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

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 6/22/20

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Beagles and Books is 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.

It’s the first official day of my summer and it’s almost hard to believe.  When I left school on March 13th, I never thought my school year would continue and end with remote teaching.  But with the support of my administration and colleagues and an inner drive , I continued to connect with students, teach and co-teach content, and still read to my #classroombookaday second grade students.  I don’t know what school will look like in the fall and to be honest, I have no control over what will happen.  What I do have control over is taking time to renew, recharge, and rejuvenate this summer which will include spending time with Bella, my husband, social distancing with family and friends, and of course reading and growing personally and professionally.

Tune It Out by Jamie Sumners

From a very young age, 12 year old Lou struggled with loud noises and physical contact. In fact, her mom was the only one who doesn’t make her jump or cringe.  She and her mom have moved around a lot and are currently living in their truck.  Lou has a beautiful singing voice and while she hates performing in front of crowds, she sings at coffee shops, casinos, or any place her mom can land a gig to help pay for their basic needs.  On a snowy night, Lou is involved in an accident when she attempts to pick up her mom from her job.  The accident causes Lou to be separated from her mom and placed in the temporary custody of her lawyer aunt and teacher uncle.  Living in a new home, attending the private school where her uncle teaches, and making new friends is a big transition for Lou but gradually she learns more about her mom, her grandparents, and most importantly, herself.  While her mom never wanted Lou labeled, Lou begins to realize that acknowledging her sensory processing disorder doesn’t make her weak, it gives her the strength to manage it and be truly happy.

Narrated by Lou, Tune It Out was a story of heartache, happiness, and hope.  At the beginning, my heart broke for both Lou and her mom.  I know Lou’s mom loves her daughter and never intended anything bad to happen to her, but was too proud to ask for help.  I was overcome with happiness as Lou began to trust others especially new friend Well realizing that good friends accept you for who you are.  And lastly, Lou gave me hope because with the support of family, school, and friends, she stopped running away from her problems, learned from her mistakes, spoke up for herself, and forged her own path. Thanks to the author, Simon and Schuster, and NetGalley for sharing a digital galley of Tune It Out with my #bookexcursion group.  It releases on September 1, 2020.

Doodleville by Chad Sell

Since Drew was very young, she has been doodling at her parents’ diner and at the age of five; her doodles came alive. Drew draws a home named Doodleville where her art can live when they are not in her sketchbook. On a field trip to The Art Institute of Chicago, her art club advisor challenges the students to find a piece of art that will inspire their next project. Drew gets distracted because her doodles escape her sketchbook invading the art museum. Drew captures them all but not before doodle Mike steals a hat from one of the paintings. When called on to share her project, Drew is not prepared so she is now determined to show everyone with something amazing and big. She creates a monster named Leviathan (Levi for short) which she can’t wait to share with her art club. But when they give her constructive criticism which makes her angry, Levi takes on her emotion creating chaos for all her classmates’ work.  Can Drew find a way to control Levi and make amends with her friends?

At times, we all struggle with feeling anxious and inadequate.  This fantasy graphic novel reminds us that while those emotions are normal, we need to find a way to get past them and see the good in us.  What I loved about the story is how Drew realizes that being different can make you powerful and problems can be solved when you work together.  In fact, unity can lead to better friendships and better art. Thanks to Penguin Random House for sharing an ARC at NCTE 2019. Doodleville is the first in the series, for Book 2 will release sometime in 2021.

That’s Life by Ame Dyckman Illustrated by Cori Doerrfeld

Most adults have heard the saying “That’s life” but how do you explain this to kids? Enter Life, a small, furry, tongue licking creature that suddenly appears disrupting a young child who is deep in thought writing.  Wittily using other life expressions, Author Dyckman (and adorably drawn little Life) take our protagonist and young readers on an adventure which shows life can be unpredictable, surprising, exhausting, messy, sweet, funny, tough, crazy, and beautiful.  Doerrfeld creatively illustrates all of the life idioms so that kids can visually understands them.  And to be sure to check out the gorgeous case cover.

I am a big fan of both Ame Dyckman and Cori Doerrfeld so I knew their collaboration would be larger than life. With all that has happened since March, That’s Life (which coincidentally published on March 31, 2020) is a light and humorous story with a big message reminding us with the right mindset, we can weather any storm.

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.

 

Brooklyn Bailey, The Missing Dog by Amy Sohn and Omar LePap Illustrated by Libby VanderPloeg

Inspired by a true events, Brooklyn Bailey, The Missing Dog recounts the story of a goldendoodle who went missing for two days and three nights. And don’t worry, she was found!

Every morning Yotam and his mom visit Henry’s Local, a neighborhood cafe, on their way to school.  When Yotam sees a friend in the cafe, he ties Bailey’s leash to a metal chair since dogs are not allowed inside.  Something startles Bailey causing her to jump and freeing her from the chair.  Bailey is on the loose.  With the help of the whole Brooklyn community of Carroll Gardens, Bailey is reunited with her family.

The whimsical illustrations drawn in a pastel palette are gorgeous and make Brooklyn a main character in the story. What I especially love is how the neighborhood banded together in support of finding Bailey. The family replaced the missing dog signs with Bailey Came Home signs inviting the community to celebrate on their stoop. Thank you to Penguin Random House for sharing a copy with my #bookexcursion group.  Brooklyn Bailey, The Missing Dog published in April 2020.

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

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

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 6/15/20

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Beagles and Books is 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.

Seven Clues to Home by Gae Polisner and Nora Raleigh Baskin 

It’s been exactly one year since Joy’s best friend Lukas died   While Joy admits the pain got smaller, the grief did not. Today turning thirteen is not a happy occasion especially since every year Joy and Lukas celebrated their August birthdays together with a scavenger hunt.  For the past year, the unopened envelope with the first clue has remained in the bottom of her desk drawer.  Joy finally gets the courage to open the envelope and read and follow the first clue.

I really enjoy novels written from dual perspective and Polisner and Baskin have masterfully written a moving story that will tug at your heartstrings.  Joy’s chapters take place in the present as she pieces together the clues while Lukas is in the past recounting his day planting the clues all around their Long Island town.  You can feel Joy’s pain as she engages in the scavenger hunt but you can also feel her excitement in feeling connected once again to Lukas.

