#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!

Blog Tour, Giveaway, Picture Books

Blog Tour & Giveaway for Rosie: Stronger Than Steel by Lindsay Ward

Beagles and Books is honored to be part of the Rosie: Stronger Than Steel blog tour!  Rosie is written and illustrated by Lindsay Ward.  It is available now through Amazon and will officially release on April 1, 2020.   Thanks to Barbara Fisch of Blue Slip Media and Two Lions/Amazon Publishing for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Continue reading “Blog Tour & Giveaway for Rosie: Stronger Than Steel by Lindsay Ward”

#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!

Blog Tour, Giveaway, Picture Books

Blog Tour & Giveaway for Whoo-Ku Haiku by Maria Gianferrari

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Beagles and Books is honored to be part of the Whoo-Ku Haiku: A Great Horned Owl Story blog tour!  Whoo-Ku Haiku is written by Maria Gianferrari and illustrated by Jonathan Voss and celebrated its book birthday last week on March 2, 2020. Thanks to author Maria Gianferrari and Penguin Random House for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
Review:
Whoo-Ku Haiku is a captivating narrative nonfiction picture book that vividly describes the life cycle of the great horned owl.  The story begins with the owl pair claiming an abandoned squirrel’s nest as their own.  Not long after, Mama lays three eggs and keeps them warm while Papa hunts for food.  Readers get a true glimpse of the dangers that the owl family faces.  One of the eggs falls from the nest as a result of a crow attack. Once the owlets are born, Mama and Papa must be vigilant protecting their young from predators both in the sky and on the ground. As the fledglings get older, they try out their wings, learn to defend themselves, and finally, fly off to find homes of their own.
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. Backmatter follows the story to provide more in-depth facts about the great horned owls, additional books, websites, and even links to videos.  Whoo-Ku Haiku is a great addition to a classroom or school library.  It is both a riveting read aloud and a marvelous mentor text for writing poetry.  Highly recommend!
Praise for Whoo-Ku Haiku
“Vivid and accessible: an illuminating portrait of one of nature’s most iconic birds.”
Kirkus Reviews
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WHOO’s Maria Gianferrari?
She’s a self-proclaimed bird nerd with a special fondness for raptors. Her love affair with birds began in 7th grade science class when her teacher, Mr. Lefebvre, initiated a bird count. While walking in her neighborhood, Maria’s always on the look-out for all kinds of birds, and she loves searching winter tree tops for nests in her northern Virginia neighborhood where she lives with her German-scientist husband and German speaking daughter. This is her first book with GP Putnam’s Sons. She’s also the author of another bird book, Hawk Rising. To learn more about Maria, please visit her website: mariagianferrari.com.
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WHOO’s Jonathan Voss?
He writes and illustrates stories for children. Growing up, he was never far from a pencil or paint brush, and began working as a portrait artist right out of high school.  Jonathan is the author of the Hoot & Love stories Brave Enough for Two and Imagine That. He is also the illustrator of Sally Walker’s Winnie: The True Story of the Bear Who Inspired Winnie the Pooh.  Jonathan lives in North Carolina with his wife and two kids.  Visit his website at jonathanvoss.com
Enter Beagles & Books’ Giveaway: 
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One lucky winner will receive a copy of Whoo-Ku Haiku, courtesy of Penguin Random House (U.S. addresses only). There are now multiple ways to enter the giveaway.
  • Follow me @lauramossa on Twitter and retweet my Whoo-Ku Haiku giveaway tweet.
  • If you are not on Twitter, fill out the Google form below.

This giveaway is open from March 10-17, 2020 and ends at 10:00 p.m. EST.  Winner will be announced on March 18, 2020.

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

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 3/9/20

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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 Textsdecided to give it a #kidlit focus and encourage everyone who participates to visit at least 3 of the other #kidlit book bloggers that link up and leave comments for them.

Our Recent Reads:

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Ronan The Librarian by Tara Luebbe and Becky Cattie Illustrated by Victoria Maderna

Ronan is living his best life as a barbarian invading, raiding, and trading treasures until one raid’s pillage was unusual. Instead of jewelry and weapons, Ronan’s loot was books. Since barbarians do not read books, Ronan’s solution was to use the pages for kindling, origami or even toilet paper.  But thankfully, a picture in one of the books grabs his attention and turns this reluctant reader into a voracious reader.  Even on raids, Ronan can’t stop reading and soon he has so many books that he opened a library.  But how will Ronan convince other barbarians to love books as much as he does?

