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

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 7/1/19

Beagles and Books is excited to share our current 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 Textsdecided 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.

It’s summer! Excited for time to relax, renew & of course, read!

Thanks to my administrators, I was blessed to participate in the TCRWP June Writing Institute at Columbia University. Even though I have been writing this blog for almost 2 years, I really didn’t identify myself as a writer. A reader, definitely, but a writer? This institute provided me with the opportunity to engage in my own writing and learn how to support teachers and students in writers’ workshop. One of the best professional learning experiences in my career! And the fact that I was able to explore and enjoy New York City made it even more memorable.

 

 

After returning home, I couldn’t pass up the chance to attend ALA Annual Conference in Washington, DC. I was only able to spend 1 day but what an incredible day meeting authors, personally thanking authors & publishers for sharing ARCs and finally getting to meet fellow literacy specialist and #bookexcursion member Lisa Maucione in real life after being virtual friends for years. At the end of the day, my heart, bags, and TBR list were (& still are) full.

 

Our Current Reads:

The Problim Children: Carnival Catastrophe by Natalie Lloyd

In the second book in the series, The Problims have 2 big missions ahead of them.  The 7 siblings need to find the remaining 3 twigs which when snapped together, create a water witch.  According to their Grandpa Problim, this water witch will lead them to “a treasure beyond measure.” They also need to find Mama Problim, who is still missing.  Set during the Annual Love Cove Corn Dog Carnival,  Mona Problim encourages all her siblings to enter one of the contests, for the prize is a boat trip to Pirates Cove which she believes is key to locating the treasure and their mother.

While all the Problim siblings are part of this adventure, Mona is the center of the  intriguing plot.  After being called cruel (more than once) and feeling misunderstood by others, Mona seeks the support of her father.  His advice is simple.  “Lead with the good. Find one good truth about someone and mention that. See how they react.”  This advice aids Mona to learn not to judge others, for she realizes everyone wants to shine and be seen in their own unique way.

In Carnival Catastrophe, readers will discover the roots of Desmonda O’pinion’s distaste for the Problims and why there was a falling out between the two families.  Amid all the mystery and mayhem, the youngest Problem keeps us chuckling with his myriad of over 200 toots.  As in Book 1, the siblings teach us the power of collaboration because it’s hard to outsmart the Problims when they are working together.  So pile up readers.  You are in for quite an adventure! But don’t worry when you get to the end. The story will continue in The Problim Children 3.

Special thanks to author Natalie Lloyd for sharing an ARC with my #bookexcursion group. The Carnival Catastrophe recently celebrated its book birthday on June 25, 2019.

Max Attacks by Kathi Appelt Illustrated by Penelope Dullaghan

With a simple yet intriguing title & the cover illustration of a striped blue cat sitting quietly in the top right corner, what reader could resist opening this picture book?

As the title states, Max likes to attack things but the question is…Can Max catch his prey?  Throughout the story, the thing Max wants to catch most are the fish swimming in a bowl. But every time he gets ready to pounce, something distracts him such as a lizard, a toy bird, a basket full of socks or shoe strings.  Will Max ever be victorious?

Written in rhyme with rich vocabulary, author Kathi Appelt’s words beg to be read aloud.  I also love that the narrator keeps score of who is winning.  For example, after Max attacks the socks in the basket, the next page spread simply states “Socks, None. Max, Ninety One.”  Illustrator Penelope Dullaghan’s artwork is gorgeous and it’s hard to believe that Max Attacks is her debut picture book.   Her expressive illustrations capture Max’s feisty and confident personality.  And I can’t forget to mention the black and white dog who watches Max’s escapades with concern, surprise, and satisfaction.

When school begins in the fall, I will be sharing Max Attacks widely with both teachers and students! Special thanks to the publisher Atheneum Books for Young Readers/Simon & Schuster and Barbara Fisch of Blue Slip Media for sending me a copy to share with my #bookexcursion group. Max Attacks recently published in June 2019.

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.

Diary of a Pug: Pug Blasts Off  by Kyla May

I love the Scholastic Branches series because the books are specifically written for readers transitioning into chapter books.  Pug Blast Off, the first in the new Diary of a Pug series, is a fun and engaging story written from a pug’s point of view in the form of diary entries.

Baron Von Bubbles, Bub for short, was rescued by young Bella at a pet adoption fair.  In this story, Bella must craft her own creation to enter in her school’s Inventor Challenge. When Bub’s accidentally ruins Bella’s invention, he is determined to make it up to her.  Through words and illustrations, readers see Bub’s brainstorming and planning process which helps Bella realize that sometimes accidents happen for a reason and collaboration makes a better invention.

With comic illustrations and written in under 75 pages, readers will think Diary of a Pug is simply paw-tastic.  Thanks to publisher Scholastic for sharing an ARC at ALAAC19. Look for Pug’s release on October 1, 2019. Three more books will be published in 2020.

Etta, Bella & I thank you for visiting Beagles and Books. Happy Reading!