Losing someone you love is one of the hardest things to experience. Seven Clues to Home reminds us you can keep that people close to your heart through remembering and reminiscing and never really have to say goodbye. Thanks to the publisher Knopf Books for Young Reader/Penguin Random House for sharing an ARC with my #bookexcursion group.  Seven Clues to Home recently published on June 9, 2020.

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The Amazing Life of Azaleah Lane by Nikki Shannon Smith Illustrated by Mari Lobo

Third grader Azaleah lives in Washington, DC with her chef mom, lawyer dad, older sister Nia, and younger sister Tiana.  In this first book in the series, Azaleah takes a class field trip to the National Zoo and is excited about a creative extra credit assignment.  She decides to focus on her project on a tiger’s habitat but her ability to begin the assignment is impacted by the disappearance of her Tiana’s stuffed frog, Greenie.  Tiana is devastated and very persistent in wanting Azaleah to help her in the search.  Azaleah is willing to help but is also concerned about completing her project in time.  Will Azaleah be successful in accomplishing both?

Written by #OwnVoices author who has worked in elementary education for over 25 years,  Nikki Shannon Smith has created an engaging new series for children transitioning to chapter books.  A blend of realistic fiction and mystery, the story has a lot of kid appeal with a fast-paced plot, about 100 pages in length, bright and lively illustrations, and an eager and smart main character.  Thanks to Capstone for sharing a copy with my #bookexcursion group.  The Amazing Life of Azaleah Lane published in January 2020.  Look for the second book in the series, The Dramatic Life of Azaleah Lane in Fall 2020.

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The Camping Trip by Jennifer K. Mann

Ernestine who lives in the city is elated to be going on her first camping trip with her Aunt Jackie and cousin Samantha.   With a stuffed duffle bag which luckily zipped, Ernestine is ready.  During the long drive to the campground, Ernestine and Samantha pass the time together and once they arrive, they learn setting up a campsite is a lot of work.  As a first time camper, Ernestine is unsure about swimming in a fish filled pond,  packs way too much in her backpack for a hike and enjoys eating broccoli salad and making s’mores (tofu dogs are not her favorite). When night falls and Ernestine can’t sleep, she begins to miss her dad.  Fortunately, Aunt Jackie and Samantha are there to hold her hand and show her the beauty of a star filled sky.

The Camping Trip is simply delightful. Readers will identify with Ernestine’s range of feelings in trying something new and Mann does a wonderful job of capturing her emotions in both words and illustrations. I love the blend of graphic novel and picture book with panel illustrations, speech bubbles, and first person narration.  And don’t miss the gorgeous case cover or undies and the end papers.  The Camping Trip recently published in April 2020.

Bella’s 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.

Max Explains Everything Puppy Expert by Stacy McAnulty Illustrated by Deborah Hocking

Max Explains Everything Puppy Expert is full of good advice for welcoming a new dog of any age into your family. Max has wanted to dog for a long time and after his mom sees an adoption event in the local paper, they finally say yes to Max.  Choosing the right puppy is a tough decision but once Max does, he realizes it is even more difficult to choose the right house.  Do you pick a name based on personality or behavior?  Teaching his puppy the do’s and don’t of the house and commands is a lot of work hard work but Max realizes that puppies are also a lot of fun, cute, cuddle, and love which helps him choose the perfect name.

What I love about the Max is he talks directly to the reader.  McAnulty’s bouncy text reads like a conversation and along with Hocking’s charming full page illustrations, Max’s upbeat personality shines through. I also love that kids see that Max did the research before adopting a pet and his mom holds him accountable for taking care of his puppy.  And of course, the fact that Max adopted a puppy warms my heart.  Thanks to G.P. Putnam Sons/Penguin Random House and Edelweiss for sharing an e-copy. Max Explains Everything Puppy Expert publishes on July 7, 2020.

 

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

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

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 6/8/20

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Beagles and Books is 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.

The  Vanderbeekers Lost and Found by Karina Yan Glaser 

It is such a joy to return to The Vanderbeekers’ brownstone on 141st Street in Harlem.  In the fourth book of the series, The Vanderbeekers Lost and Found, it is fall right before the New York Marathon. Mr. Beiderman is running with the school’s cross country team so he can train for the marathon. While tending to the community garden, the siblings discovered that a person of mystery or PM has been staying in the shed.  With their parents’ permission, they have been leaving food.  Slowly, clues lead them to the PM’s identity and in true Vanderbeeker fashion, they want to help but as we all know, some problems are not that easily fixed.

While I love the Vanderbeekers for their genuine concern and kindness, the reason I enjoy them so much is because they encounter real problems. And when problems arise, things don’t always go the right way; mistakes are made and they learn from them.  The Vanderbeekers siblings also don’t just have each other to lean on. Besides their parents, they are a whole community of friends (young and old) to support them.

With the state of the world right now, kids and adults needs books and more importantly, a series like this. Stories that are authentic, relatable, and provide a sense of hope.  And if you haven’t read the first 3 in the series, no worries.  Author Karina Yan Glaser does a marvelous job of providing enough background that each book can be read on its own.

Special thanks to Houghton Mifflin Publishing and Edelweiss for sharing an e-ARC.  The Vanderbeekers Lost and Found publishes in September 2020.

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Gurple and Preen by Linda Sue Park Illustrated by Debbie Ridpath Ohi

Robots Gurple and Preen crash-land on a planet which results in a damaged ship with crayons scattered everywhere.  Without the right resources, a distressed Gurple thinks the ship is unrepairable while an enterprising Preen has a different outlook.  When Gurple breaks a crayon which results in a tablecloth, Preen uses it as a tool to wrap the scattered crayons into groups. Each time Gurple is discouraged by what emerges out of a broken crayon, Preen shows its utility which ultimately fixes the ship. An astonished Gurple’s eyes and mind are open to a different way of thinking.

Gurple and Preen answers the question-What can you do with a broken crayon? You can not only create imaginative artwork but you also can also tell a captivating story.  What I love about the story is it teaches kids valuable skills such as resourcefulness, creativity, and problem solving.

