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

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 5/2/22

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


Our Recent Reads:

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Hummingbird by Natalie Lloyd

12 year old Olive has one prayer, wish, and wildest hope-to be a student at Macklemore Middle School.  Because Olive has brittle bone disease and uses a wheelchair, she has been home-schooled since kindergarten. She is tired of being called  “fragile” and while her bones may be breakable, her spirit is not. Another reason is that she has a keen sense that her BFF is there waiting for her. 

After delivering a three-point sermon, Olive convinces her parents to attend Macklemore Middle School. Just right before her first day, feathers start appearing randomly throughout her Tennessee mountain town.  According to local folklore, the feathers are a precursor to a magical hummingbird’s arrival who grants a wish to the first who solves its riddle.  Olive and pretty much the whole town is on the hummingbird hunt.  While Olive got her wish to go to middle school and has become friends with classmate Grace Alice Cho, entrepreneur, she still wonders. What if she could wish her brittle bones away?   Would that make her life better or does she already have the best life? 

I am a huge fan of Lloyd’s novels.  She weaves in magical elements into her stories and makes readers believe they are real.  Olive is such a beautiful soul.  I adore her spirit and her determination to not allow her fragile bones to define her.  Secondary characters teach lessons about perseverance and how one can make their own wishes come true.  But most of all, I appreciate Lloyd sharing in her author’s note that Olive’s story was inspired because she herself was born with brittle bone disease. 

Full of heart and hope, Hummingbird is a story that will make you smile, laugh, and cry. But most of those tears were of joy not sorrow.  Thanks to the author for sharing an ARC with my #bookexcursion group. Hummingbird celebrates its book birthday tomorrow on May 3, 2002. 


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Lizzy and the Cloud by The Fan Brothers

Lizzy doesn’t care that clouds may be a bit out of fashion so when she goes to the park on Saturday, she heads straight to the Cloud Seller.  She chooses an ordinary looking cloud, names him Milo, and follows the instructions to water it daily.  Never confine a cloud to a small space is Rule 6 and Lizzy takes Milo on neighborhood walks on sunny days and gives him the opportunity to soar high in the sky on rainy days. Like many pets, Milo grows bigger and bigger covering her whole bedroom ceiling.  When Milo began rumbling, Lizzy knows Milo is unhappy and makes the grown up decision to set him free.  

I am always in awe of The Fan Brothers’ glorious illustrations.  Their use of color is powerful because it helps your eyes focus on what is important. What I love most is the message of loving something so much to let it go.  This is a lesson important to discuss with kids.  Thanks to Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing for sharing a copy. Lizzy and the Cloud celebrates its book birthday tomorrow on May 3, 2022. 


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Amy Wu and the Warm Welcome by Kat Zhang Illustrated by Charlene Chua   

In the third story of the Amy Wu picture book series, Lin, a new student from China, joins Amy’s class. The class enthusiastically welcomes Lin and Amy tries to engage him in conversation, but Lin doesn’t say a word. When Lin is picked up by his family at the end of the school day, Amy notices his beaming face and willingness to speak Chinese with his sister. Amy comes up with plan to invite Lin and his family to a dumpling party to give him a warm welcome. Will it work?

I adore Amy Wu! She is exuberant and determined demonstrating problem solving skills which is great for kids to see. I love that Zang chose to have Amy experience a loss of words when sharing the welcome banner she and her grandma created.  Amy learns from Lin that actions can be as kind and welcoming as words. Thanks to Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing for sharing a copy. Amy Wu and the Warm Welcome celebrates its book birthday tomorrow on May 3, 2022. 


Bella’s Dog Pick of the Week

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

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Fenway and the Bone Thieves (Make Way for Fenway #1) by Victoria Coe Illustrated by
Joanne Lew-Vriethoff

My favorite Jack Russell Terrier is back with his human Hattie in the Make Way for Fenway chapter book series. In this first adventure, Fenway is in the car headed to the Treat Place (pet store) with his family.   Luckily, Fenway’s attention is now focused on his bone, but when he sees squirrels in the Dog Park (backyard), he fears the rodents want to steal his treat.  Fenway must find a place to hide his bone so it is secure.  Once his bone is safely tucked underground, Fenway is relieved.

But now the rain is preventing him from digging up his bone and enjoying it. Fenway is not a very patient pup; playing with his toys isn’t keeping his mind off his bone.  In the morning, Fenway sees sunshine and can’t wait to go out to the Dog Park. Hattie lets him out but when he digs, his bone is not there!  Did the squirrels steal it? 

Written from Fenway’s point of view, author Coe has created a character who I doggedly love! As a dog mom, Fenway’s dialogue and actions are on point.  Kids (and I) love Coe’s Fenway middle grade novels so it’s exciting to read a new series written for young readers.  As a reading specialist, I appreciate all the support for readers transitioning to chapter books such as length (85 pages), short chapters, and Lew-Vriethoff’s adorable black and illustrations which perfectly capture Fenway’s personality. Thanks to the author for sharing an eARC. Fenway and the Bone Thieves celebrates its book birthday tomorrow on May 3, 2022.  And a bonus-Fenway and the Frisbee Trick publishes simultaneously and 2 more Fenway adventures are to come in 2023!

