Board Books, It's Monday! What Are You Reading?, Nonfiction, Picture Books

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 11/28/22

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


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A Sweet New Year for Ren by Michelle Sterling Illustrated by Dung Ho

Ren is excited to celebrate Lunar New Year with her family, but when she asks to help with the festivities, she gets the same response “You’re still too little.” When her older brother Charlie arrives home, everything changes for he has the patience to teach Ren to make pineapple cakes.. Soon her aunts see Ren in a different light offering advice and when the pineapples cakes are ready for the oven, her mother acknowledges her ability. 

This year, I adopted a kindergarten class for #classroombookaday and A Sweet New Year for Ren is a perfect read aloud to teach them about Lunar New Year especially since this is the first year our district recognizes it as a holiday for students.  What I love most about this story is it highlights how Lunar New Year focuses on family and while the food fills the stomach, their togetherness fills the heart. Thanks to Paula Wiseman/Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers for sharing a copy. A Sweet New Year for Ren recently released on November 15, 2022.


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The Best Gift for Bear by Jennifer A. Bell 

Hedgehog bakes gingerbread cookies for all her friends, but she needs a grand present for her dear friend Bear.  When her snow covered roof gives her inspiration, Hedgehog is giddy with excitement.  Bear’s immense friendship is worthy of the multi-day task and when it is finished, Hedgehog is proud.  Bear’s house is far so Hedgehog begins her journey early in the morning.  All is fine until the winter wind whips around her and within seconds, her gift is destroyed a few feet away from Bear’s home.  After Bear rescues Hedgehog from the snow, a distraught Hedgehog shares her story and Bear confesses baking is not easy..  Hedgehog suggests baking together.

Bell’s sweet story warmed my heart.  First, who can resist an adorably drawn hedgehog with earmuffs? I love how both Hedgehog and Bear wanted to make a special gift for each other and realized the best gift is truly spending time together.  Included in the front endpapers is a recipe for Hedgehog’s Gingerbread Cookies and Grandma’s Honey Icing.  Thanks to Barbara Fisch of Blue Slip Media and Two Lions for sharing a copy.  The Best Gift for Bear published on September 27, 2022.


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Bright Winter Night by Alli Braydon Illustrated by Ashling Lindsay 

Forest animals band together to create a sleigh that will take them to see the northern lights.  Once Mouse knots the reins, the wolf pack is ready to take the animals to their destination. The snowy terrain causes a slight mishap but once they see a flash of light in the distance, the animals work together to get back on track. .Astute readers will notice how the color palette changes once the northern lights are within their grasp and once they see them, the page spread is glorious with the animals mesmerized by the sky. 

Brydon’s rhyming text and Lindsay’s brilliant artwork perfectly complement each other.  I love how the animals collaborated on their mode of transportation and problem solved when the sleigh was stifled.  The result was the glorious beauty of the northern lights which Lindsay majestically captured.  Bright Winter Night makes me want to book a trip to Norway or Iceland to see the nature’s sheer beauty with my own eyes. Thanks to Barbara Fisch of Blue Slip Media and Two Lions for sharing a copy. Bright Winter Night publishes soon on December 1, 2022.


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Fuzzy Furry Ouch by Cree Lane & Amanda Jane Jones

On the cover, Fuzzy Furry Ouch labels itself as a Do Not Touch Book but don’t despair.  This touch and feel book is completely safe teaching littles what they can and cannot touch.  Author Lane has fun for while a cactus and stove are items a child may encounter, she also humorously includes a dinosaur and a rocket ship.   I love how she exposes children to robust vocabulary such as slick, squishy, and rough to describe the texture of  items. Jones’ eye-catching’ illustrations are visually appealing centered on each page and invite a child to explore. Thanks to Little Simon/Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers for sharing a copy. A companion to Lane’s and Jones’ 2019 collaboration, Yum Yummy Yuck, Fuzzy Furry Ouch celebrates its book birthday tomorrow on  November 29, 2022.


