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

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 11/28/22

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


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A Sweet New Year for Ren by Michelle Sterling Illustrated by Dung Ho

Ren is excited to celebrate Lunar New Year with her family, but when she asks to help with the festivities, she gets the same response “You’re still too little.” When her older brother Charlie arrives home, everything changes for he has the patience to teach Ren to make pineapple cakes.. Soon her aunts see Ren in a different light offering advice and when the pineapples cakes are ready for the oven, her mother acknowledges her ability. 

This year, I adopted a kindergarten class for #classroombookaday and A Sweet New Year for Ren is a perfect read aloud to teach them about Lunar New Year especially since this is the first year our district recognizes it as a holiday for students.  What I love most about this story is it highlights how Lunar New Year focuses on family and while the food fills the stomach, their togetherness fills the heart. Thanks to Paula Wiseman/Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers for sharing a copy. A Sweet New Year for Ren recently released on November 15, 2022.


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The Best Gift for Bear by Jennifer A. Bell 

Hedgehog bakes gingerbread cookies for all her friends, but she needs a grand present for her dear friend Bear.  When her snow covered roof gives her inspiration, Hedgehog is giddy with excitement.  Bear’s immense friendship is worthy of the multi-day task and when it is finished, Hedgehog is proud.  Bear’s house is far so Hedgehog begins her journey early in the morning.  All is fine until the winter wind whips around her and within seconds, her gift is destroyed a few feet away from Bear’s home.  After Bear rescues Hedgehog from the snow, a distraught Hedgehog shares her story and Bear confesses baking is not easy..  Hedgehog suggests baking together.

Bell’s sweet story warmed my heart.  First, who can resist an adorably drawn hedgehog with earmuffs? I love how both Hedgehog and Bear wanted to make a special gift for each other and realized the best gift is truly spending time together.  Included in the front endpapers is a recipe for Hedgehog’s Gingerbread Cookies and Grandma’s Honey Icing.  Thanks to Barbara Fisch of Blue Slip Media and Two Lions for sharing a copy.  The Best Gift for Bear published on September 27, 2022.


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Bright Winter Night by Alli Braydon Illustrated by Ashling Lindsay 

Forest animals band together to create a sleigh that will take them to see the northern lights.  Once Mouse knots the reins, the wolf pack is ready to take the animals to their destination. The snowy terrain causes a slight mishap but once they see a flash of light in the distance, the animals work together to get back on track. .Astute readers will notice how the color palette changes once the northern lights are within their grasp and once they see them, the page spread is glorious with the animals mesmerized by the sky. 

Brydon’s rhyming text and Lindsay’s brilliant artwork perfectly complement each other.  I love how the animals collaborated on their mode of transportation and problem solved when the sleigh was stifled.  The result was the glorious beauty of the northern lights which Lindsay majestically captured.  Bright Winter Night makes me want to book a trip to Norway or Iceland to see the nature’s sheer beauty with my own eyes. Thanks to Barbara Fisch of Blue Slip Media and Two Lions for sharing a copy. Bright Winter Night publishes soon on December 1, 2022.


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Fuzzy Furry Ouch by Cree Lane & Amanda Jane Jones

On the cover, Fuzzy Furry Ouch labels itself as a Do Not Touch Book but don’t despair.  This touch and feel book is completely safe teaching littles what they can and cannot touch.  Author Lane has fun for while a cactus and stove are items a child may encounter, she also humorously includes a dinosaur and a rocket ship.   I love how she exposes children to robust vocabulary such as slick, squishy, and rough to describe the texture of  items. Jones’ eye-catching’ illustrations are visually appealing centered on each page and invite a child to explore. Thanks to Little Simon/Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers for sharing a copy. A companion to Lane’s and Jones’ 2019 collaboration, Yum Yummy Yuck, Fuzzy Furry Ouch celebrates its book birthday tomorrow on  November 29, 2022.


