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

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 6/7/21

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

Summer is upon us! 12 more days of school until my year officially ends. It’s definitely been an historical school year beginning 100% virtual in September and transitioning to hybrid in March. As challenging as it has been at times, I have grown professionally and personally. I am so grateful for time to relax, reflect & rejuvenate and as always, read! Books remain a source of comfort and I am grateful for all the stories read that always they remind me to always be hopeful.

The 17 year cicadas are in their glory right now.  Apparently most dogs include my sweet Bella consider them a tasty treat.  I have to closely monitor Bella to ensure she does not over indulge.

The cicada sounds are very soothing.  Take a listen. 


Our Recent Reads:

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The Magical Imperfect by Chris Baron 

It’s the fall of 1989. 12 year old Etan loves rooting for the San Francisco Giants with his dad, drawing, and walking Buddy, his neighbor’s dog. Ever since his mom checked into a hospital to treat her mental illness, Etan has stopped speaking because she was the one person he could talk to about everything. He and her best friend Jordan have drifted apart and with his dad working a lot, Etan spends a lot of time at his grandfather’s jewelry shop who shares stories of immigrating from Prague to the United States to flee the Nazis.

One day, a neighbor and fellow shop owner, Mrs. Li, asks Etan to make a delivery to the home of Malia, a young Filipina girl living with severe eczema. Bullied because of her skin, Malia is now homeschooled. After Etan shares a drawing of her dragon mailbox with Malia, the two connect quickly. Etan feels comfortable talking with her and as they explore the redwoods near her house, Malia opens up about her health condition. After Etan is cut during an earthquake tremor, his grandfather applies a clay from the old world on his arm and sings something in Hebrew making the cut disappear. He wonders if this earthly material could cure Malia. What Etan has yet to realize though is “true friendship is the oldest and strongest form of medicine.”

Gorgeously written in verse from the point of view of Etan, The Magical Imperfect is a touching and hopeful story of family, friendship, and finding out who you are. The setting perfectly fits the plot, for throughout the story, small earthquakes occured emphasizing the uncertainty in both Etan’s and Malia’s lives. Would Etan’s mom come home? Would Malia skin heal? When the historic earthquake occurred right before the third game of the 1989 World Series between the Oakland Athletics and the San Francisco Giants, my heart was racing and I couldn’t stop reading. And like Rajani LaRocca’s novel in verse, Red, White, and Whole, I loved being transported back to the 1980’s and cannot deny I visited YouTube to watch Cyndi Lauper’s Time After Time video. Thanks to the author and MacMillan Children Publishing for sharing an eARC with me. The Magical Imperfect celebrates its book birthday next week on June 15, 2021.

Nerdycorn by Andrew Root Illustrated by Erin Kraam

While her fellow unicorns are leaping over rainbows and splashing in waterfalls, Fern is building robots, coding, experimenting, and reading.  She also has a big heart always willing to help others but after being called Nerdycorn and not being invited to Sparkle Dance parties, Fern decides that her kindness has run out and refuses fixing Flutter Phones and Shimmer Bikes. On the night of the Sparkle Dance, all the machines that are on the fritz.  The unicorns apologize for their behavior, but Fern is still annoyed.  Will Fern accept her apology or hold on to her grudge?

Nerdycorn is a sweet story about not only having the confidence to be yourself but also sthe courage to stick up for yourself.  I love that Fern is proud of who she is, but my heart did hurt for her when the other unicorns teased her.  Fern’s decision to take a hiatus from lending a hand taught the unicorns the valuable lesson, “The only way to have a friend is to be one.”  The bold and lively illustrations show the range of both Fern’s and the other unicorns’ feelings throughout the story.  Thanks to the author for sending me a copy of Nerdycorn.  It recently published on May 18, 2021.

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Tabitha and Fritz Trade Places by Katie Frawley Illustrated by Laurie Stansfield

Tabitha and Fritz Trade Places is an entertaining and engaging story with a sweet message to appreciate what we have. Frawley’s choice to use text messages to tell the story is clever and unique.  As an adult reading the story aloud, I enjoyed the puns and alliterative closings (feeling fierce, primal and pouncing).  I also appreciated the post scripts included in some of the messages which added useful information. Stansfield’s colorful and expressive illustrations practically leap off the page and since there are a number of wordless page spreads, her vivid artwork moves the plot along,  And pay close attention to the endpapers, for the front explains why both Tabitha and Fritz are craving a change in habitat and the back shows how Tabitha and Fritz both surprised each other on their return home.  To read my full review and giveaway entry details to win your own copy, 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.

Hugo and the Impossible Thing by Renée Felice Smith and Chris Gabriel Illustrated by Sydney Hanson

At the edge of the forest, there is the Impossible Thing. a mess of boulders, thorns, rivers and cliffs. Hugo, a curious French bull terrier wonders why it is called impossible, for no animal has ever attempted to get through it and see what is on the other side. Apparently, Mr. Bear, Little Fox, Miss Otter, and Old Mr. Goat have deemed it impossible. While Hugo may not be as strong and clever as Mr. Bear and Little Fox and have the swimming and climbing skills as Miss Otter and Old Mr. Goat, Hugo decides he has to try. The next morning, when Hugo reaches the edge of the forest, he realizes that he does not have to tackle the Impossible Thing alone. All his forest friends are there ready to lend a hand to make the impossible possible.

Inspired by Smith’s and Gabriel’s dog, Hugo, who overcame a life threatening illness, Hugo and the Impossible Thing is a feel good story about courage, friendship, and teamwork. I love Hugo’s positive attitude. He doesn’t question each animal’s response when he/she says the Impossible Thing has always been impossible. In fact, he agrees that is what he has heard, but despite it, Hugo thinks he is going to try. Hugo’s determination propels the animals to change their fixed mindset to a growth mindset. The soft illustrations show Hugo’s positivity from beginning to end and the other animals’ transformation from skeptic to believer.

Bella and I thank you for visiting Beagles and Books!

Blog Tour, Giveaway, Picture Books

Blog Tour & Giveaway for Tabitha and Fritz Trade Places by Katie Frawley Illustrated by Laurie Stansfield

                                                                    

About the Book:
Title: Tabitha and Fritz Trade Places 
Author: Katie Frawley
Illustrator: Laurie Stansfield
Pub. Date: June 1, 2021


Beagles and Books is excited to be part of the blog tour for Tabitha and Fritz Trade Places published by Two Lions/Amazon Publishing. Special thanks to the publisher and Barbara Fisch of Blue Slip Media for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.