I am a big fan of the sister writing duo Luebee and Cattie and as a book lover, I can’t gush enough about Ronan The Librarian.  I especially love that all it takes is a picture to hook Ronan, which reminds me of the anonymous quote “Everyone is a reader… Some just haven’t found their favorite book yet.”  Not only does the story have a great message but also kids will be laughing out loud for the text and Maderna’s illustrations are full of humor.  I particularly chuckled reading Ronan’s library rules and advice board which reminds barbarians that swords make terrible bookmarks and no juicy meats are allowed in the library.   Thanks to Tara Leubbe for sharing an ARC with my #bookexcursion group. Ronan The Librarian publishes in April 2020.

World So Wide by Allison McGhee by Illustrated by Kate Alizadeh

World So Wide is a quiet book with a big message, which is the boundless love between a parent and child. To read my full review and enter a giveaway courtesy of Two Lions/ Amazon Publishing, 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 Dog’s Day: Jax Protector of the Ranch by Catherine Stier Illustrated by Francesca Rosa

A Dog’s Day is an engaging new early chapter book series about working dogs.  In the first book, a Great Pyrenees named Jax describes his job as a livestock guardian dog (LGD).  Narrated by Jax, he tells how he and puppy Stormy, a LGD in training, protect their flock of sheep from predators.

Even as an adult reader, this novel was hard to put down.  I was so interested in learning about the training and duties of LGDs which was shared in the first few chapters.  Then the plot became especially suspenseful, for Bev, the lead LGD, was injured by a coyote leaving Jax and Stormy alone.  The duo must work together to guard the sheep from a mountain lion. This task becomes even more challenging because one of the ewes gave birth to a lamb that evening.   Stier does an amazing job of explaining the training and the responsibilities of LGDs so that kids can understand.  I also appreciate all the supports for young readers transitioning into chapter books. The actual story is written in 84 pages with 10 short chapters and Rosa’s appealing black and white illustrations appear every few pages.  At the end of the book, Stier includes more information about LBDs which provides even more facts about these incredible working dogs.

Thanks to Albert Whitman for sending an ARC to my #bookexcursion group. Look for Jax Protector of the Ranch and the second book in the series, Ava Seeker in the Snow in April 2020.

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

Blog Tour, Giveaway, Picture Books

Blog Tour & Giveaway for World So Wide by Alison McGhee

Beagles and Books is honored to be part of the World So Wide blog tour!  World So Wide is written by Allison McGhee and illustrated by Kate Alizadeh and celebrated its book birthday this week on March 2, 2020.   Thanks to Barbara Fisch of Blue Slip Media and Two Lions/Amazon Publishing for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
Review:
World So Wide is a love letter from parents to their child.  At the beginning of the story, a baby is born and the parents’ immense love for their child is conveyed through both McGhee’s lyrical text and Alizadeh’s warm illustrations.  Senses are also integral to the child’s firsts, for the parents explore what will be the first sights they see, sounds they hear, things they smell, and things they touch.
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The child grows up and Alizadeh’s gorgeous illustrations share simple moments such as the family walking in a field to milestones of the child taking its first steps.  What I love most about World So Wide is that McGhee’s expressive text and Alizadeh’s delicate artwork continue the story revealing that the child has now grown into an adult and is blessed with a baby of his own.
World So Wide is a quiet book with a big message, which is the boundless love between a parent and child.  It is a heartwarming story for parents to read to their young children and would make a great gift for expecting parents.
Praise for World So Wide
★“While it will certainly touch new parents, Pulitzer honoree McGhee’s text and Alizadeh’s tender pictures will delight readers of all ages.” —Booklist (starred review)
“Breezy illustrations are pleasingly attuned to the author’s spontaneous verse as both reveal the marvel—and regeneration—of human life.” —Publishers Weekly
“Smudgily outlined illustrations bring a soft but bright energy to the author’s tender text. Pleasant and sentimental ponderings for new parents and children.” —Kirkus Reviews
About the Author: 
Alison McGhee is the author of many highly acclaimed works. Her children’s books include the #1 New York Times bestseller Someday, illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds; the Theodor Seuss Geisel Award–winning Bink & Gollie, cowritten with Kate DiCamillo and illustrated by Tony Fucile; and the Christopher Award–winning Firefly Hollow, illustrated by Christopher Denise. Her novels for adults include Pulitzer Prize nominee Shadow Baby and Never Coming Back. She lives in Minnesota, Vermont, and California. Learn more at www.alisonmcghee.com.
Twitter: @alisonmcghee
Instagram: alisonmcgheewriter
About the Illustrator: 
Kate Alizadeh is the author-illustrator of Quiet and the illustrator of That Is Actually MY Blanket, Baby! by Angie Morgan. Her distinctive hand lettering appears on the covers of Unboxed and Second Best Friend by Non Pratt, and her black-and-white illustrations are featured in Proud: Stories, Poetry and Art on the Theme of Pride, compiled by Juno Dawson. A graduate of Falmouth University, she is currently based in Northern Ireland. Learn more at www.katealizadeh.net.
Twitter: @katealizadeh
Instagram: katealizadeh
Enter Beagles & Books’ Giveaway: 
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One lucky winner will receive a copy of World So Wide, courtesy of Two Lions/Amazon (U.S. addresses only). There are now multiple ways to enter the giveaway.
  • Follow me @lauramossa on Twitter and retweet my World So Wide giveaway tweet.
  • If you are not on Twitter, fill out the Google form below.