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.
#classroombookaday, Earth Day, It's Monday! What Are You Reading?, Nonfiction, Picture Books

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? Earth Day Edition 4/18/22

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

Grateful for my spring break to relax and reset. We took a short getaway to Luray, Virginia. When we discovered small dogs were allowed in Luray Caverns as long as they are carried during the tour, we knew it would be one of our stops. Bella even donned a had hat for the tour.

We stayed in a cozy cottage right on the Shenandoah River enjoying its peaceful sounds.

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School resumes tomorrow and while this year has been challenging, always appreciative of time to recharge and the knowledge that summer vacation is getting closer. 


This Friday, April 22, 2022 is Earth Day! Read my reviews of newly released picture books perfect for celebrating our planet and encouraging kids to take action to preserve our precious resources.


Our Recent Reads:

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Only One by Deborah Hopkinson Illustrated by Chuck Groenink

An exuberant young girl educates young readers about our universe and all its wonders. She begins sharing her knowledge with her brother defining content vocabulary such as stars, galaxies, and the Milky Way. As the siblings stroll the neighborhood, they encounter other children who accompany them on their walk. The sun, our solar system, and the atmosphere are a few additional terms explored by the girl. Towards the end of book, the children reach the woods where they observe the wonders of nature and join their community in tree planting. 

I love that Hopkinson’s chose to have the young girl narrate the story because it makes the content more accessible to kids. Groenink’s soft illustrations convey the message that while the universe is indeed immense, our actions make an impact on Earth.  Only One teaches that it is our responsibility to treat our planet with care.  Thanks to Barbara Fisch of Blue Slip Media and Anne Schwartz Books for sharing a copy.  Only One recently released on April 5, 2022.


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Be Thankful for Trees by Harriet Ziefert Illustrated by Brian Fitzgerald

This narrative nonfiction picture book celebrates trees and their importance in our lives. Ziefert’s short, rhyming phrases and Fitzgerald’s large, bright illustrations are pleasing to the ear and eye making the content easy for young children to understand. Kids learn trees provide food, comfort, music, art, recreation, and homes for living things.  The last chapter celebrates that life would not be possible without trees and stresses how humans must do their part to protect trees. Thanks to Barbara Fisch of Blue Slip Media and Red Comet Press for sharing a copy.  Be Thankful for Trees published on March 29, 2022.


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Once Upon a Forest by Pam Fong

On the first page spread, an adorable marmot is tending to her garden while her bird friend looks on. At the top of the page, smoke is in the air. Concerned, the marmot follows the smoke into the forest and sees the damage. She quickly returns home to fetch her wagon carrying tree seedlings and garden tools and the bird accompanies her. In this wordless picture book, no text is necessary, for the breathtaking artwork shows the animals’ dedication throughout the seasons toward restoring the area ravaged by fire. I love Fong’s choice of utilizing mostly gray tones and representing life with pops of color. Once a Upon a Forest is a perfect read aloud to teach kids how a small act of kindness can make a big difference.  Thanks to Barbara Fisch of Blue Slip Media and Random House Kids for sharing a copy.  Once Upon a Forest published on February 8, 2022.


Bella’s Dog Pick of the Week

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

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Apple and Magnolia by Laura Gehl Illustrated by Patricia Metola

Every day, Britta and her pup visit two trees named Apple and Magnolia. Britta believes the trees are best friends. Apple drops her fruit and it rolls under Magnolia and Magnolia’s leaves fly to Apple in thanks. As she and her dog dance under a starry sky, Apple and Magnolia careen together. Both her father and her sister disagree with Britta; however, her grandmother is on her side. When Britta discovers Magnolia with patchy bark and yellow leaves, she is worried. Being her only ally, Britta consults Nana who asks if Britta has a plan. Britta is one smart girl creating ways to connect Magnolia with Apple and her pup “helps” her with her tasks. It appears that the trees are getting closer to each other each day. Britta takes measurements and the data proves her observation is correct. Over time, Apple’s support allow Magnolia to bloom again. 

In the author’s note, Gehl shares how trees can communicate and help each other. While the story is about the relationship between two trees, Gehl also sweetly highlights the bond between a girl and her Nana who has faith in her. And while Britta’s dog is not central to the story, Metola’s soft, gentle illustrations show her pup is always there by her side supporting her. Gorgeous artwork and a heartwarming plot make Apple and Magnolia a touching story for Earth Day or any day!  A discussion and activity guide on how trees are connected to each other and to us can be found here.  Thanks to Barbara Fisch of Blue Slip Media and Flyaway Books for sharing a copy.  Apple and Magnolia released on February 8, 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, Chapter Books, Debut Author, Early Readers, It's Monday! What Are You Reading?, Middle Grade Literature, Picture Books

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 4/11/22

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


Our Recent Reads:

Sir Fig Newton and the Science of Persistence by Sonja Thomas

12 year old science-loving Mira Williams must face facts.  Her summer sucks (although her grandmother chides her for her inappropriate language).  Well, you be the judge.  Her best friend, Thomas, has moved far away, her father is laid off, her science fair rival, Tamika, has moved into Thomas’ old house, and her cat, Sir Fig Newton, was just diagnosed with diabetes.  And the worst part is treatment is so expensive, her parents think the only solution is finding a new home for Sir Fig.  No offense Gran, but I think Mia’s word choice is spot on.  