Bella’s Dog Pick of the Week

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

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What’s Up Pup?  How Our Furry Friends Communicate and What They Are Saying by Kersten Hamilton Illustrated by Lili Chin

When Bella is not feeling 100%, it would be helpful if she could tell me in words what was wrong.  But after reading What’s Up Pup, I realize that she is communicating with me through her body language all the time and it is my job to see her “talk” with my eyes. 

With its rhyming text, Hamilton’s nonfiction picture book is as playful as the dogs she describes.  She shares how dogs use their eyes, ears, rears, noses, tails, and legs to send signals to humans and other canines about how they are feeling. Hamilton clarifies that a dog’s body language can mean different things depending on whether they are they are in company of humans or another dog.  Chin’s vivid artwork is full of energy conveying the doggy dialogue. I appreciate how Chin has a variety of dog breeds in her illustrations including a basset hound.  Immediately following the text, backmatter includes an author’s note, definitions of the dog language in the book, additional fascinating facts, and a bibliography. I especially loved learning how dogs can not only smell time but also their human’s emotions.  Thanks to Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)/Macmillan Children’s Publishing for sharing an electronic copy.  What’s Up Pup? recently released on November 16, 2022.


Bella and I thank you for visiting Beagles and Books!

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

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

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


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Oodles of Doodles by Aletheta Kontis Illustrated by Christopher Jacques 

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


Bella’s Dog Pick of the Week

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

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New Kids and Underdogs by Margaret Finnegan

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

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

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


Bella and I thank you for visiting Beagles and Books!

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

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 10/31/22

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


Bella’s Dog Pick of the Week 

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

Looking for True by Tricia Springstubb

11 year old Jude and Gladys live close to each other, attend the same school, and their paths have never crossed.  It’s not surprising since their personalities are as different as night and day, but when they each see the same dog being mistreated by its owner on a walk, both their hearts are touched.

When Jude and Gladys officially meet each other, they see the dog with its mean owner and their hearts hurt once again. Not long after, Gladys discovers that the dog has run away and enlists Jude to help find the pup she calls True Blue. Miraculously, they find True Blue but with Gladys’ dad allergic and Jude’s mom fearful, True Blue cannot live with either of them. Their only option is to temporarily hide her in the fortress, an abandoned house across the railroad tracks. Despite all the obstacles, will Jude and Gladys be true to True Blue and each other? 

Told in alternating chapters from Jude’s and Gladys’ point of view, Looking for True is a story with poses good questions to readers.

  • Is it more important to be safe or be with someone you love?
  • Is there good in everybody even if you can’t see it? 
  • Can there be two definitions of the same person?
  • Could a wish work with no star at night?

With themes of family and friendship, Looking for True is a touching middle grade novel that teaches us that sometimes you have to first follow your heart and then figure it out. I love how Jude and Gladys learn so much about themselves through their relationship with True Blue. Thanks to the author and publisher of sharing an ARC. Looking for True celebrates its book birthday tomorrow on November 1, 2022. 

Bella and I thank you for visiting Beagles and Books!

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

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

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


Our Recent Reads:

Rover and Speck: This Planet Rocks by Jonathan Roth

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

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


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The Tryout by Christina Soontornvat and Joanna Cacao

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

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


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

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

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

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

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



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ella’s Dog Pick of the Week

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

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Busy Betty by Reese Witherspoon Illustrated by Xindi Yan 

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

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

 

Bella and I thank you for visiting Beagles and Books!

 

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

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

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


Our Recent Reads:

The Hunger Heroes: Snack Cabinet Sabotage by Jarrett Lerner

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

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


Bella’s Dog Pick of the Week

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

Is This Your Class Pet? by Troy Cummings

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

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

Bella and I thank you for visiting Beagles and Books!

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

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

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


Our Recent Reads:


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

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

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



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

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

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


Bella’s Dog Pick of the Week

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

Pepper and Boo: A Cat Surprise by Charise Mericle Harper

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

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

Bella and I thank you for visiting Beagles and Books!

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

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 9/12/22

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


Our Recent Reads:

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Big Bear and Little Fish by Sandra Nickel  Illustrated by Il Sung Na

When Bear won a small fish instead of a big teddy bear at a carnival, she is disappointed and worried. Measuring nine feet and eight inches tall, Bear is not used to small things especially something that appears to be so unlike her.   After a long walk, Bear concludes that Fish cannot stay with her.  When Bear confronts Fish, Fish points out their parallels such as they both share the same color, have tails and essentially live in a bowl.  Perhaps, Bear and Fish aren’t so different after all. 

