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

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 1/23/23

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.


IMG_6051

The Many Fortunes of Maya by Nicole D. Collier

12 year old Maya relies on her Wheel of Fortunes for good luck and lately, she really needs the help.  She wants to make the Chargers club soccer team to make her dad, a former Charger, proud.  She gave up the flute lessons for soccer, but she still secretly plays her flute in the Cave aka her closet.   Her best friend Ginger seems a little distant and the worst blow of all, her parents just announced a trial separation for the summer. 

Her parents are open to answering questions, but Maya is too hurt to ask.  She is close to her uncle Jimmy, her dad’s twin, who shares many words of wisdom with her.  

  • ‘Listen to your own songs. Sometimes that means tuning everything and everyone out so you can really tune into you.”
  • “Even in the middle of pain, there’s always a sweetness if you know where to look.”
  • “You gotta release the things you’re done with so you can embrace the things that bring you joy.”

Gradually, Maya tunes into her uncle’s words as well as her parents and begins to listen to her own voice.  Like her debut novel Just Right Jillian, Collier’s The Many Fortunes of Maya fills your heart with hope. With short chapters, 231 pages total as well as strong characters and an engaging plot, the reading specialist in me loves that this novel is appealing and accessible to readers transitioning to middle grade.   Thanks to the author for sharing an ARC with my #bookexcursion group. The Many Fortunes of Maya celebrates its book birthday tomorrow on January 24, 2023. 


IMG_6049

Bad Kitty: Supercat by Nick Bruel

When Kitty is bored, she is prone to make a mess. When Kitty doesn’t clean up, her humans schedule a playdate stipulating no electronics. The first 3 playdate candidates are a bust, but when Strange Kitty suggests pretending to be superheroes, Kitty is intrigued.  Strange Kitty aka Captain Fantasticat and his rodent sidekick Power Mouse help transform Kitty into Supercat. Not long after, Dr. Lagomorph (a rabbit) shows up with the three orbs of destiny (tennis balls) that are hidden in the kitchen, basement, and backyard. If the orbs can’t be found,  Dr. Lagomorph will turn 92 universes into cheese. Will the superheroes triumph over the villainous bunny? 

It’s easy for kids to laugh out loud when reading Bad Kitty, but Bruel makes sure adults also gets the giggles with subtle sarcasm. I love that when Kitty was evaluating playdates, Bruel created Kitty’s View, a talk show with guests Logic, Instinct, and Emotion to provide commentary. Another highlight was comparing the illustration of animals dressed in superhero costume with the illustrations of how they perceive themselves to look. While Kitty’s humans are happy she took a day off from electronics, they might feel differently after observing the additional mess playing superheroes created.  Thanks to Macmillan Children’s Publishing for sharing a copy. Bad Kitty: Supercat recently released on December 27, 2022. 


IMG_6050

Love Made Me More by Colleen Rowan Kosinski Illustrated by Sonia Sanchez 

On a random day, a young boy’s grandma makes him an orange origami crane with blue and white spots. The crane has a prominent place on the boy’s nightstand so when the boy experiences a loss in his life, the crane is there to provide support, protection, and wishes.  For a while, the boy forgets about the crane placing a picture of himself and his girlfriend in front of it. but when the boy, now man, decides to propose marriage, the crane is an integral part. Years later, the crane is one of many birds hanging from a wire on a mobile overlooking his newborn son.  

A modern day Giving Tree, Love Made Me More is a sweet story about the connection between a boy and his origami crane.  While time passed when the crane was ignored, the boy realizes the importance of the crane in his life and moving forward, includes the crane in future milestones.  Kosinski’s lyrical text coupled with Sanchez’s warm, expressive illustrations make Love Made Me More a heartprint story. Thanks to Barbara Fisch of Blue Slip Media for sharing a copy. Love Made Me More published on December 13, 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.