Bella’s Dog Pick of the Week

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

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What’s Up Pup?  How Our Furry Friends Communicate and What They Are Saying by Kersten Hamilton Illustrated by Lili Chin

When Bella is not feeling 100%, it would be helpful if she could tell me in words what was wrong.  But after reading What’s Up Pup, I realize that she is communicating with me through her body language all the time and it is my job to see her “talk” with my eyes. 

With its rhyming text, Hamilton’s nonfiction picture book is as playful as the dogs she describes.  She shares how dogs use their eyes, ears, rears, noses, tails, and legs to send signals to humans and other canines about how they are feeling. Hamilton clarifies that a dog’s body language can mean different things depending on whether they are they are in company of humans or another dog.  Chin’s vivid artwork is full of energy conveying the doggy dialogue. I appreciate how Chin has a variety of dog breeds in her illustrations including a basset hound.  Immediately following the text, backmatter includes an author’s note, definitions of the dog language in the book, additional fascinating facts, and a bibliography. I especially loved learning how dogs can not only smell time but also their human’s emotions.  Thanks to Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)/Macmillan Children’s Publishing for sharing an electronic copy.  What’s Up Pup? recently released on November 16, 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.
#classroombookaday, Blog Tour, Picture Books

Blog Tour Review: The Great Caper Caper by Josh Funk Illustrated by Brendan Kearney

Beagles & Books is thrilled to be a part of The Great Caper Caper Great Virtual Virtual Tour! Special thanks to author Josh Funk for the invite and for sending me an eARC in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

About the Book:
Title: The Great Caper Caper ((Lady Pancake & Sir French Toast #5)
Author:  Josh Funk
Illustrator: Brendan Kearney
Publisher: Union Square & Co.
Pub. Date:  November 15, 2022

When Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast awake one morning to near-darkness, they are aghast. Who would steal the fridge light? Could it be the evil Count Caper? (spoiler alert: yes. Yes it is.) Lady Pancake & Sir French Toast put a crew together with all their old friends (Baron von Waffle, Inspector Croissant, Miss Brie, and more) and plan a delicious heist to get the light back and save the fridge once again!


Review:

“Oh my crepes!” utters Lady Pancake when she and Sir French Toast discover the Great Light in the refrigerator has gone missing.  Darkness does not sit well with Toast or the other foods who reside in the fridge. Who could be the culprit? Perhaps the light past Pita Plateau will provide the answer.

Upon arrival, the illuminated Welcome to Fabulous Las Veggies sign is hard to miss.  When they find out that Count Caper is in charge, Pancake and Toast waste no time and asks about the Great Light.  Count Caper adamantly denies stealing but readers know he is not telling the truth.  How do they make him confess? Problem solving Pancake whips up a plan to return the Great Light to its rightful place.  With the help of other series characters such as Inspector Croissant and Baron von Waffle, can Pancake and Toast succeed?

I adore The Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast series!  Funk keeps kids (and adults) engaged with his bouncy, rhyming text, novel and lively characters, and intriguing plot.  Kearney’s detailed and imaginative  illustrations bring both the characters and setting to life. As I read the story, the kids were captivated by the artwork especially the final page spread of the “Berry Manilow” show as well as the “photos” of the food hanging out in Las Veggies.

After reading The Great Caper Caper to my kindergarten #classroombookaday class, I asked students the following questions to unpack the lesson of the story.

  • “Who did something unhelpful or hurtful in the story?”
  • Why did Count Caper take the Great Light?
  • When the Great Light was found, what did Lady Pancake ask Count Caper to do?
  • How did Count Caper feel when he returned the Great Light?

Collaboratively, we were able to identify one of the lesson is if you tell the truth and return what you take, you feel better and your friends may forgive you.  Character motivation was also a big part of the plot and I mentioned why Count Caper stole the Great Light so the kids could better understand him.  Friendship is another important theme because Lady Pancake wanted to help Sir French Toast because he was afraid of the dark.  Finally, we discussed how all the foods collaborated on Lady Pancake’s plan to get back the Great Light; therefore, another lesson is when a problem arises in the classroom, we must work together as a team to solve it. I love how The Great Caper Caper supports teaching theme to our youngest learners while still providing opportunities to laugh out loud! 

If you haven’t feasted on the Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast series, the time is now! 