Big Bear and Little Fish is a story about the importance of perspective.  Bear dwelled on differences and Fish spotlighted similarities.  Once Bear was aware of some common ground, she saw the opportunity for a friendship to blossom.  What a great lesson for kids!  Thanks to Barbara Fisch of Blue Slip Media for sharing a copy.  Big Bear and Little Fish recently published on September 6, 2022.  


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I Cannot Draw a Horse by Carise Mericle Harper

The story begins with a gumdrop shape which thinks it’s nothing. The narrator/illustrator adds some details and the shape is now a cat.  But, the shape wants to be a horse.  Horses are hard to draw so the cat inherits friends in the form of a squirrel, beaver, bunny and a dog.  When the dog chases the cat, it needs help from the narrator/illustrator but once safe, continues to ask for a horse.  It gets a turtle, a house and a bear.  Will the cat ever get its wish? 

I Cannot Draw a Horse is an interactive story that will engage kids upon the first page spread. Harper’s simple and appealing drawings and her humorous plot keep kids entertained.   I love that the cat is persistent in its request and while it does finally get what it wants, the cat does not anticipate that the horse may have a wish of its own.  Could a follow-up be in the works?  If so, I am here for it. Thanks to Jenny Lu of Union Square Kids for sharing a copy.  I Cannot Draw a Horse recently released on September 6, 2022. 


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Mary Had a Little Plan by Tammi Sauer Illustrated by Vanessa Brantley-Newton

In the follow up to Mary Had a Little Glam, Mary sees an empty lot on a walk with her dad and dog.  Quickly, she gets to work devising a plan to spruce it up involving local businesses and her friends to help.  Mary learns that teamwork truly makes the dream work, for collaboration is key to making an impact in the community.  

Sauer’s lively, rhyming text and Brantley-Newton’s colorful and charming illustrations teach young children the importance of not only making a plan but also asking for support in executing the plan. I love the ode to classic nursery rhymes, for Mary’s helpful friends are Bo Peep, Jack and Jill, and Miss Muffet.  And of course, I am happy to see a Little Free Library is part of this renovated community space.  Thanks to Jenny Lu of Union Square Kids for sharing a copy.  Mary Had a Little Plan recently released on September 6, 2022. 


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Ice Cream Face by Heidi Woodward Sheffield

A kid loves to eat ice cream in any form, however, he struggles to wait when he visits his local ice cream shop. As he stands in line, he sees happy ice cream faces all over yet each person approaches their dessert differently.  All the enjoyment makes the kid frustrated.  When will he gets his chance? Finally he has ice cream in his hands and his face melts from annoyance to joy.  He tackles the cold, drippy treat with gusto which makes his brain freeze.  When he slows down, the ice cream becomes soupy and falls off his cone.  Oh no! No more ice cream face especially since the shop has closed.  Fortunately, his fellow ice cream fans are willing to share some scoops. 

Kids will easily identify with Sheffield’s ice cream kid.  As they listen to a read aloud, kids could mimic his faces to better understand his range of emotions.  Sheffield’s rhyming text and bold collage artwork catches and captivates the ears and eyes. Observant readers will notice that the ice cream is actual photographs making the tasty treat pop off the page.  Thanks to the author for sharing a copy.  Ice Cream Face published in June 2022. 


Bella’s Dog Pick of the Week

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

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Don’t Eat Bees: Life Lessons from Chip the Dog by Dev Petty Illustrated by Mike Boldt

Listen up! Chip has some wise words.  Eating socks is ok because there is always a spare, but don’t eat bees. You know what else you can eat?  Homework, Thanksgiving turkey, Grandpa’s teeth, cat food, any food your small human gives you, shoes, a couch and of course, an unsupervised sandwich.   But, no lemons, fire or bees. (well maybe, just once).  Petty’s peppy text and Boldt’s animated and expressive illustrations speak directly to the reader which will result in a lot of smiles and chuckles.  But Chip and readers must be wary of the cat, Mittens, who may have a vendetta after Chip ate its food. Thanks to the author and illustrator for sponsoring a giveaway where I was one of the lucky winners!  Don’t Eat Bees released in May 2022. 