Thanks to Debbie Ridpath Ohi for sharing a F & G with my #bookexcursion group.  Gurple and Preen publishes on August 25, 2020.

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The Refuge by Sandra le Guen Illustrated by Stéphane Nicolet Translated by Daniel Hahn

Teaching theme can be a difficult skill. As a reading specialist, picture books have become a valuable teaching tool to support students’ ability to determine theme. With themes of empathy, bravery, resilience, friendship, family & hope, The Refuge is a great mentor text. To read my full review and enter a giveaway, click here.

Bella’s Dog Pick of the Week

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

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A Family for Louie by Alexandra Thompson 

Foodie French bulldog Louie thinks his life is full. He has fine food, a comfortable home, and books to read. But one day he realizes the one thing he is missing is a family. But how you find a family?  Each time Louie sees what he thinks is a potential match, something is not right. Will Louie ever find a family to call his own?

Debut author/illustrator Alexandra Thompson has written and illustrated a charming story about food, friendship, and family.  Louie is simply adorable and Thompson’s use of soft colors in her illustrations evokes a sense of warmth and calm.   What I love about Louie is Thompson’s decision to make him anthropomorphic, for he sits in restaurants, goes to the beach, and sits in parks right alongside humans.  And while he thought he was content, once he saw families spending time together, he realized he desired that sense of connection too.  Thanks to Penguin Random House and Edelweiss for sharing an e-copy. A Family for Louie celebrates its book birthday tomorrow on June 9, 2020.

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

#Bookexcursion, #MustReadsin2020, It's Monday! What Are You Reading?, Middle Grade Literature, Picture Books

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 5/11/20

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Beagles and Books is excited to be back and 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.

While I had been reading a lot of fabulous books, blogging had to be delayed because recently, my district increased the frequency of virtual teaching.  Teachers are now working with students daily in whole class meetings teaching mini-lessons as well as during small group instruction. As a reading specialist, I am working with some students individually but my role has switched to supporting teachers in planning and implementing virtual ELA lessons.  I love that we see students daily but teaching in a classroom and teaching virtually are definitely different; therefore, there have been some growing pains in the shift.  The best part of my week though is still reading aloud picture books to my #classroombookaday class.  While it may only be twice a week instead of daily, it is a blessing to be able to share stories with these students. And while I was not initially a fan of electronic picture books, it is much easier to share my screen so they can enjoy both the text and the illustrations.

Recent Reads:

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The Space Between Lost and Found by Sandy Stark-McGinnis

Cassie’s mom has been diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s which has been difficult for both Cassie and her dad.  She and her dad though are each handling the diagnosis differently.  Cassie wants to make as many memories as possible while her dad is more concerned with keeping her mom safe.   One of Cassie’s mom’s dreams is to swim with dolphins and Cassie is determined to make that dream a reality in spite of her father’s concerns.

My heart really hurt for Cassie. As I read, I needed a box of tissues nearby because the tears were quickly flowing.  I can only imagine how hard it was to see her mother’s memory deteriorating to the point that her mom couldn’t even remember Cassie’s name.  Her mom’s condition also affected Cassie’s friendship with her best friend Bailey for she finds it hard to share it with anyone.  What I love most about Cassie is her immense determination to make one of her mother’s dreams come true and have one last adventure with her. And what I most loved is while her dad was initially against the trip, he realized how important the adventure was not only to her mom but also to Cassie.  As with her debut, Extraordinary Birds, Stark-McGinnis’ The Space Between Lost and Found is a story of heartache and hope.  Thanks to Bloomsbury Publishing for sharing an ARC at NTCE.  The Space Between Lost and Found recently published on April 28, 2020.

 

Mary Underwater by Shannon Doleski

Since her abusive father has been released from prison, 14 year old Mary carries a Joan of Arc prayer card that a nun gave her in kindergarten.  The back of the card reads “I am not afraid” which has become Mary’s mantra reminding her she is brave and strong like Joan.  Having just failed a science test, Mary knows she needs to do well on her science project, but can she trust classmate and jokester Kip Dwyer to be her partner?  Together, they decide to build a submarine which lands her a good grade, a potential boyfriend, and an idea.  What if Mary could build a real sub and finally be free?

Mary Underwater is a story of one girl’s resilience to save herself.  While her budding romance with Kip,  collaboration with former Navy scientist to build her submersible, and a renewed relationship with her aunt provide her support, Mary ultimately has to choose to not only change her course but also chart a new course for her life. Mary ultimately discovers that she is worthy and is brave and strong like Joan of Arc. Thanks to the author Shannon Doleski and Amulet/Abrams for sharing an ARC with #bookexcursion.  Mary Underwater released on April 7, 2020.

Ocean: Waves for All by Stacy McAnulty Illustrated by David Litchfield

The second grade class I adopted for #classroombookaday this year absolutely loves McAnulty’s Earth, Sun  and Moon so I was so grateful to get an e-copy of Ocean to read aloud virtually during a daily class meeting. McAnulty’s Our Universe series is a blend of fiction and non-fiction which is highly engaging for read aloud.  Energetically narrated by Ocean who uses surfer language, readers learn tubular facts about the ocean. McAnulty’s spunky text and Litchfield’s lively illustrations taught me so many new facts about the ocean. I never knew more humans have visited outer space than the ocean’s deepest spots.  And while they are 5 separate bodies of water, there is truly only 1 global ocean. I love how even as an adult, I can learn from reading picture books!

Thanks to Macmillan/Henry Holt for sharing an e-copy with Beagles and Books.  Ocean recently published on May 5, 2020. And I was fortunate to purchase an autographed copy from Stacy McAnulty through Bookmarks independent bookstore. And stay tuned because Mars! Earthlings Welcome is the next book in the Our Universe series publishing in February 2021.

Llama Unleashes the Alpacalypse by Jonathan Stutzman Illustrated by Heather Fox

My #classroombookaday second class absolutely loved Llama Destroys the World.  So when I found out a sequel was being written, I was so excited to share it with them even though it had to be virtually. Llamas fans know he likes cake and pies.  What they might not know is he doesn’t like to clean. But guess who loves to clean….Alpaca! And with the Replicator 3000, sneaky Llama was able to make a clone Alpaca to clean for him. If  one cleans well, what about more? Imagine the cleaning they could do.  Unfortunately, Llama’s plan backfires because an army of Alpacas actually make more of a mess.  So he sends them into town but that only creates more commotion.  With the smell of pizza, the Alpacas return to Llama’s house and by pressing the other button on the Replicator 3000, the Alpacas disappear except for one.  Problem solved.  Not quite because it was time for dessert and Llama only had one piece of cake for him and Alpaca to share.  How can Llama solve his problem?