 


Praise for THE GREAT CAPER CAPER!

The Great Caper Caper was recently selected as an Indie Kids’ Next Pick!
 
The fifth installment in the Lady Pancake series features a madcap caper that kids will love. Parents can look forward to some humor that is, undoubtedly, aimed at them. Definitely a book the whole family will want to read over and over!”
 
— Audrey Beatty, River Bend Bookshop, Glastonbury, CT
 
You can see the whole list here: https://www.indiebound.org/kids-indie-next-list.

 

About the Author:
Like the characters in his books, Josh Funk doesn’t like being told how stories should go―so he writes his own. He is the author of a bunch of picture books, including My Pet Feet, illustrated by Billy Yong; the popular Lady Pancake & Sir French Toast series, illustrated by Brendan Kearney; How to Code a Sandcastle, illustrated by Sara Palacios; and Lost in the Library: A Story of Patience & Fortitude, illustrated by Stevie Lewis. He lives in New England with his wife and children. Learn more about him at www.joshfunkbooks.com and follow him on social media:

Facebook:  Josh Funk Books
Instagram: @joshfunkbooks
Twitter: @joshfunkbooks


Continue to follow the tour by visiting these blogs!

The Great Caper Caper Virtual Tour Image

#Bookexcursion, #classroombookaday, Giveaway, Picture Books

Review & Giveaway: It’s Not The Three Little Pigs by Josh Funk Illustrated by Edwardian Taylor

About the Book:
Title: It’s Not The Three Little Pigs
Author:  Josh Funk
Illustrator: Edwardian Taylor
Pub. Date:  November 1, 2022

Beagles & Books is thrilled to share a review of It’s Not The Three Little Pigs. Special thanks to Two Lions Publishing 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 amazing duo, Josh Funk and Edwardian Taylor, are back with their fourth installment in the It’s Not a Fairytale series featuring the three (I stand corrected four) little pigs. 

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The first pig, Alan, is the only one interested in building.  The second pig, Alfred, wants to be an actor and Alvin, the third pig, dreams of being a pumpkin.  Readers are introduced to the fourth pig, Alison, who adds her own spin to the classic story resulting in a very frustrated narrator.  When the narrator states that Alan will make his house out of straw, Alison interjects that her brother is eco-conscious repurposing plastic drinking straws to build his abode.  Not long after, the wolf appears. The narrator feeds Alan his lines, but Alison offers some constructive criticism for the phrase, “Not by the hair of my chinny chin chin.”  The pig does make a good point. 

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The wolf moves on prompting Alan and Alison to warn the second pig, Alfred. A hot air balloon ride is quicker than walking right? It’s a good thing because Alfred is on a stage, not a house, made out of sticks.  It’s up to Alan to plan and construct a house to protect himself and his siblings.  But of course, when the big bad wolf walks up, the pigs are not in the house which annoys the narrator.  Can’t they follow the original story?  

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The pigs take shelter in the house, but when they don’t respond to the wolf, he does not huff and puff and departs. Now, the narrator is nervous imploring the pigs to high tail it to the third pig, Alvin.  Alison delivers by producing jetpacks and they arrive at Alvin’s pumpkin (courtesy of Cinderella’s fairy godmother) ahead of the wolf.  When the wolf says “Little pig, little pig, let me come in,” his words don’t mean what you think. The narrator is exhausted and a bit hurt with all the changes.  Alison offers a collaborative opportunity which reminds us that teamwork does make the dream work. On the last page spread, Alfred is in his glory performing on stage with an audience full of fairy tale characters.  Readers see Jack and Giant, Hansel and Gretel, Red and Captain Hook as well as many, many other fairy tale characters which makes me wonder who will star in the next book in the series. 

When I read aloud It’s Not The Three Little Pigs to a kindergarten class, they couldn’t stop giggling. They loved the addition of the fourth pig and how the pigs use innovative methods to travel.  Who doesn’t love a pig with a jetpack!   As a teacher, I love that the dialogue was color-coded matching the hue of the pig’s clothes.  This feature makes the story perfect for readers’ theater.  