Bella and I thank you for visiting Beagles and Books!

 

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

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 8/22/22

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


Our Recent Reads:

 

Frances and the Monster by Refe Tuma

It’s 1939 in Bern, Switzerland and 11 year old Frances is beyond excited to accompany her scientist parents to a symposium in Brussels.  Ever since her car accident seven years ago, her parents have been reluctant to let her leave the manor (originally owned by her scientist great-grandfather) and Frances discovers that this trip is regrettably no different.  Instead, they present her with a robot tutor named H.O.B.B.E.S (Household Operations Bionic Butlery and Education Servant) since Frances drove away all her previous teachers.  Angry and frustrated, Frances tries to evade and confuse Hobbes wandering the mansion and stumbles upon a hidden entrance to a secret workshop.  In that laboratory, Frances discovers not only her great-grandfather’s journal but also uncovers a body frozen in ice.  If Frances can figure out how to complete her great-grandfather’s invention, she can join her parents at the next conference and prove her place in the family. 

As soon as the creature stands up, fear, not pride, consumes Frances. Her only response is to run  allowing the monster to escape the manor and head to the city.  Frances knows she has to right her wrong so she ventures into Bern with Hobbes and Fritz, a chimpanzee.  In her pursuit, she meets Luca who knows the city well and becomes her first true friend.  When finding the monster and evading the constable prove challenging, Frances feels defeated, but Luca provides these encouraging words-“We didn’t fail. We just haven’t succeeded yet.”  

Debut author Tuma’s retelling of Shelley’s Frankenstein drew me in right away.  From the moment I met Frances, I was rooting for her. While written in third person, readers really get to know her as a character.  I admire her thirst for knowledge, persistence, courage and that she defies convention preferring short hair and trousers.   What I loved most was her relationships with Hobbes, Fritz, and Luca which provided lots of chuckles amid the frantic hunt. Frances also teaches readers a valuable lesson about perspective. Thanks to the author for sending a copy to my #bookexcursion group. Frances and the Monster releases tomorrow on August 23, 2022. 



My Pet Feet
by Josh Funk Illustrated by Billy Yong

A girl wake up to find her pet is all feet, a policewoman is riding a hose, and her pal Lucas is acting like a fiend.  What is causing all the commotion?  On close inspection, it appears that letter R is missing.  Where did it go or who could have stolen it? 

Always creative and comical, I am a BIG fan of all of Josh Funk’s stories.  My Pet Feet takes wordplay to a whole new level.  I am in awe of his ingenuity in writing a story with a fun and fantastical plot without any Rs (well, not until the culprit is caught).  Even the synopsis on the book jacket and title page is free of Rs. Yong’s bright and animated illustrations not only perfectly complement the text but also go beyond showing how the disappearance of one letter can affect a town.  As a reading specialist, I love that My Pet Feet can engage kids of all ages in building phonemic awareness at the manipulation (deletion) level.  A text feature I praise is all the words missing Rs are in a bold purple font.  Lastly, the ending gives me hope that there could be a sequel.  Yes, please! Thanks to Simon and Schuster for sharing a copy.  My Pet Feet publishes tomorrow on August 23, 2022.  



Creepy Crayon!
by Aaron Reynolds Illustrated by Peter Brown

Jasper Rabbit returns just in time for back to school.  Studying isn’t as fun as watching shows or playing games so Jasper is pretty pumped that the crayon he found can take the pressure off.  He appreciates the help in spelling and math but when the crayon puts its mark on his artwork, Jasper no longer is on board.  Can he get rid of creepy crayon and take back control? 

Like the first two books in the series, Creepy Crayon is hauntingly hilarious.  Reynolds and Brown masterfully continue to provide chuckles and chills as Jasper learns a valuable lesson about being responsible.    Kids (and adults too) will love that both the creepy carrots and creepy underwear make an appearance.  Thanks to Simon and Schuster for sharing a copy. Creepy Crayons releases tomorrow on August 23, 2022. 