Mira cannot let go of Sir Fig without a fight. She convinces her parents to give her a month to make the money for Sir Fig’s care. Babysitting and selling lemonade are good starting points, but $2000 is a lot of money to earn.  Inspired by Tamika’s mother’s activism, Mia discovers a way to raise money, but now another worry has emerged.  Will Sir Fig respond to his treatments? Mira who typically only believes in facts must also have faith for as Gran says, “Faith allows for possibilities.” 

Written from Mira’s point of view, debut author Thomas beautifully captures the voice of smart, authentic, and determined young girl who readers will relate to and root for.  As I was reading, my heart hurt for Mira as she worried about both Sir Fig, her dad, and her friendships, but I appreciated how Thomas did not allow Mia to wallow in her sorrows. Mia’s determination was invigorating and I especially loved how Thomas showed how Mia’s experiences, good and bad, changed her, for the better.   Mira learned that with patience, curiosity, observation, and persistence, she had not only survived the worst summer of her life but also emerged stronger.   Thanks to the author for sharing with my #bookexcursion group. Sir Fig Newton and the Science of Persistence recently published on March 22, 2022. 


Donut: The Unicorn Who Wanted to Fly by Laura Gehl Illustrated by Andrea Zuill

After seeing a bird flying in the air, a unicorn sweetly named Donut has one wish-to fly!  But wanting and doing are entirely two different things.  Donut makes multiple attempts to achieve her goal but none are successful.  Witnessing her struggle and desire, her animal friends lend their support to help make Donut’s dream come true.

I absolutely adore Donut!  On each page spread, Gehl’s text only consists of two words.  For example, Donut jumps! is followed by Donut thumps!  Gehl’s concise rhymes allow kids to join in the reading which is a read. Zuill’s illustrations are absolutely gorgeous.  What I love most is Zuill’s attention to detail, for readers can see Donut’s not only determination and frustration but her forest friends’ reactions and responses. With themes of persistence, friendship, and collaboration, Donut is another great picture book for teaching and/or reinforcing social skills. Thanks to Barbara Fisch of Blue Slip Media and Random House Kids for sharing a copy.  Donut celebrates its book birthday tomorrow on April 12, 2022. 


Really Bird Stories
by Harriet Ziefert Illustrated by Travis Foster

When you are a bird with really big feelings or wants, the best name is well, Really.  In I Really Want to be First, Really is tired of always being last so his friends, a dog and a cat, give him the chance to be the leader. Really leads his friends to a tree to climb.  But when Pup and Cat get scared, can Really who can fly, take charge and lead his wingless friends back to the ground? In I Really Want a Bigger Piece, sharing a blueberry pie is not equal.  Really gets the smallest piece, Cat’s piece is messy, and Dog’s piece is perfect.  How can these three friends solve their problems so everyone is happy? 

Fans of Elephant and Piggie and Pigeon and Duck will REALLY love Ziefert’s and Foster’s new early comic series.   Appearing in speech bubbles, Ziefert’s lively text is all dialogue making the story easy for kids to access. Foster’s bright and energetic illustrations fill the pages and will captivate kids.  As a reading specialist, I love that the stories teach and reinforce positive virtues such as friendship, teamwork, sharing, and kindness.  In addition, a Think About/Talk About section follows the story where kids can make connections to each story.  More adventures are coming! A third book, I Really Want to Fly to the Moon, releases in September 2022. 

Thanks to Barbara Fisch of Blue Slip Media and Red Comet Press Books for sharing copies of the series.  I Really Want to Be First and I Really Want a Bigger Piece celebrate their book birthday tomorrow on April 12, 2022. 


Bella’s Dog Pick of the Week

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

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Being A Dog: A Tail of Mindfulness by Maria Gianferrari Illustrated by Pete Oswald

If you are looking for a picture book to support social emotional learning, I highly recommend Being a Dog.  Children not only get to learn mindful strategies, but also are exposed to vivid verbs (munch, romp, ruffle, wade, whirl) which enhances their oral and written vocabulary.  The back matter includes directions on how to take a mindful nature walk with a canine friend in all four seasons as well as instructions on a mindful breathing exercise. 

With rhythmic, concise text, and warm, expressive artwork, Being a Dog is a tale that gives children the “oppawtunity” to learn how to mindful of their feelings in order to reach their full “pet-tential.”  To read my full review, 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.
Early Readers, It's Monday! What Are You Reading?, Middle Grade Literature, Picture Books

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 4/4/22

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


Our Recent Reads:

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This Book Will Get You to Sleep by Jory John Illustrated by Oliver Tallec

A kangaroo with a megaphone, monster trucks, electric guitars, car alarms, barking dogs, and meowing cats will put you to sleep, right?  In this hilarious bedtime story, the marsupial narrator breaks the fourth wall firmly believing that his tactics will induce a peaceful slumber.  When his strategies do not produce effective results, the kangaroo resorts to counting sheep, but wait….the sheep are being chased by a fire breathing dragon.   The narrator is both perplexed and annoyed as to why sleep has not occurred.  

