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

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? & Enter 2 Giveaways! 10/15/18

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

Our Reads This Week:

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Revenge of the Enginerds by Jarrett Lerner

Snow in May? A satellite falling out of the sky? But wait….it gets worse. An alien obsessed girl with nifty gadgets wants to join the EngiNerds. Ken is at his wit’s end and his fellow EngiNerds are not stepping up. The highly anticipated follow up to EngiNerds exceeds expectations with a hilarious action packed plot and a glimpse into Ken’s struggles to accept that friendships change and grow.

The novel takes place one week after Ken, Dan, Jerry, and John Henry Knox defeated sixteen of the robots. Told from Ken’s point of view, readers quickly discover that there is still one robot on the loose, and strange things are occurring in town. Ken is determined to find this rogue robot and is fueled by a quote from his grandpa.  “Finish what you start or down the road, it’ll bite you in the backside.” His fellow EngiNerds are not only discouraged but also distracted by Mikaela Harrington, a girl who believes aliens are to blame for all the strange occurrences and is eager to share all her handmade fancy gizmos.

Ken cannot understand why his friends actually are taking Mikaela seriously especially his best friend Dan.  Readers will easily identify with Ken’s jealousy and his growing concern that he and Dan are drifting apart.   Thanks to his dog Kitty and Mikaela’s data eater, Ken finally finds the lone robot Klaus working at Things and Stuff.  Will Ken be able to defeat Klaus alone or with the help of the EngiNerds?  Can Ken accept and become friends with Mikaela?  Is Klaus or aliens to blame for all the mysterious happenings?  Only one way to find out.  Pre-order Revenge of the Enginerds now so you can have it delivered promptly on February 19, 2019.

Special thanks to author Jarrett Lerner for sending an ARC to my #bookexcursion group to read and share.

Remarkably You by Pat Zielow Miller Illustrated by Patrice Barton

What makes you remarkable?  In Remarkably You, Pat Zielow Miller’s inspirational text affirms that no matter your volume, age or size, we all have the power to make a difference in world with our own individual gifts.   Written in rhyme, she speaks directly to readers encouraging us to uncover our talents, follow our passions, solve problems, and most importantly, be ourselves and believe in ourselves.  Patrice Barton’s warm and expressive illustrations depict children of all sizes and ethnicities who exude confidence.  An added bonus are the endpapers which is a sea of verbs and adjectives to positively describe and celebrate us as the unique individuals we are!  Can’t wait to share Remarkably You with teachers and students!

Special thanks to author Pat Zietlow Miller for sending a F & G copy to my #bookexcursion group to read and share.  Remarkably You publishes in February 2019.

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Eduardo Guadardo, Elite Sheep by Anthony Pearson Illustrated by Jennifer E. Morris

Eduardo Guadardo, Elite Sheep is a laugh out loud story which reinforces the benefits of cooperation and teamwork! To read my full review and enter a giveaway for your own copy, please click here.

Have You Heard About Lady Bird? Poems About First Ladies by Marilyn Singer Illustrated by Nancy Carpenter

When I lived in Washington, DC, one of my favorite places to go was the Smithsonian Museum of American History to see the First Ladies exhibit.  I could spend hours looking at the First Ladies gowns and reading about their lives and the causes they championed.  Have You Heard About Lady Bird? is an opportunity to meet all the women who have served in this public role through Marilyn Singer’s lyrical and rhyming poetry.

What did I learn? Here are a few facts.

  • Martha Dandridge Custis Washington was a wealthy widow with two children before marrying our nation’s first president.
  • Martha Wayless Skeleton Jefferson, wife of Thomas Jefferson died before he became president.
  • Louisa Catherine Johnson Adams became closer to her husband, John Quincy Adams after his presidency when they both fought for abolition.
  • Abigail Powers Fillmore was the first to add a sizeable collection of books at the White House.
  • Margaret “Peggy” Mackell Smith Taylor, wife of Zachary Taylor refused to participate in White House social functions and relinquished the role of hostess to her daughter Betty Bliss.
  • Lou Henry Hoover spoke four languages and studied geology at Stanford University.

Nancy Carpenter’s artwork has a vintage feel with ink and wash illustrations that complement the poetry well.  The back matter includes a narrative about the history of the role of First Lady, brief profiles of each woman with a quote and recommended books and websites.  This anthology of poetry reminds us how each First Lady embraced or surprisingly rejected their role as partner of the Commander in Chief.

Special thanks to Disney Hyperion Books and Rockstar Book Tours for sending a copy to Beagles and Books.  Have You Heard About Lady Bird? celebrates its book birthday tomorrow on October 16, 2018!  To enter a giveaway sponsored by the publisher to win a copy of your own, please click here.

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

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

Douglas, You’re a Genius! by Ged Adamson

Douglas and his glasses are back in a new story which promotes innovation, creativity, and persistence! While playing with Nancy, their ball disappears into a hole at the bottom of the fence.  To their surprise, the ball came back but how? Douglas hatches a plan to find out who is on the other side of the fence by sending a toy train through the hole.  After what seems like a long wait, the train returns with the following messages: “Hola” and “Queremos Conocerte.”  Nancy shares plan after plan with Douglas in hopes of getting over the fence but much to Douglas’ chagrin, every idea involves him doing something dangerous.  Finally, Douglas speaks up for himself and takes charge which truly shows he is a genius!  After discovering the mystery neighbors, I am hopeful for a third installment.