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

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 6/17/19

Beagles and Books is excited to share our current 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 Textsdecided 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 Current Reads:

Listen by Holly McGee Illustrated by Pascal Lemaitre

A young girl takes off her shoes to experience the natural world using all of her senses.  She listens to sounds, looks at the sun, breathes the air, tastes sunflower seeds, and feels the raw earth.  On each page, a small red bird carrying a tiny leaf is her companion.  The girl realizes that while her senses connect her with the world, it is most important to listen with her heart, for the heart are our ears, eyes, nose, mouth, and hands. 

Lyrically written with concise language, Holly McGee inspires readers to be empathetic through understanding not only our own story but each other’s stories. Pascal Lemaitre’s warm, gorgeous illustrations evoke a sense of calm and peacefulness.  Special thanks to author Holly McGee for sharing an Advanced Reader’s Edition  (ARE) with my #bookexcursion group. Listen publishes in September 2019.

Moon’s First Friends: One Giant Leap for Friendship by Susanna Leonard Hill Illustrated by Elisa Paganelli

All her life, the Moon has been anxiously awaiting visitors. As she looks down at Earth from the sky, she sees dinosaurs, pyramids, and all modes of transportation but no one is tempted to make the journey into space to be her guest. A glimmer of hope surfaces when the Mercury capsule is launched with a chimpanzee but to the Moon’s dismay, he does not call on her. Finally, the Moon gets her wish with the Apollo 11 voyage having her first visitors.

With the 50th anniversary of the moon landing, I have been reading a lot of picture books about the moon. What I love about Moon’s First Friends is that Leonard Hill chronicles the history of the moon in a kid friendly way.  When I read it aloud to a my adopted second grade class for #classroombookaday, the students were so attentive and after reading, they had tons of questions.  Paganelli’s illustrations of the Moon with her rosy cheeks and sweet smile are so charming and makes me want to be friends with the Moon too!

The picture book also includes back matter about NASA, the Apollo 11 Voyage, and the stages of the Saturn V rocket.  An added bonus are QR codes on the end pages that can be scanned to hear the countdown to Apollo’s liftoff and Neil Armstrong’s first words on the Moon.  Special thanks to author Susanna Leonard Hill for sharing a copy with my #bookexcursion group. Moon’s First Friends recently published on June 4, 2019.

Juniper Kai: Super Spy by Laura Gehl Illustrated by Alexandra Neonakis

Super spy Juniper Kai is the only kid on her street.  Her parents are usually always willing to play with her but suddenly her mom is too tired and her dad is too busy. And they keep whispering to each other.  Using her keen detective skills and cool spy gadgets, Juniper is determined to uncover her parent’s secret.  Clues include mom’s phone conversation with grandma about a big change, dad putting together a piece of furniture in the guest room, and a note full of names.  Will Juniper solve the case?

Juniper Kai: Super Spy is a story with a lot of kid appeal.  Young readers will enjoy piecing the clues together to solve the mystery.  Kids will also love all of Juniper’s neat spy tools. The expressive illustrations of Juniper show her range of feelings from curiousity, resolve, concern, and at the end, excitement.  Special thanks to author Laura Gehl for sharing a copy with my #bookexcursion group. Look for Juniper Kai in September 2019.

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 Peculiar Pig by Joy Steuerwald

It is pretty clear that Penny, one of Mama Pig’s babies is not a piglet, but in fact, a dachshund puppy.  While Mama Pig loves all her babies equally and consistently reassures Penny her differences don’t matter, her siblings think Penny is peculiar.  She does not look like them, has a weird oink, and prefers using her paws to dig than her snout.  But when a snake threatens the litter, Penny’s peculiar growl scares the creature away.  The piglets realizes that being peculiar is pretty positive trait! 

The Peculiar Pig is a sweet story that celebrates differences.  Steuerwald’s illustrations are absolutely adorable and will captivate young readers. Special thanks to Penguin Kids for sharing a copy with my #bookexcursion group. The Peculiar Pig celebrates its book birthday tomorrow on June 18, 2019.

Etta, Bella & I thank you for visiting Beagles and Books. Happy Reading!

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

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 6/10/19

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Beagles and Books is excited to share our current 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 Current Reads:

Awesome Dog 5000 by Justin Dean

A video game fanatic, Marty is nervous about starting a new school and making friends.  While he failed to follow any of his first day rules (do not do anything weird, embarrassing or uncool), Marty did meet Ralph and Skyler who both share his love for his favorite video game Sheriff Turbo-Karate.  One day, the trio find a robot dog at Marty’s house which was was left behind by the previous owner who was an inventor.  The robot dog, Awesome 5000, is well, pretty awesome because a walk means a flight in the air at 300 miles per hour.  But Marty’s adventure hits a snag when he and Awesome 5000 accidentally ruin Dr. Crazybrains’ birthday party, an eccentric scientist with a mad passion for making evil potions.  Dr. Crazybrains vows revenge on Marty which leads to a comical adventure that is so engaging, it will be hard to put Awesome Dog 5000 down.