Llama Unleashes the Alpacalypse is another laugh out loud adventure with a llama whose biggest weakness is cake. Thanks to Macmillan/Henry Holt for sharing an e-copy with Beagles and Books.  Llama Unleashes the Alpacalypse recently published on May 5, 2020.

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.

Two Dogs on a Trike by Gabi Snyder Illustrated by Robin Rosenthal

A dog goes on an adventure but is caught by a robe wearing, coffee drinking cat.  As the dog jumps on a trike with a poodle, the cat sheds its morning wear for exercise clothes following the dog.  As the dog switches modes of transportation adding more canine passengers,  the cat follows suit changing its vehicle to keep pace.  But once 10 dogs…wait, make that 9 dogs and 1 sly cat are traveling through space together, the countdown begins with dogs frantically wanting to return home.  Once the dog is safe back in its yard, a mouse peers out of a small door to follow 2 cats on a trike.  Hmm…I think another story is about to begin.

Two Dogs on a Trike is so much more than a counting book.  With Snyder’s concise rhyming text and Rosenthal’s expressive illustrations of a feline, canines (and a mouse), it is a hilarious romp!  Thanks to author Gabi Snyder and Abrams/Appleseed Publishing for sharing an e- copy with Beagles and Books.  Two Dogs on a Trike releases next week on May 19, 2020.

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Bella & I thank you for visiting Beagles and Books. Happy Reading! Stay safe and well!

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

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 3/30/20

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Beagles and Books is 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.

Maryland public schools will be closed for least another three weeks. This week I am engaging in training for remote learning, virtual professional development, and faculty meetings. Like most educators, I am stepping into the unknown which is scary. What is most difficult is figuring out how, as a reading specialist, I can support students, parents, and teachers in this new way of learning.  Answers change daily so I am trying hard to be flexible and remember we are all doing the best we can.  Grateful for my husband who cooks great dinners, family and friends who I can connect with virtually and of course, Bella who insists on multiple ways a day regardless of weather.

 

Our Recent Reads:

More Than Marmalade: Michael Bond and the Story of Paddington Bear by Rosanne Tolin 

I remember checking out A Bear Called Paddington from my elementary school library and fondly reading about the adventures of this adorable bear.

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More Than Marmalade tells the life story of Michael Bond, tha author of the iconic Paddington Bear series.   An author’s note precedes the first chapter where Tolin explains that she uses facts and fictionalized scenes to write this biography.  Readers will learn about Bond’s childhood growing up and how his love of reading was nurtured early by both of his parents.  Bond had a big imagination which I believe fueled his passion for writing. World War II also had a huge effect on Bond, for he had empathy for the many child refugees who arrived in England from other countries.  These children became the inspiration for Paddington who was an orphan himself.

Perserverance is a strong theme in More Than Marmalade.  Readers learn that Bond had many jobs before becoming a published writer.  Although his writing was rejected many times he recalled his grandfather’s advice to never give up.  He also valued suggestions from editors and his agent which helped him persist.  Children also learn that Bond “wrote what he knew” in the sense that Paddington was a stuffed bear he bought his wife for Christmas.  I like that kids will be able to relate to writing a story using their favorite stuffed animal as a main character.

More Than Marmalade not only tells the story of Bond’s life but also shows children how historical events like a war can affect us and change us.  With COVID-19, I wonder how this experience will shape us and be the inspiration for new stories. Thanks to Rosanne Tolin for sending a review copy to Beagles and Books.  More Than Marmalade recently published on March 3, 2020.

 

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Rosie: Stronger Than Steel by Lindsay Ward

This historical fiction picture books tells the story of how US female factory workers, British female farmers & a spunky tractor helped win WWII & reminds us that by working together, we as a nation & world can overcome the toughest battles.  To read my full review and enter a giveaway, click here.

 

Today is a Beach Day by Nancy Viau Illustrated by Charlie Alder

What I wouldn’t give for a beach day!  If I can’t actually go, the next best time to read about it right?  Written in rhyme, Today is a Beach Day is about the excitement of a day at the beach.  I love how the story begins with the children getting in the car with their beach gear in hand.  Once at the beach, the children engage in many activities such as observing seagulls, playing in the water, searching for shells, building sand castles and eating ice cream.  I love how Viau uses rich vocabulary like ” wispy waves,” “hasty licks” and “tousled hair” which will expand young children’s oral vocabulary.  Alder’s illustrations are big and bold and convey the immense excitement of the children. Today is a Beach Day is a story that will delight no matter what the season!Thanks to Albert Whitman for sending an ARC to my #bookexcursion group.  Today is a Beach Day celebrates its book birthday on April 1, 2020.

Paper Planes by Jim Helmore Illustrated by Richard Jones

Best friends Mia and Ben enjoy doing a lot of things together but their favorite activity is making paper airplanes.  Their goal was to make a plane that could fly across the lake.  But news that Ben’s family is moving threatens both their dream and friendship. Readers see Mia’s hurt and angry feelings due to the many miles between them.  But Ben finds a way to bridge the gap with a project he and Mia can do together.  While Paper Planes is about a maintaining long distance friendship, the story really hit home because with stay at home orders, I know children are experiencing the same emotions as the characters, for it is frustrating not to see or play with friends.  What I love about Paper Planes is Ben’s creative idea to keep their friendship going.  During this unprecedented time, we all need to be resourceful in finding ways to keep in contact with friends and family.  Thanks to Peachtree Publishing for sharing a copy with my #bookexcursion group.  Paper Planes recently published on March 1, 2020.