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

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

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 10/8/18

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

Our Reads This Week:

Del Toro Moon by Darby Karchut

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While the Del Toro family business of combating wolf like monsters known as skinners may have initially convinced me to read Del Toro Moon, it is the importance of sticking together as a family that will remain with me long after I have read.   To read my full review, click here.

Porcupine’s Pie by Laura Renauld Illustrated by Jennie Pon

Porcupine is bursting with excitement to make her Famous Cranberry Pie for Fall Feast Day.  As she heads to the river to wash her cranberries, she encounters her forest friends who all are missing an ingredient to make their signature dish.  Ever helpful, Porcupine offers provisions in her pantry to her friends.  When she finally reaches the river, she realizes that her pail of cranberries is empty and no longer can make her beloved pie.  Her friends come to her rescue and Porcupine discovers that she can now make Friendship Pie, which is much more festive.   Debut author Laura Renauld has written a heartwarming story about friendship and sharing, and illustrator Jennie Pon’s warm and tender artwork will captivate young readers.

Last week, I had the pleasure of interviewing Laura about her debut picture book.  To read the interview, click here.  Thanks to Laura Renauld for sharing an e-copy of Porcupine’s Pie with Beagles and Books.  Porcupine’s Pie will celebrate its book birthday tomorrow on October 9, 2018.

Kitten Construction Company: Meet the House Kittens by John Patrick Green

What happens when a cute little kitten named Marmalade wants to be taken seriously as an architect and design the mayor’s mansion? She teams up with fellow kittens Sampson, an electrical engineer, Bubbles, a plumber, and Professor von Wigglebottom to start House Kittens Construction. This graphic novel for early readers is absolutely adorable (sorry House Kittens). Readers will easily fall in love with these enterprising felines. Hoping this is a series with more adventures to come.

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

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

The Rough Patch by Brian Lies

Have you ever been blown away by a story?  The Rough Patch is a poignant story about love, loss, grief, and healing.  Evan, a fox and his dog were inseparable until the dog unexpectedly dies.   Evan’s garden which was once the source of happiness is now a lonely place.   To deal with his pain, Evan destroys his once magnificent garden allowing weeds to take over.  When a lone prickly pumpkin vine makes its way into the garden, Evan lets it remain and tends it to until it grows into an enormous pumpkin. This prize pumpkin is integral to the story because it ultimately helps Evan mend his broken heart.  Lies’ illustrations are absolutely beautiful and tenderly reveal the range of emotions that Evan experiences.

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

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

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 9/24/18

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

Our Reads This Week:

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The Three Rules of Everyday Magic by Amanda Rawson Hill

Kate has a lot on her plate.  Battling depression, her father has recently left Kate and her mom. She and her best friend Sofia are drifting apart, and her Grammy’s dementia is worsening which prompted her mom to invite her to move in with them.  Kate has a good support system in her mom, Grammy, her karate instructor Mr. Amori, her friend Parker, and new friend Jane, but she still feels alone.  Grammy thinks Kate just needs a little magic to make things right again, but in order for the magic to work, Kate must follow the three rules of magic-believe, give, and trust, which is easier said than done.  In time, Kate starts to realize that she does have a strength inside of her, singing is a way to let sadness out, her circle of friends can grow, and everyday magic is real.

The Three Rules of Everyday Magic is a story about family, friendship, and forgiveness. One of the reason I love reading middle grade literature is after reading, I can always think of a student that would enjoy the story.  Another perk is that it helps me better understand the students I teach. Kate’s story reminds me that elementary students may be dealing with a lot; kids need to know that their worries matter, change is a part of growing up, and they have a support system even if it is only just to listen.

Special thanks to Amanda Rawsom Hill and Boyds Mill Press for sending an ARC to my #bookexcursion group.  The Three Rules of Everyday Magic will celebrate its book birthday tomorrow on September 25, 2018.

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First Generation: 36 Trailblazing Immigrants and Refugees Who Make America Great by Sandra Neil Wallace and Rich Wallace.  Illustrated by Agatha Nowicka

This well written and beautifully illustrated compilation of one page biographies features 36 brave and persistent immigrants and refugees who are the first members of their family to immigrate to the United States.

There are so many reasons I love First Generation.  The individuals highlighted span a range of professions including artists, scientists, athletes, and business leaders.  Each person is celebrated for his/her positive contribution to not only the United States but also the world.   The format makes the text highly accessible to elementary age students.  Vivid and striking illustrated portraits accompany each biography along with a quote and additional facts in a sidebar.  At the end of the book, additional information is provided such as tips for how kids can be a trailblazer and a bibliography which shares additional resources on all the amazing immigrants and refugees featured.

Special thanks to Sandra Neil Wallace for sending a copy of First Generation to my #bookexcursion group to read and review.  It recently published on September 4, 2018.

Oliver’s Otter Phase by Lisa Connors  Illustrated by Karen Jones

Oliver’s Otter Phase is an engaging text, for young children will be able to easily relate to Oliver & his animal antics & learn some amazing otter facts!  To read full review, click here.

