very long.  So long in fact that his walks create mess, calamity, and chaos.  Poor Bartelby did not realize that it was his bottom causing all the mayhem.  When he discovers his rear is the culprit, he is devastated.  Fortunately for Bartelby, he has amazing friends who research and devise a plan to solve his problem.

The Very, Very, Long Dog is such a perfect read aloud!  Children will instantly fall in love with adorable Bartelby and feel empathy for him when he discovers his long coming (Oops! I mean shortcoming). Julia Patton’s illustrations are so endearing and charmingly depict Bartelby’s and his friends’ range of emotions throughout the story.

Thanks for visiting Beagles & Books. Have a great week. Happy Reading!

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 12/11/17

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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 Unlikely Story of a Pig in the City by Jodi Kendall

Being one of five kids living in a cramped city house, Josie Shilling feels invisible.  Except for gymnastics, Josie does not have anything that is truly her own.

So when Josie’s college age brother Tom brings home a piglet named Hamlet on Thanksgiving, Josie instantly clicks with the little runt.  She convinces her parents to let her keep Hamlet with the stipulation she must find the piglet a home by New Year’s Day.

The Unlikely Story of a Pig in a City will warm both your heart and soul.  As the New Year approaches, Josie discovers that her love for Hamlet opens her eyes and mind to her other talents besides gymnastics.  As a dog mom, I can totally relate to how my love for my pups changed my life. Josie also comes to realize that her family truly does see her and has and will always be her biggest cheerleader.  What powerful messages for readers for all ages!

Special thanks to Jodi Kendall who provided our #bookexcursion group with an ARC prior to The Unlikely Story of a Pig in a City’s October 2017 publication.

Stella Diaz Has Something to Say by Angela Dominguez

Stella Diaz is a third grade student who loves to write stories, draw, and read about marine animals. While she is a very good student, Stella is not confident in her language abilities; as a Mexican American, she accidentally speaks Spanish instead of English and turns roja in embarrassment.   This year, school is also more challenging because her best friend Jenny is in another class, which makes Stella feel lonely.

Stella is excited about researching fish for her animal project, but she is nervous about having to present in front of her whole class including the new student Stanley. And it doesn’t help that one of her fellow classmate always picks on her for being quiet.  Fortunately, Stella has the support of her mom, older brother Nick, and best friend Jenny to make her realize her strength.  As her mom told her, “That’s why your full name is Estrella.  You’re my star.  You can light up the dark.”  Can Stella live up to her name?

Stella Diaz Has Something to Say is such a delightful novel.  Children can identify with Stella with a variety of reasons.  Her parents are divorced and she has a strained relationship with her father.  She is shy and finds it difficult to make friends.  I fell in immediately fell in love with Stella and was rooting for her to find her strength.  I appreciate the author’s note where Angela Dominquez shares that Stella’s story is 82.9% based on her own childhood and how like Stella, we all must discover our inner starfish. In addition, Dominguez’s black and white illustrations appear throughout the novel and visually enhance Stella’s story.

Special thanks to Angela Dominguez for sharing an ARC of Stella with our #bookexcursion group.  Pre-order now, for the book will be released in January 2018.

Our Featured Dog Selection of the Week: 

My Pet Wants a Pet  by Elise Broach Illustrated by Eric Barclay

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

A little boy want something to take care for on his own. His mom finally relents and permits him to adopt a puppy. Not long after, the boy decides the puppy needs a pet. While the mom thinks this was a terrible idea, the boy empathizes and the puppy gets a pet kitten setting off a chain reaction. The kitten gets a pet bird; the bird gets a pet worm and so on. Mom is not happy. “NO MORE PETS!,” she says. How can the boy fix things and make his mom happy again? Read My Pet Wants a Pet to find out!

My Pet Wants a Pet is an endearing story reminding us that we all want to love and care for something. The charming illustrations adorably show each animal’s loving relationship with its “pet.”

Special thanks to Christian Trimmer and Mark Podesta of Henry Holt Books for Young Readers for sending an ARC to Beagles and Books. Please look for My Pet Wants a Pet in the new year, for it publishes in March 2018.