IMG_6048

The Corgi and the Queen by Caroline Perry Illustrated by Lydia Corry

While the Windsor family has a long history with corgis, this picture book biography features the incredible bond between the future queen Elizabeth and her first corgi pup Susan.  A gift on her 18th birthday, the princess and her pup were inseparable which made it imperative that Susan approve of her future husband Philip.  Thankfully, Philip passed the Susan test and when Elizabeth and Philip were married, unbeknownst to the public, Susan joined her family in the wedding carriage courtesy of the palace staff.  Susan was by Elizabeth’s side for times of joy such as when her first son, Charles, was born and times of grief when King George unexpectedly passed away and she assumes the throne.

As a dog mom and a royal aficionado, I absolutely adored The Corgi and the Queen. I love that the picture book not only highlights the close relationship between a human and their pup but also credit Susan with helping Elizabeth successfully transition from young princess to beloved queen.  Perry’s gentle, informative text and Corry’s warmhearted illustrations perfectly complement each other. Back matter includes a family tree of both Queen Elizabeth and Susan, who is the matriarch of 14 generations of royal corgis. Thanks to Macmillan Children’s Publishing for sharing a copy.  The Corgi and the Queen released on November 22, 2022. 


Bella and I thank you for visiting Beagles and Books!

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

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

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


IMG_5492

Oodles of Doodles by Aletheta Kontis Illustrated by Christopher Jacques 

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

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


IMG_5493

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

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

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


IMG_5494

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

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

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


Bella’s Dog Pick of the Week

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

IMG_5491

New Kids and Underdogs by Margaret Finnegan

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

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

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


Bella and I thank you for visiting Beagles and Books!

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

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

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


Bella’s Dog Pick of the Week 

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

Looking for True by Tricia Springstubb

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

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

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

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

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

Bella and I thank you for visiting Beagles and Books!

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

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

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


Our Recent Reads:

Rover and Speck: This Planet Rocks by Jonathan Roth

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

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


IMG_5146

The Tryout by Christina Soontornvat and Joanna Cacao

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

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


IMG_5049

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

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

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

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

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



B
ella’s Dog Pick of the Week

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

IMG_5141

Busy Betty by Reese Witherspoon Illustrated by Xindi Yan 

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

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

 

Bella and I thank you for visiting Beagles and Books!

 

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

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

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


Our Recent Reads:

The Hunger Heroes: Snack Cabinet Sabotage by Jarrett Lerner

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

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


Bella’s Dog Pick of the Week

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

Is This Your Class Pet? by Troy Cummings

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

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

Bella and I thank you for visiting Beagles and Books!

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

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

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


Our Recent Reads:

 

Frances and the Monster by Refe Tuma

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

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

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



My Pet Feet
by Josh Funk Illustrated by Billy Yong

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

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



Creepy Crayon!
by Aaron Reynolds Illustrated by Peter Brown

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

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


Bella’s Dog Pick of the Week

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

SumoPuppy by David Biedrzycki 

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

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

Bella and I thank you for visiting Beagles and Books!

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

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

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


Our Recent Reads:

IMG_4332 (2)

Big Rig by Louise Hawes 

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

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


IMG_4201

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

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

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


Pip and Zip by Elana Arnold Illustrated by Doug Salati

IMG_4326

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

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


Bella’s Dog Pick of the Week

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

IMG_4329

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

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

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

Bella and I thank you for visiting Beagles and Books!

 

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

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

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


Our Recent Reads:

IMG_4298

Fenris & Mott by Greg van Eekhout 

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

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

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


IMG_4205

The End by John Bray

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

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


IMG_4204

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

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

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


Bella’s Dog Pick of the Week

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

IMG_4200

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

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

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

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

Bella and I thank you for visiting Beagles and Books!

 

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

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 7/18/22

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.