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

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

Good Dog by Cori Doerrfeld

A stray black and white dog takes a liking to a little girl who is enjoying a bike ride with her mom.  The dog attempts to follow the little girl around town and finally interacts with her at the city park.  When she returns to her seat on the bike, she forgets her teddy bear leaving it on the fountain ledge.  The once scared, lost, lonely, and hungry dog transforms into a smart, brave, thoughtful, and loyal dog delivering the teddy bear to the little girl at her house.  The friendly and loving dog is rewarded for his kindness with a “furever” home.  With warm and inviting illustrations and concise text of only two words per page,  Good Dog is a story that tugged at my heart because I love seeing the evolution of the sweet little dog from stray to best friend.

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

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

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 9/10/18

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

Our Reads This Week:

Monster Mayhem by Christopher Elipoulos

Young Zoe is a genius at building robots and loves watching old monster movies. She is not a mastermind at making friends her own age.  Scarred by a bad experience with a former classmate, Zoe tries to convince herself and the adults in her life that she is better off being alone.

Walking home from school one day, Zoe finds a gold ring, puts it on, and gives it a twist.  The next day, she is shocked to see a monster from one of her favorite movies outside her window.  While the magic ring may have granted her secret wish of wanting a friend, more monsters are on their way, and they are not as friendly as her new monster friend, Chomp.  Can Zoe alone save her city from the hungry monsters or will she finally be willing to trust others and ask for help?

My students love Cosmic Commandos so I was excited to read an advance copy of Monster Mayhem!  While reading Cosmic Commandos is not a prerequisite, there is a connection between both graphic novels.  Fast paced and full of adventure and humor, readers will love Zoe who has a talent for creating and problem solving in school but struggles with asking for help and building relationships with her peers.  Thanks to Penguin Young Readers for sending an ARC to my #bookexcursion group.  Monster Mayhem recently released in August 2018.

Polka Dot Parade: A Book About Bill Cummingham by Deborah Blumenthal Illustrated by Masha D’Yans

Polka Dot Parade celebrates the life of Bill Cunningham, the legendary bicycling photographer who snapped photographs of fashionable New Yorkers for almost 40 years.  Bill once said, “He who seeks beauty will find it.” Bill not only found beauty in the people he photographed but also in their clothes.  Bill did not merely snap pictures of those who followed fashion; rather, his focus was people who made fashion.  Bill thought that fashion was truly about freedom and being true to yourself.

Readers discover that Bill began his career as a hatmaker and a fashion writer before becoming a photographer.  Like the U.S. Postal Service, no weather deterred Bill from hopping on his bike to take pictures.  Throughout his career, 30 bicycles served as his transportation. Modest and unassuming, Bill was awarded the Legion of Honor, the French government’s highest honor in 2008.

With Deborah Blumenthal’s lyrical text and Masha D’yan’s vivid watercolors, Polka Dot Parade is a beautiful tribute to the man who invented street-fashion photography.  Readers will be not only inspired by his amazing talent but also for teaching the importance of finding and having a job that you truly love.

Thanks to Little Bee Books for sending a copy of Polka Dot Parade to my #bookexcursion group. It recently published on August 28, 2018.

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

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

Good Rosie by Kate DiCamillo Illustrated by Harry Bliss

Rosie lives with a comfortable life with George, but sometimes, she gets lonely and wishes for a canine companion.  On their usual walk, George decides they need to try something new so they venture to the dog park which is full of dogs. Rosie though still feels lonely and a bit afraid around all these strange dogs.  When Rosie first meets Maurice, a Saint Bernard and small, energetic Fifi, she does not like them and wants to go home.  But when Maurice plays a little too rough with Fifi, Rosie comes to Fifi’s aid and learns that making friends all starts with one simple step-asking.

Written in concise text coupled with warm watercolor illustrations in a panel comic format, readers will fall in love with Rosie, Maurice, and Fifi.  I can’t wait to share Good Rosie as a read aloud for #classroombookaday which will teach students about the challenges and rewards of forming new friendships. Good Rosie recently published on September 4, 2018.

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

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

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 8/27/18

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

Our Reads This Week:

The Greatest Adventure by Tony Piedra

Eliot’s vivid imagination keeps him occupied right in front of his house but he yearns for real adventure beyond his city street. His grandfather, El Capitán has spent his life exploring the world on his boat, the Hispaniola.  When El Capitán arrives home, he tells tales of his daring adventures to Eliot and his mom.  The next morning, an enthusiastic Eliot and his grandfather search the city for an adventure. Finding none, Eliot suggests they take out the Hispaniola. Sadly, El Capitán shares that his boat is old and broken. Can Eliot’s rich imagination help him and his grandfather find a way to create new and real adventures together?

With concise lyrical text and utterly gorgeous illustrations, Tony Piedra’s debut is a touching story of hope and heart.  The story actually begins with the front end sheet which is a collage of postcards addressed to Eliot from El Capitán from his extensive travels.  The illustrations in the final end sheets reveal the true message of the story; real adventures are ordinary moments shared with the ones you love.

Special thanks to Tony Piedra and Arthur A. Levine Books for sharing an ARC with my #bookexcursion group. Look for The Greatest Adventure on September 11, 2018.

It’s Show and Tell, Dexter! by Lindsay Ward

Poor Dexter!  In Don’t Forget, Dexter!, Dexter panicked when Jack left him in the doctor’s waiting room.  Fortunately, Jack returned and Dexter was reunited with his best friend.  In It’s Show and Tell, Dexter!, while Dexter is living every toy’s dream by being chosen as Jack’s Show and Tell, the dinosaur is showing his nerves once again.