Contrary to the kangaroo’s mission, kids will stay wide awake to listen to this fun bedtime read aloud and ask for repeated readings because John’s text is so enjoyable and witty.  Tallec’s lively illustrations have immense kid appeal and will not support shut-eye.  In a nutshell, This Book Will Get You to Sleep will not deliver its promise, but it will provide delight and laughter which is much more important. 

Thanks to Macmillan Children’s Publishing for sharing a copy with Beagles and Books.  This Book Will Put You to Sleep publishes tomorrow on April 5, 2022. 


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Hat Cat by Troy Wilson Illustrated by Eve Coy

Hat Cat is a charming story about the relationship between an old man and a rescue cat.  While the cat is curious about the outside, he is loyal because he loves the man who gives him shelter, food, and love.  Wilson’s gentle, melodic text and Coy’s warm, expressive illustrations give this quiet story so much life.  The soft cadence of the text makes the story is a joy to read aloud and kids quickly picked up on some of the repetitive phrases.   Coy’s artwork shows the depth of their relationship, for the man’s face lights up in all his interactions with Hat and Hat reveals his emotions ranging from joyful and content to scared and worried.  To read my full review, click here


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Pruett and Soo by Nancy Viau Illustrated by Jorge Lacera

Pruett and Soo is an uplifting story about friendship and finding your voice. I appreciate how Viau shows Pruett’s conflict between following the rules and doing what was right in his heart.  Both Pruett and Soo are characters that kids will cheer for because they both have big feelings they can relate to. Lacera’s energetic and vibrant illustrations will captivate kids and truly bring Pruett and Soo to life.   What I love most about the story is the message to be true to yourself.  Pruett’s friendship with Soo gave him the courage to speak up and take action. 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.

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Doggo and Pupper Save the World by Katherine Applegate illustrated by Charlie Adler

In the second book in the series, Pupper wishes he could be like flying Wonder Dog on TV, but heroes aren’t scared of things like giant squirrels.  And heroes need someone to save. Doggo and Cat don’t need saving so being a hero is not going to be easy.  When Doggo and Pupper go to the park to listen to a band, Pupper hears a sound in a bush.  It could be a giant squirrel, but Pupper is brave and discovers a baby bird who is not yet learned to fly.  Perhaps, Pupper can be a hero after all.

I just adore Doggo, Pupper, and Cat too.  Applegate’s easily accessible text coupled with Adler’s bold and humorous illustrations not only appeals to young readers but also supports them in transitioning to chapter book reading.  I love how Doggo’s and Pupper’s relationship has deepened and how Doggo dotes on the young pup.  Excited to hear a third book, Doggo and Pupper Search for Cozy, will release in March 2023.

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

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 3/28/22

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


Our Recent Reads:

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A Duet for Home by Karina Yan Glaser

After the sudden loss of her father, 11 year old June, her 6 year old sister, and her mother can no longer afford to live in their Chinatown apartment and move to Huey House, a homeless shelter.  Depression has consumed June’s mom so June has had to take on the role of parent.  Her viola is the only thing that connects June to her dad , but director Ms. MacMillan does not allow instruments at the shelter.  Marcus, the head of security, assures June that he will keep her viola safe.  To make amends for a prank not intended for June and her sister, Tyrell, a Huey House resident for three years, finds a way to not only reunite June with her viola, but also show her a secluded place to practice.  Gradually, June and Tyrell bond over their mutual love of music.  Just when June is starting to feel safe, Tyrell overhears Ms. MacMillan talking about a new housing program that aims to relocate families out of shelters.  This program’s goal is to make it appear that the homeless numbers are decreasing, but the new housing is undesirable or unsafe.  June and Tyrell feel compelled to do something but will anyone pay attention to kids? 

While Yan Glaser chose to tell June’s and Tyrell’s story in third person with alternating chapters, readers still get to know each character on a deep personal level conscious of their fears and hopes.  I especially appreciate how in the author’s note preceding the novel, Yan Glaser shares the inspiration for Duet for Home having worked as full time in New York City homeless shelters.  Yan Glaser gives voice to children whose families are experiencing a hardship as well as social worker Ms. Gonzalez who always had their best interests at heart.  What I love most about the story is that Huey House is more than just shelter for families.  As June shares, “It has become a place where my family can become whole again.”  Both poignant and uplifting, Duet for Home is a story that will tug at your heart but also fill it with hope.  

Thanks to the author and Clarion Books for sharing an ARC with my #bookexcursion group.  Pre-order now so you can have A Duet for Home on your hands when it publishes next week on April 5, 2022. 


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Bobcat Prowling by Maria Gianferrari Illustrated by Bagram Ibatoulline

A companion to Gianferrari’s Coyote Moon and Hawk Rising, Bobcat Prowling is a narrative non-fiction picture book which tells the story of a young bobcat searching for a home range of his own. At the beginning of the story, the mood is serene.  Snow covers the ground. A boy waits for his bus as a mother bobcat and her son Yearling wake up on a nearby hill.   Not long after, Yearling begins his journey to find a new home.  Gianferrari’s melodic text and Ibatoulline’s gorgeous illustrations capture the intensity of Yearling’s lengthy travel.