Author/illustrator Justin Dean’s new series (yup, Book 2 comes out in Spring 2020) is perfect for a wide variety of readers.  At 160 pages long with short, illustrated chapters. Awesome Dog 5000 will appeal to kids who are transitioning into chapter books. Within those 160 pages is an intriguing plot with dynamic characters so solid middle grade readers will devour the novel in one sitting. As an adult who grew up in the 80’s and fondly remembers playing video games at an arcade or at home on our Atari system,  Dean’s old school video illustration transported back to my childhood which was a lot of fun! What I love most about Awesome Dog 5000 is it’s also a story of friendship between 3 kids who not only love playing Sheriff Turbo-Karate but also have each other’s back.  Special thanks to Random House for sending an ARC to my #bookexcursion group. Awesome Dog 5000 releases on July 2, 2019.

Being Small (Isn’t So Bad After All) by Lori Orlinsky

Being one of the smallest in my class for pretty much my entire school career (and still only 5′ 3), I can easily relate to the main character in Being Small (Isn’t Bad After All).  While the little girl focuses on all the negatives of being small (having to stand on a stool to get a drink, getting picked last for a team), her mother identifies the benefits of her small stature (squeezing through small spaces and having the most leg room on a plane).

Written in rhyme, Being Small (Isn’t Bad After All) is a heartwarming story that promotes a positive self image for the mother tells her daughter to not dwell on her height because “you can do anything when you give it your might.”   As a reading specialist, I have shared this picture book with primary grade teachers as well as our guidance counselor to teach the virtues of empathy, respect, and tolerance.

Special thanks to the author for sending a copy to Beagles & Books. Being Small (Isn’t Bad After All) recently published in April 2019.

 Etta 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.

Kayla & King and the Case of the Found Fred by Dori Hillestad Butler Illustrated by Nancy Meyers

Our second graders have a mystery genre unit and at our school, students have an option of reading books from the Kayla and King series.  In the Case of the Found Fred, King discovers a lost dog who needs help finding his family.  Told from King’s point of view, he is able to learn the dog’s name (Fred) and his family’s location (campground).  But of course Kayla doesn’t know this but with King’s help (and nose), the duo works together to piece the clues together.

To solve the case, Kayla models effective problem solving skills by making a list of all that she knows and writes questions about what she doesn’t know.  King’s amusing narration (nine or three days go by showing a dog’s concept of time) keeps the reader both interested and entertained.  With less than 50 pages, short chapters, an engaging plot, and humorous and colorful illustrations, King and Kayla is perfect for early readers transitioning to chapter books.  Special thanks to Peachtree Publishers for sending an ARC to my #bookexcursion group.  Kayla & King and the Case of the Found Friend recently published in March 2019.

Etta, Bella & I thank you for visiting Beagles and Books. Happy Reading!

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

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 6/3/19

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Beagles and Books is excited to share our current 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 Current Reads:

The Vanderbeekers to the Rescue by Karina Yan Glaser

Once you meet the Vanderbeekers, you instantly fall in love with this family! So blessed to have the opportunity to read an ARC of the eagerly anticipated The Vanderbeekers to the Rescue, which is the third book in this beloved series.

It may be spring break but the Vanderbeekers’ schedule is jam packed! Isa is prepping for a violin audition and Oliver can’t wait to build a treehouse with Uncle Arthur. The most exciting news of all is Mama’s cookie business will be featured in an upcoming issue for Perch Magazine and the brownstone needs to be photo shoot ready.  But when an inspection of Mama’s baking business uncovers serious violations, the kids need to think and work fast without Mama and Papa knowing.  And while the Vanderbeekers are huge animal lovers, the animals that mysteriously appear at their door every morning are making their job even harder.

If you know the Vanderbeekers, you know that when epic mistakes are made, they band together to problem solve. Better yet, when one sibling feels defeated, another sibling reminds another to think positive.  And their actions speak louder than words, for as neighbor Miss Josie beautifully states “From where I am standing, I see five kids who are growing up and wanting to do good in the world. And that fills me with hope.”  Reading the Vanderbeekers always warm my heart and soul because of their genuine kindness toward others and their love for their community.

Special thanks to Karina Yan Glaser and Houghton Mifflin Publishing for sharing an ARC for my #bookexcursion group.  The Vanderbeekers to the Rescue publishes in September 2019.

Moon: Earth’s Best Friend by Stacy McAnulty Illustrated by Stevie Lewis

The second grade class I adopted for #classroombookaday this year absolutely loves McAnulty’s Earth and Sun so I was so grateful to get an advanced reader’s edition (ARE) of Moon to read aloud before the school year ends.

McAnulty’s Our Universe series is a blend of fiction and non-fiction which is highly engaging for read aloud.  Playfully narrated by Moon, readers learn facts about the moon’s formation and its close relationship with Earth.  While I knew Earth depended on the Moon, McAnulty’s lively text and Lewis’ adorable illustrations help even me better understand space science concepts such as rotation and gravity. I love how even as an adult, I can learn from reading picture books!

After reading Moon, several students crossing their fingers eagerly asked “Is there another picture book in the series? When I visited the Macmillan website, I saw a new title, Dude, I Am Ocean slated for release in spring 2020.

Special thanks to Christian Trimmer of Henry Holt/Macmillan Kids for sharing an ARE of Moon, which releases soon on June 11, 2019.  

Rosie the Dragon and Charlie Make Waves! by Lauren Kerstein Illustrated by

Searching for a fun summer read?  Look no further than Rosie the Dragon and Charlie Make Waves!   Written by debut author Lauren Kerstein, this lively picture book provides a splash of entertainment after a hot day at the beach, pool or park.  To read my full review and enter a giveaway, please click here.