This giveaway is open from March 6-13 2020 and ends at 10:00 p.m. EST.  Winner will be announced on March 14, 2020.

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

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 3/2/20

 

It’s been a tough week with the loss of our sweet Etta.  I am so grateful to Etta for being the inspiration for my blog and consider every post a tribute to her.  If you would like to read my blog post in memory of Etta, please click here. While Bella may be slightly camera shy, she is rising to the occasion posing for book photos.   Ever grateful to Bella for her love and support. 

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.

Our Recent Reads:

Our Friend Hedgehog: The Story of Us by Lauren Castillo

The first book in the Our Friend Hedgehog series, The Story of Us tells how Hedgehog’s circle of friends grew.  At first, it was just Hedgehog and Mutty, two friends living on an island. But when a terrible storm carries away Mutty, Hedgehog finds the courage to take a journey to find her dear pup. On her travels, Hedgehog meets Mole, Owl, Beaver, Hen and Chicks, and finally, Annika Mae, a young girl who recently moved to Hedge Hollow.  Each character is introduced in a chapter where readers gets to know their unique personality and traits.  

Reading about Hedgehog and her friends transported me back to the books of my childhood.  I grew up on friendship stories like Frog and Toad and Winnie the Pooh.  And I love that Annika Mae takes photographs with a classic Polaroid.   As a reading specialist who works with striving readers, I appreciate all the supports author/illustrator Lauren Castillo provides to help children who are transitioning to reading chapter books. A map of Hedge Hollow and an illustrated cast of characters appear before the first chapter, rich and warm artwork graces on almost every page, and short chapters make the novel less daunting.  Can’t wait for my students to meet Hedgehog, Annika Mae, and all the other animals in Hedge Hollow!  Thanks to Random House Kids for sending an ARC to my #bookexcursion group.  Our Friend Hedgehog: The Story of Us will publish in May 5, 2020.

Monsters 101 by Cale Atkinson 

Did you know…

  • One in every three homes has a monster hiding under a bed?
  • Mummies are terrified of puppies?
  • Tofu Cauliflower was the first vegetarian zombie?

Fans of author/illustrator Atkinson’s Unicorns 101 are in for a spooky treat with his upcoming release, Monsters 101.  Readers will be enlightened, not frightened as they learn top-secret monster knowledge on topics such as monster biology, daily life, diet,  habitat and homes, fears, and monster-human interactions.  

What I love about Monsters 101 is that Atkinson blends a fantasy topic with an nonfiction format including lots of engaging text features (diagrams, timelines, labels and captions)  and comical illustrations. I know this amusing and entertaining picture book will be in high demand with my students no matter what their age!  Thanks to Random House Kids for sending a F & G to my #bookexcursion group.  Look for Monsters 101 on August 4, 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.

This Little Pup by Laura J. Bryant

This Little Pup is a charming and creative counting book.  On the front endpapers, a little gray scruffy puppy eyes a blue ball in the grass.  On the first page spread, readers see a little boy getting ready to bounce the ball to the puppy.   Once the ball is bounced, the energetic puppy follows the ball passing by the many animals on the farm.  Written in concise text in a larger font, counting and colors are reinforced as the puppy chases the ball all over the farm. Will the puppy finally catch it? 

I especially love that author/illustrator Laura J. Bryant utilizes all the space of each page spread as well as the end papers to tell the story with delicate and warm illustrations. Bold dashes show the immense bounce of the big blue ball.  Children will love counting up all the animals on the last few spreads. And like the little pup asks for another round of fetch, young readers will also beg for second read.  Thanks to Albert Whitman for sending an ARC to my #bookexcursion group. This Little Pup publishes soon on April 1, 2020. 

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

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!