Each time, Yearling thinks he has found his new home (and next meal), he is thwarted by a resident animal such as a lynx, another bobcat or a wolf who has already laid claim to that territory.  Gianferrari’s words and Ibatoulline’s artwork are like a symphony with low tones and high notes.  When Yearling discovers a potential new home and dinner, the text and illustrations are soft and calm.  Once a resident animal spies Yearling’s presence, the words and artwork are energetic showing the conflict between the two animals.   To read my full review, get details on entering giveaway, click here


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Emet’s Box by Jeni Chen 

Ever since he was young, painting was Emet’s passion.  When his parents encouraged him to focus on his studies, he compiled and then gradually stopped painting packing his art supplies in a box.  Emet’s world dramatically and literally changed from colorful to gray!  Would Emet ever see color again? Luckily, he spies a multicolored kite and follows it which reignites his love for art. 

With concise text and expressive illustrations, Chen’s debut picture book shares the powerful message of how doing what you love fuels you.  I especially love that last page spread when Chen shows children engaging in their favorite activities whether it be making music, dancing or playing a sport. Emet’s Box will be a great classroom read aloud where kids could share their passion and how it make them feel.  Thanks to Michele McAvoy of Little Press/Blue Bronco Books for sharing an ARC with my #bookexcursion group.  Emet’s Box celebrates its book birthday this Friday on April 1, 2022. 


Bella’s Dog Pick of the Week

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

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Bobo and Pup-Pup series by Vikram Madan Illustrated by Nicola Slater

This early graphic novel series feature two friends, Bobo, a monkey and Pup-Pup, a dog.  In the first book, We Love Bubbles, Pup-Pup blows bubbles while Bobo can’t stop popping them resulting in a frustrated Pup-Pup.  A now determined Pup-Pup gets Super Bubble Mix to make unpoppable bubbles. Bobo can’t resist popping but when he does, he gets stuck inside.  Will his Pup Pup save him?   In Let’s Make Cake, the friends see a cake made by mice and decide to make one of their own.  When Pup-Pup reads the necessary ingredients, Bobo improvises substituting butter for lemons and salt for sugar and it’s no surprise that their cake is not very tasty.  In both books, the theme of friendship is evident, despite their mishaps, the duo have fun spending time together.  

Each book has six short chapters with all text appearing in speech bubbles.  As a reading specialist, I love how Madan carefully choose words with short vowels, silent e, and high frequency words to support developing readers. Slater’s bright and energetic illustrations fill the pages and will captivate kids. So excited I found this series to share with my students!  And stay tuned for Bobo and Pup-Pup’s next adventure, The Funny Book, which releases in October 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 Readers, It's Monday! What Are You Reading?, Middle Grade Literature, Novels in Verse, Picture Books

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 3/21/22

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


Our Recent Reads:

Wave by Diana Firad

Set in 1980s California, 13 year old Ava can’t wait to spend her summer surfing, singing, and being with her best friends Phoenix and Naz. Her surgeon mother decides she should volunteer at her hospital which makes Ava resentful especially when she accidentally falls and fractures a bone in her leg.  Being in a cast on the beach isn’t fun but things get worse when Phoenix’s cancer returns. Phoenix has survived lymphoma before but can he conquer this wave again? Worried about Phoenix and her identity, given her father’s absence and her struggle between being both Persian and American, Ava seeks solace in song and Rumi poetry.  

Written in verse from the perspective of Ava, Wave is both heartbreaking and hopeful.   Farid’s poetry is beautifully written exploring Ava’s inner conflicts.  One of her highlights of volunteering was developing a relationship with a patient in Room 509 who shares her love of Rumi.  Discovering he was an orphan, Ava asks if he felt alone or weird.  His responded “Sometimes. But eventually, I decided, I didn’t want to carry around other people’s feelings about my life.”  I love this conversation because these words help Ava come to terms with who she is later vocalizing “I belong from I came and I belong to where I am.”   Wave is a powerful story about family, friendship, fitting in, and facing fears.   Thanks to Cameron Kids and Barbara Fisch of Blue Slip Media for sharing an ARC with my #bookexcursion group.  Wave celebrates its book birthday next week on March 29, 2022. 



A History of Underwear with Professor Chicken
by Hannah Holt Illustrated by Korwin Briggs

Professor Chicken gives readers a “brief” look at the history of underwear beginning in 3300 BCE.  I learned that underwear is called a pair because early coverings came in pieces.  Long ago, underwear wasn’t bought at the store; animals had to be caught, dried, pounded, and smoked before wearing.  In 1400 BCE, Egyptians used linen and since it could take 4 to 5 months to make a pair, underwear was a sign of wealth.   And since elastic wasn’t invented yet, keeping underwear secure took careful tying and tucking.  Professor Chicken shares facts about the first diapers, how underwear varied based on region, age, class, and gender, and how ladies’ undergarments got bigger during the English Renaissance.   At the end of the book is a page spread full of Underpants Monthly covers which shows the evolution of underwear from the late 1870s to the 2000s.  Luckily, Professor Chicken acknowledges that today, people can chose the undies that work best for them. 