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

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 12/4/17

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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 Boy and the Blue Moon by Sara O’Leary Illustrated by Ashley Crowley

Blue moons are rare; therefore, it is no surprise that extraordinary things can happen when they occur.

On the night of the blue moon, a boy and his cat take their usual walk through the forest but tonight, their journey is a little different.  The boy hears a song first from the blue bells and then from the waves in a lake that magically appears.  At the edge of the water, the boy and the cat find a boat. They row to the middle of the lake where the moon becomes within their reach. Remembering that anything can happen on the night of a blue moon, the boy (and the cat too) wish extra hard that they can go to the moon, and magically their wish comes true.

Sara Crowley has written a beautiful story for wishers and dreamers.  After reading the last page, it reminds me that that our dreams can become reality if we believe in ourselves. Ashley Crowley’s illustrations are absolutely breaktaking and gorgeous.  I especially love that Crowley’s illustrations of the cat hinted that this particular night was going to be special.

Special thanks to Christian Trimmer and Mark Podesta of Henry Holt and Company Books for Young Readers for providing my #bookexcursion group with an Advance Reader’s Edition of The Boy and the Blue Moon. It will be released in February 2018.img_2772.jpg

Jasmine Toguchi: Mochi Queenby Debbi Michiko Florence Illustrated by Elizabet Vukoric

Being the younger sister is no fun for Jasmine. Her big sister Sophie always bosses her around and gets to do everything first including rolling mochi balls, a New Year’s tradition with all the women in the family. If she can’t help the women, Jasmine comes up with a new plan; she will join the men in the tradition of pounding the mochi rice.

To prove she is tough enough, Jasmine works on strengthening her arm muscles by washing dishes and hanging on branches. After a run in with her mean cousin Eddie, Jasmine finally appeals to her dad and shares her wishes to pound, not roll mochi. Will her dad agree and let Jasmine break tradition?

I love that Jasmine is an independent thinker and is determined to break the silly rule that only boys can pound mochi. Like Beatrice Zinker, I cannot wait to share the Jasmine Toguchi series with my second grade literacy lunch bunch. Jasmine teaches an important lesson that strength does not come from your arm muscles; it comes from believing in yourself! Looking forward to read Jasmine’s next adventures in Super Sleuth and Drummer Girl!

Our Featured Dog Selection of the Week: 

Floatyby John Himmelman

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

Mr. Raisin is a grumpy curmudgeon who only likes to sew.  One day, a basket appears on his doorstep.  When Mr. Raisin opens the basket, he thinks it’s empty until he sees a puppy floating along his ceiling.  At first, Mr. Raisin does not wish to keep the dog but then realizes the puppy will float away.  He brings the dog inside and slowly develops an affection for the dog, which he aptly names Floaty.

One morning on a walk, Floaty’s leash snaps, and the dog floats away.  Mr. Raisin is devastated that his dog disappears into the sky.  Finally admitting his fondness for Floaty, he makes several attempts to rescue him which fail.  But don’t fret, Mr. Raisin soon realizes the perfect way to bring Floaty home!

Floaty is both a hilarious and heartfelt story that teaches us sometimes the best things in life happen unexpectedly and we must welcome those surprises.  John Himmelman’s bold and colorful illustrations convey how Mr. Raisin’s changes in the story and how his love for Floaty grows.

Special thanks to Christian Trimmer and Mark Podesta of Henry Holt and Company Books for Young Readers for providing my #bookexcursion group with a preview copy of Floaty, which will be released in January 2018.

Etta, Bella, and I thank you for visiting Beagles and Books. Have a wonderful week and happy reading!

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 11/27/17

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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:

Beatrice Zinker Upside Down Thinkerby Shelly Johannes

I had the great privilege of reading an ARC of Beatrice this past July and fell in love with her and her way of looking at the world!  I host literacy lunch bunches with students where we enjoy our food and talk about books.  There are 3 second grade students who are obsessed with Junie B. Jones and have pretty much read all the books in the series.  So of course, I knew which book to recommend for our next read-Beatrice Zinker, Upside Down Thinker!