Our Recent Reads:

IMG_4115

Invisible by Christina Diaz Gonzalez and Gabriella Epstein

Five students who have been completing community service hours in the cafeteria are called to Principal Powell’s office at Conrad Middle School.  Why?  To share their recollections of what happened on April 18th.  On the surface, they all appear to be similar in that they speak Spanish, but they are completely different.  As the synopsis states, George is the brain, Sara, the loner, Dayara, the tough kid, Nico, the rich kid, and Miguel, the athlete.  Wait a minute…wasn’t there a 1980’s movie with the same cast of characters?  These kids are usually invisible to everyone around them, but once they meet someone in need, they need to decide whether to extend a helping hand knowing they could get in trouble. 

As I read Invisible, I was a rollercoaster of emotions.  Angry at first that an adult thinks they are all Mexican.  Worry for George because his family has moved, but doesn’t want it to jeopardize his chance to get into the magnet school.  Sadness for Miguel who is talented artist but his father wants him to concentrate fully on baseball.  Heartache for Dayara who needs support in learning English as well as Sara who has a huge heart but is shy.  Annoyance for Nico who seemed to think he was better than everyone else.  But as I read on, I got to know the characters better and witnessed the kids gradually becoming a team which warmed my heart and on the final pages, I cried happy tears.  Written in both English and Spanish, Diaz Gonzalez’ text is authentic and moving.  Epstein’s detailed comic panels are full of energy and expression making the the story come alive.  Can’t wait to see the finished color artwork!  Highly recommend pre-ordering Invisible.  It is a middle grade must read!  Thanks to Scholastic for sharing a copy with my #bookexcusion group.  Invisible releases on August 2, 2022. 


IMG_4119 (2)

Llama Rocks the Cradle of Chaos by Jonathan Stutzman Illustrated by Heather Fox 

“I AM LLAMA” is back for a third adventure in the series.  Llama just celebrated his birthday with his friends and a doughnut with extra sprinkles.  The yummy dessert consumes his mind and as a result, he gets a deliciously dangerous idea to go back in time to savor the donut again.  Unlike his dancing pants, time travel pants come with directions. But Llama is too rushed to read them. so when he goes back in time, he goes back way farther than a day.  Based on the clothing and music, Llama traveled back to the 1980’s to his birthday when he was a wee, little llama.  After eating the donut, Llama travels back to the present bringing his younger self with him.  Not one for sharing, Llama sends Baby Llama back to the past but is unsuccessful and with each attempt. Baby Llama bring more “friends” with him.  Worried about his house but mostly about his secret cake cellar, Llama wonders how can he end the chaos?

Llama is one of my favorite picture book characters because his penchant for food especially sweets always gets him in trouble.  I love how Llama is just reckless and doesn’t worry about any ramifications from his risky decision thinking once he has satisfied his stomach, life can just go back to normal.  His lone action sets off a chain reaction that seems impossible to solve but somehow, Llama wins!  Stutzman’s lively and witty text and Fox’s adorable and whimsical illustrations perfectly complement each other.  Thanks to Macmillan Kids for sharing an eARC.  Llama Rocks the Cradle of Chaos recently released on July 5, 2022. 


IMG_4117

K is for Kindness by Rina Horiuchi  Illustrated by Risa Horiuchi

Looking for an alphabet book with a positive message?  This ABC book teaches young children the 26 letters with animals showing kindness to each other.  As a reading specialist, I love so many aspects of K is for Kindness!  On each page, a sentence concisely captures one animal’s goodwill to another.  The targeted letter is blue and begins each sentence. Not only does the text have some alliteration, but it also rhymes with the subsequent sentence.  For example, “Cow covers Cat with a coat ’cause he’s cold. Donkey gives Dog her dear dolly to hold.”  Accompanying the text is a charming, uncluttered illustration that shows the animal’s altruism.  All the benevolent acts are simple yet powerful such as saying thank you, reading a book or signing XOX in a letter showing kids that good deeds are free.  At the end of the book, kids are asked to think about something considerate they could do which will promote a rich conversation and inspiration. Thanks to the author for sharing a copy.  K is for Kindness published in April 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.