To read the full review and enter a giveaway for both Dexter picture books, click here.  A winner will be chosen on August 29, 2018.  Good luck!

What Can A Citizen Do? by Dave Eggers Illustrated by Shawn Harris

What Can a Citizen Do? is a nonfiction picture book that teaches children about the power of true citizenship. Students will immediately be drawn to this highly accessible text, for it is written in concise language with one sentence per page.  The bold mixed media collage illustrations have a 3-dimensional quality and literally jump off the page.

Throughout the text, children learn ways they can be a good citizen from planting a tree to working together to change a law. It is through the children’s collective efforts that they transform the tree into a beautiful tree house. Young readers learn as citizens, we are part of a larger society and when we help even just one person, we are making the world a better place for everyone.

Special thanks to Chronicle Kids and fellow #bookexcursion member Lisa Maucione for sharing an ARC with our group. It will be released on September 11, 2018.

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

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

My Dog Laughs by Rachel Isadora

My Dog Laughs is an informational picture book that celebrates the responsibilities and joys of having a dog in your life. The warmly illustrated text is written in sections ranging from getting to my dog and training my dog to my dog plays and I love my dog.  In each section, children share the ins and outs of their relationships with their furry family members.  In I Train My Dog, I like how the children respectfully correct their dogs when they have an accident, chew on a shoe or beg during dinner.  I especially love that the little boy says “The food I eat can make you sick. No grapes!”  My Dog Laughs recognizes that having a dog takes time, patience, and consistency but the rewards are immeasurable.

Special thanks to Penguin Young Readers for sharing a copy with my #bookexcursion group. My Dog Laughs recently published on August 21, 2018.

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

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

Celebrating 100th Blog Post with It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 8/20/18

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Today Beagles and Books is celebrating a milestone with its 100th blog post! I am proud to share the latest edition of It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #IMWAYR is a community of bloggers who link up to share what they are reading. Kellee Moye of Unleashing Readers and Jen Vincent of Teach Mentor Texts decided to give it a #kidlit focus and encourage everyone who participates to visit at least 3 of the other #kidlit book bloggers that link up and leave comments for them.

Today also marks two days until teachers in my district return to school. I am fortunate to have 8 full days to prepare for students. I feel so blessed to have enjoyed a summer full of relaxation, rejuvenation and reading. I am excited to return to school and share new books with students and teachers.

Our Reads This Week: 

Eraser by Anna Kang Illustrated by Christopher Weyant

Eraser has a thankless job fixing Pencil’s mistakes. As a result, Pencil is celebrated for his creativity not Eraser. She is tired of being just the clean up crew and making him look good. Eraser yearns to be more. With the help of her friends Pencil Sharpener and Ruler, she leaves Desk behind for a fresh start but her trip abruptly ends when she lands in the wastebasket full of first drafts.

Meeting the first drafts, Eraser discovers that not only is she a rock star in their eyes but she is indeed creative. Why? Because Eraser creates second chances! Meanwhile back on Desk, Pencil is having a panic attack without Eraser making mistake after mistake. Will Pencil finally acknowledge and appreciate Eraser for her contributions?

Full of puns that will make kids laugh out loud, Anna Kang has written a sweet story that teaches students about the power of cooperation and how mistakes make us great. Thanks to Christopher Weyant’s adorable and eye-catching illustrations and Kang’s witty prose, I will view my school supplies a little differently and will now always hold my erasers in high regard.

Eraser is a must read aloud for #classroombookaday because it will support building a classroom community among students. I already plan on featuring Eraser in my book talks this first week back.

For a sneak peek, view the trailer below.

A very special thank you to Barbara Fisch of Blue Slip Media for sharing a copy with my #bookexcursion group. Eraser publishes soon on September 1, 2018.

Potato Pants by Laurie Keller

Potato cannot contain his excitement! For one day only, Lance Vance’s Fancy Pants Store is selling POTATO PANTS! When they’re gone, they’re gone so Potato wakes up early determined to get a pair. But there is something (actually someone) standing between him and his precious potato pants. It’s an Eggplant wearing pineapple pants. (Apparently yesterday was Eggplant Pants Day.)

Why is Eggplant a threat? Well, the day before Eggplant ran by Potato and pushed him into a trash can. Feeling vulnerable, Potato does not want to step foot into the store but that means no potato pants. And to make matters worse, he was just informed there is only one pair left. What’s a spud to do? Conquering his fears, Potato bolts into the store knocking over Eggplant in his panic. Will Potato finally get his potato pants? Will Eggplant seek revenge? Read Potato Pants to uncover the truth!

Loaded with potato puns, Potato Pants will make readers of all ages engage in nonstop belly laughing!  It is an “a-peeling” story with an important message-Never judge an individual by one sole action. Keller’s use of mixed media to create the bold and vibrant illustrations make the characters and setting literally jump off the page. My verdict is Potato Pants is a “tater-tastic” addition to #classroombookaday read alouds!

Take a look at the “spud-tacular” book trailer!

A very special thanks to Mary Van Akin of Macmillan Children’s Publishing for sending a copy to my #bookexcursion group. Potato Pants will publish on October 2, 2018.

Who Eats Orange? By Diane White Illustrated by Robin Page

Who Eats Orange? is an engaging and lively informational picture book that teaches young readers about animal diets. To read my full review, click here.