Flora’s Tree House by Gabriel Alborozo

Flora’s little brother Will has no idea that his imaginative play inspires her artwork.  Content with her sketches, she retreats to her tree house to hang up her latest masterpiece.  When Will follows her, he quickly discovers that his fantasy world is the subject of all of Flora’s drawings.  As Flora shares and explains her illustrations, the siblings bond realizing that it is even more fun to collaborate to create new and exciting adventures together.  On the very last pages, the tree house becomes a boat on rough seas and Flora joins Will in his latest romp. 

Beautifully drawn, Flora’s Tree House is a charming story about the power of imagination and how play is much more fun with a partner.  Special thanks to Christian Trimmer of Henry Holt/Macmillan Kids for sharing an ARC. Flora’s Tree House recently celebrated its book birthday on May 28, 2019.

Etta 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.

Spunky Tells All by Ann Cameron Illustrated by Lauren Castillo

I have always been a fan of Ann Cameron’s Julian and Huey series so imagine my surprise when I discovered there was a book told from the perspective of the family dog, Spunky.    Of course, Spunky loves the Bates family and knows they love him back.  Occasionally, there are misunderstandings but that is because humans do not understand the language of dog.  This language barrier causes the Bates family to think Huey needs a companion.  Rather than get another dog, the family decides to adopt a cat named Fiona.  Much to Spunky’s dismay, Fiona disrupts his normal routine so much that he refers to his old life as B.F.-Before Fiona and A.F.-After Fiona.  Fiona accompanies the family on daily walks, eats his food and drinks his water and has the audacity to join him and Huey in their Blanket Cave.  Will Spunky and Fiona ever get along?  

At only 106 pages,  Spunky Tells All is a great story for readers transitioning to chapter books or it would be an excellent and engaging read aloud.  In addition, Lauren Castillo’s expressive black and white drawings complement the text helping young readers better understand Spunky and Fiona.

Thank you for visiting Beagles & Books! Happy reading!

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

It’s Monday! What Are You Are Reading? 5/20/19

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Beagles and Books is excited to share our current 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 Current Reads:

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Planet Earth is Blue by Nicole Panteleakos

It is 1986. 12 year old Nova Vezina is anxiously awaiting for two big events- the launching of the space shuttle Challenger and reuniting with her older sister Bridget. Bridget ran away from their last foster home and Nova is adjusting to living with her new foster family, the Wests.

While Nova’s school reports consistently included phrases such as “cannot read” or “does not speak,” her older sister Bridget always disagreed stating that Nora “is a thinker, not a talker.” Bridget has been Nova’s strongest advocate recognizing and fostering Nova’s intelligence.   With only 10 days before the Challenger launch,  Nova is clinging on to Bridget’s promise that she and Nova will reunite and watch this historic event together.

I love the format of the novel, which alternates from third person to first person.  Nova’s first hand account is written as letters to Bridget, which everyone else calls “scribbles.”  Since Nora is autistic and nonverbal, her letters are extremely compelling sharing her deep thoughts and feelings on everything from her new foster family, new school and friends as well as past memories of her mother and Bridget.  Reading Nova’s letters is truly gut-wrenching because she shares her frustrations that people cannot understand her and how desperately she misses Bridget.  While my heart ached for Nova, Nova’s new foster family gave me hope. Francine, Billy, and their college age daughter Josie take the time to truly get to know Nova recognizing her potential rather than her limitations.

From the very first page, Nova’s story pulled me in and I couldn’t put the novel down. While I knew the outcome of the Challenger launch, debut author Nicole Panteleakos’s well crafted novel kept me wondering until almost the very end.  A heartbreaking yet uplifting story, Planet Earth is Blue reminds us of our universal need for love, respect, and understanding.  I am a firm believer that books have the power to change you and make you a better person; Planet Earth is Blue is that story, for we can all do better in showing compassion, patience, and tolerance towards others.

Special thanks to Penguin Random House and Rockstar Book Tours for a copy of Planet Earth is Blue.  It recently published on May 14, 2019.

Frankie Sparks and the Class Pet by Megan Frazier Blakemore Illustrated by Nadja Small

When Frankie’s teacher announces that the class is going to research and vote on a class pet, Frankie is determined to convince her classmates that a rat is the best choice. Scared of rodents, Frankie’s best friend Maya disagrees and feels a fish is a better choice. Frankie struggles with Maya’s lack of support which creates a rift in their friendship. With the help of her parents, Maya gradually realizes that true friendship means accepting each other’s differences.

Frankie Sparks is an early chapter book series with a lot of depth. Megan Frazier Blackmore has created such a dynamic and passionate main character in Frankie. Readers see her at her best when she is researching and/or creating as well as her worst when she is angry and frustrated that no one is listening to her. As a teacher, I love the inclusion of the endnotes which provide more information on “problem scoping” and encourage kids to be creative.

Special thanks to Simon Kids/Aladdin for sending an ARC to my #bookexcursion group. Frankie Sparks and the Class Pet and Frankie Sparks and the Talent Show Trick will be released soon on June 18, 2019. A third book, Frankie Sparks and the Big Sled Challenge will be published in November 2019.