Funk’s clever and comical writing produces constant chuckles and Taylor’s energetic and engaging illustrations literally leap off the page.  His detailed blueprints of all the houses are especially fun and require time to truly appreciate so closer looks are warranted.  


Praise for It’s Not The Three Little Pigs!

“Those who love to make up their own stories will be inspired, and readers who march to the beats of their own drums will be delighted. Will leave readers as happy as a pig in mud.”
Kirkus Reviews


About the Author:
Like the characters in his books, Josh Funk doesn’t like being told how stories should go―so he writes his own. He is the author of a bunch of picture books, including My Pet Feet, illustrated by Billy Yong; the popular Lady Pancake & Sir French Toast series, illustrated by Brendan Kearney; How to Code a Sandcastle, illustrated by Sara Palacios; and Lost in the Library: A Story of Patience & Fortitude, illustrated by Stevie Lewis. He lives in New England with his wife and children. Learn more about him at www.joshfunkbooks.com and follow him on social media:

Facebook:  Josh Funk Books
Instagram: @joshfunkbooks
Twitter: @joshfunkbooks

About the Illustrator:
Edwardian Taylor
 is the illustrator of multiple children’s books, including Hey, You’re Not Santa!, written by Ethan T. Berlin; Goldibooks and the Wee Bear, written by Troy Wilson; the Toy Academy chapter books, written by Brian Lynch; and the It’s Not a Fairy Tale books, written by Josh Funk, among other titles. He lives in Texas with his partner and their three dogs. Learn more about him at www.edwardiantaylor.com and follow him on TumblrInstagram, and Twitter  @edwardiantaylor

Thanks for visiting Beagles and Books!

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

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

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


Our Recent Reads:

Rover and Speck: This Planet Rocks by Jonathan Roth

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

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


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The Tryout by Christina Soontornvat and Joanna Cacao

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

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


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

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

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

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

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



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ella’s Dog Pick of the Week

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

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Busy Betty by Reese Witherspoon Illustrated by Xindi Yan 

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

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

 

Bella and I thank you for visiting Beagles and Books!

 

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

Blog Tour & Giveaway for Ice Cycle: Poems About the Life of Ice by Maria Gianferrari

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Bella and I are thrilled to be part of the blog tour for Ice Cycle: Poems About the Life of Ice written by Maria Gianferrari and illustrated by Jieting Chen.  This expressive and educational picture book  celebrated its book birthday this week on October 4, 2022.  Thanks to author Maria Gianferrari and Lerner Publishing Group for sharing an electronic copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.


Review:

When I think of ice, I visualize ice cubes to keep my drink cold, an icy windshield I have to scrape or the beauty of icicles hanging from my house. After reading Ice Cycle, my knowledge of ice was only the tip of the iceberg. 

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

Ice Cycle

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

In “Ice Speaks,” Gianferrari’s lyrical language engages the ears with sound.  As I was reading the text, I could literally hear the noises that ice makes and Chen seamlessly incorporates the sounds in her artwork with swirling, dotted yellow lines. 

The last poems transition from ice on land to ice at sea.  Readers find out that wind and waves play a role in how ice is shaped.  New forms such as ice rind, anchor ice, shuga, hummock, and bummock are introduced with text, illustrations, and labels.   In the poem, “Sea Ice Ages,”  Gianferrari’s text is full of emotion as ice “weeps, leaks, ebbs, and oozes, and floods.”  I love how kids are exposed to rich vocabulary to help them visualize the ice as it changes forms. And while, ice does die, all it takes is a temperature dive for ice to once again come alive.  Gianferrari’s last three words, “Ice is born…” connects back to the first poem reminding us of its life cycle. 

Beyond the poems is extensive back matter providing definitions of terms, experiments with ice, and additional resources which includes books, websites, photos, videos, and sounds.  Combining poetry and science, Ice Cycle warms souls and stimulates minds of readers of all ages. 


Check Out These Ice Cycle Extras!

To view the book trailer, click here.

To view and download the Teacher’s Guide, click here. 