It isn’t easy being an upside down thinker in the right side up Zinker family.  Beatrice has always been different and focused on the MAYBEs, WHAT-IFS,  and COULD-BES.  Luckily, Beatrice’s best friend, Lenny is ready and willing to join her in Operation Upside by wearing her matching black ninja suit to school on the first day of third grade.

But when an imposter Lenny walks into Mrs. Tamarack’s classroom, Beatrice cannot believe her eyes.  Why is Lenny wearing a skirt and a sparkly pink sweater instead of all black?  Where are her green glasses?  And to make matters worst, Lenny gets to sit next to her new friend Chloe in class while Beatrice’s desk is right under her teacher’s nose.  Suddenly, Beatrice realizes her friendship is in trouble and she needs to think and act quickly to save Operation Upside.

I cannot wait to meet with my students and talk about Beatrice.  She teaches us great lessons about having the courage to be yourself- true friends will always appreciate your uniqueness!

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Shark Nate-O by Tara Luebbe and Becky Cattie  Illustrated by Daniel Duncan

Nate LOVES sharks!  Because Nate knows lots of cool facts about sharks, his nickname is Shark Nate-O. But Nate has a one slight problem-he can’t swim.  How can he really be a  shark if he can’t swim?

Luckily, Nate has a plan-swimming lessons!  At first, swimming does not come easy to Nate, and he needs a lot of support and rescuing from Coach Debra.  But Nate reminds himself that sharks are fearless and he does not give up.  Soon Nate is ripping through the water like a speedy mako shark.  While Nate is proud that he can swim on his own,  his ultimate goal is to become a member of the Amity Sharks swim team like his brother, Alex.  Can Nate live up to his nickname Shark Nate-O?

An added bonus is Nate shares some of his shark facts at the end of the book, which will definitely encourage readers to research sharks on their own.  A very special thanks to Tara Luebbe for sending an advance copy of Shark Nate-O to Beagles and Books, which I have shared with my #bookexcursion group. Preorder now, for Shark Nate-O will be published in April 2018.

To read my full review, please click here.

The Story of Fish and Snail by Deborah Freedman

Fish and Snail are friends.  Every day, Fish comes home with a new story to share with Snail.  But this time is different.  Fish wants to show, not tell Snail the new book.  Snail is not adventurous like Fish and wishes to stay put.  An argument ensues and Fish decides to jump out of the current book for the new story.

Snail realizes that their book cannot be The Story of Fish and Snail with no Fish.  So Snail has a difficult decision to make.  Can Snail leave its comfort zone and take a leap of faith with Fish?

The Fish and the Snail is a true story of friendship.  Friends don’t always agree and disagreements do occur.  But real friends find a common ground and are willing to compromise.

Freedman’s illustrations are absolutely gorgeous using a mix of both color and black and white. She perfectly captures the emotions of each character.  As a reader, you truly feel a part of Fish and Snail’s story because as their conflict heightens, the illustrations become larger.  After my first read, I found myself revisiting each page to enjoy the illustrations once more.

Our Featured Dog Selection of the Week:

Penny & Jelly: The School Show by Maria Gianferrari Illustrated by Thyra Heder

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

Peabody Elementary is hosting a talent show and everyone is ready to perform except Penny.  While her classmates plan on singing, dancing or both,  Penny is not sure of her talent.  With the support of her best fur friend, Jelly, Penny makes a list of possible talents, but unfortunately, none of them seem to be the right fit.  She continues to brainstorm and try out other ideas.  Will Penny find her true talent in time for the show?

I absolutely love the friendship between Penny and Jelly; the illustrations truly capture their love for one another.  Penny teaches young readers perseverance because she does not give up and learns that her talent was always there; she just had to find it with Jelly’s help of course!  Now, next on my to be read list is Penny and Jelly Under the Stars. Looking forward to their next continued adventures together!

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

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 11/20/17

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 Art of the Swap by Kristine Asselin & Jen Malone

The Art of the Swap is an intriguing and inventive mystery of two 12 year-old girls who switch places in time. Hannah Jordan lives in the present day at The Elms,  a mansion-turned-museum with her caretaker father. Margaret Dunlap, known as Maggie, is an American heiress in 1905 who spends time at the Elms as a guest of her aunt and uncle.  By way of a mysterious mirror, Hannah and Maggie swap places with each other.  Hannah goes back in time to 1905 whereas Maggie lands in the modern world.