Etta 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.

Dog vs. Ultra Dog by Troy Wilson Art by Clayton Hammer

Pup Tuffy and his boy Tim are best buds but then suddenly, Ultra Dog, a cartoon superhero steals Tim’s attention.  Worried that he is losing his boy, Tuffy attempts to be the ultra-est dog at obedience, chores, affection, and even (gulp) flying.  Unfortunately, Tuffy isn’t as successful as he hoped. How can Tuffy convince Tim that he is top dog?

Dog vs. Ultra Dog has a lot of kid appeal. With bold comic illustrations and text written in speech bubbles, the story has a graphic novel feel. While young readers will laugh out loud at Tuffy’s efforts, they will easily relate to Tuffy’s concern over being replaced by a new and more exciting friend. Amid the humor, Troy Wilson has written a heartwarming story that teaches kids that a true and loyal friend is irreplaceable.

Special thanks to Tricia Harlan of Owlkids Books for sharing a copy with Beagles and Books.  Dog vs. Ultra Dog recently published in April 2019.

Thank you for visiting Beagles & Books! Happy reading!

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

Review & Giveaway: The Duchess and Guy A Rescue to Royalty Puppy Love Story by Nancy Furstinger

 

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It’s a boy!  Beagles and Books is celebrating the birth of Archie Harrison Monbatten-Windsor, the son of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex with a review and giveaway of The Duchess and Guy: A Rescue to Royalty Puppy Love Story written by Nancy Furstinger and illustrated by Julia Bereciartu. I received a copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Publisher’s Summary: 
A heartwarming tale about a beagle and the Duchess who adopted him, this picture book is inspired by the true story of Meghan Markle and her rescue dog, Guy. When he was a pup, Guy was just like any dog in the shelter; he liked to bark and follow his nose, and dreamed of a forever home above all things. But when Guy met Meghan, he had no idea he was about to star in his own Cinderella story. Guy can now be spotted escorting Queen Elizabeth and frolicking in Buckingham Palace. This rags-to-riches story of how one regal beagle got a second chance at life will charm and delight.

Review:

It’s pretty clear that I love dogs and books, but when the book is about a rescue beagle, it is even better.  And the fact that the beagle was rescued by a future Duchess, well, it is the absolutely best!

Although I know Guy has a happy ending, my heart still hurt when I read Furstinger’s poignant first words and Julia Bereciartu’s gorgeous yet forlourn illustration of Guy in the shelter.  

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When I turned the page, my heart leaped for joy when Guy was adopted by Meghan and finally got his furever home.The story focus shifts to Meghan’s impending marriage to Prince Harry and how Guy wants to prove he is a regal beagle.  Being among royalty is a bit overwhelming for Guy and despite his best intentions, his transition isn’t as smooth as he envisioned.  Meghan reminds Guy to be the happy go lucky dog he is. 

Whether you are two legged or four legged, adjustment to a new situation or surrounding can be challenging; I love that Furstinger emphasizes the way to capture hearts (even the Queen of England’s) is to simply just be yourself.   

At the end of the book, Furstinger includes a factual account of Guy’s rags to riches story.  What especially warms my heart is information on dog adoptions which is a cause close near and dear to me.  Like Guy, both Etta and Bella are rescues from the south and were sponsored and saved by Penny Angels Beagle Rescue in New Jersey.  

Special thanks to author Nancy Furstinger for sharing a copy of The Duchess and Guy with Beagles and Books.  It recently published in January 2019. 

Meet the Author:

Nancy Furstinger has been speaking up for animals since she learned to talk, and she hasn’t shut up yet. She is the author of nearly 100 books, including many on her favorite topic: animals! She started her writing career in third grade, when her class performed a play she wrote while recovering from chicken pox. Since then, Nancy has been a feature writer for a daily newspaper, a managing editor of trade and consumer magazines, and an editor at two children’s book publishing houses. She shares her home with big dogs, house rabbits, and a chinchilla (all rescued), and volunteers with several animal organizations.

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Giveaway!
One lucky winner will receive a copy of The Duchess and Guy (U.S. addresses only).  Enter the giveaway by retweeting my blog post tweet on Twitter and/or by making a comment on this blog post.  Giveaway ends Sunday, May 19, 2019.

 

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

It’s Monday! What Are You Are Reading? 5/6/19

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Beagles and Books is excited to share our current 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 Reads This Week:

Jaclyn Hyde by Annabeth Bonner-Stone and Connor White

Always striving for perfection, Jaclyn stumbles upon a finds a recipe for perfect potion. At first, Jaclyn thinks the potion will solve all her problems but she soon discovers that when things don’t go her way, she transforms into her ulter ego Jackie, who will stop at nothing to ensure Jaclyn’s victory.   How can she stop Jackie from ruining her life as well as the lives of her dear friends?

A humorous and heartwarming retelling of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Jaclyn Hyde is a story that teaches us that “growing up isn’t about hiding your mistakes. It is about learning from them.” As an adult reader, this message is as important to me as it is to middle grade readers.