 

About the Author:

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Maria Gianferrari thinks ice is nice. After seeing editor Carol Hinz’s feathery frost photos on Instagram, she was inspired to find out more. During her research, Maria was amazed by all the diverse kinds of ice that exist, and this book was born. Her favorite form is pancake ice. Maria lives in Massachusetts with her family, where winters usually bring ice and snow. You can learn more about Maria at her brand new website, mariagianferrari.com


Enter Beagles & Books’ Giveaway!

  • Follow me @lauramossa on Twitter and retweet my Ice Cycle giveaway tweet (US residents only).
 
 

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

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

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


Our Recent Reads:

The Hunger Heroes: Snack Cabinet Sabotage by Jarrett Lerner

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

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


Bella’s Dog Pick of the Week

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

Is This Your Class Pet? by Troy Cummings

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

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

Bella and I thank you for visiting Beagles and Books!

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

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 9/26/22

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


Our Recent Reads:


How to Eat a Book
by Mrs. & Mr. MacLeod

A young girl sits down criss cross on a chair to enjoy a book. But her enjoyment is cut short when the book eats her. Her cousin, Gerald,  innocently walks by a bookshelf when a book jumps off and eats him. Tired of her tea party, his twin sister visits their home library and finds the biggest book although it takes a few minutes for the book to eat her. The trio each go on an intriguing adventure in their books. I love how the background of their travels matches the color of their books’ cover to help kids keep track of their journeys. Will the children ever return home?

Using dipped pen and ink cut out art photographed in a 3 dimensional stage diorama, the MacLeods, a husband and wife team, have created a feast for the eyes. From the very first page, the text builds suspense which continues until the final page. With their quirky personalities, I sincerely hope the Grunion children return with another adventure. Thanks to Union Square Kids for sharing a copy. How to Eat a Book publishes soon on October 4, 2022.



Raising Don: The True Story of a Baby Tapir
by Georgeanne Irvine

This heartwarming nonfiction narrative text follows the journey of a tapir named Don through his first year of life. When his mother wouldn’t care for him, the wildlife care specialists at the San Diego took on the role bottle feeding Don with his mother’s milk, introducing him to a swallow pool and later, a larger and deeper pond.  While all these acts warmed my heart, I was especially moved when they consciously paired Don with Bristle, a young capybara whose mother had died. Don and Bristle slowly bonded. The wildlife care specialists tried to expand Don’s circle with other animals but they did not accept him like Bristle. Don learned how to navigate his habitat without getting in their way. Not long after his first birthday, Don left San Diego to live at the Nashville Zoo in hopes of mating with Juju, a young female tapir. 

Irvine’s narrative text is perfectly written so that young children can understand how Don grew to be a healthy young tapir with the support of the San Diego Zoo wildlife care specialists. Tapirs are an endangered species so Don’s survival was essential. Included in the back matter are tapir fun facts, where tapirs live in the world, threats to wild tapir, and ten things kids can do to help wildlife. To learn more about additional titles in this series, visit shopzoo.com. Thanks to Barbara Fisch of Blue Slip Media and the publisher, San Diego Wildlife Alliance Press, for sharing a copy. Raising Don publishes soon on October 11, 2022. 


Bella’s Dog Pick of the Week

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

Pepper and Boo: A Cat Surprise by Charise Mericle Harper

This early graphic novel series is about two dogs, Pepper and Boo, and a cat.  When the cat has a nap attack, it lands on Boo’s bed. Boo is distraught and desperately wants his bed back. Pepper tries to help him with a plan but Boo is too scared.  When the cat has a snack attack, it vacates the bed to Boo’s delight. But what if the cat makes a sneak attack and comes back?

I love how Harper chose to tell the story from all points of view. Readers will discover that the cat has no agenda against Boo. It just wants to meet its needs which surprisingly creep up and are visually explained with maps, menus and checklists. With concise and simple vocabulary and bold and expressive illustrations, young readers will be able to easily access this humorous text.

Bella and I thank you for visiting Beagles and Books!