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

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

Rules of the Ruff by Heidi Lang

In the past, Jessie didn’t mind spending the summer with her aunt, uncle, and cousin, Ann.  But Ann’s egotistical best friend Loralee has strained her relationship with her cousin which prompts Jessie to focus on practicing her soccer skills at the park and convincing grumpy neighborhood dog walker, Wes to let her be his assistant, free of charge.  Jessie also thinks dog walking experience will persuade her dad to finally allow her to have a dog of her vert own.  Wes begrudgingly agrees to take on Jessie, but with one stipulation.  She must master the Rules of the Ruff, the code Wes lives his life by.

Although she has a rocky start, Jessie quickly begins to show promise in following the Rules of the Ruff.  Becoming more observant, Jessie soon uncovers that a new dog walker, Monique, is stealing many of Wes’ clients.  Desperate to help Wes win back his clients, Jessie concocts a scheme to sabotage Monique.  While her initial intentions may have been good, Jessie soon recognizes that her and Wes’ actions are actually hurtful and unprofessional.  Through dog walking, Jessie not only learns a lot of about dogs but she also learns valuable lessons about being growing up and being a honorable person.  Maturity means taking responsibility for your actions, learning from your mistakes, and realizing that dogs, like people, really do come into your life for a reason.  It seems that the Rules of the Ruff truly are a good code to live by.

A very special thanks to Heidi Lang for sending an ARC to my #bookexcursion group. Rules of the Ruff recently published on August 14, 2018.

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

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

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 8/13/18

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

Our family returned home on Thursday after a week in western North Carolina. Etta and Bella enjoyed exploring the area and seeing the sights.  They visited a dog friendly used book store in downtown Asheville and hiked with us on the Craggy Garden Trail off of the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Our Reads This Week: 

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Worth a Thousand Words by Brigit Young

Tillie and her father were involved in a car accident and since then, their family dynamic has changed.  Her mom worries about Tillie overexerting herself and her dad  has become withdrawn blaming himself for Tillie’s lasting leg injuries.  Not being able to do normal kid activities like ride bikes, Tillie decided it was easier to manage things alone and observe life through the lenses of her camera.  And ever since Diana Farr lost her diamond bracelet and Tillie found it as a result of a picture she took, she is known as “Lost and Found” happily finding lost items for the students at her middle school. Life is quiet but safe.

But when classmate Jake Hausmann begs for her help to find his missing father, Tillie is unsure of whether to help him.  She finds items, not people.  Besides she has a painful recollection of Jake making fun of her in elementary school.  Tillie begrudgingly agrees to help Jake and while still using her camera to search for clues, she is forced to step out from behind the lens during this search.  Not only does Tillie discover the truth about Jake’s dad’s disappearance, but Tillie also begins to find what she has been looking for-acceptance, friendship, and hope.

Worth a Thousand Words is a middle grade mystery with heart and soul.  All the characters show their insecurities and imperfections which makes them real and believable.  Forgiveness is a core theme throughout the story and interacting with characters who demonstrate the positive effects of forgiveness for yourself and those you care about can be eye opening.

A very special thanks to author Brigit Young for sending an ARC to my #bookexcursion group.  Worth a Thousand Words celebrates its book birthday tomorrow on August 14, 2018.

Sir Simon: Super Scarer by Cale Atkinson

Boo! Sir Simon is a professional super scarer who has been transferred to a new haunt-a house!  And apparently haunting a house involves many more ghost chores than his previous gigs such as a forest, a boat, and a bus stop. But that’s ok because grandparents are moving to the house  and there are at the top of the haunting pyramid.  Why? Grandparents sleep more and don’t normally see ghosts which means Simon can slack off on his chores.

But Simon can’t celebrate too long.  It turns out that a kid named Chester is living in the house with his grandparents.  On the haunting pyramid, kids are a lot of work!  They can see ghosts and are very curious.  Hmmm.  Perhaps, Simon can use enthusiastic Chester who wants to be a ghost to his advantage.  Yes! Chester can do all Simon’s ghost chores.  Problem solved!  Well, not exactly. Chester is not very good at being a ghost and Simon begins to feel a little guilty about his dishonesty.  What is a “ghostest with the mostest” to do?

Sir Simon Super Scarer is an engaging and humorous story about how an unlikely friendship develops between a snarky ghost and an inquisitive boy.  While I laughed out loud at Simon’s snide comments, his repentant actions towards Chester warmed my heart.  As in his other texts, Cale Atkinson’s warm and charming illustrations are full of such amazing details that re-reads are essential just to view his artwork. Can’t wait to share with students for #classroombookaday! A very special thanks to Tundra Books for sending an F & G copy to my #bookexcursion group.  Look for Simon’s release soon on September 4, 2018.

Bear’s Scare by Jacob Grant

Bear likes two things.  Keeping his house tidy and spending time with his stuffed friend,  Ursa.  So when Bear begins to find cobwebs in his clean house, he is not particularly happy.  Bear decides that he must find his messy guest but as he attempts to locate the sneaky spider, one of Ursa’s arms is accidentally hurt.  Sad Bear rushes for his first aid kit. When he returns he sees Ursa’s arm reattached.  Who does he have to thank for this kind gesture?

