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

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 12/6/21

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


Our Recent Reads:

IMG_1777

Winter Lullaby by Diane White Illustrated by Ramona Kaulitzki

Honking geese and falling leaves are signs that winter is coming.  As she holds Small Bear’s hand,  Mama Bear says it’s time for bed.  But Small Bear is hesitant to hibernate.  Mouse, Chipmunk, Skunk, Hare, and Raccoon are still awake.  Mama Bear gently explains that all the animals are preparing for a winter rest in their homes. Small Bear is still reluctant asking why must we hide when winter comes? Mama Bear tenderly describes when they wake, it will be spring for the ice will melt to green. This discovery not only comforts Small Bear but also excites the cub.  Now, the two can snuggle for their winter nap. 

With a rhyming soothing text, White has written a sweet story perfect for bedtime.  I love how each time, Small Bear questions hibernation, Mama Bear demonstrates patience with her calm responses. Kaulitzki’s warm illustrations show the shift from fall to winter as blowing leaves change to falling snowflakes.  Her artwork also captures the love between Mama Bear and her cub.  They walk hand in hand, Mama Bear carries Small Bear on her shoulders as well as under her arm.  On the last page spread, they cuddle together in their den.  

Thanks to the author for sharing a copy. Winter Lullaby celebrates its book birthday tomorrow on December 7, 2021. 


IMG_1737

Dancing with Daddy by Anitra Rowe Schulte Illustrated by Ziyue Chen

Excited to go to her first father-daughter dance, Elsie picks out a beautiful red dress with a matching bow because the color matches Daddy’s soccer jersey.  As they drive home from the store, Elsie sees snow flurries and begins to worry. Will the weather ruin her special night?

Inspired by the author’s own daughter, the main character, Elsie, has Wolf-Hirschhorn Syndrome (WHS). Through the illustrations and text, readers learn how Elsie moves through the use of a wheelchair, eats by way of a plastic tool that pushes food in her stomach, and talks by touching picture squares in a book.  To the reader, this way of life will be new, but to Elsie’s family, this is normal daily activity which is evident in Chen’s beautiful illustrations.  

Reading Dancing with Daddy is like being wrapped in a warm hug.  The immense love of the family is beautifully conveyed in Schulte’s uplifting text and Chen’s gorgeous artwork.  Highly recommend to add to libraries big or small-public, school, classroom and home! To read my full review, click here. 


Bella’s Dog Pick of the Week

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

IMG_1691

Just Harriet by Elana Arnold

I am a big fan of Arnold’s Bat series so when I saw the cover of her new young middle grade series, Just Harriet with an adorably illustrated girl holding a cat and a basset hound beside her, I knew I couldn’t wait until its release to read.  And while the basset hound named Moneypenny plays a supporting role in the story, her antics with Harriet’s cat, Matzo Ball add levity to the story. Thanks to Harper Collins and NetGalley for sharing an eARC.  Just Harriet publishes on February 1, 2022. 

Her parents promised her the baby wouldn’t change anything but now that her mom must be on bed rest, Harriet has to spend the summer with Nanu (grandmother).  While she loves Nanu, she is not happy about living at her bed and breakfast on Marble Island for two whole months.  Luckily, she convinces everyone to allow Matzo Ball to join her, but Moneypenny isn’t exactly on board (at least, not at first.)

Not long after Harriet arrives, she finds a key in Nanu’s shed. Following in the footsteps of her namesake, Harriet the Spy, Harriet is determined to find out what the key unlocks.  As she tries to uncover the mystery, Harriet learns more about Marble Island, her dad who grew up on the island and most importantly, herself.  And Matzo Ball and Moneypenny.  They learn to not only coexist but actually share a patch of sun together.  

I just adore Harriet.  She admits that sometimes she lies, pees her bed when she has a nightmare, and can get “out of hand.”  I love her honesty to the reader.  At the end of the book, when she meets Mabel Marble who is turning 100 at the end of the summer, Mabel says “We have to laugh at the hard things sometimes. It makes them easier to bear.”  Harriet takes Mabel’s words under consideration. Perhaps laughing instead of getting mad or lying would be helpful.  Looking forward to watching Harriet learn and grow in this series.  


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? 11/29/21

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


Our Recent Reads:

IMG_1696

Something Good by Marcy Campbell Illustrated by Corinna Luyken

When the custodian discovers something bad written on the girls’ bathroom wall,  Principal Martinez questions all the girls to investigate.  Since they do not know what was written, a few girls sneak into the bathroom to see it for themselves.  While readers never find out “the bad-something,” the page spread of the girls’ faces is compelling; eyes wide, eyes closed, hands over mouth and mouth open all shocked by what they see.  The “bad-something” makes everyone suspicious of each other and feeling a range of emotions from worry, confusion, anger, sadness.  These emotions somehow fuel a meanness.  How are they ever going to heal?  With the help of Principal Martinez and their teachers, the kids are reminded they were special and kind.  They work together to make something good and paint a mural over the something bad.  Poems were also composed that focused on the positive.  