Review:

What do animals do when they need a change of scenery?  They hop onto the website, Lair-BNB, of course!  Fritz, an elephant living in a rain forest swaps homes with Tabitha, a suburban cat.  Both animals are excited about their adventure.  Kids will love the format, for Fritz and Tabitha communicate entirely through Lair-BNB messages.

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Upon arrival, Fritz is greeted by Claudia, Tabitha’s owner.  I love how Fritz calls the pool a watering hole, and how adorable that he wears a swimmy on his trunk.  

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Tabitha quickly finds family in the rainforest after meeting the cheetahs.  While the text makes it seem she is feeling quite at hime, the illustrations show that Tabitha may be a little confused, for she thinks a bee hive is a scratching post, a meerkat’s burrow is a litter box, and a snake’s tail is a swatting toy. Oh wait! That tail belongs to Rocky! According to Fritz’s previous message, Rocky does not play well with others. 

As Fritz and Tabitha spend more time in their new settings, problems arise.  Fritz confuses a decorative donut as real and Tabitha appalls a herbivorous herd of elephants by adding mice as a pizza topping.  The final straw occurs when Fritz mistakes Claudia’s birthday for his own and Tabitha takes an involuntary dip in the watering hole.  Don’t elephants know cats are not fans of getting wet?  After sleepless nights for both Fritz and Tabitha, they both realize there truly is no place like home!  

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Tabitha and Fritz Trade Places is an entertaining and engaging story with a sweet message to appreciate what we have. Frawley’s choice to use text messages to tell the story is clever and unique.  As an adult reading the story aloud, I enjoyed the puns and alliterative closings (feeling fierce, primal and pouncing).  I also appreciated the post scripts included in some of the messages which added useful information. Stansfield’s colorful and expressive illustrations practically leap off the page and since there are a number of wordless page spreads, her vivid artwork moves the plot along,  And pay close attention to the endpapers, for the front explains why both Tabitha and Fritz are craving a change in habitat and the back shows how Tabitha and Fritz both surprised each other on their return home.

One of the joys of my role as reading specialist is reading aloud to kids.  Last week, when I was asked to cover a class, I brought Tabitha and Fritz Trade Places with me.  The class of second graders were captiviated by the story giggling from beginning to end.  After reading, I asked them to share anything they learned from Tabitha and Fritz.  Here are some of their thoughtful responses.

  • “Sometimes people bother you and you need to get away from them.”
  • “It’s fun to go someplace new.”
  • “If it is your first time doing something, you might not know the rules. You need people to help you.”
  • “I like going on vacation, but I do miss my friends when I am away.”
  • “After they got home, they were happy and not sad anymore.”

The best books are those that make you laugh and learn. Highly recommend Tabitha and Fritz Trade Places for the mirth and messages! 


Praise for Tabitha and Fritz Trade Places!

“A satisfying spin on the trading-places trope.” —Kirkus Reviews

“Tabitha and Fritz are pretty much two of a kind, but debut author Frawley livens their epistolary exchanges with wordplay and knowing phrases…She gets a big assist from Stansfield (Poems Out Loud!), whose bright pastel settings, vivid expressions, and large cast of high-spirited supporting characters pull readers through the story.” —Publishers Weekly

“A laugh-out-loud story that spells out why the grass is not always greener, with subtle language lessons built in for emerging readers.” —School Library Journal


About the Author & Illustrator:

Katie Frawley grew up on a diet of Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle and Madeline. She went on to earn a bachelor’s in English from the University of Florida and a master’s in literature from Florida Atlantic University. These days, Katie lives in South Florida with her husband, four children, and a handsome mutt named Nantucket. When she’s not reading or writing, Katie can be found building pillow forts, testing recipes with her teensy sous-chefs, or shooing iguanas from her garden. Learn more at www.katiefrawley.wordpress.com.

Twitter: @KatieFrawley1

Instagram: @katiefrawley1

Laurie Stansfield grew up in Oxford, England, but packed her bags and moved west to study illustration at the University of the West of England. She now works as a freelance illustrator. She is the illustrator of Poems Out Loud!, published by Penguin UK, and has more books forthcoming. Laurie lives with her husband in Bristol, United Kingdom. Learn more at www.lauriestansfield.co.uk.

Twitter: @Laurie_S_art

Instagram: @laurie.stansfield


Enter a Giveaway!

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One lucky winner will receive a copy of Tabitha and Fritz Trade Places, courtesy of Two Lions (U.S. addresses). This giveaway is open from Friday, June 4, 2021 through Friday, June 11, 2021 ending at 10:00 p.m. EST.   Please note that book may take longer to ship so patience is appreciated.  Enter below or head over to my Twitter account, @lauramossa and retweet my Rescue at Tabitha and Fritz Trade Places Twitter post. 

 

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

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 5/24/21

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


Our Recent Reads:

Maybe Maybe Marisol Rainey by Erin Entrada Kelly

There is no maybe….I absolutely love 8 year old Marisol!  She loves watching black and white silent films, bestowing names to inanimate objects like appliances and furniture, playing claw machines,  and has a vivid imagination.   In Marisol’s backyard, there is a magnolia tree that was made to be climbed.  Marisol named the tree, Peppina, after a silent film starring Mary Pickford.  But Marisol has yet to climb Peppina because she is afraid of falling.  Jada, Marisol’s best friend, gets her and doesn’t care if Marisol prefers the ground to Peppina.  But Marisol wants to be brave.  When she and Jada play, Marisol pretends she is a bird, but that doesn’t give her the courage to climb Peppina.  When Jada finds a nest, Marisol desperately wants to see it with her own eyes. Will Marisol’s maybe finally change to yes?

Maybe Maybe Marisol Rainey, the first book in Kelly’s new illustrated early chapter book, is just perfect.  With themes of family, friendship and facing your fears, kids will easily relate to Marisol. While Kelly wrote in the third person, Marisol’s inner struggle over climbing Peppina are apparent to readers.  As a reading specialist, I am always excited to add a new series for children transitioning to chapter books.  Supports include length (only 160 pages), short chapters, and endearing black and white illustrations drawn by Kelly herself.   Thanks to Madison Ostrander of Spark Point Studios for sharing an eARC with me. Maybe Maybe Marisol Rainey recently released on May 4, 2021.