Bear’s Scare is a sweet story about how an surprise friendship blossoms between Bear and the spider.  Complementing the story are large and warm illustrations that span the spread.  I especially loved the spider with his cute button beret and am certain that kids will love spotting the spider on each page, for Bear does not see him until close to the end of the story.  A very special thanks to Bloomsbury Kids for sending a copy of Bear’s Scare to my #bookexcursion group.  It published recently in June 2018.

Beautiful, Wonderful Strong Little Me by Hannah Carmona Dias Illustrated by Dolly Georgieva-Gode

In Beautiful, Wonderful, Strong Little Me, a young girl named Lily shares that while celebrates and loves her unique physical features,  her outside traits do not define her.  In fact, she is so much more than her appearance and would rather be known for positive inside traits such as being smart, kind, courageous, and resilient.  This picture book is a good resource for promoting self-acceptance and a positive attitude!

A very special thanks to Penny Eifrig of Eifrig Publishing for providing an advance copy to my #bookexcursion group.  Beautiful, Wonderful, Strong Little Me! publishes in September 14,  2018.

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

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

Shark Dog and the School Trip Rescue by Ged Adamson

Shark Dog is back with another adventure accompanying the little girl, her explorer dad, her teacher and classmates on a field trip to a forest.  The woods is a new habitat for Shark Dog to explore and his excitement is apparent jumping into a frog filled pond and rolling in mud after a rain.  Once the students paired up to explore the woods, Shark Dog does some of his own and discovers footprints.  Using his dog nose, Shark Dog follows the scent to a small bear in trouble and everyone works together to help it.  There is no doubt that having Shark Dog on a field trip makes for a memorable experience!  Shark Dog always brings a smile to my face.  I love author/illustrator Ged Adamson’s illustrations because Shark Dog shows a range of emotions throughout the story from curiosity to excitement to worry.

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

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

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 8/6/18

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

Etta, Bella, and I are blogging from western North Carolina about 20 minutes from Asheville in a beautiful cabin bordering the Pisgah National Forest. My husband and I love vacationing in this area for so many reason but most importantly because it is so dog friendly. Yesterday, the girls and I enjoyed a wonderful Sunday on the deck with this beautiful mountain view.

Our Reads This Week:

Last week, Etta helped me celebrate new picture books releases from Capstone Publishing.  To read our full reviews, please click here.

Case Closed: Mystery in the Mansion by Lauren Magaziner

Carlos’ mother is a detective, but her agency is struggling to stay afloat.  To make matter worse, she is sick with the flu and can’t begin the investigation for her latest case which is identifying the person sending death threats to Guinevere LeCavilier, a wealthy older woman. Carlo’s mom asks him to call her partner Cole, but Carlos decides to take matters into his own hands and recruits his best friend Eliza to join him. Accompanying them is Frank, Eliza’s annoying and obnoxious six year old brother.  Will Carlos, Eliza, and Frank be successful in cracking the case?  Well, that all depends on the reader who must help them make choices and solve puzzles to find the perpetrator.

Growing up, I devoured the Choose Your Own Adventure series because I loved having a role in the outcome of the story.  Mystery in the Mansion, the first book in Lauren Magaziner’s new Case Closed series transported me back to my childhood and I must share that I love her format even better!  Why?  When readers come to a part of the story when they must make a choice, there may be two, three or even four options from which to choose.  In addition, readers may be required to solve a puzzle to identify the next page that will move the plot along.  And while some puzzles are simple, others prompt readers to get out pencil and paper, brush up on their math or even call in for help (Confession: I had to seek my husband’s support a few times).

After finally solving the case (Yes-it took me a few tries), I went back to the beginning of the story to start over.  I became quite addictive to discovering if there were multiple good endings but even a wrong turn was fun because of Lauren Magaziner’s creative and humorous plot. Not only am I excited to share this original new series with students, I believe it would be a great class read aloud and in a recent tweet, Lauren Magaziner provides some read aloud tips for teachers. And the best part of all-Case Closed is a series!  Looking forward to more adventures with Carlos, Eliza, and of course, Frank’s hilarious antics!

A very special thanks to Lauren Magaziner for sending an ARC of Case Closed to our #bookexcursion group.  Pre-order now so that you can begin your adventure on August 14, 2018.

The Third Mushroom by Jennifer L. Holm

For fans of The Fourteenth Goldfish, The Third Mushroom is a sequel we have all been waiting for.  A year has passed with some changes.  Ellie has a cat named Jonas, she and her best friend Raj are in the seventh grade, and Ellie’s mom and Ben are now married.  Ellie’s seventy-seven-year-old scientist grandfather Melvin though is still living in the body of a fourteen year old boy.  Tired of being on the road, Melvin returns to town with dirty laundry in hand. Ellie is elated that he is back and while Melvin is happy to see his granddaughter, he is not excited to return to middle school pretending to be her cousin.  Still his grumpy old self, Melvin makes the best of it by being Ellie’s partner on a science project for the county fair.  Through their collaboration, Ellie learns valuable life lessons. Her most important observation is realizing that when an experiment fails, a true scientist always learns from her mistakes.

Written in short chapters and told through Ellie’s point of view, The Third Mushroom is sequel that does not disappoint.  Jennifer Holm does an excellent job continuing the story.  Ellie is one of my favorite middle grade characters because of her curiosity, thoughtfulness, and versatility.  While her mom and grandfather are polar opposites, Ellie can appreciate both the theatre and science. She is also very observant especially when it comes to her friendships whether it be with her old friend Brianna, her best friend, Raj or her grandfather Melvin.