IMG_4103

Millie, Daisy, and the Scary Storm (Life in the Doghouse #3) written by Danny Robertson, Ron Danta & Crystal Velasquez Illustrated by Laura Catrinella

In the third book in the Life in the Doghouse series, Millie and Daisy are bonded pups rescued during Hurricane Katrina.  Although they are best friends, they are completely different.  Daisy is scared of storms and Millie watches them from the front door. Millie is excited about getting adopted in contrast to the worried Daisy.  What if the two get separated?  Millie hatches a plan to ensure they are adopted together, but Daisy isn’t certain that is what she wants.  She likes living at Danny and Ron’s Rescue.  Will both Daisy’s and Millie’s dreams come true? 

At only 108 pages with short chapters and black and white illustrations, Millie, Daisy, and the Scary Storm (along with the other books in the series), is a great chapter book for children transitioning to middle grade.  Kids will also enjoy learning about the true story of Daisy and Millie which comes after the fictionalized story.  Of course, being a rescue dog mom, I love that this series features a rescue dedicating to finding furever homes for dogs and the text shows how the dogs like Daisy can be scared or anxious given the trauma they experienced. Thanks to Simon Kids for sharing for a copy. Millie, Daisy, and the Scary Storm recently released on July 12, 2022.   To learn more about this engaging and informative series, click here

Bella and I thank you for visiting Beagles and Books!

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

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 7/11/22

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:

IMG_3870

Play Like Girl by Misty Wilson Illustrated by David Wilson

Rising seventh grader Misty loves football because it has strategy. teamwork and most of all, players can tackle. When the boys won’t her play during a practice, go getter Misty refuses to stay on the sidelines. She signs up for the town’s football league determined to prove that she has the skills and stamina to be on the team. Training is grueling and while her best friend Bree decides football is not for her, Misty remains steadfast. Her decision to keep playing puts a strain on their friendship which is tough at the beginning, but Misty learns there are others who understand and accept her desire to play football.

Once I began reading Misty Wilson’s graphic memoir, I couldn’t put it down. While I never played a team sport, I could still relate to Misty’s competitive nature and cheered her on along the way. Readers will also connect to her struggles navigating middle school friendships and how old relationships can change and new friendships can blossom. I especially loved how her football coaches and her stepdad were her biggest supporters.  Misty Wilson’s honest and humorous text and David Wilson’s engaging and expressive artwork showed Misty at her best and worst allowing the reader to see an authentic main character. Misty also learns valuable lessons in friendship, teamwork, family, forgiveness, and acceptance. Thanks to the author for sharing a copy with my #bookexcursion group. Play Like a Girl publishes on September 27, 2022. 


IMG_4047

Bright by Brigit Young

Marianne has always been able to get by in school, but this year her grades in Mr. Garcia’s math class may cause her to repeat the eight grade. She reluctantly joins the Quiz Quest team thinking her presence will earn her extra credit but Mr. Garcia is firm; Marianne must prove she is putting forth effort, not just sitting on the sidelines. It doesn’t take long before Marianne discovers the Quiz Quest members are not a true team. While Marianne may not be able to quickly recall facts, she does possess a natural ability to help her teammates each discover their strengths making Quiz Quest a more cohesive unit.  

Young’s upper middle grade novel touched me as a teacher. What struck me is Marianne has a good support system of family and friends,, but was still able to slip through the cracks until Mr. Garcia’s class.  Readers do learn the cause of her lack of effort which I appreciated.  Because of an innocent mistake that occurred in her sixth grade social studies oral presentation, an embarrassed Marianne chose to stop trying convincing herself she couldn’t learn.  I have personally worked with kids who have shared Marianne’s attitude; Bright reminds me that my job is to help kids identify their strengths and understand there are all kinds of ways to be smart. Of course, no one is successful without effort and Marianne must take some responsibility.  Being on Quiz Quest teaches Marianne that everyone has feelings of inadequacy including the smartest people she knows and her greatest competitor has always been herself.  I loved witnessing Marianne learn and grow and I know middle grade readers will too! Thanks to the author for sharing a copy with my #bookexcursion group.  Bright recently released on July 5, 2022. 