Pizazz by Sophy Henn

Most kids will love to be a superhero, but not 9 year old Pizazz.  Why? Well, she has to wear the same clothes everyday (don’t worry…she has spares), still has to go to school (gotta have a back up plan says her mom) and just when you start eating ice cream or get to the best part of a book, you have to stop and save the world.  But the worst part is unlike her little sister, who got a cool name (Red Dragon) to match her awesome super power (breathing fire), Pizazz has the most embarrassing super power ever (and Henn doesn’t reveal it until the second to last chapter)!

And to make matter worse, Pizazz and her family just moved; now she is at a new school and doesn’t know anyone. In an effort to make friends, Pizazz volunteers to be her class’ representative on the school council.  When she is not chosen, her teacher makes her eco monitor instead.  At first, Pizazz isn’t all in (doesn’t she spend enough time saving the world?), but after a little reflection, she changes her mind which results in meeting classmate (and possible new friend) Ivy who wants Pizazz to focus on stopping the local park from becoming a car garage.  Saving a park sounds easy compared to Pizazz’s other missions, but it turns out that her superhero ideas don’t work as well in the normal world. Will Pizazz be successful in not only saving the park but also making a friend?

First published in the UK, Pizazz is a fun illustrated chapter book series that will keep readers engaged.  I loved the format, for in addition to artwork, Henn used comic panels throughout the text. For example, whenever Pizazz and her family went on a mission, this layout was utilized.  Character names were also written in bold and fun fonts which helped me keep track of characters.  Thanks to Jenny Lu of Simon and Schuster for sharing an ARC of Pizazz with me.  Pizazz and Pizazz vs. The New Kid, Book 2 in the series, releases soon on June 1, 2021.

Is Was by Deborah Freedman

With concise, lyrical text and warm, breathtaking artwork, Freedman tells a quiet story about how nature is constantly in motion. One moment, it is the present and then it was indicating the past.  The blue sky turns into a downpour allowing a chipmunk, bird, and fox to enjoy drinks from puddles. A songbird flies away and a buzzing bee can now be heard. Mere seconds later, the chipmunk escapes the talons of a bird thanks to the prey’s shadow. While the chipmunk seeks refuge in between rocks, a bee buzzes by a spider web as the songbird observes.

Soon a child appears reminding us that nature is always in flux around us regardless if we are watching or listening. As night falls, the sky turns blue again and the chipmunk takes in the starry night while the child and her mom sit on their porch steps. With just two words, Is Was celebrates the subtle and obvious changes that occur daily in our world. Thanks to Jenny Lu of Simon and Schuster for sharing a finished copy with me.  Is Was recently published on May 4, 2021.


 Bella’s Dog Pick of the Week

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

Pawcasso by Remy Lai 

It’s 11 year old Jo’s first day of summer break and she is already bored.  When an unleashed dog walks by her house alone with a basket in his mouth, Jo is intrigued and follows the pup.  To her surprise, the dog stops in different shops where clerks read a list, fill up the basket, and take money for payment.   Still on the dog’s trail, Jo follows him into a bookstore aptly named Dog Ears, where some of her classmates are taking an art class.  When asked if the dog belongs to her, Jo is caught off guard and says yes.  The teacher asks Jo to bring her dog (who she quickly names Pawcasso) to art class every Saturday as a model for the children to draw. Reluctantly, Jo agrees but isn’t certain that she can keep her promise.  Remarkably, Pawcasso has a consistent schedule on Saturdays which allows Jo’s lie to live on gaining friends in the process.  But Jo’s luck runs out when Pawcasso becomes a local celebrity and a debate erupts about leash laws dividing the town into two factions-the Picassos (in favor) and the Duchamps (against).   Will being truthful put Jo in the doghouse forever or will the town be “paw-giving?”

Since her debut, Pie in the Sky, I have been a devoted fan of Remy Lai’s novels, which can make you go from laughing to crying to laughing without even turning the page.  Pawcasso is Lai’s first graphic novel and was inspired by her dog, Poop Roller, who has a penchant for well, rolling in poop. Lai’s characters always take an emotional journey where they take risks and make mistakes and as a result, learn and grow.  Readers will easily relate to the themes of self-identity, family, and friendship, and honesty. Thanks to the author and Macmillan/Henry Holt for sharing an eARC with me. Pawcasso celebrates its book birthday tomorrow on May 25, 2021.

Bella and I thank you for visiting Beagles and Books!

Blog Tour, Giveaway, Picture Books

Blog Tour & Giveaway for Hudson And Tallulah Take Sides by Anna Kang Illustrated by Christopher Weyant

                                                                    
 

About the Book:
Title: Hudson And Tallulah Take Sides
Author: Anna Kang
Illustrator: Christopher Weyant
Pub. Date: May 1, 2021


Beagles and Books is excited to be part of the blog tour for Hudson & Tallulah Take Sides published by Two Lions/Amazon Publishing. Special thanks to the publisher and Barbara Fisch of Blue Slip Media for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.


Review:

 The first page spread is wordless.  Tallulah, a cat, is quietly stalking a bird perched on the fence.  Just as she is ready to pounce, Hudson barks loudly scaring away the bird. Tallulah is not amused. When Tallulah peers over the fence to discover the reason for Hudson’s outburst, she sees the dog digging his way to freedom.  From the dialogue, the neighbors clearly have a different perspective on fences.  

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Curious, Tallulah follows Hudson on his freedom walk.  Hudson dives into a garbage can for food, plays with other canines at the dog park, jumps in mud, and goes after the mail carrier Dave.  That’s where Tallulah draws the line.  Dave is her friend; therefore, Hudson is now her enemy. 

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As both animals stay on opposing sides of the street, they encounter a enormous puddle in the street full of birds.  Both Hudson and Tallulah can’t resist romping in the water and with each splash, realize that there may be some common ground between them.