Special thanks to author Annabeth Bonner Stone and Harper Collins Publishing for sending an ARC to my #bookexcursion group.  Jaclyn Hyde celebrates its book birthday tomorrow on May 7, 2019.

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We Are (NOT) Friends We Are (NOT) Friends written by Anna Kang Illustrated by Christopher Weyant

I am a big fan of the Kang & Weyant’s You are Not Small series which features two fuzzy friends managing differences in size and perspective, sharing and their fears.  In their latest collaboration, We Are (Not) Friends,  the two friends tackle the age old question “If two is company, is three really a crowd?”  To read my full review and enter a giveaway for a copy of your own, click here.

The Book Hog by Greg Pizzoli

The Book Hog is a heartwarming picture book that celebrates the power of reading.   It is about a pig who loves books but is harboring a big secret-he never learned how to read. On a search for more books, he stumbles upon the library and is invited to story time by the sweet librarian, Miss Olive.  Gradually with Miss Olive’s support and lots of practice, the Book Hog learns to read and appreciate books for not just how they looked, felt, and smelled, but for the stories they tell.  This line brought happy tears to my eyes.

Of course, the plot stole my heart but so did Greg Pizzoli’s illustrations.  I adore the salmon and mint green color palette and what I especially loved is that the titles of his books are not revealed until the Book Hog learned to read.

Etta 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, McTavish by Meg Rosoff  Illustrated by Grace Easton

I am firm believer that dogs rescue people and in this charming first story in the series, shleter dog McTavish does just that for his newly adopted family, the quirky Peacheys.

Feeling unappreciated, Ma Peachey resigns from her job as mother and decides to devote her time to yoga leaving Pa Peachey and children Ava, Ollie, and Betty to fend for themselves.  Feeling lost, lonesome and lacking in love, Betty, the youngest and most sensible Peachey, decides that the solution to the family’s problems is to get a dog.  What the family doesn’t realize is that McTavish is actually adopting them, and with Betty’s help, McTavish slowly mends this broken family.

While I am big fan of dog books, it is always a treat to read books that truly “get” dogs.  Reading author Meg Rosoff’s description of McTavish settling into his dog bed digging around with his paws and turning around four times is stop on.  In our house, we call it “making the bed.”  With short chapters and totaling only 104 pages, Good Dog McTavish is a great novel for those students who are transitioning to chapter books or are in want of quick read.  Looking forward to more adventures with the Peacheys in the second book, McTavish in the Wild.

Thank you for visiting Beagles & Books! Happy reading!

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

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 4/29/19

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Beagles and Books is excited to share some of our current 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: 

Extraordinary Birds by Sandy Stark-McGinnis

Obsessed with birds, 11 year old foster child December is used to flying from nest to nest & wants a place to call home.  In order to cope with a traumatic incident with her mother, December believes that her wings will emerge from the scar on her back and she will one day become a bird and take flight.

Amid the heartache, Extraordinary Birds is December’s story of healing & hope. Helping December on her journey is case worker Adrian, foster mother, Eleanor, and friend, Cheryllyn.  Eleanor, a taxidermist and wildlife rescuer is a gentle soul accepting December as she is. Eleanor helps December emotionally mend through working to rehabilitate an injured hawk. Cheryllyn, a transgender girl, befriends December on her very first day of school and gradually together, they form a friendship supporting each other from the mean girls at school.

While December’s story will remain with me long after I read Extraordinary Birds, what also struck me is Stark-McGinnis’s honest and heartfelt letter to readers sharing the inspirations for this powerful story.  December teachers readers that while it’s hard to let go of the past, it doesn’t have to define you. You can survive with the support and love of others.

Special thanks to Sandy Stark-McGinnis and Bloomsbury Kids for sharing an ARC with #bookexcursion.  Extraordinary Birds celebrates its book birthday tomorrow on April 30, 2019.  Looking forward to getting my own copy to share with students and teachers.

 Flubby Is Not a Good Pet! by J. E. Morris

When compared to other pets, Flubby is well, kind of lazy.  He doesn’t sing, catch or jump or even run. While Flubby may not be full of energy, he truly is a good pet when it matters most providing comfort to his owner during a thunderstorm.

Flubby is a new fun series perfect for children just learning to read, which makes this reading specialist’s heart happy!  Written with early readers in mind,  Morris includes sight words and decodable text.  The eye catching, adorable illustrations support the reader making the text even more accessible.  And I especially love that Morris dedicated Flubby to a cat shelter.

Special thanks to Penguin Kids for sharing a copy with my #bookexcursion group. Flubby Is Not a Pet and a second book, Flubby Will Not Play with That! both published recently on April 23, 2019.

Etta 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.

Felipe and Claudette by Mark Teague

Mrs. Barrett’s shelter has a good track record for getting pets adopted quickly but for some reason a cat named Felipe and dog named Claudette have been at the shelter longer than any other animals.  Grouchy Felipe blames Claudette’s unruly behavior which includes snoring and rolling in garbage.  After each adoption day, Mrs. Barrett wonders “What will I do with you two?”

When Claudette finally gets adopted, Felipe is shocked and sad. And it turns out that Claudette isn’t the same boisterous pup at her new home.  Readers quickly realize that Felipe and Claudette are at their best together at Mrs. Barrett’s house. Felipe and Claudette is a sweet story about an unlikely friendship between a cat and dog.