Bella’s Dog Pick of the Week

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

Cat and Dog’s Alphabet by Diana and Christyan Fox

Dog sees something peculiar in the air and quickly calls Cat for help.  As the image gets clearer, Cat informs Dog that there is not reason for alarm; it is just the 26 letters of the alphabet.  Thinking the letters are dangerous, Cat teaches Dog their utility such as spelling words. Dog gets frustrated because he can’t remember the letters in sequential order much less spell words correctly. Cat is not deterred and continues to explain the power of the alphabet.  Cat and Dog’s Alphabet is a unique alphabet book because rather than focus on each individual letter and sound, the story explains how letters are used to help us communicate anything we want to say.

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Bella & I thank you for visiting Beagles and Books. Happy Reading! Stay safe and well!

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

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 3/23/20

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Beagles and Books is 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.

Today marks the second week of schools being closed in Maryland.  I thought I would actually get more reading  and reviewing done but I must admit it has been harder to sit down and concentrate than I thought.  Besides long walks with Bella, I have spent time checking in with family and friends, cleaning, and decluttering.  In an effort to support parents and other educators, I write a blog post compiling a list of free digital guided reading resources.  I also helped my school community connect by creating a Facebook page and YouTube channel.  Here’s hoping this week I have better focus to read and review.  I am a glass half full person so I am looking for the silver lining in all of this, which to be thankful for the gift of time in a comfortable home with electricity, water, food, my husband, books, and of course, my sweet girl Bella.  Wishing everyone well!

Our Recent Reads:

Write! Write! Write! by Amy Ludwig Vanderwater Illustrated by Ryan O’Rourke

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In my very first #IMWAYR blog post, I reviewed Read! Read! Read!, Amy Ludwig Vanderwater’s inspiring collection of poetry celebrating reading.  Imagine my excitement when I discovered she has written a companion book dedicated to writing.  Her first poem titled “Our Alphabet” is a perfect beginning reminding young writers that “words are always different but the letters are the same.”  Subsequent poems focuses on stages of the writing process (“Ideas (Like Peaches”), genres of writing (“Opinion”) as well as the joys (“Anything Can Grow”) and pitfalls (“Same Feeling”) of writing.   As a teacher, not only can Write! Write! Write! be a mentor text for poetry, specific poems can also be a way to introduce types of writing such as a small moment narrative (“My Story”).  O’Rourke’s gorgeous and inclusive artwork complements Vanderwater’s lively text which encourages budding writers to persevere.  Can’t wait to share this motivating treasury of poems with students and teachers.  Thanks to the author Amy Ludwig Vanderwater for sharing an F & G with Beagles and Books.  Write! Write! Write! recently published last week on March 17, 2020.

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Green on Green by Diana White Illustrated by Felicita Salas

Green on Green is a serene and charming story about a family’s journey through the seasons in their coastal community.  While the color green is a thread throughout the entire book, other colors are emphasized in each season.  The story begins in spring with the young boy picking yellow flowers, drinking lemonade, and splashing in stomping in puddles in his yellow rain boots. Each subsequent season is introduced on a wordless two page spread.  In summer, blue is the prominent color. The boy and his family are enjoying the beach, the sea, and picnics in the field.   Fall is depicted in brown and orange with leaves changing, pumpkins growing, and a Thanksgiving meal shared. Not only does winter bring snow but also the arrival of a baby for the family.  On the last page spread, spring has returned bringing the story back full circle.

White’s text is succinct and symphonic and coupled with Sala’s tender and vivid illustrations evoke a sense of peace and warmth. Green on Green is a celebration of family, seasons, change, and community which makes it a wonderful read aloud for children.  Thanks to Barbara Fisch of Blue Slip Media and the publisher Beach Lane Books/Simon and Schuster for sharing a copy with Beagles and Books.  Green on Green celebrated its book birthday on March 17, 2020.

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.

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Blue Daisy by Helen Frost Illustrated by Rob Shepperson 

Friends and next door neighbors, Sam and Katie see a stray dog in the neighborhood.  Dirty and skinny, they are desperate to befriend it.  But when the dog returns to Sam’s backyard, Sam and Katie make a impulsive decision which they later deeply regret. Ironically, their mistake has some positive consequences for now people in their neighborhood begin treating the dog with more kindness. In addition, Sam and Katie learn that the Tracy twins aren’t as mean as they once thought.

Stories about stray or shelter dogs always tug at my heart. Blue Daisy is a uniquely structured novel because it is told in both poetry and prose by Sam and Katie respectively.  Even the font is different for each account.  Written in under 80 pages with detailed full page black and white illustrations every few pages,  Blue Daisy is a heartwarming story with themes of friendship, contrition, forgiveness, and trust.  It is a text that would definitely prompt great discussion for students.  And the author also includes recipes which is a nice bonus.  Thanks to the publisher Holiday House for sharing an ARC at the 2019 NCTE convention. Blue Daisy recently published last week on March 17, 2020.

 

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

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

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 3/16/20

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Beagles and Books is 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.

For at least the next two weeks, I am home.  Last Thursday, it was announced that all Maryland public schools would be closed from March 16-March 27 in an effort the flatten the curve of COVID-19.   Grateful that we were able to go to school on Friday  and send our students home with lots of books from our school library.  And look how many books were checked out in my district in ONE DAY!

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As hard as it is to wrap my head around the magnitude of this virus, I am taking this time to make a big dent in my neverending TBR stack, get fresh air by walking Bella a couple times a day, declutter, and tackle a few home projects that I never seem to have time for.   Wishing everyone good health as we weather this crisis together.  Glad we can all stay connected through our love for books.

Our Recent Reads:

Beatrice Zinker Upside Down Thinker: Sabotage by Shelley Johannes

Beatrice Zinker Upside Down Thinker holds a special place in my heart because Shelley Johannes was one of the first authors to send an ARCs(advance reader copy) to our newly formed ARC sharing group, #bookexcursion.  Almost 3 years later, Beatrice is back for her third adventure in Sabotage. 

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In Sabotage, Operation Upside is now a team of three: Beatrice, Lenny, and Sam.  The trio is handing out a new batch of Upside Down awards.  Lenny’s choice is new student Chloe for bravery.  Sam’s choice is private, and Beatrice needs inspiration.   But when Chloe is awarded for being the BEST VET rather than bravery, Beatrice and Lenny are suspicious.  Who would have sabotaged the award?  Lenny thinks Sam is the culprit but Beatrice does not agree and is determined to find out who is responsible.