Inspired by real life events at her children’s school, Campbell’s story is an authentic account of how a community can not only mend but also grow stronger.  As I read, I felt as if I was one of the students which demonstrates the amazing union of Campbell’s powerful words and Luyken’s moving artwork.  Something Good will encourage a healthy conversation for kids about hate speech, a tough but important topic to discuss with elementary students. Thanks to Wunderkind PR for sharing a copy.  Something Good released on October 19, 2021.  


IMG_1700

It Fell From the Sky by The Fan Brothers 

When a yellow green marble falls from the sky, all the animals agree it is the most amazing thing they have ever seen but they differ on what the object is.  Is a gumdrop, a fallen star or a magic chrysalis?  Spider claims it as his, for it fell in his web. Astute readers will know from the illustrations, the arachnid is being deceptive but no one challenges him.  In fact, they help him build Wonderville to display the mysterious treasure.  But Spider gets greedy.  When demand to view the “Wonder from the Sky” is high, he increases the admission price more and more as well as rushes visitors through the exhibit.  Animals leave and customers dwindle but then the worse happens.  A hand reaches down and steals Spider’s Wonder!  Now Spider is alone.  How will he redeem himself? 

As in their other books, The Fan Brothers’ artwork is stunning.  With the exception of the marble, leaves that represent money, and the last two page spreads, the majority of illustrations are black and white.  This decision shows how incredible the marble was to the animals.  The page spread where Spider has piles of green leaves in front of him reveals his selfishness.  It Fell From the Sky will promote a great discussion, for readers will observe how Spider changes and makes amends.  Thanks to Simon and Schuster Children’s Publishing for sharing a copy.  It Fell From the Sky published on September 28, 2021. 


IMG_1706

Fluffy McWhiskers Cuteness Explosion by Stephen Martin Iliustrated by Dan Tavis

Why would adorable Fluffy McWhiskers be sad and lonely?  The cat is so unbelievably cute that once anyone lay eyes on her, they explode which makes having and keeping friends extremely difficult.  She attempts to solve her problem by making herself less cute, but it seems everything Fluffy does increases her cuteness.  Even traveling to outer space does not help her situation; aliens blow up too! Finally, Fluffy boats to a deserted island to solve her problem once and for all until one day Fluffy discovers she is no longer alone.  Having no place to hide, she comes nose to nose with a pug and miraculously, the dog doesn’t explode. In fact, the pug is shocked Fluffy didn’t; now the puppy and cat can become BFFs.

A note of caution-Martin’s ridiculously hilarious plot and Tavis’ adorable and lively illustrations will cause kids and adults to erupt with laughter.  Amid the giggles, Fluffy teaches persistence because she makes every effort to solve the problem.  Seeing her ideas fail was heartbreaking but my heart truly burst with happiness when she and the pug became friends. Thanks to Simon and Schuster Children’s Publishing for sharing a copy. Fluffy McWhiskers Cuteness Explosion released on November 2, 2021. 


Bella’s Dog Pick of the Week

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

IMG_1708

Tag and the Magic Squeaker by Sam Hundley

A pup named Tag loves playing with his squeaker ball.  When it rolls under the couch, the cat is happy but Tag is upset.  A mouse hears Tag’s whimpering, sees a hole in the squeaker, and decides to take advantage of an opportunity.  When the squeaker rolls back out, Tag is surprised and the cat is stunned.  Then the squeaker not only begins talking to Tag but also helps him get a treat from the kitchen.  His toy must be magical!  But the cat is skeptical and attempts to uncover the mystery behind the “magic” squeaker.  Will the mouse get sniffed out?

Kids will be engaged by Hundley’s fun plot and captivated by his amazing artwork.  All the characters were created of scrap art. In the author’s note, Hundley shares that almost all of the objects he used are dug relics dating back to the 1800s.  Readers also find out the his own beagle Theo inspired the story.  Thanks to Capstone and NetGalley for sharing an eARC.  Tag and the Magic Squeaker publishes on February 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, Early Chapter Books, Graphic Novel, It's Monday! What Are You Reading?, Middle Grade Literature, Picture Books

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

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


Our Recent Reads:

IMG_1540

Batpig: When Pigs Fly by Ron Harrell

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

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

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


 

IMG_1534

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

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

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


Ammi

A Sari for Ammi by Mamta Nainy Illustrated by Sandhya Prabhat

With themes of family, kindness, cooperation, and problem solving, A Sari for Ammi is a touching story that all children can relate to.  What I love most is kids learn more about the culture and traditions of a rural Indian Muslim family and their lifestyle.  Nainy seamlessly weaves Indian words into the text which are defined in a glossary and shares background about the history of making saris in Kaithoon, the Rajasthan town where the story takes place.  The love that the sisters not only for their ammi but also for their whole family was evident in Nainy’s engaging plot and Prabhat’s bright and lively illustrations.  I adored the way they collaborated to earn enough money to buy a sari.  Their good deed will make readers want to pay it forward and show kindness to a loved one.  Highly recommend A Sari for Ammi for home libraries, classroom libraries, school libraries, and public libraries!  