Thank you for visiting Beagles and Books!  Happy reading!

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

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 4/22/19

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Beagles and Books is excited to share some of our current 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: 

Up for Air by Laurie Morrison

Rising eighth grader Annabelle lacks confidence in school but excels in the pool. When she is asked to join the high school swim team. Annabelle is elated especially since her friend Mia who she always feels in competition with wasn’t invited.

Wanting to be accepted by her high school teammates, Annabelle finds herself in uncharted waters having to make choices such as meet her tutor or hang out with the team. Making things even more confusing is the attention Annabelle gets from cute high school sophomore Connor. Is he just flirty or does he really like her? Added to her summer drama is a letter from her estranged father and the worry that she will never live up to mom’s and stepfather’s expectations.

Up for Air is a story that I would have devoured when I was in middle school. It is definitely a solid book for readers not quite ready for YA. Annabelle is a good kid but is struggling to really figure out who she is and where she fits in. Morrison’s voice for Annabelle is spot on capturing both her vulnerability and new-found boldness to go with the crowd. As I read, it was clear that Annabelle knows what she should do but having your first crush means you aren’t always thinking clearly. Haven’t we all been there? What I love most about Up for Air is that readers see Annabelle learn from her mistakes which helps her grow and decide who she wants to be. Special thanks to the author and Amulet/Abrams Books for sending an ARC to my #bookexcursion group.  Up for Air releases soon on May 7, 2019.

Snazzy Cat Capers: The Fast and the Furriest by Deanna Kent Illustrated by Neil Hooson

In this “meow-nificent” follow-up to Snazzy Cat Capers, classy and classic cat burglar Ophelia Von Hairball’s Vegas vacation is cut short when an encrypted map is stolen from the Furry Feline Burglary Institute’s (FFBI) secure vault.  If the map is deciphered, the three pieces of the Scarlet Claw, a powerful laser pointer will be found, which could threaten the lives of all cats.

Still “purr-furring” to work alone, Ophelia sets off to Cairo to locate the first piece of the Scarlet Claw. But time is of essence especially when Ophelia’s unclassy and sloppy cousin Pierre, bitter about his second class ranking, schemes to thwart her successful mission, and the Central Canine Intelligence Agency (CCIA) is also on her tail. This forces Ophelia to reconsider having her inventor Oscar Fishgerald Gold as her “paw-rtner.” for his disguises and gadgets are “fin-tastic”  Will Ophelia and Oscar be victorious in the FFBI’s most important mission to date?

Sequels can be tough but The Fast and the Furriest is “purr-fection.”  While the fast paced plot is action packed,  I especially love how Ophelia’s and Oscar’s “paw-rtnership” is evolving in the second book along with the addition of P.U.G., the robot dog created by Oscar.    A blend of graphic novel and illustrated chapter book, the unique format is cleverly drawn and appeals to both striving and thriving readers regardless of age.  Special thanks to Deanna Kent, Neil Hooson, and Imprint Books for sending an ARC for my #bookexcursion group for read and review. The Fast and the Furriest releases in September 2019. And be on alert! Book 3 Meow or Never is due out in 2020.

Sadiq and the Desert Star by Siman Nuurali Illustrated by Anjan Sarkar

Written by debut #ownvoices author Siman Nuurali, Sadiq is new transitional chapter book series.  Before the story begins, readers get to know third grader Sadiq who is of Somalian descent and lives in Minnesota with his family.  To build schema for the story, Nuurali shares facts about Somalia as well as defines vocabulary.  In Sadiq and the Desert Star, Sadiq is excited about an upcoming field trip to an observatory but worried about missing his father who is leaving for a business trip.  His father, Baba, shares a story of the Desert Star, the brightest star in Berbera, Somalia.  Hearing about the Desert Star and visiting the observatory ignites Sadiq to form a space club with his friends working together to raise money to buy their own telescope.

Themes of family, friendship, collaboration, and resourcefulness abound in this first book of the series.  Sadiq is an inquisitive character who perseveres with the help of family and friends when problems arise. Back matter includes a glossary, questions, writing prompts as well as directions for building a home telescope. I am so excited that all four books in the series will be released in August 2019 before the start of the school year so that students can meet Sadiq.  Special thanks to Capstone Publishing for sharing an ARC with my #bookexcursion group. 

Little Juniper Makes it BIG by Aidan Cassie

At home, Juniper does not appreciate her size. No matter what creative inventions she makes, she was still too little.  School is better, for compared to her classmates, Juniper doesn’t feel as small. New student Clove is tinier than her and never lets her diminutive size stand in her way.  After a sleepover at Clove’s much smaller house, Juniper gains perspective realizing that while her house isn’t perfect, it is just the right size for her.

Beautifully drawn and written, young readers will relate to Juniper’s struggle to appreciate herself.  Cassie’s illustrations warmly convey Juniper’s journey to self-acceptance.  Special thanks to the author and publisher for sending an advanced reader’s edition to my #bookexcursion group.  Little Juniper Makes It BIG! publishes in July 2019.

Etta 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.