I just love Beatrice for her curiosity, loyalty, and most especially her resolve.  When faced with the possibility that Operation Upside Down could be lost, Beatrice puts all her energy into not only solving the mystery but also diverting uncomfortable situations between Lenny and Sam.  And with her new break dancing moves, Beatrice can take her upside thinking to a whole new level.  In addition, Johannes’ whimsical black felt tipped pen (with a splash of color) drawings of Beatrice and her friends make the book even more fun to read. Sabotage celebrated its book birthday last week on March 10, 2020.  Hoping there are more Beatrice adventures to come!

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Whoo-Ku Haiku by Maria Gianferrari Illustrated by Jonathan Voss

Whoo-Ku Haiku is a captivating narrative nonfiction picture book that vividly describes the life cycle of the great horned owl. Gianferari’s decision to write haiku is bold and brilliant. Using the 5-7-5 structure, she chose her words carefully using rich and strong vocabulary to convey the owl family’s story. Here’s one of my favorites.

Sprouted ear tufts twitch
Pinecones whispering autumn
Soon fledgling owls fly.

Voss’ watercolor illustrations complement the lyrical text.  His gorgeous art fills the double page spreads and intensely shows not only the astuteness but also the great agility of these amazing birds. To read my full review and enter a giveaway for your own copy, click here.

 

A Tiger Without Stripes by Jaimie Whitbread

When a tiger is born without stripes, her family is not concerned.  But to the young tiger, it does matter; therefore, she embarks on a journey to find her stripes.  Shadows, scrapes, and streaks of mud gave the tiger only temporary stripes which leave her feeling distraught.  When she demands a reason why she hasn’t earned them yet, an unidentified voice responds saying “A tiger does not earn its stripes. They are a gift.”

Author/illustrator Jaimie Whitbread’s debut picture book gave me all the feels. At first, my heart hurt for the tiger who feels different but then my heart rejoiced because the tiger learns a valuable lesson on self-acceptance.  I also loved how Whitbread kept to a limited palette using only a few colors in her striking illustrations.  A Tiger Without Stripes reminds us that sometimes, the journey we take in life is the true gift.  Thanks to author Asia Citro for sending a copy to my #bookexcursion group.  A Tiger Without Stripes recently published on March 3, 2020.

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.

Where’d My Jo Go? by Jill Esbaum  Illustrated by Scott Brundage

Jo and Big Al are constant companions with Jo driving a big, blue rig and Big Al riding shotgun.  Always together, wherever they go.  When pup Big Al gets distracted playing and is accidentally left at a truck rest stop, he sits and stays.  Two kids see Al and attempt to befriend him, but Al knows Jo will come back for him.  And indeed she does and their reunion is epic.  Esbaum’s rhyming text and Brundage’s expressive watercolor and pencil illustrations make Where’s My Jo Go? a heartwarming story.  As a reader, I appreciate that Esbaum shares the inspiration for the story and how she wanted the dog to tell part of the story from his point of view.

As a dog mom, I can emphasize with Jo when she realizes her precious Al is not in her truck with her.  When we first adopted Bella, she attempted to chase a bunny out of our fenced yard.  I immediately bought a GPS tracker to ensure Bella’s safety.  If you look closely, you can see Bella’s Whistle tracker in some of her shelfies.  Thanks to author Jill Esbaum and publisher Sleeping Bear Press for sending a copy to Beagles and Books.  Look for Where’d My Jo Go? when it’s released soon on April 15, 2020.

 

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

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

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 2/17/20

 

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

My book beagle Etta is slowing down and sleeping more so she wasn’t up for posing for pictures. Grateful that little Bella (with her tongue out) was timidly willing to stand for all photos. Thankful for the live feature on my iPhone camera.

Our Recent Reads:

Beginners Welcome by Cindy Baldwin 

Not only is sixth grader Annie Lee grieving the sudden death of her music loving dad, but she also has to adjust to moving and attending a new school.  And to make matter worse, Annie has drifted apart from her two best friends, and money is tight even with her distressed mom working full time. To cope with her grief, Annie escapes to Brightleaf Square, a mall where she meets Ray, an older gentleman who plays the piano. 

Befriending Ray play is the first step to Annie Lee shedding her invisibility cloak.  After seeing a flyer about a piano competition, Annie Lee asks Ray to teach her so she can enter the contest.  Playing the piano helps Annie Lee feel closer to her father and the cash prize would help pay for things she and her mom can’t afford right now.  Gradually, Annie Lee starts to find her way to heal her broken heart and befriends Mitch, who like her recently transferred to her school.  But when Ray goes missing, Annie Lee makes a decision that may jeopardize her friendship with Mitch.  

Beginners Welcome is an authentic and powerful story about Annie Lee’s journey from grief to hope. Told from Annie Lee’s point of view, it is clear that she and her dad shared a close bond. Without her dad as the glue, she and her mom are having a hard time navigating their new life together as a family. Annie Lee’s and her mom’s relationship is rocky, and Annie Lee really resents her mother for their predicament. But as the story unfolds, readers learn that while Annie Lee’s dad was indeed a wonderful person, he lived in the moment without planning for the future. My heart ached for both Annie Lee and her mom, for they both experienced grief and anger because of their situation. Once they both were willing to accept support from each other and others, they finally began to truly heal. 

Thanks to author Cindy Baldwin and publisher Harper Collins for sending an ARC to my #bookexcursion group, for Beginners Welcome is one of the novels on my #mustreadin2020 list. It recently published last week.

The Box Turtle by Vanessa Roeder

The Box Turtle is a sweet story about Terrance, a turtle who has born without a shell. Fortunately, Terrance’s parents were not concerned and fitted him with a box which kept him dry, safe, and big enough to share with his hermit crab friend.  When another turtle makes fun of him, Terrance’s confidence turns to shame and he gives up his box in hopes of finding a better shell.  But after many tries, nothing fits.  Will Terrance ever feel comfortable in his own skin, I mean shell? 

First, one look at Terrance and your heart will melt.  Author/illustrator Vanessa Roeder’s illustrations are utterly adorable, especially when he is shell-less (is that even a word?)  What I love about his story is through an act of kindness by his crustacean friend, Terrance learns that his shell does not define him and with a little help from friends and his loving parents, Terrance gains the confidence to be appreciate his uniqueness and stand proud. 