Bella’s Dog Pick of the Week

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

IMG_1539

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

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

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

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

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


Bella and I thank you for visiting Beagles and Books!

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

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

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


Our Recent Reads:

IMG_1429

The Hunger Heroes: Missed Meal Mayhem by Jarrett Lerner

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

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

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

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


 
IMG_1433
 
Barb The Last Berzerker by Dan Abdo and Jason Patterson 
 

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

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


 

IMG_1431

A Home Again by Colleen Rowan Kosinski Illustrated by Valeria Docampo

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

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


 

IMG_1426

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

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

Thanks to Abrams and Barbara Fisch of Blue Slip Media for sharing a finished copy.  Odd Beasts: Meet Nature’s Weirdest Animals celebrates its book birthday tomorrow on November 2, 2021. 


Bella’s Dog Pick of the Week

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

IMG_1423

Awake by Mags DeRoma

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

I love DeRoma’s debut picture book because it teaches kids about empathy.   The plot conveys the theme and on the back endpapers, DeRoma cleverly provides kids with illustrated step by step directions for how to kindly and carefully relocate a spider.  Oscar is a loyal companion never leaving his girl’s side.  Thanks to Macmillan Children’s Publishing for sharing a finished copy.  Awake recently released on October 19, 2021. 


Bella and I thank you for visiting Beagles and Books!

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

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

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


Our Recent Reads:

IMG_1351

The Bookshop of Dust and Dreams by Mindy Thompson 

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

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

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

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


 

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

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

 

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


Bella’s Dog Pick of the Week

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

The Longest Letsgoboy by Derick Wilder Illustrated by Catia Chen

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

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

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


Bella and I thank you for visiting Beagles and Books!

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is etta-beagles-and-books-e1624813174378.jpg
“People love dogs. You can never go wrong adding a dog to the story.”
Jim Butcher
#IMWAYR is dedicated to dear Etta, my original book beagle. Blessed that Etta is part of my story.
It's Monday! What Are You Reading?, Picture Books

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 10/18/21

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


Our Recent Reads:

Thanks to Jenny Lu of Simon and Schuster Children’s Publishing for sharing these Halloween picture books with Beagles and Books.  All published on July 20, 2021. 

IMG_1296

Vampenguin by Lucy Ann Cummins

What happens when the Dracula family visits the zoo? When the door to the penguin habitat is ajar, the youngest vampire seizes the opportunity to visit the birds. With his black and white clothing, his yellow pacifier mimicking a beak and yellow shoes matching webbed feet, the resemblance is spot on and the two swap places with the penguin climbing into the stroller. Unaware, the Dracula family travels through the zoo yet the animals are wise to the switch.

A soft color palette and charming illustration make Vampenguin spookingly sweet. What I love most is Cummins makes the story fun for both children and adults. Young children will adore the plot and the illustrations and adults and older readers will chuckle at the discrepancy between the text and the illustrations. For example, the text says “after a short wait in line…” but the illustrations shows many people in front of the Dracula family. The last illustration is simply fabulous, for it is a copy of the souvenir photo with the penguin in the stroller and the youngest vampire peeking through the window of the penguin enclosure.


IMG_1300

How to Hide a Ghost: A Lift the Flap Book by MacKenzie Haley

Where can a ghost hide?  This Halloween board book is a perfect interactive read aloud for toddlers.  On each page spread, children will encounter a lively, rhyming text, sweet (not scary) illustrations, and a sturdy flap that can be lifted easily by small hands to reveal the ghost’s hiding place.  Under the flap, the ghosts’ expressions are simply adorable and will put a smile onto a child’s face.  

I love that the cover also includes a flap and the durability of the board book. It is actually one of the most well-made board books I have ever seen.  How to Hide a Ghost is an engaging (not eerie) story that kids will want to read again and again. 


Bella’s Dog Cat Pick of the Week

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

Warning: A cat pounced on the opportunity to take over Bella’s Pick of the Week. Rest assured that dogs WILL be back next week. 