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

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 9/12/22

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


Our Recent Reads:

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Big Bear and Little Fish by Sandra Nickel  Illustrated by Il Sung Na

When Bear won a small fish instead of a big teddy bear at a carnival, she is disappointed and worried. Measuring nine feet and eight inches tall, Bear is not used to small things especially something that appears to be so unlike her.   After a long walk, Bear concludes that Fish cannot stay with her.  When Bear confronts Fish, Fish points out their parallels such as they both share the same color, have tails and essentially live in a bowl.  Perhaps, Bear and Fish aren’t so different after all. 

Big Bear and Little Fish is a story about the importance of perspective.  Bear dwelled on differences and Fish spotlighted similarities.  Once Bear was aware of some common ground, she saw the opportunity for a friendship to blossom.  What a great lesson for kids!  Thanks to Barbara Fisch of Blue Slip Media for sharing a copy.  Big Bear and Little Fish recently published on September 6, 2022.  


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I Cannot Draw a Horse by Carise Mericle Harper

The story begins with a gumdrop shape which thinks it’s nothing. The narrator/illustrator adds some details and the shape is now a cat.  But, the shape wants to be a horse.  Horses are hard to draw so the cat inherits friends in the form of a squirrel, beaver, bunny and a dog.  When the dog chases the cat, it needs help from the narrator/illustrator but once safe, continues to ask for a horse.  It gets a turtle, a house and a bear.  Will the cat ever get its wish? 

I Cannot Draw a Horse is an interactive story that will engage kids upon the first page spread. Harper’s simple and appealing drawings and her humorous plot keep kids entertained.   I love that the cat is persistent in its request and while it does finally get what it wants, the cat does not anticipate that the horse may have a wish of its own.  Could a follow-up be in the works?  If so, I am here for it. Thanks to Jenny Lu of Union Square Kids for sharing a copy.  I Cannot Draw a Horse recently released on September 6, 2022. 


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Mary Had a Little Plan by Tammi Sauer Illustrated by Vanessa Brantley-Newton

In the follow up to Mary Had a Little Glam, Mary sees an empty lot on a walk with her dad and dog.  Quickly, she gets to work devising a plan to spruce it up involving local businesses and her friends to help.  Mary learns that teamwork truly makes the dream work, for collaboration is key to making an impact in the community.  

Sauer’s lively, rhyming text and Brantley-Newton’s colorful and charming illustrations teach young children the importance of not only making a plan but also asking for support in executing the plan. I love the ode to classic nursery rhymes, for Mary’s helpful friends are Bo Peep, Jack and Jill, and Miss Muffet.  And of course, I am happy to see a Little Free Library is part of this renovated community space.  Thanks to Jenny Lu of Union Square Kids for sharing a copy.  Mary Had a Little Plan recently released on September 6, 2022. 


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Ice Cream Face by Heidi Woodward Sheffield

A kid loves to eat ice cream in any form, however, he struggles to wait when he visits his local ice cream shop. As he stands in line, he sees happy ice cream faces all over yet each person approaches their dessert differently.  All the enjoyment makes the kid frustrated.  When will he gets his chance? Finally he has ice cream in his hands and his face melts from annoyance to joy.  He tackles the cold, drippy treat with gusto which makes his brain freeze.  When he slows down, the ice cream becomes soupy and falls off his cone.  Oh no! No more ice cream face especially since the shop has closed.  Fortunately, his fellow ice cream fans are willing to share some scoops. 

Kids will easily identify with Sheffield’s ice cream kid.  As they listen to a read aloud, kids could mimic his faces to better understand his range of emotions.  Sheffield’s rhyming text and bold collage artwork catches and captivates the ears and eyes. Observant readers will notice that the ice cream is actual photographs making the tasty treat pop off the page.  Thanks to the author for sharing a copy.  Ice Cream Face published in June 2022. 