At first, Hannah and Maggie are unsure of why the switch occurred.  Soon they realize that the swap took place on the very day that Maggie’s portrait painted by the now famous Mary Cassatt was stolen before its unveiling at a grand party at the Elms. Hannah and Maggie must collaborate quickly to solve the legendary art heist in order to return to their proper places.

What I love most about the novel is how the authors depict how the role of girls/women have changed over the last century.  Through the swap, Maggie does not want to be known as spoiled and useless, would rather read than sew, and relishes the fact that she can wear trousers, run, and climb trees in 2017.  Meanwhile, Hannah realizes that she has been raised to have a very different mindset-she can do and be anything.  She admits to Maggie that while women have equal rights on paper, women still have to earn them in people’s hearts.  Both girls learn an important lesson about their purposes in life and how they can each make a lasting contribution to society, which to quote Hannah and later Maggie is pretty cool!

Special thanks to Kristine Asselin and Simon & Schuster/Aladdin for sending an ARC of The Art of the Swap to our #bookexcursion group. It will be published in February 2018.

To read my full review, click here.

Max and Bird by Ed Vere

Max, wants to be friends with Bird, but there is a slight problem.  Being a cat, Max wants to chase and then perhaps eat Bird.  Bird is not pleased with the nature of their friendship and explains to Max that “friends have fun together and help each other out.”  Max agrees to help Bird learn how to fly and then they can talk about chasing and the other stuff (like eating, I suppose).

But how does a cat help a bird learn to fly?  Go to the library, of course! They learned that there are 3 simple steps to flying.  Unfortunately, the steps do not work for Bird or Max.  Luckily for Bird, the friends run into Pigeon for some advice.  In a short time, Bird is successful. But wait, does that mean Max will now chase and eat Bird?

I absolutely love the Max series.  Max is simply adorable with his big eyes and wagging tail.  I also love that Max makes a pro and con list of eating Bird.  While Bird may be tasty, Max would then be without a friend.  Of course,  friendship wins ( as it always should) so I hope there are more Max and Bird adventures to come!

Bear and Chicken by Jannie Ho

On a walk, a hungry Bear finds a chicken frozen in the snow.  Bear takes Chicken home to a warm fire for defrosting.  When Chicken wakes up, Bear says “You are just in time.”  “Just in time for what?” thinks Chicken.  But when Chicken sees a huge pot of water boiling and Bear chopping herbs and vegetables, she assumes she knows what is up.  Quickly. Chicken runs for her life out back into the cold woods.  Was Chicken’s suspicion correct or did she misjudge Bear?

At the end of the book, the author includes a recipe for Bear’s Vegetable Soup (Oops! spoiler) as well as facts about black bears.  I highly recommend Bear and Chicken to teach children not to judge book by its cover or more specifically, a Bear by his cooking!

Featured Dog Selection of the Week:

Antoinette by Kelly DiPucchio Illustrated by Christian Robinson

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

Antoinette is the follow-up to the beloved picture book, Gaston.  In this story, Mrs. Bulldog knows all her puppies are special.  Antoinette’s brothers know their strengths, but she isn’t so sure yet.  Mrs. Bulldog encourages Antoinette to keep her chin up because she will discover her talent in time.

During their daily trip to the park, Antoinette’s sister, Oh-La-La disappears chasing a butterfly.  While her brothers try to use their talents to locate her, they are unsuccessful.  Antoinette not does give up her search for Oh-La-La and not only locates and saves her sister, but also finds her special talent.

Like Gaston, Antoinette teaches us that we must celebrate our differences.  In addition, it teaches children the power of yet.  Finding your talent may take time; therefore, the lesson is never give up!  DiPucchio and Robinson are a truly fabulous team!  DiPucchio’s story is uplifting and positive, and Robinson’s warm and detailed illustrations make readers want to linger and savor each picture before turning the page.

Etta, Bella, and I thank you for visiting Beagles and Books.  Have a wonderful Thanksgiving with family and friends!