IMG_1304

Hardly Haunted by Jessie Sima 

A vacant house feels lonely and worries people won’t move in because she is haunted.  A curious black cat enters the residence and takes the reader on a tour of each room as the house attempts to suppress her creaks, squeaks, and rattles but is unsuccessful.   The quivering cat leaps out of the house but remains close by.  Holding her breath, the house tries again, but this time, the wind is the culprit rustling leave and scratching branches against her side causing her lights to flicker and base to groan. Finally, the rush of air makes a howling sound through her roof.  Instead of feeling depressed, the house feels invigorated.  Perhaps being haunted is her thing!  Now all she needs is to find a family who will embrace her spookiness.  Don’t worry readers! A happy ending awaits for this haunted house as well as the cat. 

I love how Sima’s illustrations make the house come alive. The third story windows serve as her eyes which convey her range of feelings from apprehension to contentment. The black cat also helps set the tone for the story, for its expression and disposition changes once the house accepts herself unconditionally.  


Bella and I thank you for visiting Beagles and Books!

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is etta-beagles-and-books-e1624813174378.jpg
“People love dogs. You can never go wrong adding a dog to the story.”
Jim Butcher
#IMWAYR is dedicated to dear Etta, my original book beagle. Blessed that Etta is part of my story.
Early Chapter Books, It's Monday! What Are You Reading?, Picture Books

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 10/4/21

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


Our Recent Reads:

All for One (Definitely Dominguita Book 3) by Terry Catasus Jennings Illustrated by Fatima Amaya

In the third book in the series, Dominguita’s love for reading and re-enacting the classics continues with The Three Musketeers. While at Fuentes Salvages borrowing costume props, El Senor Fuentes asks Dom to take a check to Tava’s Butcher to pay for the pigs for his granddaughter Leni’s quinceanera. Always of service, Dom is happy to oblige. When Dom arrives at the shop, Mr. Tava is not there; only a boy named Vinnie. With his hyena laugh, Dom senses something is not right, but feels she has no choice than to give Vinnie the check. Dom’s suspicions were correct, for Vinnie is the oldest of the Bublassi brothers. Why would Vinnie and his brothers want to sabotage Leah’s party? Dom along with her other musketeers Pancho and Steph refuse to let them win and embark on an adventure to save Leah’s important day.

With themes of family, friendship, and fortitude, the Definitely Dominguita series has a lot of kid appeal. Written in under 130 pages with short chapters and engaging illustrations, the series is perfect for readers transitioning to chapter books. Kids not only learn some Spanish words and traditions, but also a knowledge of classic stories. Most importantly, Dom is a great role model demonstrating creativity, grit, perservance, and kindness.

Thanks to the author for sharing a finished copy with my #bookexcursion group.  All for One recently published on August 17, 2021.  Stay tuned for Book 4: Sherlock Dom, which releases on November 16, 2021.


Niki Nakayama: A Chef’s Tale in 13 Bites by Jamie Michalak & Debbie Michiko Florence  Illustrated by Yuko Jones

Paying homage to chef Niki Naykayama’s 13 course meal, this picture book biography tells her life story in 13 bites. Growing up in Los Angeles with Japanese born parents, Niki’s enjoyed American foods with a Japanese flair. While Niki always did well in school, her parents’ focus was her brother. Niki was determined to prove she could be a success. Michalak and Florence repeatedly use the word, Kuyashii (meaning I’ll show them) to show Niki’s persistence.

After graduating high school, a visit to her cousin’s inn in the mountains of Japan introduced Niki to kaiseki, a multi course meal that tells a story.  Despite her family’s misgivings, Niki enrolled in cooking school and not only excelled but also became one of the first female sushi chefs. She returned to Japan to learn more about kaiseki and once back home in Los Angeles, Niki opened her own restaurant.

Co-writers Michalak and Florence flawlessly convey the message-Never give up on your goals. I loved Niki’s spunk (Kayashii) because no matter the obstacle, she always had the tenacity to pursue her passion. Illustrator Jones’ artwork shows Niki’s determination to make her dream come true.  Thanks to Brittany Pearlman of Macmillan Children’s Publishing for sharing a finished copy, Niki Nakayama: A Chef’s Tale in 13 Bites recently published on September 14, 2021. 


Between the Lines by Lindsay Ward

A young boy recalls how the colors began fading from his neighborhood street.  A lightning storm not only takes the color away but also creates a split in the road that separates the community.  As I read aloud the story to a kindergarten class, the kids were surprised with their mouths open when I turned the page and the color was gone.  I asked them the questions that author/illustrator Ward poses. .  Like most 5 year olds, their responses to the first question was literal. 

  • “The rain made the colors go away.”

  •  “The lightning made a hole in the street and took away the colors.”

The answers to the second question showed their thinking skills.

  • “I think the colors will come back because they will fix the hole.”

  • “They look sad so if they fix the hole, they will be happy again, and then the colors will come back.”