Kids (and adults) will laugh and learn about underwear with Professor Chicken! Holt’s text is full of playful puns and fascinating facts.  Briggs’ animated and expressive illustrations will both entertain and educate. Highly recommend A History of Underwear with Professor Chicken to add to a school, classroom or home library! Thanks to the author for sharing with my #bookexcursion group.  A History of Underwear with Professor Chicken recently published in February 2022. 



That Egg is Mine!
by Liz Goulet Dubois

Duck and Cluck argue about who owns an egg.  The illustrations show the egg is blue with white spots.  Duck has a blue and white spotted bill and Cluck is blue with white spots so readers can infer that the egg could rightfully belong to either bird.  When the egg hatches, the mystery is solved.

Graphic novels are so popular with readers of all ages so I am always excited when I discover a series that is written for younger children.  With most text in speech bubbles and clean illustrations using a limited color palette, Dubois has written a story that will support early readers, make them laugh out loud, and anxiously wait for the next adventure of Duck and Cluck. 


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.

Togo and Balto: The Dogs Who Saved a Town by Jodi Parachini Illustrated by Keiron Ward and Jason Dewhirst

Part of the Animalographies series, this narrative nonfiction picture book tells the story of Siberian huskies, Togo and Balto, who were trained as sled dogs.  Kids may know sled dogs compete in the Iditarod but they (along with adults like me) will learn the crucial role that huskies played in the Serum Race bringing lifesaving serum to the children who were stricken with diphtheria in the 1920s in Nome, Alaska.

I love that Parachini chose to tell the story from Togo’s point of view with a combination of text and journal entries.  I also appreciate that she chose Togo as narrator because I have read books featuring Balto, but never knew Togo was a famous sled dog.  Looking forward to sharing Togo and Balto with teachers and students at my school.  Thanks to Albert Whitman for sharing with my #bookexcursion group.   Togo and Balto releases in April 2022. 

 

Bella and I thank you for visiting Beagles and Books!

 

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

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 2/21/22

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


Our Recent Reads:

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Golden Girl by Reem Faruqi

Seventh grader Aafiyah loves playing tennis, learning weird but true facts, and hanging with her best friend Zaina.  But Aafiyah has a secret.  She has “itchy fingers” because she loves to borrow things. Sometimes Aafiyah keeps them and other times she gives them back.  On the way home from visiting her grandparents in Pakistan, her father is accused of stealing and subsequently detained.  Her grandfather, Dada Abu, travels to Atlanta for cancer treatment with Aafiyah, her mother and younger brother leaving her father and grandmother behind. 

With her father’s lawyer bills and her grandfather’s treatment, Aafiyah is worried that her family is struggling for money.  Aafiyah knows stealing is wrong but she feels compelled to help her family.  When she is caught, she is contrite and must learn to accept the consequences of her actions.  

With themes of family, friendship, and forgiveness, Faruqi’s novel in verse, Golden Girl is a story that will appeal to a variety of readers.  Faruqi gracefully tackles difficult topics and the verse format makes the novel accessible.  As I read, Faruqi’s melodic verses evoked a lot of emotion and since it was written from Aafiyah’s perspective, I could witness her inner struggles which helped me understand her more deeply.  At the end of the novel, author’s notes shares the origins of the story. Thanks to the author for sharing an ARC with my #bookexcursion group.  Golden Girl celebrates its book birthday tomorrow on February 22, 2022. 


 Jubilee: The First Therapy Horse and an Olympic Dream by KT Johnston Illustrated by Annabella Ortiz

Jubilee is a picture book biography of Lis Hartel, a Danish woman, who was a national champion in the sport of dressage which is described as ballet on horseback.  A diagnosis of polio threatened her ability to not only walk but also ride a horse. Lis was determined to prove her doctor wrong and worked tirelessly to regain her strength engaging in crawling races with her daughter.  Once she gathered strength in her arms and body, Lis was ready to ride again.   Her horse, Gigolo had hurt his leg so her husband suggested young Jubilee.  Lis agreed that she and Jubilee would learn together. 

With patience and practice, Lis and Jubilee became friends developing the ability to communicate to each other through Lis’ light touches and Jubilee’s cooperative nature.  After two and a half years of training, they began to compete competitively qualifying for the 1948 Olympics. It took another 4 years until women were allowed to enter dressage.  In 1952, Lis and Jubilee won a silver medal for their performance competing against men in the sport.  

Johnston’s heartwarming narration and Ortiz’s tender illustration show the incredible bond between Lis and Jubilee.  The duo enjoyed an extraordinary connection which allowed them both to reach their full potential. At the end of the story, the author’s notes provides more facts about the Lis’ and Jubilee’s relationship and how Lis opened the first riding center for people with disabilities.  Thanks to the author and publisher for sharing an eARC with my #bookexcursion group.  Jubilee recently released on February 1, 2022.