Hudson and Tallulah Take Sides is a story of how even opposites can find some happy medium and become friends.  While Tallulah is prim and proper and Hudson is free spirited and messy, they both can’t refrain from enjoying the puddle.  This revelation is groundbreaking, for perhaps, they are not as different as they once believed.  Kang’s peppy dialogue is concise and on point which allows Weyant’s lively and humorous illustrations to not only move the plot along but also show the progression of Hudson’s and Tallulah’s relationship.  

When I read this story to kindergarten students for #classroombookaday, I asked them to tell me what did the author and illustrator want us to learn.  Here are some of their thoughts. 

  • “The dog and the cat both like to jump in puddles so that’s why they became friends.”
  • “You don’t have to like the same things to be friends.”
  • “It’s better to be friends than enemies.”
  • Dogs and cats are different but can still be friends.”

Pretty smart kids.  Thankful for picture books like Hudson and Tallulah Take Sides which support teaching theme with our youngest learners.  


Praise for Hudson And Tallulah Take Sides!

★“New Yorker cartoonist Weyant’s illustrations, which use gouache, graphite, and lots of white space, carry the day, filling the dog’s and cat’s reactions to what they encounter with plenty of comic details (like the bold lettering conveying the dog-park dogs’ frantic barking at the cat). Madcap fun.” —Booklist (starred review)

“Charming cartoons convey the nearly wordless story augmented with dialogue between the two rivals…An amusing exploration of how opposite personalities can learn to appreciate their unique relationship.” —Kirkus Reviews

“Aptly captured by married team Kang and Weyant (You Are (Not) Small), the unlikely friends’ comic path to camaraderie unfolds nearly wordlessly, with expressive gouache and graphite scenes that burst with physical humor, showing that even those who fight like cats and dogs can be friends.”—Publishers Weekly


About the Author & Illustrator:

Anna Kang and Christopher Weyant are the creators of Theodor Seuss Geisel Award winner You Are (Not) Small as well as series titles That’s (Not) Mine, I Am (Not) Scared, and We Are (Not) Friends. They also wrote and illustrated Eraser, Can I Tell You a Secret?, and Will You Help Me Fall Asleep? Christopher’s work can also be seen in The New Yorker, and his cartoons are syndicated worldwide. This husband-and-wife team lives in New Jersey with their two daughters and their rescue dog, Hudson, the inspiration behind the character in this book. Visit them at www.annakang.com and www.christopherweyant.com.

Twitter: @annakang27 @ChristophWeyant

Instagram: annakangbookschristopherweyant   

Facebook: Anna Kang – AuthorChristopher Weyant


Enter a Giveaway!

Hudson and Tallulah Take Sides_Cover

One lucky winner will receive a copy of Hudson and Tallulah Take Sides, courtesy of Two Lions (U.S. addresses). This giveaway is open from Friday, May 7, 2021 through Friday, May 14, 2021 ending at 10:00 p.m. EST.   Please note that book may take longer to ship so patience is appreciated.  Enter below or head over to my Twitter account, @lauramossa and retweet my Rescue at Hudson and Tallulah Take Sides Twitter post. 

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

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 5/3/21

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


Our Recent Reads:

Glam Prix Racers by Deanna Kent Illustrated by Neil Hooson 

On Glittergear Island, it is the first race of the Glam Prix.  Mermaid Mio and monster truck Mudwick, Fairy Flipp and freight train Furie, Dragon Deelux and car Dapper, Sprite Sookie and soft-serve mobile Smoosh, and Unicorn Uni and unicycle U-turn are one of three teams racing for the Glam Prix Cup.  Before the race begins, it is clear that one of the teams, the Vroombots, wants to win at all costs and plans on stealing all of the Sparklecharge which gives all the motos (AKA motor vehicles) life.  In order to be the champions in Race 1, Mio and her teammates must not only cross the finish line first but also collect side quests such as snapping a photo with a ghost garden gnome to earn additional points.  The team encounters a lot of bumps on the road but collaborates to overcome any setbacks.  Will the Glam Prix Racers be able to outsmart and outrun the Vroombots and claim victory of the first race?

Just like the motos in the race, the plot zips at high speed which makes Glam Prix Racers a one sitting read.  You won’t be able to stop!  Kent’s peppy and witty dialogue is both humorous and suspenseful and Hooson’s bright and detailed illustrations pop with both color and energy.  As I was reading, I was feeling nostalgic for the cartoons I used to watch on Saturday mornings for Glam Prix Racers has all the same elements-comedy, intrigue, heroes, villains, gadgets, and lessons on cooperation and persistence.

Thanks to Imprint/MacMillan Children’s Publishing for sharing an eARC with Beagles and Books.  Glam Prix Racers celebrates its book birthday next week on May 11, 2021.  Back on Track, the second book in the trilogy, will be released in January 2022.


What the World Could Make: A Story of Hope by Holly McGhee Illustrated by Pascal Lemaitre

Bunny and Rabbit are best friends who both marvel at how nature provides gifts through every season.  In winter, snowflakes can become snowballs; in spring, lilacs can woven together to make a crown;  Summer provides the opportunity to snack on crunchy and salty sea pickles and in the autumn, ginkgo leaves are fun to jump in.

McGhee’s lyrical text is concise and profound reminding us that gifts from the heart are all around us no matter what the season.  We just have to stop and notice them.  Lemaitre’s soft and gentle illustrations put a smile on your face and warmth in your heart.  Bunny and Rabbit are adorably drawn and their expressions show not only their excitement but also their genuine love for one another.  This heartwarming story celebrates both friendship and nature.

Thank you to author Holly McGhee for sharing a finished copy with Beagles and Books.  What the World Could Make: A Story of Hope celebrates its book birthday tomorrow on May 4, 2021.


 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.

I’m a Gluten-Sniffing Service Dog by Michal Babay  Illustrated by Ela Smietanka

Since May is Celiac Awareness Month; I wanted to share this review.

Chewie is training to be a service dog for a young girl named Alice who is living with celiac disease. His job is to detect gluten, for even a small amount of this protein can make Alice sick.  When Chewie smells gluten, he alerts by running in a circle and sits down if it is gluten-free.  Training is hard work for Chewie because it’s not easy to stay focused and ignore things like bugs, birds, and left over pizza on the ground.  Knowing that Alice is depending on him is just the encouragement Chewie needs to buckle down and after a week of training working directly with Alice, Chewie graduates as an official service dog. 