As I continued reading, the kids immediately noticed that the boy and girl remained sad.  When the boy stopped dreaming about the colors, he realized that he must take action. 

From their windows, the community observes the boy’s initiative and determination and gradually joins him in repairing the crevice that divided them.  When rain begins to fall, the boy’s and girl’s smiles fade but instead of going their separate ways, the community stands together.  Their unity allows color to return and makes the community whole again.  When I turned the page and the kids saw the color, they clapped. My heart melted seeing their excitement and hearing the sound of their happiness. 

After the clapping ended, I revisited the question, “Why did the color come back?’ and the kindergarteners were bursting with their thoughts.

  • “The boy started fixing the street and then everyone else helped.”

  • “The boy was sad so he decided fixing the street would make him happy.”

One particular student was bubbling with lots of ideas while I was reading aloud.  At the end of the story, she said, “They worked as a team and you know, teamwork makes the dream work! That’s why the colors came back.”  

Wow! I was blown away by their thoughtful responses!  Ward’s colorful and black and white illustrations are the perfect vehicle to teaching theme with our youngest learners. Kindergarteners could see easily the change in mood and feelings through the use (or absence) of color.  We also discussed the importance of working together as a class family when there is a problem.  Between the Lines is a picture book that promotes deep thinking at all ages

tpThanks to Two Lions and Barbara Fisch of Blue Slip Media for sharing a copy. Between the Lines published on October 1, 2021. 


Bella’s Dog Pick of the Week

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

image0

How to Make a Book (About My Dog) by Chris Barton Illustrated by Sarah Horne 

Barton’s most frequently asked questions from kids, “How do you make your books? and “Are you ever going to write a book about your dog?” inspired him to write a nonfiction picture book about his beloved rescue dog Ernie.  

Barton thoroughly and humorously explains the process of writing a book from concept to publication.  Before sharing each step in order, he tells readers that books take a team to be created and during his explanation, Barton makes a point to identify all the different jobs they perform.  Research is very important even when writing a book about his own dog.  Barton shares that he asks family members, Ernie’s foster, and even the shelter about Ernie so he had the most accurate facts about him.  I love how he uses the example that while he initially thought Ernie was part dachshund and part Jack Russell, a DNA test revealed a few other breeds.  

To support young writers, Barton discusses how he begins formulating his ideas into writing.  He discusses the roles of his agent, editor,  the art director, and illustrator.  LOTS of questions are asked by them and other team members which strengthen the text, illustrations, format, and presentation.  Once the book is printed and delivered to bookstores and libraries, How to Make a Book (About My Dog) meets the final member of the team-the reader!

Publishing on October 5, 2021, How to Make a Book (About My Dog) is a perfect mentor text for a nonfiction writing unit. I love that Barton speaks directly to the reader in a conversational tone and includes Ernie anecdotes throughout the book. Horne’s colorful and energetic comic illustrations perfectly complement the text.   Thank you to Millbrook Press/Lerner Publishing and NetGalley for providing an eARC.  


Bella and I thank you for visiting Beagles and Books!

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is etta-beagles-and-books-e1624813174378.jpg
“People love dogs. You can never go wrong adding a dog to the story.”
Jim Butcher
#IMWAYR is dedicated to dear Etta, my original book beagle. Blessed that Etta is part of my story.
It's Monday! What Are You Reading?, Picture Books

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 9/20/21

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


Our Recent Reads:

Squirrel’s Sweater by Laura Renauld Illustrated by Jennie Poh

As Squirrel prepares for winter, she discovers a problem. Her favorite sweater no longer fits her.  Unsure if the garment shrank or she grew, Squirrel asks her friends for advice.  Doe, Bear, and Porcupine all attempt to help, but sadly, her sweater cannot be fixed.  This realization hits Squirrel hard because her grandma knit it for her when she was young.  Porcupine consoles Squirrel reminding her that Granny Gray will always live in her heart.  Porcupine’s words not only provide comfort but also give Squirrel an idea of how to use the materials her friends gave her to repurpose her sweater into a heart pillow.  Squirrel’s new creation is now a keepsake of her dear grandma and supportive friends. 

The third book in Renault’s Woodland Friends series, Squirrel’s Sweater is a sweet story for young children.  While friendship and problem solving are both themes central to the plot, the story also addresses how to handle the heartache of losing a loved one.  I loved how Renauld chose to have the pillow represent Squirrel’s love for her grandma and her friends.  Poh’s lively illustrations show Squirrel’s range of emotions from the beginning to end.  An added bonus are directions for how to make a no-sew memory pillow. Thanks to the author for sharing a finished copy.  Squirrel’s Sweater celebrates its book birthday tomorrow on September 21, 2021. 