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Playing the Lanterns by Wang Yage Illustrated by Zhu Chengliang  Translated by Helen Wang

Playing with Lanterns shares the age old New Year folk custom in the Shaanxi province of northwest China.  On the third day of the fifteen day celebration, children begin receiving lanterns from their uncles. With its gentle text and expressive illustrations, I highly recommend Playing with Lanterns as a read aloud to teach kids about Chinese New Year. 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.

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The Happiness of a Dog in its Mouth by Bruce Handy & Hyewon Yum

A young girl slowly awakens to a new day.  As soon as she gets out of bed, two dog (one a beagle, perhaps) runs to greet her.  On most subsequent page spreads, Handy contrasts a difficult feeling with a happy one.  While dogs are not highlighted in each situation, I love that the dogs are on the positive side of the experience.  This quiet story sends a powerful message about the importance of how unfavorable circumstances are fleeting not permanent if we have a positive mindset. 

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

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 1/31/22

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


Our Recent Reads:

Just Right Jillian by Nicole Collier

Fifth grader Jillian is smart but unbelievably shy.  When her class plays Last Man Standing to improve speed and accuracy in math, Jillian knows the final answer to win but is unable to speak or raise her hand.  Her silence allows her classmate and foe Rashida to win.  Jillian knows she needs to find her voice, but since her Grammy died a year ago, she feels lost.  Grammy always said, “Being shy is one thing. Hiding is something else.”  Jillian knows she is hiding by being quiet and blending in with all the other girls’ wearing dull colored clothes and her hair in a ponytail, but how does she find the confidence to be true self? 

Her teacher, Ms. Warren, sees Jillian’s potential and encourages her to enter the academic competition, Mind Bender.  Rashida won the competition last year as a fourth grader.  What chance does Jillian have?  Gradually, Jillian begins to embrace small steps towards change wearing purple or her hair untwisted until she finally find her JTRA (Just the Right Amount) of courage thanks to her friend Marquez.  And the incubating chicks her class is observing remind Jillian to find the courage to break out of her shell.  

Full of hope and heart, Just Right Jillian is a touching story about family, friendship, facing your fears, and finding out who you are.  While Jillian did not share all her insecurities with her parents, her mom and dad were always sharing words of wisdom.  I just loved their positivity and encouragement. 

  • “Never start your story with the other person.”
  • “If your heart knows what’s right, you already have the answer.  It’s up to you to commit to it.”
  • “When you have a something and you do it, it teaches you to know yourself better.”
  • “You don’t need any excuses to be yourself.” 

We all have a little Jillian in us. With Just Right Jillian, debut author Collier teaches us lessons on how to be brave when it is hard.  Thankful to the author for sharing an ARC with my #bookexcursion group.  Just Right Jillian celebrates its book birthday tomorrow on February 1, 2022. 



Bad Kitty Gets Phone
by Nick Bruel

In this new full-color graphic novel adventure, Kitty is obsessed with the online game Feather Tap and keeps stealing her owners’ phone to play.  When she is given the opportunity to play with real feathers, Kitty is not amused. Instead she asks for her own phone in exchange for doing chores for three whole months.  Successfully completing the seven labors (picking up toys, making bed, washing bowl, cleaning litter box, changing the baby, repairing curtains, and giving Puppy a bath), Kitty earns a phone of her very own.  But with ownership comes responsibility and Kitty struggles in making good decisions becoming addicted to a violent game, a Cat Facebook app,  and ViewTube videos.  Her demeanor also takes a downward spiral engaging with heated online arguments with cyberbullies and ignoring her friend Chatty Kitty’s texts. As a result, her owners to take away her phone for a month.  Readers will love the hilarious chapter How to Take a Phone Away From a Cat which consists of seven not so easy steps.  

Bruel’s text and artwork gives readers not only the opportunity to laugh but also to learn, for Kitty’s actions and her owners’ response teach kids about internet safety and digital literacy.  I love that Kitty’s owners were constantly monitoring her activity and deleted apps that they deemed inappropriate or detrimental to her emotional and mental well being.  A recurring section, Uncle Murray’s Fun Facts, teaches kids the difference between fact and opinion.  Thanks to Macmillan Children’s Publishing for sharing a copy.  Bad Kitty Gets a Phone recently released on December 28, 2021. 


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I Am You: A Book About Ubuntu by Refiloe Moahloli Illustrated by Zinelda McDonald

In Southern Africa, ubuntu means connectedness.  It is the belief that people form their identities based on their relationship with others.   I Am You teaches children the meaning of ubuntu using a concise, melodic text and bold and expressive illustrations.  To read my full review including thoughts from first graders, 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.