IMG_4043

Hurry, Little Tortoise, Time for School! by Carrie Finson Illustrated by Erin Kraan

On the first day of school, Little Tortoise is prepared to not only be on time, but perhaps, the first one to arrive.  Surely, the extra lettuce for breakfast will help his momentum.  As she walks, Cheetah, Llama and other animals including Snail riding a scooter pass her.  Little Tortoise remains undeterred plonk-a plunking along.  When she finally makes it to the schoolhouse, she hears noises inside.  Thinking she is late, she hides in her shell until the teacher Mr. Sloth picks her up admitting he is indeed tardy.  He calms Little Tortoise saying while he is working on being on time, it’s more important to be present.  The smile on Little Tortoise’s face shows she has an ally, and they both keep up their pace to get to the classroom before the clock turns to 8:30 a.m. 

As a teacher, I constantly hear kids announcing being first which I always answer with “It’s not a race” I love Mr. Sloth’s attitude that faster isn’t better; perseverance and presence is paramount.  Finison’s steadfast shelled protagonist reminds us of the moral “Slow and steady wins the race,” Kraan’s charming and lively woodcut illustrations perfectly complement Finison’s witty text and makes Hurry Little Tortoise, Time for School a perfect real aloud for the beginning of the school year.  Thanks to the author and Random House Studio for sending a copy to my #bookexcursion group.  Hurry, Little Tortoise, Time for School! releases next week on July 19, 2022. 


IMG_4029

Pink is Not a Color by Lindsay Ward

When Pink discovers that the Primaries and the Secondaries are planning for the Rainbow Extravaganza, she wants to lend a hand.  But she wonders why hasn’t she ever heard of this event before?  The Rainbow Extravaganza celebrates all the colors in the rainbow and sadly, Pink is not one of them. The colors still invite Pink to come, but she feels awkward and begins to question her identity.  Is she still a color if she is not in the rainbow? I love Ward’s format for Pink speaks directly to the reader sharing her inner thoughts in speech bubbles and the illustrations show Pink’s range of emotions as she grapples with this question.  

Fortunately, her friend Gray sets her straight by taking Pink on a stroll around town to show her how all things pink such as ice cream, art, and toys bring joy.  And best of all, pink is a color in the sunrise and sunset.  Can’t get any better than that!  The message of Pink is Not a Color is sometimes it takes a friend to help you see your true self-worth. 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 canine characters.

IMG_4041

Lou by Breanna Carzoo

Dogs are typically the main event in this feature, but Lou, a fire hydrant, is pretty deserving given his contribution to the canine crew.  He knows he is useful as a toilet for the neighborhood dogs yet he yearns to serve a higher purpose.  As Lou narrates the story from the sidewalk, readers see a fire starting in an apartment in the background.  Unbeknownst to Lou, a fire truck parks close by him and when a dalmatian pays a visit, he thinks it’s business as usual until the firefighter attaches a hose to him. Suddenly, Lou knows his true gift.

I absolutely adore everything about Lou. In her author/illustrator debut, Carzoo has created an utterly endearing character who possesses both a sense of humor and incredible depth.  I love seeing the story within the story involving a cat, a pot cooking on a stove, and a dad and his child leaving the kitchen which ultimately leads to Lou realizing his superhero powers.  With potty puns and a passionate main character,  Lou is a story that make you chuckle and tug at your heart.  And while my local fire hydrant is orange, I am so tempted to paint it red and give it eyes and a mouth.  And don’t worry Lou; Bella only sees you for the hero you are! Thanks to the author and Harper Collins for sharing an eARC. Lou celebrates its book birthday tomorrow on July 12, 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.