I have read stories about service dogs, but I’m a Gluten-Sniffing Service Dog is the first picture book I have read which shares how dogs can be trained to smell gluten. In the author’s note, Babay explains that the book is based on the true story of her daughter and her service dog.  I love how Babay chose to tell the story from Chewie’s point of view because readers see his struggles and his triumphs and Smietanka’s playful illustrations show his love for his job and Alice. 

Thanks to Albert Whitman for sharing an ARC with my #bookexcursion group. I’m a Gluten-Sniffing Service Dog recently published in April 2021.

Bella and I thank you for visiting Beagles and Books!

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

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 4/26/21

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


Our Recent Reads:

IMG_8917

Rescue at Lake Wild by Terry Lynn Johnson 

Following in the footsteps of her late grandmother, 12 year old Madi is an “animal whisperer” rescuing orphaned and injured wild animals.  In a mere weeks, Madi has the immense opportunity to meet her idol, Jane Goodall but under one condition. Her parents have forbidden Madi from bringing any more animals home.  So when Madi and her friends, Jack and Aaron discover orphaned beaver kits and rescue them, she realizes her only choice is to hide them in her clubhouse.  Taking care of beaver kits secretively is not easy and on top of that, Madi, Jack, and Aaron learn someone is purposely shooting beavers in retaliation for their dams are causing a flood in their town.  The trio along with Jack’s dog, Lid, work together to uncover the person responsible and Madi is also determined to help the beavers find a different location for their dams.    

With an intriguing plot, well developed characters, and lots of factual information about beavers as well as being an animal rehabilitator, Rescue at Lake Wild is an engaging middle grade novel that has a lot of kid appeal.  As an educator, I took note of the book length, for the story is only 181 pages and then more specifically, chapter length which was at most 6 pages.  Length can be an important consideration when recommending books to kids, for sometimes, stamina for chapter book reading must be nurtured. While the novel is shorter in length, Rescue at Lake Wild has a lot of substance. To read my full review and a chance to enter a giveaway, click here.


Arlo Draws an Octopus by Lori Mortensen Illustrated by Rob Sayegh Jr. 

Running through his front door, Arlo is full of excitement.  He has decided to draw an octopus! Why?  Because he likes everything about the cephalopod.  With a smile on his face, Arlo begins, but as he draws, he is disappointed.  The head looks like a hill, the arms look like roads, and the suction cups look like bubbles.  Doubt fills Arlo’s mind.  Perhaps, he is not an octopus drawer.  Frustrated, Arlo wads up his drawing and throws it on the ground but he knows he shouldn’t litter.  When he trudges over and picks up the paper, Arlo realizes it is not his octopus drawing.  Turns out an octopus has drawn a picture of him!  And guess what?  Both Arlo and the octopus like each other’s portraits!  After sharing specific feedback with one another, Arlo has a renewed sense of his artistic talents.  

Mortensen’s message in Arlo Draws a Octopus is an important one for readers of ALL ages, for as humans, we can be so hard on ourselves.  Once Arlo heard a different perspective, his attitude changed and he no longer viewed his drawing as a disaster-piece.  I love that this story teaches how personal art can truly be reinforcing the old saying, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”  Sayegh’s illustrations beautifully chronicle Arlo’s feelings from the beginning to end.  As he flies into his house, squiggly lines of excitement follow Arlo.  When he is drawing, those lines become a web illustrating his frustration.  As Arlo walks to pick up his paper, rain is falling on him.  When Arlo and the octopus look at each other’s drawings, stars, hearts, and rays of light surround them.  Thanks to Lori Mortensen for sharing a copy with Beagles and Books.  Arlo Draws an Octopus releases soon on May 4, 2021. 


The Smile Shop by Satoshi Kitamura

With his saved money in his hands, an excited boy walks to the market.  What will be buy?   As he travels through the shops and stalls, he sees food, a boat, a book, a horn, and a hat.  Before he has a chance to make his decision, he falls down when a boy on a skateboard collides with him.  As a result, most of his coins disappear down a storm drain.  The boy’s excitement turns into anger and then despair.  But then he stumbles upon a store with the simple sign, Smile, hopeful that a smile will cheer him up.  When he asks to buy a smile, the shopkeeper replies “a smile is not something money can buy” but rather “something that you can only exchange and share.”  The man gives the boy a smile and the boy smiles in return as his picture is taken.  The smiling boy leaves with the photo in his hand and notices that everyone is smiling right along with him. 

The Smile Shop is an uplifting story about how a simple gesture can be transformative.  After the boy lost most of his coins, he was devastated, but his attitude changed after visiting the Smile Shop.  Kitamura’s illustrations are gorgeous and I especially love how the boy stands out in each page spread drawn in bold colors.  Kitamura’s use of color tells it own story showing how the boy’s feelings change, for in the beginning, the page spreads are colorful, but once the coins fall, the background and people are gray.  Color reappears once the boy enters the Smile Shop.  My biggest takeaway was the boy only was aware of everyone else’s smiles after exchanging smiles with the shopkeeper.  The Smile Shop teaches that money doesn’t buy happiness; a kind action is a true gift not only to ourselves but also all those around us.  Thanks to Peachtree Publishing for sharing a copy with my #bookexcursion group.  The Smile Shop recently released on April 1, 2021. 


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.

Doggo and Pupper by Katherine Applegate Illustrated by Charlie Adler

Doggo’s days are pretty predictable but he is content with his routine.  His humans think he may be bored and needs to be more active; therefore, they bring Pupper home, which changes everything for Doggo.  Doggo thinks Pupper is a pest while Cat reminds Doggo that Pupper is in fact, a puppy.  The humans agree that Pupper needs to learn manners and send him to charm school.  When Pupper returns home, he is new and improved, but Doggo soon concludes Pupper is sad.  Doggo realizes that he misses the free spirited Pupper and is reminded life is better with a little fun and friendship! 

Doggo and Pupper is an adorable new early chapter book series.  Applegate’s easily accessible text coupled with Adler’s bold and humorous illustrations will not only captivate young readers but also support them in transitioning to chapter book reading.  What I love is how Pupper reminds Doggo that a little spontaneity now and then is rejuvenating.  I look forward to seeing this duo’s friendship blossom in upcoming adventures.  Doggo and Pupper Save the World (Book 2) will be released in March 2022.  