A very special thanks to Random House Kids for sending an ARC of The Third Mushroom to our #bookexcursion group.  Pre-order now so that you can catch up with Ellie and Melvin on September 4, 2018.

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

Lulu and the Dog from the Sea by Hilary McKay Illustrated by Priscilla Lamont

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

In the second book in the series, animal lover Lulu, her best friend and cousin Mellie, her parents, and her dog Sam take a vacation to a cottage by the sea.  Upon arriving, her family discovers that there is a stray dog living on the beach.  The owner of the cottage warns Lulu and her family that the “dog from the sea” is a menace and needs to be caught by the dog catchers like the rest of his family.  Lulu takes a special interest in the stray dog attempting to make friends with him throughout their trip.  Will Lulu be able to tame the “dog from the sea” and convince her parents and of course Sam that they have room for one more animal?

Animal books are always in high demand. I am always on the lookout for “new to me” illustrated chapter books and the Lulu series will be a great addition to my classroom library.  I especially loved author Hilary McKay’s description of getting Sam ready for vacation.  While we didn’t pack a suitcase for Etta and Bella, we brought a few dog beds and other items so that the beagle girls feel at home.  Lulu’s family is delightful, for her mother is determined to make a dent into her TBR stack of books including War and Peace, her dad has aspirations of training for the next marathon, and Mellie can’t wait to construct and fly her birthday kite.

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

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

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 7/30/18

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

The Benefits of Being an Octopus by Ann Braden

Taking care of her three younger siblings after school is seventh grader Zoey’s priority. And while things could be better, living in her mom’s boyfriend Lenny’s neat and organized trailer appears to be a step up from living in their previous apartment or when times were really tough, their old car.  Money is still tight so Zoey’s clothes aren’t always clean and enjoying coffee yogurt is a rare treat. Zoey’s favorite animal is an octopus because of its unique characteristics. If only she had eight legs to juggle all her responsibilities and the ability to hide and camouflage herself at school.

While Zoey attempts to blend in the background at school, her social studies teacher Ms. Rochambeau notices her. She gets permission to switch Zoey’s schedule in order for her to attend debate club where Zoey remains quiet but observant learning that the purpose of debate is to convince someone to see something in a new way.  Given her non-participation, Zoey is surprised when Ms. Rochambeau invites her to continue in the after school club even offering to drive her home (with the school’s and her mom’s permission) in time to pick up her siblings off the bus.  Still quiet, Zoey is taught an important debate defensive tactic-discrediting your opponent’s argument. Soon Zoey becomes increasingly more conscious of Lenny’s verbally abusive behavior toward her mom and her younger brother. Can she find the strength to convince her mom they deserve better?

The Benefits of Being an Octopus is an authentic and honest account of the struggles of a family living in poverty told from a middle schooler’s perspective.  As a teacher, Zoey’s story really hit me.  While I teach in an elementary school, I do know students who shoulder similar responsibilities at home as Zoey.  If any teacher doubted the importance of a personally getting to know their students and the immense power of teacher-student relationships, Ms. Rochambeau will convince you. She is a true hero because she gives Zoey the most precious gift of all- her time and attention which helps Zoey gain the confidence and voice to make not only her family’s life better but also the lives of her two friends, Fuchsia and Silas who are facing with their own struggles. As I head into a new school year, Ms. Rochambeau and Zoey will be there right with me.

A very special thank you to the author for sending an ARC of The Benefits of Being an Octopus to my #bookexcursion group.  Pre-order now, for it will release on September 4, 2018.

The Land of Yesterday by K.A. Reynolds

Cecilia and her parents are grieving with the tragic death of her younger brother, Celadon.  Even her house named Widdendream is in mourning.  Cecilia feels partially responsible for Celadon’s death but even more so when her mother leaves to search for Celadon in the Land of Yesterday, a place where all souls go. Blaming Cecilia for her mother’s departure, angry Widdendrean holds her father hostage within its walls as punishment and demands her mother’s return. In an effort to save her family, Cecilia embarks on a brave and courageous journey to The Land of Yesterday.

The Land of Yesterday is a story of heartache, healing, and hope.  Losing someone you love is one of the most difficult experiences in life, and Cecilia, her parents, and even Widdendream cope differently to deal with their grief. Throughout her journey to reunite and heal her broken family, Cecilia realizes an inner strength and that “being there for each other is what families do.”  After reading the novel, the author’s acknowledgements are essential reading for she explains the very personnel origins of Cecilia’s story which tenderly reminds us that “letting go is not a goodbye. It’s just another way to love.”

A very special thank you to the author for sending an ARC to my #bookexcursion group.   You won’t have to wait long to read Cecilia’s courageous story for The Land of Yesterday celebrates its book birthday tomorrow on July 31, 2018.

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

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

Dogs Days of School by Kelly DiPucchio  Illustrated by Brian Biggs

Charlie was tired of going to school and was jealous of his dog Norman who got to stay home all day.  One Sunday night, Charlie saw the brightest star in the sky and said, “I wish I was a dog.  Imagine Charlie’s surprise when he wakes up the next morning on Norman’s dog bed, and Norman is laying in his bed! Delighted that his wish came true, Charlie gets to sleep, watch the leaves fall, play fetch, and go to the park.  But after almost a week as a dog, Charlie learns it is not all fun especially spending the day at the dog groomer and getting in trouble for digging up the garden.  Norman wishes upon the stars to be a boy again.  Will his wish come true?