And don’t miss the creative endpapers, for the front is a collection of different objects Terrance tries out as a shell and the back endpapers show Terrance’s humorous side using other objects as shells.  Thanks to Penguin Random House for sending a copy to my #bookexcursion group.  The Box Turtle celebrated its book birthday last week.  

Are My Stars Like Your Stars? by Leslie Helakoski Illustrated by Heidi Woodward Sheffield

Colors are universal.  Regardless of where you live, blue is essentially blue.  But what you see as blue may differ.  Are My Stars Like Your Stars is a gorgeously written and illustrated picture book that teaches children how they can be connected to others all over the world through color.  For example,  in one page spread, an African American family goes on an outing to an apple orchard and the last sentence begins “Is your red…. In the next page spread,  a Chinese family is celebrating the New Year.  The author completes the sentence with the words “..like my red?”

Children can compare and contrast themselves with other kids, for they can relate to activities such as playing soccer, baking cookies, and planting a garden. Kids can also learn about other cultural traditions such as Diwali.  With lyrical text and highly textured, collage-style illustrations, Are My Stars Like Your Stars is a story that will both delight and teach.  Thanks to illustrator Heidi Woodward Sheffield for sending a copy for Beagles and Books to review.  Are My Stars Like Your Stars? recently published in January 2020. 

Facts vs. Opinions vs. Robots by Michael Rex

As a reading specialist, I love when I find a book that not only will make kids laugh out loud but also teach them critical life skills. As the title clearly suggests, Facts vs. Opinions vs. Robots teaches the difference between facts and opinions.  But author/illustrator Michael Rex doesn’t stop there.  Speaking directly to the reader, the robots also teaches that at times, one needs more information to decide if a statement is a fact or opinion.  And in my humble opinion, the best lesson is the robots reminds us the importance of listening to each other’s opinions and respecting our peers’ right to think differently.  

With an opinion writing unit coming up, Facts vs. Opinions vs. Robots will be a great mentor text to share with my second grade students.  Thanks to Nancy Paulsen Books/Penguin Random House for sending a copy to my #bookexcursion group.  Facts vs. Opinions vs. Robots celebrated its book birthday last week.  

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.

Hound Won’t Go by Lisa Rogers 

Hound Won’t Go is an fun and engaging story about a stubborn basset hound. What starts out as a leisurely walk turns into a traffic standstill when Hound won’t leave his spot in the street.  Treats, tugs, horns, or stares will not change Hound’s mind.  He just won’t go.  But the sound of thunder does cause action and Hound wastes no time racing home with his owner following behind him.  When he finally reaches home wet and tired, Hound shakes, jumps into bed, and cuddles with his person.  

Author Lisa Rogers’s amusing story really resonated with me because my sweet Etta has been known to show her stubborn side especially on a walk.  Unlike Hound who won’t move, Etta would never let me stop to talk to a neighbor.  She was always on the go ready to return home for a treat.  Like Hound, Etta (years ago, when she could hear) hated thunder.  She always went to her safe spot in the den and would burrow under pillows.  

Written in rhyming couplets, Hound Won’t Go is a perfect read aloud for young readers. I can already hear the children chiming in to finish the couplet.  And kids will love the illustrator Meg Ishihara’s full page animated illustrations of adorable Hound.  Thank you Albert Whitman & Company for sending an ARC of Hound Won’t Go to Beagles & Books for review. Look for Hound Won’t Go’s release in April 2020.  

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

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

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 1/27/20

 

Beagles and Books is thrilled 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:

Drew and Jot; Dueling Doodles by Art Baltazar

Dueling Doodles is the first graphic novel in the Drew and Jot trilogy. On the first day of fifth grade, new student Andrew meets Foz and the two boys become fast friends due to their love of drawing. They quickly decide to collaborate on a crossover comic strip featuring Andrew’s superhero Drew and Foz’s evil Doctor Danger. Soon other characters such as Jot, a canine sidekick for Drew and Poop Monster are born. But when Drew’s little sister Patsy borrows the sketchbook and adds her own characters to their story and Dr. Danger book jumps from Foz’s sketchbook to Andrew’s, the adventure goes to a whole other level. 

I love that Baltazar draws reality with the kids’ interactions as well as their artwork in the sketchbooks. I have no doubt that readers of all ages will not only devour this series but also will be inspired to draw and collaborate on creating their own stories. Special thanks to author Jarrett Lerner for recommending Dueling Doodles which recently published on January 7, 2020.

Mack Rhino Private Eye: The Big Race Lace Case by Paul Dubois Jacobs and Jennifer Swender Illustrated by Karl West

In The Big Race Lace Case, Mack Rhino and his assistant, Redd Oxpeck have recently solved their 99th case and it doesn’t take long before they are handed Case #100. Apparently shoelaces are disappearing right before the Big Race in Coral Cove. With news of the Ant Hill Gang escaping the ant farm upstate, Mack is certain they are involved. But who are they working with? With an engaging and humorous plot, young readers will enjoy piecing together the evidence gathered by Mack to help solve the mystery.

In my district, second grade students read mysteries as part of an ELA unit but I must admit, it is difficult to find mysteries for striving readers.  So excited to read the first book in the Mack Rhino Private Eye, which is part of Aladdin’s Quix Fast Fun Reads. Launched in 2018, this book line supports developing readers in becoming independent readers. Written in under 70 pages with short chapters and illustrations on every few pages, Mack Rhino has other great supports to help children transition to chapter books. These accessible features include a list of characters with their role, the use of bold font for characters when first introduced and vocabulary words, which are then defined with pronunciation in a glossary. I plan to buy multiple copies to use with my striving reading group during the mystery unit,

Special thanks to author Jennifer Swender for sending me a review copy.  Mack Rhino Private Eye: The Big Race Lace Case just celebrated its book birthday on January 21, 2020. A second book, The Candy Caper Case will publish in May 2020.  