Bella and I thank you for visiting Beagles and Books!

“People love dogs. You can never go wrong adding a dog to the story.”
Jim Butcher
#IMWAYR is dedicated to dear Etta, my original book beagle. Blessed that Etta is part of my story.

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

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 4/19/21

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


Our Recent Reads:

The Gilded Girl by Alyssa Coleman

In 1906, 12 year old Emma has recently enrolled at Miss Posterity’s Academy for Practical Magic in New York City.  Her purpose?  To learn kindling, which will allow Emma to utilize her magic powers.  Emma is one of the privileged, for her wealth allows her the training to learn how to harness her magic; in contrast, Izzy O’Donnell, a servant working at the school, is expected to allow her magic to be snuffed out.  When Emma’s father is declared dead, a victim of the San Francisco earthquake, her status at the school quickly changes from student to servant.  While Emma and Izzy did not initially see eye to eye, they  become unlikely friends because they both desire to keep their magic.  Izzy will train Emma on being a servant and Emma will share her knowledge of kindling.  With help from another student, Frances, and Figgy, a house dragon disguised as a cat, Emma and Izzy train together so that they are prepared when the kindling winds arrive.  But when the winds come, the friends must work together to not only support each other but the other girls at the school.  

The Gilded Girl is a clever and innovative retelling of The Little Princess. I love that Coleman chose to tell the story in alternating chapters from the perspectives of both Emma and Izzy.  Readers get to know each girl well witnessing the transformation of Emma whose sudden change in social status teaches her about the injustices between classes and Izzy shows her willingness to trust as well as her vulnerability. Armed with this new insight, Emma and Izzy seek to make magic available to all.  

After reading The Gilded Girl, my heart was filled with hope, for Emma and Izzy are great role models for middle grade readers because of their perseverance, courage, and passion. Thanks to author Alyssa Coleman and Macmillian Publishers for sharing an e-galley with Beagles and Books.  The Gilded Girl recently published on April 6, 2021. 

The Last Shadow Warrior by Sam Subity

On the surface, Abby seems like a typical 12 year old, but in reality, she is a descendant of elite Viking warriors known as the Aesir.  She is eager to continue her mother’s legacy of hunting monsters known as Grendels especially since her mother’s mysterious death four years ago.  After her home in North Carolina is attacked by what Abby fears is a Grendel, she and dad relocate to Minnesota in order for Abby to attend Vale Hall, her mother’s alma mater.  While on the road, Abby and her dad are attacked again. Her dad is injured resulting in him falling into a mysterious coma. 

At Vale Hall, Abby gradually learns that the Viking Council does not believe that Grendels exist anymore and refutes her mother’s life work.  With the help of new friends, Grimsby and Gwynn, Abby goes on a mission to discover an antidote to save her dad and the truth to preserve her mom’s reputation. 

Told from Abby’s perspective, The Last Shadow Warrior is a fast-paced, riveting story that is hard to put down.  Mythology-based fantasy is not a genre I have widely read, but I really was drawn into the plot because Subity merged fantasy with a contemporary setting.  Abby is also a strong character who is willing to stand up for herself and others.  Her relationship with her dad was especially touching.  What also kept me reading was the humor for Subity included a lot of light moments to ease the tension.  While some plot events are tied up, there are still questions left unanswered which leaves me hopeful that Abby’s adventures are not over yet.  Thanks to author Sam Subity and Scholastic for sharing an ARC with my #bookexcursion group.  The Last Shadow Warrior recently published on April 6, 2021. 

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Be a Tree by Maria Gianferrari Illustrated by Felicita Sala

Be a tree!
Stand tall.
Stretch your branches to the sun.

These ten words begin Gianferrari’s glorious ode extolling the sheer beauty of one of nature’s gifts and how humans have similar physical characteristics to this earthy treasure.   Trees and humans both have parts such as branches and arms, trunks and spines, bark and skin, and a crown at the top.   Sala’s warm watercolor illustrations gorgeously echo Gianferrari’s lyrical text showing the physical similarities so that even the youngest readers can see the connections.   To read my full review, click here. 


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.

Sugar and Spite by Gail D. Villanueva

12 year old Jolina and her parents have recently moved from the city of Manila to a small island in the Philippines.  Her grandmother, Lola Toyang recently passed away and her grandfather, Lolo Sebyo is recovering from a stroke.  As a result, her father now manages the family eatery, Bagayan Food Haus.  Being new to the island, Jolina does not have many friends yet.  Her Jack Russell terrier, Kidlat, is her constant and loyal companion.  

As the story begins, Jolina is enduring bullying from Claudine, a girl in her Bible study group. Because her mother works at Claudine’s family’s resort, Jolina feels she cannot tell anyone about Claudine’s awful behavior.  As an arbularyo  (healer) apprentice, Jolina gets weekly lessons from her grandfather and while she knows the dangers of using magic for the wrong reasons, she decides Claudine needs to be taught a lesson on how to be kind; therefore, Jolina concocts a love potion to get Claudine to be nice to her and it works!  But as she spends more time with Claudine and the girls truly become friends, Jolina feels guilty about her actions and learns firsthand the consequences of using magic for the wrong reasons.  

A blend of fantasy and realistic fiction and an intriguing plot, Sugar and Spite is an #ownvoices middle grade novel that will appeal to readers exploring themes such as family, friendship, and forgiveness.  It is no surprise that what I loved the most about the novel is the relationship between Jolina and Kidlat.  The bond between the girl and her dog was heartwarming and in the author’s note, Villanueva shares that Jolina’s and Kidlat’s deep connection was honoring her relationship with her beloved pet, Kubrick.  Thanks to Gail Villanueva and Scholastic for sharing an e-galley with Beagles and Books. Sugar and Spite celebrates its book birthday tomorrow on April 20, 2021.

 

Bella and I thank you for visiting Beagles and Books!

“People love dogs. You can never go wrong adding a dog to the story.”
Jim Butcher
#IMWAYR is dedicated to dear Etta, my original book beagle. Blessed that Etta is part of my story.