Bella’s Dog Pick of the Week

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

SumoPuppy by David Biedrzycki 

In the sequel to SumoKitty, readers are introduced to a stray pug puppy who was brought to the heya (training center) by Okamisan (manager). At first, the pup named Chanko-chan is a nuisance following SummoKitty everywhere. But what if he could teach her the ways of kitty allowing SummoKItty to spending more time napping and less time mousing?   

Enthusiasm is a worthy trait but Chanko-chan’s energetic spirit was neither a good match for kitty duties nor for living in the heya.  Okamisan takes Chanko-chan to a shelter; however, her stay is short. When she finds her way back to the heya, Chanko-chan proves her pep has a purpose.    Biedrzycki’s humorous and heartwarming tale teaches that sometimes talents may need time to be fully appreciated. Thanks to Charlesbridge for sharing an eARC.   I can’t wait to see the gorgeous artwork in person and share this sweet story with my students.  SummoPuppy publishes on October 18, 2022. 

Bella and I thank you for visiting Beagles and Books!

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

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 8/1/22

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


Our Recent Reads:

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Big Rig by Louise Hawes 

For seven years, Hazel (handle: Hazmat), has been trucking with her dad, a former professor in their eighteen wheeler named Leonardo.  The big rig is also Hazmat’s classroom where her dad homeschools her.  Father and daughter are a true team, for dad drives and Hazmat navigates and helps with paperwork once they get to their destination.  Hazmat loves her life on the road so much that her dream is to drive her own truck when she is old enough.  But her dad cautions her that robo-trucks might be replacing humans as drivers and it could be sooner than later.  Dad isn’t worried because perhaps it’s time to retire Leonardo and stay put in one place but Hazmat wants life to stay as it is.  And while the runs can be long and tiring, excitement pops up on the road.  After seeing the aftermath of a plane crash, Hazmat rescues a surviving kitten and she and her dad help a school bus full of kids sinking due to a flash flood.   Sounds like the script for a movie!

Big Rig is a story with both humor and heart.  Told from Hazmat’s point of view, readers learn her family’s past which ultimately led to their life on the road.  She and her dad have a great relationship and at times, their exchanges made me chuckle. While Hazmat has an unconventional life, her dad makes sure she is grounded.  Hazmat also has a good support system with family friends Mazen and his wife Serena who they stay with when they are between runs.  Most importantly, Hazmat reminds us to cherish the small things in life and never stop dreaming big.  Thanks to Peachtree Publishing for sharing an eARC.  Big Rig celebrates its book birthday tomorrow on August 2, 2022. 


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Haven: A Small Cat’s Big Adventure by Megan Wagner Lloyd 

Once stray kitten Haven climbed up Ma Millie’s doorstep and meowed softly, her life was forever changed.   Haven knew she was safe with Ma Millie.  But when Ma Millie’s cough gets progressively worse making her weak, Haven knows her human needs help.   She knows Ma Millie’s only hope is their neighbor, Jacob Levan and Haven must find him.  Before she can change her mind, she hops out a window and returns to the forest in search of Jacob.  When she arrives at his house, her excitement quickly deflates when the cows tell her he is still in town.  It would be easy for Haven to stay with the cows and wait, but the small cow cheers her on by saying “you don’t have to be big to be brave.” And so Haven’s adventure begins cautiously befriending a fox who agrees to help her get to town in exchange for Ma Millie’s food.  The duo must be alert at all times, for there is a bobcat pursuing them as prey.  Through their adventure, Haven and the fox learn to trust each other building a friendship that is just precious.    

With vivid characters and an absorbing plot, Haven: A Small Cat’s Adventure is a story that pulls you in right away. Compassion is a key theme in the novel, for both Haven and Ma Millie show compassion toward each other but the fox truly shows compassion for helping Haven rather than eating her.  This act of kindness is not lost on Haven, for she returns the favor.  I also love seeing Haven grow from a strictly an indoor cat to one who also identifies as a brave, wild creature of the forest. At only 131 pages long, Wagner Lloyd’s writing is concise yet descriptive making readers feel they are on the journey with Haven.  The length of both the novel and the chapters will appeal to kids who are building their stamina for middle grade. But make sure tissues are close by because there are some tearful moments within this hopeful story.  Thanks to Candlewick Press for sharing an ARC.  Haven releases next week on August 9, 2022. 