Bella’s Dog Pick of the Week

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

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Don’t Eat Bees: Life Lessons from Chip the Dog by Dev Petty Illustrated by Mike Boldt

Listen up! Chip has some wise words.  Eating socks is ok because there is always a spare, but don’t eat bees. You know what else you can eat?  Homework, Thanksgiving turkey, Grandpa’s teeth, cat food, any food your small human gives you, shoes, a couch and of course, an unsupervised sandwich.   But, no lemons, fire or bees. (well maybe, just once).  Petty’s peppy text and Boldt’s animated and expressive illustrations speak directly to the reader which will result in a lot of smiles and chuckles.  But Chip and readers must be wary of the cat, Mittens, who may have a vendetta after Chip ate its food. Thanks to the author and illustrator for sponsoring a giveaway where I was one of the lucky winners!  Don’t Eat Bees released in May 2022. 

Bella and I thank you for visiting Beagles and Books!

 

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

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

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


Our Recent Reads:

 

Frances and the Monster by Refe Tuma

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

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

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



My Pet Feet
by Josh Funk Illustrated by Billy Yong

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

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



Creepy Crayon!
by Aaron Reynolds Illustrated by Peter Brown

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

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


Bella’s Dog Pick of the Week

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

SumoPuppy by David Biedrzycki 

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

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

Bella and I thank you for visiting Beagles and Books!

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

Blog Tour & Giveaway for A Dream of Birds by Shenaz Patel

                   
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About the Book:
Title: A Dream of Birds
Author: Shenaz Patel
Illustrator: Emmanuelle Tchoukriel
Translator: Edwige-Renée Dro
Pub. Date: August 16, 2022


 

Beagles and Books is thrilled to be part of the blog tour for A Dream of Birds published by Amazon Crossing Kids which aims to increase the diversity of children’s books in translation and encourage young reading from a range of cultural perspectives. 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:

As Sara walks to school on the island of Mauritus, she notices something new in one of the yards-small house with a red roof.  Curious, she gets closer and sees parakeets who begin to flap and sing alerting the owner of her presence.  Scared, she runs away but can’t stop thinking about the birds which bring back memories of her grandfather. 

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Each afternoon, birds would pay a visit to her grandfather’s yard performing a concert with their melodic sounds.  At precisely four o’clock, her grandfather would return the favor by throwing rice into air. This gorgeous illustration shows the tranquility that the birds brought to Sara and her grandfather. 

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When Sara past by the birdhouse the next morning, she recalled the sheer joy of the birds flapping their wings in the air to catch their treat.  This time when she approaches the parakeets, she sees that the door is not locked.  Without hesitation, Sara opens the door letting the birds go free. Her actions are met with punishment by her parents.  Would the birds survive in the wild?  

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Translated from French, A Dream of Birds is a story that gave me pause.  While I understand Sara’s motivation for freeing the birds, it is clear her actions were wrong. The birds did not belong to her and captive animals may find it difficult to live in the wild.  Sara’s conduct promotes an opportunity to discuss with kids how to deal with situations, opinions, and/or decisions in which they disagree.  Clearly, Sara’s grandfather had instilled in her that birds deserve to be free but releasing the birds was not a noble action.  Kids can benefit from stories when characters makes errors in judgment eliciting an honest conversation what they could have done differently.  


About the Author, Illustrator and Translator: 

Shenaz Patel was born and lives on Mauritius Island. She has several jobs: journalist, playwright, novelist, and translator, and she is also a comics and children’s book author. She has written nine books for children, including A Dream of Birds, which was first published in French and English in Mauritius and France. She was named Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres in 2013, a high honor given by the French minister of culture.

Emmanuelle Tchoukriel was born and lives in France. Passionate about nature, she studied visual communication before entering the Estienne School in Paris. She specialized in scientific drawing, and she excels in illustrating flora and fauna. On Instagram: @emanuelle_tchoukriel

Edwige-Renée Dro is a writer, translator, and literary activist from the Ivory Coast, in Africa. Her writings have been published in anthologies such as New Daughters of Africa and Africa39, among others. She has judged many literary prizes, including the PEN International New Voices Award and the Etisalat Prize for Literature. She was awarded the Miles Morland Writing Scholarship in 2018 and is a 2021 resident of the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa. Learn more at edwigedro.wordpress.com.

Twitter: @DroEdwige

Facebook: Renée Edwige Dro