Blog Tour, Giveaway, Picture Books

Blog Tour & Giveaway for Be a Tree by Maria Gianferrari

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Bella and I are honored to launch the blog tour for Be a Tree written by Maria Gianferrari and illustrated by Felicita Sala.  This breathtaking picture book celebrating trees was recently released last week on March 30, 2021. Thanks to author Maria Gianferrari and Abrams Book for Young Readers for sending me an electronic copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.


Review:

Be a tree!
Stand tall.
Stretch your branches to the sun.

These ten words begin Gianferrari’s glorious ode extolling the sheer beauty of one of nature’s gifts and how humans have similar physical characteristics to this earthy treasure.   Trees and humans both have parts such as branches and arms, trunks and spines, bark and skin, and a crown at the top.   Sala’s warm watercolor illustrations gorgeously echo Gianferrari’s lyrical text showing the physical similarities so that even the youngest readers can see the connections.   
 
 
 
The focus shifts from physical features to how we as humans also share common behaviors with trees.  Both trees and humans live together in a community.  Just as trees are linked underground through their roots, people are connected by sharing conversations, food, resources, and information.  
 
 
 
Gianferrari’s admiration and respect for trees is evident, for she beautifully describes their value to both humans and the earth.  Sala’s artwork fill the double page spreads depicting a tree’s grandeur and utility. 
 
 
Gianferrari continues to highlight all the benefits of trees, for they serve as animal habitats preserving ecosystems.  The need for community is emphasized for trees that grow away from their natural habitat are at risk; therefore, a forest is vital for support.  A beautiful double page fold out shows how people can learn from trees by helping one another.  In the final page spread, Gianferrari gently reminds us to observe and learn from trees, for by banding together, we can not only be better as individuals but also make the world in which we live a better place. 
 
Backmatter follows the story to provide information on ways to help save trees and help in your community.  A diagram of a tree and its parts as well as books and websites for further research are also included.  Informative and uplifting, Be a Tree is a must to add to a home, classroom or school library.  Highly recommend! 


Praise for Be a Tree!
 
“This book has the advantage of lyrical, accessible poetry and vibrant watercolors from an ever changing palette. …Strong heartwood.”-Kirkus
 

“By foregrounding living beings that exemplify grace, strength, and endurance, Gianferrari gives readers a new way to think about their individual and collective existences.” –Publishers Weekly


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Meet Maria:
Maria Gianferrari has climbed fig trees in Italy, stood under stately coastal redwoods and twisted Torrey pines, marveled at   mitten-shaped sassafras leaves, colorful coral trees and   sawtooth oak acorn nests. She lives with her family, including   dog, Maple, in a house encircled by trees.


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Meet Felicita:
Felicita is a self taught illustrator. She graduated in Philosophy from the University of Western Australia. She has worked on several animation projects along with husband Gianluca, but her passion is making picture books. She lives in Rome with Gianluca and their daughter Nina.


Enter Beagles & Books’ Giveaway!

 
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Maria’s sweet pup Maple announces that one lucky winner will receive a copy of Be a Tree courtesy of the publisher. This giveaway is open from April 9-14, 2020 and ends at 10:00 p.m. EST.  
  • Follow me @lauramossa on Twitter and retweet my Be a Tree giveaway tweet.
  • If you are not on Twitter, fill out the Google form below.

Be a Tree Blog Tour

Continue the tour by visiting blogs sharing their thoughts as well as offering their own giveaways!

Blog Tour, Giveaway, Picture Books

Blog Tour & Giveaway for Julius & Macy: A Very Brave Night by Annlouise Mahoney

                                                                    

About the Book:
Title: Julius & Macy: A Very Brave Night
Author/Illustrator: Annlouise Mahoney
Pub. Date: April 1, 2021


Beagles and Books is excited to be part of the blog tour for Julius & Macy: A Very Brave Night published by Two Lions/Amazon Publishing. Special thanks to the publisher and Barbara Fisch of Blue Slip Media for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.


Review:

Each night, Julius, a badger and Macy, a mouse love to play together and greatly enjoy performing heroic deeds. 

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Julius wished to protect the forest from anything harmful while Macy wanted to help any small thing in need.  Being a hero takes a lot of energy; therefore, it is important to refuel with snacks.  When Julius and Macy go to fetch their cookies and nuts, they discover an empty wagon.  Julius asserts that the Night Goblin must have taken them and describes him as the worst kind of scary to Macy.  

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In order to find their snacks, Julius and Macy must be truly heroic and venture deep into an unknown area of the forest. A noise from inside a cave frightens them. Could it be the Night Goblin?JuliusAndMacyAVeryBraveNight-28609-large-3

Armed with a sword and a fairy wand, the two friends bravely enter the hollow to discover the source of the sound. A huge shadow on the wall startles them and they run away but then realize heroes must stay brave even when they are scared.

Mahoney’s concise, melodic text is a joy to read aloud especially the dialogue between the two friends.  Her warm illustrations are dreamy and luminous.  I love how Julius and Macy collaborate on making stars to hang on the trees to bring the celestial objects closer to them  creating a fanciful setting.   

As a reading specialist, I appreciate that the story has a simple yet engaging plot to teach young children about story structure.  Characters Julius and Macy have a problem, identify steps to solve their problem which ultimately resolves it.   In addition, themes of friendship, bravery, and kindness can be explored.  I especially appreciate that Mahoney teaches children that bravery can take many forms, for Julius and Macy both display courage in their own ways.  


Check out this sweet book trailer!

Take a look at this cute downloadable activity pages: 

http://www.woodlandabbey.com/activity-corner


Praise for Julius & Macy!

Watercolor illustrations further the text’s magical qualities by adding important details, such as the solitary nature of Sherwin’s home. Softly glowing with campfire and starlight, this tale is an inviting bedtime story and a gentle ode to kindness.” ―Booklist


About the Author/Illustrator:
Annelouise Mahoney has worked in animation for DreamWorks, DIC Animation, Sony, and Saban Entertainment. She has also worked as a colorist for Marvel and Image Comics on such series as Uncanny X-Men, Generation X, and others. This is her first picture book, and it was inspired by the depths of her daughters’ friendships and the many ways they are brave, especially with someone on their side. She loves to explore the forest, can’t resist a cave, and has a lot of love for all those named Julius in her life. Annelouise lives in Southern California with her family. Learn more about her at www.woodlandabbey.com.