Pip and Zip by Elana Arnold Illustrated by Doug Salati

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It is spring 2020 and a family is bored with staying inside so Dad declares “Let’s take a walk.”  On the walk, they maintain their social distance with neighbors expressing sorrow that even the dogs can’t sniff each other and their Saturday morning pancake restaurant is closed.  When they circle the lake, they find two eggs at the water’s edge.  Since the wildlife center is closed, their next door neighbor Ted who “brakes for birds” lends them an incubator and the family waits for the eggs to hatch.  After 28 days, the ducklings crack open with a zip and a pip and Ted takes over as caregiver.  The family spends more time outside watching Pip and Zip’s progress until they are ready to fly.  They return the ducklings back to the lake, and coincidentally, the outside world appears to be come back to life.

Inspired by a true story (see author’s note), Arnold’s gentle narrative is a charming reminder that amid uncertainty, we should always continue to look for wonder in the world.  Salati’s expressive illustrations show how the family’s attitude changed after bringing home the eggs.  Their focus clearly moved from electronics to observing first the eggs and then the ducklings.  Thanks to Macmillan for sharing an eARC. Pip and Zip releases on August 23, 2022. 


Bella’s Dog Pick of the Week

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

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Piglet Comes Home: How a Deaf Blind Pink Puppy Found His Family Melissa Shapiro, DVM  Illustrated by Ellie Snowdon

Six rescue dogs eagerly await a new addition to the family.  Will it be a small or large dog?  A girl or a boy? The oldest dog Susie wisely says “We will welcome them with open paws because we are a family.” When Mom comes home and puts down a very small crate, the dogs saw a squealing pink puppy.  She introduced the pack to Piglet who was deaf and blind.  All the dogs try to lend a paw of support, but a scared Piglet remains in his crate.  At night, when Piglet transitions to a dog bed, Susie calms his cries with snuggles.  Day by day, Piglet learns not only to trust the other dogs, but also to trust his instincts using his keen sense of smell.  

Stories about rescue dogs always tug at my heart so when it is a story about a real dog, my heart explodes!  Piglet Comes Home is a sweet story about how Piglet despite not being able to see or hear has thrived because of his never give up attitude and his loving and supportive environment.  At the end of the book, Shapiro shares the the story behind the story with bios and photographs of all the dogs and more information on the outreach program called Piglet Mindset which I can’t wait to share with teachers when school begins. Thanks to Simon Kids for sharing a copy. Piglet Comes Home published on June 7, 2022.

Bella and I thank you for visiting Beagles and Books!

 

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

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 7/25/22

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


Our Recent Reads:

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Fenris & Mott by Greg van Eekhout 

Mott (short for Martha) just moved to California from Pennsylvania with her mom.  The transition isn’t easy, for she is missing her best friend and disappointed in her dad who doesn’t keep his promises.  One night, behind her apartment, she hears a “mweep” coming from a recycling bin.  Thinking it is a rat, Mott is delighted to discover the sound was coming from a puppy.  Angered that someone would dump a defenseless pup, Mott promises to take care of it.  This vow is tricky since her apartment building isn’t pet friendly.  But Mott is a quick thinker and takes the dog to an animal shelter where she finds out the animal is actually a wolf pup.   

The wolf pup doesn’t appreciate being leashed and escapes. When Mott catches up with him, the wolf pup is being held by a large man dressed in a costume who introduces himself as Gorm the Vicious., a bondsman to a Norse god. He informs Mott that the wolf pup is Fenris and according to Norse mythology, he will destroy the world by eating the moon. Mott might not have control over a lot of things in her life, but she is determined to keep her vow to Fenris.  After meeting Fenris’ sword bearing guard, Thrudi and refusing to surrender him, Mott convinces her to team up to attempt to stop the prophecy in hopes of saving both Fenris and the world.