Cat Dog by Mem Fox Illustrated by Mark Teague

In this interactive picture book, Fox’s clever call and response text and Teague’s lively page filling illustrations will appeal to kids of all ages.  On the first page spread, the text says “So there was a scary dog, right?.  The illustrations shows a cat peering behind a couch and a large white dog with clenched teeth.  When the page is turned, the text reads “No!” and the dog is smaller and docile.  The story continues with questions followed by either a yes or no.  Readers will soon discover that sometimes, the illustrations match the text, but at times, reality is actually depicted in the following page spread.  And while the title is Cat Dog, a mouse is also a main character and its antics drive the plot along.   If you are looking for a picture book to teach point of view or perspective, Cat Dog is a perfect text.  Cat Dog published 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.
#Bookexcursion, Chapter Books, Graphic Novel, It's Monday! What Are You Reading?, Middle Grade Literature, Picture Books

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 1/17/22

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


Our Recent Reads:

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Dear Student by Elly Swartz

Sixth grader Autumn has a lot on her plate.  Her dad recently joined the Peace Corps which is hard enough but his leaving resulted in her family having to move in the apartment above her mom’s vet practice.  Her best friend Prisha just moved to California so Autumn is feeling alone on her first day of middle school.   Earlier that day on a video call, her dad asked her to seize the day and get involved in one thing at school.  So when Autumn sees Mr. Baker’s advertisement for a new secret voice of Dear Student in the school newspaper, she wonders… could this be it? 

When Autumn is offered the position of Dear Student, she is both surprised and elated. She feels confident offering guidance to those who write in since her identity is hidden.  But when new friends Logan and Cooper are both impacted differently by her advice, things get messy. With the support of Mr. Baker, Autumn learns that it’s impossible to please everyone.  Being Dear Student is about being honest and staying true to herself which is both frightening and fearless.

Written from Autumn’s point of view, Swartz perfectly captures her main character’s kindness, conflicts, and courage.  Out of all her struggles, her dad choosing the Peace Corps over his family made my heart break for Autumn.  I love though that Swartz is willing to tackle tough family issues that kids today may be facing.  What made my heart happy is Autumn’s tender relationship with her younger sister Pickles whether she is sharing the orange ribbon that Prisha gave her or reading aloud books like Drawn Together,  Lady Pancake & Sir French Toast, and Pink is for Blowfish.  Autumn is a character that kids will relate to and root for!  Thanks to Wunderkind PR for sharing an ARC with my #bookexcursion group.  Dear Student publishes on February 15, 2022. 


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Glam Prix Racers: Back on Track (Book 2) by Deanna Kent Illustrated by Neil Hooson 

Mio the Mermaid, her moto Mudwick, and the rest of the Glam Prix Racers are “back on track” competing in the second race of the Glam Prix Cup in Soft Swirl City. Their team is currently in first place, but the Vroombots are following close behind and their leader V-Best does not play fair. He spies on Glam Prix Racers, ignores rules, adds obstacles to the course, and steals all the Sparklecharge.  As in the first race, The Glam Prix Racers know that their sparkle, speed, wits, and most importantly, teamwork are the ingredients to secure another win.  Can they be victorious once again?

With fun characters and a fast paced plot, kids will devour the second adventure in this graphic novel trilogy.  As a teacher, I love that the Glam Prix Racers teach readers the value of traits such as cooperation, problem solving, perseverance, and compassion in a light and lively way.  Kent’s peppy and witty dialogue is both humorous and suspenseful and Hooson’s bright and detailed illustrations pop with both color and energy.   Thanks to the publisher for sharing an eARC.  Back on Track releases tomorrow on January 18, 2022.  And don’t worry!  Fast to the Finish (Book 3) will be out in October 2022.


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Over Bear! Under Where? by Julie Kedlund Illustrated by Michael Slack

Full of puns and wordplay, Hedlund humorously and skillfully uses the words, over and under, in a variety of combinations (Over is over Under; Under is over over) as the two friends, Under (a mole) and Over (a bird) play together on the see saw and swings in the park.   Once the friends see a hot-dog dog and then a bear, the plot picks up and introduces kids to more positional words such as behind and between. Slack’s large and expressive illustrations not only will make kids laugh but also reinforce the concept.  In the author’s note, Hedlund shares that under and over can be combined with other words to make compound words.  

As a reading specialist, I love finding books to introduce or reinforce a skill or concept.  In addition, Over Bear! Under Where! is a perfect book to put in developing readers’ hands because words are  repeated throughout the story making it an accessible read.  The story also has a lot of depth and is a great text for teaching plot elements as well as character traits and/or feelings.  Thanks to the author for sharing a copy with my #bookexcursion group. Over Bear! Under Where? recently published on November 9, 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 character.

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The Barking Ballad: A Bark-Along Meow-Along Book by Julia Paschkis

Inspired by the fourth stanza in Oliver Goldsmith’s “An Elegy on the Death of a Mad Dog,” The Barking Ballad tells the tale of a stray cat who go unnoticed hiding in bushes and tall grasses until a black dog discovers her.  Just as they are ready to meet, a rock falls on the dog’s head leaving him unconscious. The cat comes to the dog’s rescue licking its wound and from that moment on, the two become best friends always by each other’s side.  

While the rhyming text and folk art illustrations will appeal to young children’s ears and eyes, kids will fall in love with this story because author/illustrator Paschkis encourages barks and meows as the story is read aloud.  Prior to the actual story, instructions explain how to bark and meow along, for a red circle cues a canine sound and a yellow diamond cues a feline sound.  Can’t wait to share The Barking Ballad with my kindergarten #classroombookaday class! The Barking Ballad published on October 5, 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.
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:

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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. 


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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.

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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.