With a hilarious Freaky Friday plot and bold and bright illustrations, Dogs Days of School will be a hit with young readers.  Norman reminds us to be careful what you wish for and his role reversal teaches him to appreciate his life.  A good lesson for us all!

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

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

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 7/23/18

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

The Vanderbeekers and the Hidden Garden by Karina Yan Glaser

After reading The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street, I fell in love with the entire family and couldn’t wait for an opportunity to return to Harlem for a follow up visit. Fortunately, my wait was short than expected because author Karina Yan Glaser graciously sent an ARC of The Vanderbeekers and the Hidden Garden to my #bookexcursion group. It is no surprise that the second book in the series is as heartwarming as the first!

The Vanderbeekers’ upstairs neighbor and good friend Mr. Jeet suffers a stroke. As a result, he has to spend many weeks in the hospital recovering, and his wife Miss Josie won’t leave his side. Desperate to do something for Miss Josie and Mr. Jeet who met at a botanical garden, the Vanderbeeker children decide to fulfill Miss Josie’s request and transform the unused land next to her church into a community garden.

Their task is not without its challenges.  The children didn’t exactly get permission from the pastor or discuss their project with their parents.  Between the four of them (Isa is at orchesta camp), they only have seventy-eight dollars and eighteen days to make their dream a reality. And to matters worse, there is a strong possibility that the land may be sold to a real land developer.  But the Vanderbeekers are resilient both collectively and individually and aren’t going to let a few obstacles get in their way, right?

While I love Cicero’s quote mentioned in the novel, “If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.” I believe that the Vanderbeekers would add that being generous to others in your community is also essential to happiness.  The Vanderbeekers gently remind me that acts of kindness are good for the heart and soul! Thank you Karina for sharing the beautiful family once again with #bookexcursion! The Vanderbeekers and the Hidden Garden releases on September 25, 2018, Anxiously anticipating Book 3!

Snazzy Cat Capers by Deanna Kent Illustrated by Neil Hooson

Cat burglar Ophelia Von Hairball V is an elite member of the FFBI (Furry Feline Burglary Institute). Well known for her love of all things sparkly, she equally enjoys the thrill of partaking in a challenging heist.  Unlike her cousin and archrival Pierre, Ophelia follows the FFBI honor code with the small exception of returning 16 inventors in one year.  FFBI’s motto is “purr-fect crimes” and recently, more cats are getting caught by the Central Canine Intelligence Agency (CCIA).  Translation-all cat burglars need a paw-rtner in crime so much to Ophelia’s chagrin, she is paired with her 17th inventor, Oscar Fishgerald Gold.

Immediately after Oscar arrives, Ophelia and he discover Pierre’s scheme to thwart her participation in the Fifth Annual Purr-fect Heist Competition. While Oscar’s skills are instrumental in getting her to Paris in time, she stills prefers to work alone.  Can Ophelia win the competition on her own or will she embrace her fintastic partner?

Snazzy Cat Capers is simply meowificent!  Hilarious and fast-paced, I loved everything about this original new series-the dynamic characters, the page turning plot, the adorably eye catching illustrations, and the unique format, which is a blend of graphic novel and illustrated chapter book.  Special thanks to Deanna Kent, Neil Hooson, and Imprint Books for sending an ARC to my #bookexcursion group.  Snazzy Cat Capers will be available on September 18, 2018 with two more books in the series releasing in 2019. Until then, meet sassy Ophelia and ingenious Oscar in book trailer below!

The Very Last Castle by Travis Jonker Illustrated by Mark Pett

A young girl, Ibb, lives in a town where there is only one castle still standing, and a lone knight guards it.  The knight never comes out and no one from town ever goes in.  While most townspeople think terrible things are in the castle, Ibb thinks differently.  After boldly knocking on the castle door (and then running away), she receives an invitation to visit. Ibb’s willingness to think differently and take a chance is a lesson to  herself, the entire town and most importantly, us as readers.  Travis Jonker has written an uplifting story of a young girl’s curiosity and bravery and how her one simple act can change a community for the better. Mark Pett’s illustrations are equally beautiful; I especially Ibb’s unique sense of style with her big yellow boots and her backpack adorn with clip toys.

The Very Last Castle is already on my list to share with students and teachers for #classroombookaday! Special thanks to Jenny Choy at Abrams Books for sending a copy for my #bookexcursion group to review.  It will be released on October 9, 2018.

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

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

Fred Stays with Me! by Nancy Coffelt Illustrated by Tricia Tusa

Because her parents are divorced, a young girl has to adjust to living in two different homes.  Throughout the sweet story, the girl shares how things are the same and different at each house, but the one absolute constant is that her dog Fred always stays with her.  Her mom complains that Fred constantly barks at the poodle next door, and her dad complains that Fred keeps steals socks.  As a result of his antics, both parents state “Fred can’t stay with me!”   In response, the girl boldly reminds her parents that “Fred doesn’t stay with either of you.  Fred stays with ME!,” which prompts each parent to come up with a plan to solve their problem with Fred.  I loved this story not only because it celebrates the love between a child and her pet but also it shows that divorced parents can work together in the best interest of their child.

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

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