Wake Up, Color Pup by Taia Morley

A small yellow bird brings color into Pup’s world as they take an adventure outside.  Concisely written with vivid verbs, the once white pup gradually becomes vibrant with all the colors of the rainbow.  The observant reader sees a storm brewing in the distance which washes away all of Pup’s beautiful colors.  Once the storm ends and the sun peeks out, Pup is determined to regain his colorful self.  What I love most about this gorgeously drawn book is with a hearty shake, Pup’s color spreads to his surroundings awaking the world around him.

Wake Up Color Pup is a picture book with great depth, for while it can be read to very young children to introduce and reinforce colors, themes of overcoming fears and how a bright outlook can positively affect the world can be also discussed. Special thanks to Random House Children’s Books and Barbara Fisch of Blue Slip Media for sending a copy to Beagles and Books to review.  Wake Up, Color Pup recently published in March 2019.

Thank you for visiting Beagles and Books!  Happy reading!

 

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

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 4/15/19

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Beagles and Books is back to share some of our current 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: 

Junior Monster Scouts: The Monster Squad by Joe McGee  Illustrated by Ethan Long

Junior Monster Scouts is a new early chapter book series featuring the children of “classic” monsters.  In the first book of the series, The Monster Squad, Wolfy, Vampyra, and Franky work together to dispel the belief that monsters are dangerous, which has been spread by cranky Baron Von Grump who did not like noise or monsters. When Peter, the piper of the village loses his cat, the trio have only one mission-to help find Shadow.  After all, the Junior Monster Scouts’ oath includes the promise to be nice, not scary and to help, not harm.

The Monster Squad is fun and entertaining and will definitely appeal to children transitioning into chapter book reading. I love that at times, McGee allows the narrator to directly speak to the reader, which makes the story more engaging. Ethan Long’s adorable illustrations of the monsters make them so endearing. The Junior Monster Scouts also are great role models demonstrating the virtues of kindness, collaboration, and helpfulness. Special thanks to Joe McGee for sharing an ARC with my #bookexcursion group.  The Monster Squad and its follow up Crash! Bang! Boo! will be released in September 2019.

Llama Destroys the World by Jonathan Stutzman Illustrated by Heather Fox

Llama’s gluttonous appetite for cake sets off a chain reaction that almost leads to a disaster of planetary proportions. Because he ate so much cake, Llama’s pants are too tight.  When he dances, his pants rip so loudly that it causes a black hole to open.  Rather than warn others, oblivious Llama carries on with his life and at the end of week, the world ends with the black hole swallowing everything.  Fortunately, for Llama, on the other side of the black hole, the universe survives intact and unharmed.  What a lucky llama! But has Llama learned his lesson when he stumbles upon a lot of pie?

Strutzman’s witty text and Fox’s charmingly whimsical illustrations will make both kids and adults laugh out loud. Special thanks to the author, for I was one of the lucky winners of a recent Twitter giveaway. Llama Destroys the World releases on May 7, 2019.

Vacation for Dexter by Lindsay Ward

Breaking the fourth wall, Dexter speaking directly to readers sharing his excitement and anxiety about traveling.  In Vacation for Dexter, Dexter accompanies his best buddy Jack on a trip to FLOR-I-DA, but planes are not this T-Rex’s preferred mode of transportation.  In true Dexter fashion, he begins his larger than life melt down, but one look at Jack’s anxious face makes Dexter stop worrying about himself and switch gears to comforting his boy.  Vacation for Dexter is a hilarious and heartwarming story reminding young children that it’s easier to be brave with a buddy.  To read my full review, click and enter a DINO-mite giveaway courtesy of Two Lions Publishing, click here.

Etta 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 Furry Foster Family: Truman the Dog by Debbi Michiko Florence Illustrated by Melanie Demmer

Being a huge fan of Florence’s Jasmine Toguchi series, I was so excited to find out she has a new early chapter book series. What makes my heart truly happy is the series features a family fostering animals from a local shelter.

Narrated by eight year old Kaita Takano, Truman the Dog, the first book in the series introduces the reader to her family who begins to foster animals from Happy Paws Rescue, the shelter where they adopted their dachusund Ollie. Their first foster is Truman, an older yet energetic black lab mix . As first time fosters, Kaita and her parents learn lessons daily such as never leave Truman in a room unattended because he finds “trouble.”

What I love about this story is Truman is never blamed for his behavior; rather, the family makes adjustments such as making sure items are out of Truman’s reach. While it is bittersweet when Truman finds his furever home, Kaita realizes that Truman’s adoption allows her family to help another animal in need.  Demmer’s charming illustrations pop off the page and provide support to young readers who are transitioning to chapter books.  I was especially tickled seeing Kaita wearing a flamingo shirt like Jasmine Toguchi!

After the story ends, readers are introduced to real life Kaita who inspired the series and learn how she and the book character are similar and different.   This bonus feature teaches young readers the difference between fiction and nonfiction and could also spark children to write their own fictional stories based on their own lives.  Special thanks to Capstone Publishing for sharing an ARC with my #bookexcursion group. The entire four book series will be released in August 2019.

Etta, Bella, and I thank you for stopping by Beagles and Books.  Happy reading!

happiness-is-a-warm-puppy-and-a-good-book