Looking for a Jumbie
by Tracy Baptiste Illustrated by Amber Ren

If you are a fan of Baptiste’s middle grade Jumbies series, you’ll be excited about her picture book debut!  Young Naya is not scared of jumbies in stories and wonders if they could indeed be real.  After her mama puts her to bed, she climbs out of her window in search of these Caribbean fairies or trolls.  Kids will love joining in the read aloud with the repeated chant “I’m (We’re) looking for a jumbie. I’m (We’re) going to find a scary one.” As Naya walks through the dark woods, she encounters a variety of creatures who each have Jumbie characteristics such as large mouths, sharp teeth, glowing skin, tangly hair full of leaves or a long snake tail.  These creatures are friendly, not scary; therefore, they can’t be jumbies right?  

Baptiste’s playful text begs to be read aloud and Ren’s vivid illustrations make the story come alive.  As I read Baptiste’s descriptions of different types of jumbies, I couldn’t wait to turn the page to see how Ren drew the creatures.  While Naya’s mama said jumbies are only in stories, Naya’s moonlit adventure may make her mama change her mind. Thanks to Sabrina Kenoun of Sparks Point Studio for sharing a finished copy.  Looking for a Jumbie celebrates its book birthday tomorrow on September 21, 2021. 



Before We Sleep
by Giorgio Volpe Illustrated by Paolo Proetti

Little Red, a fox, is happy for the arrival of autumn, for he can blend in with the brown, burgundy, anmd copper colors. The fall colors make it more difficult for his best friend Hazel, a dormouse to find them during a game of hide and seek.   But winter is quickly approaching which means Hazel will be hibernating soon.  Worried about being alone, Little Red attempts to keep Hazel awake, but a yawning Hazel knows sleep is imminent. She assures her dear friend when spring comes, they will play again. Finally, Little Red asks if he can tell Hazel a story and before a word is uttered, the duo drift asleep together with Hazel’s head resting on Little Red’s bushy tail.

Translated from Italian, Before We Sleep is a lyrical lullaby.  The gentle, soothing text and warm, expressive illustrations are the perfect combination for a bedtime story that both kids and adults will enjoy.  What struck me the most is how both the words and artwork show the endearing friendship between the fox and the mouse. Thanks to Red Comet Press and Barbara Fisch of Blue Slip Media for sharing a finished copy.  Before We Sleep recently published on September 7, 2021. 



Mister Fairy
by Morgane de Cadier Illustrated by Florian Pigé

Unlike all the other fairies in the forest, Mister Fairy does not know what his true gift is.   Whenever he waves his wand, animals giggle or trees turn to pink fluff.  Distraught, Mister Fairy leaves the forest and flies to what he thinks is another forest, but it’s actually the city. Immediately, he notices the gray and gloom of the both the buildings and people.  Wanting to help, Mister Fairy waves his wand and a splash of yellow appear on a building which brings smiles from all the onlookers.  Feeling invigorated, he flies down to the subway and his wand waving invokes giggles.  Back above ground, at an outdoor café, his wand turns umbrellas into cotton candy balls to the delight of the patrons. Something inside Mister Fairy makes him fly home to his forest.  Upon arrival, he sees a colorless forest and sad animals and with one self-assured wand wave, the forest is full of color and laughter.  

Originally published in French, Mister Fairy is an uplifting story that reminds us we all have a purpose; sometimes, it takes a journey away from home to discover our talent.  Thanks to Red Comet Press and Barbara Fisch of Blue Slip Media for sharing a finished copy.  Mister Fairy recently published on September 7, 2021. 


Bella’s Dog Pick of the Week

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

Lost Things by Carey Sookocheff

In a park, a squirrel picks up an acorn.  A dog (actually, a hound!) with a stick in its mouth is on a walk with his person and sees the squirrel.  As the hound chases the squirrel, the girl loses her orange hair ribbon as well as the hold of her dog’s leash.  The dog loses the stick and the squirrel loses the acorn.  As the girl runs to catch her dog, a bird finds the hair ribbon and takes it back to its nest.  Something lost is now found.  The story continues with other lost things (a stuffed bear, a pencil, a ball) and how they are found by the people who need them most.  And when the girl picks up the ball in the park, she is soon reunited with her hound as is the squirrel with its acorn.  

As a reading specialist, I am always looking for books to support teaching of key reading skills. With minimal text and illustrations,  Lost Things would be a great anchor text for teaching cause and effect relationships at any grade level as well as plot for the story comes full circle.  I love that Sookocheff consciously chose to color all lost things orange, for it tied them all together. Thanks to Kids Can Press and Edelweiss for sharing a digital ARC.  Lost Things recently published on September 7, 2021. 

Bella and I thank you for visiting Beagles and Books!