Trouble at Table 5: The Candy Caper by Tom Watson Illustrated by Marta Kissi

Molly likes things a certain way. She likes her socks folded not rolled up. She only reads one book at a time. Her pillows must be arranged in a particular order. So when she sees a big glass jar full of Skittles in her principal’s office, she needs to know how many Skittles are in the jar. Fortunately, Molly’s friends Rosie and Simon understand when she has something she can’t get out of her head. They not only help her concoct a plan to count the Skittles but also help her carry it out. Young readers will enjoy problem solving with the trio.

With progress bars at the end of each chapter, full and half page illustrations and only 96 pages in length, I just love this new illustrated Harper Chapters series which support kids in building stamina to read chapter books. Special thanks to the publisher Harper Collins for sharing an ARC at the NCTE convention.  The Candy Caper and Busted by Breakfast, the second book in the Trouble at Table 5 series will both be available on February 25, 2020. 

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.

Honey: The Dog Who Saved Abe Lincoln by Shari Swanson Illustrated by Chuck Groenink

Most of my knowledge of Abraham Lincoln is about his career as a lawyer and of course, as our 16th U.S. president.  Debut author Shari Swanson has written a heartwarming story about Abe’s boyhood friendship with his dog Honey. 

On his way back home from the mill, young Abe finds a stray dog with an injured leg.  He makes a splint with sticks, bark, and rawhide and takes the dog home with him.  From that day on, Abe and newly named Honey are inseparable.  Loyal Honey repays Abe for rescuing him by seeking help when Abe got stuck between boulders in a cave.  What I especially love about this story is Swanson embeds young Abe’s other acts of kindness towards animals saving those in distress.  Chuck Groenik’s warm and nostaglic illustrations complement the text well showing Abe’s gentleness and compassion.  Also included is a timeline titled Abraham Lincoln and His Animal Encounters which provides even more information and an author’s note which shares the origin of this picture book, for Abe’s childhood best friend, Austin Gollaher orally recounted stories to a journalist.  Honey: The Dog Who Saved Abe Lincoln recently published on January 14, 2020.  

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

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

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 1/20/20

 

Beagles and Books is thrilled 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:

How to Make Friends with the Sea by Tanya Guerrero

Since I started reading How to Make Friends with the Sea before the New Year, I did not originally include it on my #mustreadin2020 list, but this novel, beautifully written by debut author Tanya Guerrero is now officially on my #mustreadin2020 middle grade list because this moving story has my whole heart.  Here’s why.

Twelve year old Pablo has lived most of his young life being anxious but with his parents’ divorce and his move to the Philippines, his apprehension continues to build. Unable to share his fears with his zoologist mother, Pablo’s anxiety reaches an all time high when she agrees to foster Chiqui, an orphaned girl with selective mutism and a cleft lip. But gradually, as Pablo spends more time with Chiqui, she eventually speaks to him and he learns that his fears of germs, dirt, and the sea are not as big as his fear of losing Chiqui. 

Being brave is hard when so many things scare you but Pablo is truly one of the most courageous kids I have ever met.  In the beginning of the story, my heart hurt for Pablo as he struggled with his anxiety but each time he took a small leap, my heart cheered him on.  Written from Pablo’s point of view, Guerrero’s voice for him is perfect, for she captures all of Pablo’s raw feelings and emotions so readers truly get to know him. What I love about Guerrero’s writing is that she makes it clear that Pablo’s fears never completely go away; rather, he learns to cope with his anxiety especially when it comes to Chiqui.  Pablo doesn’t do this all alone, for new friendships with his neighbor, Happy, his mother’s boss, Miguel and even meetings with barista Heinz and dog Lucky give him the strength to step out of his comfort zone.  How to Make Friends with the Sea is an honest and dynamic story about family, friendship, facing your fears, and forgiveness that I will carry with me forever. 

Special thanks to Tanya Guerrero and Farrar Strauss Giroux/Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group for sending an ARC to my #bookexcursion group.  Pre-order now, for How to Make Friends with the Sea publishes on March 31, 2020. 

Mindy Kim and the Yummy Seaweed Business by Lyla Lee Illustrated by Dung Ho

Mindy Kim and the Yummy Seaweed Business is the first book in a new early chapter book series written by #ownvoices author Lyla Lee. Narrated by seven year old Mindy, readers quickly learn she is navigating a lot of changes in her life.  Mindy’s mom has recently died, and she and her father move to Florida from California. She desperately wants a puppy and is extremely nervous about starting a new school. 

Her first day of school in Florida is challenging because unlike her old school, she is the only Korean American in her class and at lunch, classmates make fun of kimchi and seaweed.. While Mindy hates being the new kid, she is cheered up by her babysitter’s Maltese, which makes Mindy want her own dog even more.  On the very next day of school, Mindy is determined to be brave and seek out a friend.  Her plan works and not only does she have someone to sit with at lunch but also a classmate who asks to try some of her seaweed.  Soon seaweed becomes quite popular in the lunchroom and Mindy decides to make it a business, which gets her and her new friend in trouble.  Can Mindy mend their friendship?

Written in 77 pages with short chapters and full page illustrations in almost each chapter, Mindy Kim has great supports for primary students transitioning into chapter books. What I especially love is Lee skillfully tackles tough themes such as grief from losing a parent and microaggressions in a way that is accessible to younger readers. Special thanks to Jenny Lu of Simon and Schuster Children’s Publishing for sending me a review copy.  Mindy Kim and the Seaweed Business and Mindy Kim and the Lunar New Year Parade, the second book in the series recently published on January 14, 2020.  A third book, Mindy Kim and the Birthday Puppy will release in May 2020. 

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.

Thunder Pug by Kim Norman Illustrated by Keika Yamaguchi

When Percy the pug’s best friend Petunia the pig wins a blue ribbon at the county fair, their relationship changes. Sporting her ribbon everywhere, she gets the attention of many of farm animals leaving little time for Percy.  After stumbling upon Thunder Man, an old comic book, Percy reinvents himself as Thunder Pug donning a cape and spending his days rescuing those in need.  But being Thunder Pug was lonely without a sidekick so imagine Percy’s glee when Petunia joins him as superhero, Pink Lightning.   Together they learn that being a hero is a lot more fun with a friend!   A follow up to Puddle Pug, Thunder Pug is a celebration of friendship.  What I love about this story is it reminds children that even the best of friends can weather through any storm!

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