Facebook: Woodland Abbey

Twitter: @WoodlandAbbey

Instagram: Annelouise Mahoney


Two Lions Giveaway Details:

Amazon 2021 giveaway_3 books

Five lucky winners will each receive three fabulous books celebrating the art of making and keeping friends, including Julius and Macy: A Very Brave Night, courtesy of Two Lions.

Details and entry form can be found here (US addresses).

Winners will be selected at random and notified via email. One entry per person, please. US addresses only. Entries are due by 5/1/21.

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

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 4/5/21

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


Our Recent Reads:

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The Great Peach Experiment 1: When Life Gives You Lemons, Make Peach Pie by Erin Soderberg Downing

Since Lucy’s mother died, her father, a university professor, threw himself into his research, and the 12 year old became surrogate parent to her two younger siblings, 10 year old Freddy and 8 year old Herb.   Then, out of the blue, their dad announces that one of their mom’s inventions sold for over a million dollars.  To fulfill one of their mom’s dreams, their dad bought a used food truck and the Peach family is going to spend the summer together traveling the Midwest selling pies.  While Freddy and Herb are excited about the opportunity, Lucy is skeptical.  Why is their dad who hasn’t taken a day off in two years suddenly willing to commit a full month to this food truck experiment?  Lucy wanted to think positively that the trip might unite them as a family, but it was difficult given their father’s track record. 

As the Peach family travels from town to town and endure highs and lows running the family business, Downing allows readers to get to know each sibling well.  An avid reader, Lucy is determined to read every book on the seventh grade summer reading list and Downing curated a list so amazing, I may adopt it for myself this summer.  Lucy is very strong person but assumed the role of problem solver not by choice and her frustration is finally manifesting.  Freddy feels he is a plum in a family of Peaches, for his passion is art, creativity, big ideas, and fun facts unlike his siblings and parents.  Throughout the Great Peach Experiment, Freddy though emerges as a natural leader and astute businessman.  While the youngest, Herb is a math whiz and feels he has a lot of contribute to the family business, but begins to feel restless when he was told he was too young to help bake pies, ingredients for his cinnaballs were too expensive or there wasn’t time to find a place to swim.  And while dad believes the main goal is to win top honors at the Ohio Food Truck Festival, Lucy, Freddy, and Herb make him realize that their family is the greatest prize. 

The Great Peach Experiment is a middle grade novel with both heartache, humor and most importantly, hope.  An added bonus were Lucy’s amusing letters to her Great Aunt Lucinda, Freddy’s sketchbook drawing for how he would spend a million dollars, maps, and Herb’s financial updates. Grateful to know that another Peach family adventure awaits in the future. Special thanks to Erin Soderberg Downing for sharing an ARC with my #bookexcursion group.  When Life Gives You Lemons, Make Peach Pie releases tomorrow on April 6, 2021. 

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Something’s Wrong? A Bear, A Hare and Some Underwear by Jory John Illustrated by Erin Kraan

One morning, a bear named Jeff woke up and felt like he was forgetting something.  Readers notice right away that Jeff is still wearing the gift from his grandma-underwear! As Jeff takes a stroll through the forest, he still feels odd but clueless.  On his travels, he passes by many animals who look at him in bewilderment.  After Jeff walks away, they all speak directly to the reader uttering the same words “Why is that bear wearing underwear?”  Finally, Jeff realizes he needs to consult with his rabbit friend, Anders, whom he trusts to be honest with him.  Anders immediately knows what’s wrong and candidly tells Jeff what no other animal would say.  When confronted by all the animals,  embarrassed Jeff tries to talk his way out of his predicament, but Anders saves the day by sporting his own pair of tighty whities creating a new fashion trend.

When I read Something’s Wrong to kindergarten students for #classroombookaday, the laughter started on the very first page spread and remained until the end of the story.  John’s hilarious plot and clever solution along with Kraan’s adorably expressive illustrations were such a hit with the kids that asked if I could read it again.  As a an adult, what I loved most is the lesson of friendship.  Anders was indeed a true and trusted friend because not only did he tell Jeff the truth but his actions shows he likes Jeff no matter what he does or wears.  And support is pretty crucial with choosing friends and underwear!  Thanks to Morgan Rath of Macmillan Children’s Publishing for sharing a copy with Beagles and Books.  Something’s Wrong recently celebrated its book birthday on March 23, 2021. 

Happy Book Birthday to Albert Whitman Picture Books!

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Check out my blog post, Happy Birthday Albert Whitman Picture Books, featuring recently released picture books published by Albert Whitman. Thanks to Albert Whitman for sharing ARCs with my #bookexcursion group. 


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.

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Switched by Bruce Hale

Sloppy and spontaneous are not words that would describe sixth grader Parker Pitts for he likes things neat and orderly.  But with the recent loss of his grandmother Mimi and his older half sister Billie going away to school, he is forced to deal with a lot of change which is a bit overwhelming.  To make matters worst, his parents decide that he is now in charge of Billie’s unruly goldendoodle Boof until she returns home.  He begrudgingly takes care of the Boof, but when the undisciplined Boof gets a hold of Eshu, a trickster statue that was a gift from Mimi, Parker is furious.  As he attempts to save the precious statue, Parker makes a wish.  The very next day, Parkers wakes up in Boof’s furry body and Boof is now inhabiting Parker’s human body.  Given his penchant for cleanliness, it’s no surprise that Parker is not embracing the dog’s life.  In contrast, Boof loves the easy access to food and his free spirited nature makes Parker’s classmates see him in a whole new light.  Will Parker and Boof be stuck forever or figure out a way to switch back?

Reminscient of Freaky Friday, one of my favorite books growing up, Switched is a hilarious recreation. Once the switch happens, I thoroughly enjoyed reading both Parker and Boof’s point of view as they attempt to adjust to their new bodies.  While there are lots of laugh out loud moments, Parker learns valuable lessons about life, for yes, it can be messy and you can’t control and change it.  And if you just let it happen, you start to truly live.  Thanks to Bruce Hale for sharing an ARC with my #bookexcursion group.  Switched releases tomorrow on April 6, 2021. 

Bella and I thank you for visiting Beagles and Books!

“People love dogs. You can never go wrong adding a dog to the story.”
Jim Butcher
#IMWAYR is dedicated to dear Etta, my original book beagle. Blessed that Etta is part of my story.