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is etta-beagles-and-books-e1624813174378.jpg
“People love dogs. You can never go wrong adding a dog to the story.”
Jim Butcher
#IMWAYR is dedicated to dear Etta, my original book beagle. Blessed that Etta is part of my story.
#Bookexcursion, Biography, Chapter Books, It's Monday! What Are You Reading?, Middle Grade Literature, Picture Books

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 9/6/21

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


My school year with students officially began last week.  Even with masks on, I could see the enthusiasm and excitement in the kids’ faces.  What warmed my heart the most is seeing teachers set up their classroom libraries, introducing kids to books through book tastings, and visiting classrooms for read alouds.  Our school is once again celebrating birthdays with books and it is a joy to see students choose a title to add to their home libraries.

In August, Beagles and Books celebrated its 4th birthday.  Last week, my blog was featured in Feedspot’s Top 20 Middle Grade Book Blogs.  I am so grateful for the recognition and have to give a shout out to all the authors, illustrators, publishers, publicists, my #bookexcursion group, and the many #kidlit book bloggers who support me.  And of course, my beagles who patiently pose as my book models.  I love being part of this amazing community that aims to ensure every kid sees themselves as reader!

IMG_0891


Our Recent Reads:

IMG_0859

Once Upon a Camel by Kathi Appelt Illustrated by Eric Rohmann

In the foothills of the Chiso Mountains in West Texas lives an old camel named Zada and a family of American kestrels.  Zada is Auntie to Wims and Beulah, two chicks who are barely two weeks old.  When a dust storm quickly and violently comes across the canyon, Zada tucks the chicks in her fur, for after all, camels are the ships of the desert.  But when a stray dust devil seizes the chicks’ parents, Perlita and Pard, and they go adrift,  Zada knows her mission is even more important. She must keep Wims and Beulah safe at all cost until they can be reunited with their parents.  Aging and wise Zada travels with her two fledglings to the closest shelter.  The only issue is the trio’s refuge is mountain lion Pecos de Leon’s territory, but Zada is certain that it is their best chance.

Once Zada reaches Pecos’ den, she is relieved it is empty. He could come back at anytime; therefore, Zada remains standing and on alert because if she sits down, she might not be able to get back up in time. With two scared chicks in her fur missing their parents, Zada realizes the only way to console Wims and Beulah is to tell them stories about her early days as a racing camel in Turkey, her friendship with fellow camel Asiye, and her voyage to the United States.  So once she has OOD (Official Okie Dokie) from the chicks, Zada begins telling her story which gives you ALL the feels-happy, sad, excited, scared, and most importantly, hopeful. 

Appelt’s words are pure joy to read, for she writes directly to the reader and her concise text carries a lot of weight and meaning.  As I read, I was literally transported to West Texas as well as Turkey and felt I was on the caravan with Zada. Rohmann’s illustrations complement the text showing readers the feelings of the characters.  I would highly recommend Once Upon a Camel as a class read aloud, for with short chapters, engaging characters, and an intriguing plot, kids would be captivated by the story begging the teacher to continue reading.  What touched my heart the most was Zada’s love for everyone she met in life-Asiye, Perlita, Pard, Wims, Beulah, and many others.  Zada was truly the brighest star because of her love, perseverance, and courage.   As a reading specialist, I love that Zada reminds us that stories both comfort and save us.  And in my opinion, once upon a time… in a land far away… is always a perfect beginning to a story. 

This review was originally posted as part of the Once Upon a Camel Blog Tour and Twitter giveaway. Once Upon a Camel celebrates its book birthday tomorrow on September 7, 2021.


 

image1

The Stars Beckoned: Edward White’s Amazing Walk in Space by Candy Wellins Illustrated by Courtney Dawson

When he was a young boy, Edward White was mesmerized with the night sky. With a rhyming text, Wellins energetically expresses how White’s fascination with the stars never waned with these repeating lines-“Come back in. He’d resist, but then he’d go, walking back…so slow…so slow.”

Following in his father’s footsteps, Edward became a pilot. But flying a jet was not enough. Edward wanted to get closer to the stars. The timeline following the story reveals White was chosen to be an astronaut after earning an advanced degree in aeronautical engineering and attending Air Force Test Pilot School, On June 3, 1965, Edward became the first American to walk in space.

With Wellins’ lively rhythmic pattern and Dawson’s warm illustrations conveying White’s curiosity and commitment, The Stars Beckoned is a perfect picture book biography for young children. While Wellins clearly captured White’s passion for the stars, I love how she ended by sharing that his family were truly the brightest stars in his life. Thanks to the author for sharing a copy with my #bookexcursion group. The Stars Beckoned published in April 2021.