Told from Mott’s point of view, Fenris & Mott is a fast-paced, riveting story that is hard to put down.  To be honest, I don’t read a lot of novels with mythological elements.  Initially, the wolf pup drew me in but what made me keep reading was Mott.   She is strong for Fenris willing to protect him at all costs yet vulnerable when it comes to relationships with Amanda and her dad.  What I also enjoyed the humor especially between Mott and Thrudi and their unlikely friendship.  While some plot events are tied up, there are still questions left unanswered which leaves me hopeful that the trio’s adventures will continue. Thanks to Barbara Fisch of Blue Slip Media for sharing a copy.  Fenris & Mott releases next week on August 2, 2022. 


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The End by John Bray

In his debut picture book, Bray humorously explores the concept of endings.  On the first page spread, a child is running excitedly out of a school building where a hanging banner states “Have a great summer.”  The child finishes lunch but dinner and dessert will be beginning.  Later she builds a very long fort which allows her to stay in the middle until she gets bored ending her construction. As I read The End, I was reminded of the Lucius Anneaus Seneca quote popularized in Semisonic’s song Closing Time, “Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.”   

Bray’s playful text and Cleland’s energetic artwork make you want to read the story to the end!      After reading, a good discussion can take place about beginnings, middles, and endings and how some conclusions are tougher than others such as the end of summer vacation (yup, that is a BIG ending).  Thanks to Starry Forest Books for sending an ARC to my #bookexcursion group. The End releases on August 30, 2022. 


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Cadence and Kittenfish: A Mermaid Tale by Judith Roth Illustrated by Jaclyn Sinquett

Cadence, a young mermaid, is lonely.  When she peers up on land and sees a whole bunch of kittens, she thinks one would be a great companion.  Her dad disagrees suggesting a catfish. But Cadence still wants a kitten. The next day, Cadence returns above water in a boat and is able to entice a kitten to join her. But finding a place they can both play is problematic since cats live on land and mermaids in the water. After many unsuccessful tries, Cadence sadly says goodbye to the kitten returning it to shore. Will Cadence ever find a pet that fits her and her habitat?

With a lively text and expressive illustrations, kids will enjoy Cadence and the Kittenfish.  They will also easily be able to relate to Cadence and her desire for a pet of her own.  And don’t worry.  Astute observers will see that Cadence’s perfect pet is right under her nose (I mean tail),  for the most adorable little otter seems to be following her longing for a friend too.  Thanks to Starry Forest Books for sending an ARC to my #bookexcursion group. Cadence and Kittenfish releases on August 30, 2022. 


Bella’s Dog Pick of the Week

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

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Noodle and the No Bones Day by Jonathan Graziano Illustrated by Dan Tavis

Full disclosure: I did not know about Noodles because I am not on TikTok.  But I just discovered he is on Instagram so he and his human each gained a new follower.

Noodles, a senior rescue pug, enjoys walking and sitting outside with his human Jonathan, And snacks. Noodles loves eating snacks. But one morning, Noodles didn’t want to leave his comfy bed.  A worried Jonathan tried to get Noodles upright, but he just fell back in his bed as if he did not have any bones.  After checking to make sure Noodles was not sick, he decided to let Noodles relax at home with belly rubs, snuggles, and snacks. Always snacks. It was Noodles first of many no bones days! 

Being a senior rescue dog mom, Jonathan Graziano and Noodles touched my heart.  My husband and I adopted both Bella and Etta (who passed in February 2020) when they were each about six years old.  Dan Tavis’ illustrations capture Noodles’ adorable personality and I appreciate how the author’s note encourages readers to look to shelters and rescues to find a pet. I also love the message in the story that bones or no bones are both good days. Why?  Because any day you can spend with someone you love is a fantastic day!  Some of my favorite days are chilling with Bella on a snow day or during summer vacation.  In a world where schedules can get busy, Noodles and the No Bones Day is a great reminder to practice self-care.  Thanks to Simon Kids for sharing a copy.  Noodle and the No Bones Day published on June 7, 2022.

Bella and I thank you for visiting Beagles and Books!

 

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