Bella’s Dog Pick of the Week

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

image0

All Pets Allowed (Blackberry Farm 2) by Adele Griffin Illustrated by Le Uyen Pham

In the follow-up to The Becket List, Becket and her twin brother Nicholas are turning 10 on October 10th. In true Becket fashion, she wants to celebrate big inviting all their classmates (even prankster Travis) while Nicholas prefers a much smaller affair. The twins not only get their wish granted for their birthday parties but also in their presents. Becket gets to choose a dog to adopt from the shelter and Nicholas can pick a cat. At first, the twins are excited about their choices; however, their pets’ personalities appear to be the opposite of their own. Becket’s dog, Dibs, is shy and anxious while Nicholas’ cat, Given, loves the spotlight. Will the twins accept their pets unconditionally? 

 
 

While All Pets Allowed is the second book in the Blackberry Farm series, it can definitely be read as a stand alone. Griffin clearly conveys while the twins share the same birthdays, they do not have similar depositions.  Becket is all spunk and energy and Nicholas is all quiet and reserved. What I love about this story is because of their pets, the twins has a greater respect and appreciation for each other. Pham’s fun and expressive black and white illustrations capture both Becket’s & Nicholas’ personalities as well as Dibs and Givens. The theme of family is strong, for the Branches are true team supporting each other on their farm and with the new pets. Thanks to Lonnie Lane Marketing for sharing a copy with my #bookexcursion group. All Pets Allowed published last week on August 31, 2021.

Bella and I thank you for visiting Beagles and Books!

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is etta-beagles-and-books-e1624813174378.jpg
“People love dogs. You can never go wrong adding a dog to the story.”
Jim Butcher
#IMWAYR is dedicated to dear Etta, my original book beagle. Blessed that Etta is part of my story.
It's Monday! What Are You Reading?, Middle Grade Literature, Picture Books

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 8/23/21

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


Our Recent Reads:

Cranky Chicken by Katherine Battersby

Everything makes Chicken cranky so when a leaf is in her path, she kicks it. Unbeknownst to Chicken, there is a smiling worm named Speedy underneath the leaf. Speedy is the antithesis of cranky-polite, peppy and positive. Speedy doesn’t just want to be Chicken’s friend. The worm wants to be BFFs (not what you think…Best Feathered Friends) because Speedy likes Chicken and her crankiness; ashe saved Speedy from the evil leaf! This revelation makes Chicken feel the opposite of cranky (happy) and a little less lonely.

Don’t let the title and cover of this graphic novel deceive you! With expressive illustrations and playful banter between these unlikely friends, readers will be chuckling from beginning to end. What I loved most is Speedy liked Chicken as she was and never tried to change her. In fact, Speedy was willing to join in the crankiness. Accepting Chicken’s crankiness allowed a friendship ( and happiness) to blossom.  Hoping that there are more Chicken and Speedy adventures coming because If not, I am going to be one cranky reader! Thanks to Simon & Schuster for sharing a F & G of Cranky Chicken which releases on September 7, 2021.


Norman Didn’t Do It! (Yes, He Did) by Ryan Higgins

Norman, a porcupine, is best friends with a tree named Mildred but when a sapling starts growing close to Mildred, Norman fears the worst.  Although Mildred does not say or do anything, Norman believes his friendship is threatened especially as the sapling grows closer to Mildred.  And when their leaves touch, Norman has a full blown meltdown. Desperate to save his friendship,  Norman makes a hasty decision which initially solves his problem; however, now his conscience is overwrought with guilt.  Can Norman find a way to right his wrong in order to make amends with himself?

With humor and heart, Norman Didn’t Do It (Yes, He Did)  teaches kids lessons about jealousy, contrition, friendship, and tolerance.  I love that Higgins chose to have a narrator as well as dialogue directly from Norman because kids see Norman’s progression of emotions especially his inner struggles with his actions. Thanks to Disney Books and NetGalley for sharing an eARC. Norman Didn’t Do It! (Yes, He Did) publishes on September 7, 2021.


Bella’s Dog Pick of the Week

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

Cat and Dog: A Tale of Opposites by Tullio Corda 

A cat is awake while a dog is asleep. The cat bravely pounces on the dog who is afraid.  The slowdog chases after the fast cat.  From above, the cat pushes a flower pot which falls on the dog below.  The dog is upset but the cat is unconcerned.   With only one word on each page and a single illustration, Cat and Dog is the perfect book to introduce or reinforce antonyms to kids.  In addition to teaching this concept, the picture book has a plot (it’s a tale after all!) allowing children the opportunity to make and then confirm predictions as well as identify beginning, middle, and end.  Will the cat and dog be enemies or friends?

I am a big fan of case covers or undies that are different from the dust jacket.  I always peek hoping to see something fun and was tickled that the theme was included.  Thank you Red Comet Press and Barbara Fisch of Blue Slip Media for sharing a copy to read and review. To download activity sheets that supplement the book, click here.  Cat and Dog: A Tale of Opposites publishes soon on September 7, 2021.

Bella and I thank you for visiting Beagles and Books!