Blog Tour, Giveaway, Picture Books

Blog Tour & Giveaway for Flash, The Little Fire Engine by Pam Calvert

 

Beagles and Books is excited to be part of the blog tour for Flash, The Little Fire Engine written by Pam Calvert and illustrated by Jen Taylor.  Flash celebrated its book birthday this week on November 5, 2019.  Special thanks to Two Lions/Amazon  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:
As soon as I saw the cover, I couldn’t wait to read Flash, The Fire Engine.  Jen Taylor’s illustration of Flash brings the little fire engine to life.  Readers can see the excitement in his face with his adorable smile.  When the fire department receives a call, his attitude becomes more serious because Flash is determined to do his job well.  

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When the fire is too big for little Flash, his face does not hide his disappointment, but Flash remains optimistic that he can help the next time.  As each subsequent call comes in, Flash races to the scene ready to save the day, but he discovers that he is too short or too late to help.  Once eager, Flash becomes sad wondering if he will ever be needed.  Fortunately, Flash gets a call that only he can make realizing that he is the best fit for the job.  Beaming with pride, Flash learns a valuable lesson in patience and how the fire trucks collectively work together to help the community.

I have the honor of reading aloud to a second grade classroom daily for #classroombookaday.  After I read aloud Flash, The Little Flash Engine to the class, they shared their thinking about what the author Pam Calvert wanted to teach readers.  Here are some of their comments which relate to our virtue language.

“It teaches us to have empathy for Flash because every time he went for a fire, the other trucks were telling him he was too little. I felt sad for him. But at the end, I was happy for Flash because he saved the animals at the shelter.  

“It teaches us if someone feels left out, we can try to be kind and make them feel included.  I like how the firefighters had a party for Flash after he put out his first fire.”

“The fire trucks showed unity because they all put out different fires like the ladder truck put out the fire in the tall building and the airplane put out the forest fire.”

Reinforcing positive values of empathy, unity, kindness, and patience, Flash, the Little Fire Engine is a book that is a great addition to a home or classroom library.  

Meet the Author and Illustrator: 

Pam Calvert is an award-winning children’s book author. Her books include the Princess Peepers series, illustrated by Tuesday Mourning; more recently, Brianna Bright, Ballerina Knight, illustrated by Liana Hee; and other titles. Formerly a science teacher as well as a writing instructor and coach, she speaks to thousands of children every year. When she’s not speaking or writing, you can find her having fun with her family in Texas. Learn more about her online at http://www.pamcalvert.com or on Twitter: @PammCalvert.

Jen Taylor is an illustrator and arts-and-crafts enthusiast born and raised in New Jersey. She attended the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, where she majored in illustration and animation. She is the illustrator of the Brave Little Camper series as well as the picture book Ninja Camp, written by Sue Fliess. She previously worked in animation on such shows as Sid the Science Kid and MAD. She lives in New Jersey with her husband and their corgi, Rocket. Learn more about her online at http://www.jentaylor.net.

 

“Calvert deftly finds a new way to introduce kids to different kinds of firefighting vehicles…sure to slip in effortlessly with other firetruck books.”
-Kirkus Reviews

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Enter a Giveaway!
One lucky winner will receive a copy of Flash, the Little Fire Engine, courtesy of Two Lions/Amazon (U.S. addresses). Enter the giveaway by Friday, November 15, 2019 at 8 p.m. 

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

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 11/4/19

Beagles and Books is excited to share our current 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 12th Candle by Kim Tomsic

Ever since Sage Sassafras was born, she and fellow classmate Priscilla Petty have been at odds cursed by the Contrarium Curse. The curse originated when her mother and Priscilla’s mother were both struck by a mysterious bolt of pink lightning when they were young. As a result, the former best friends became enemies giving the Pettys all the good fortune and bad luck to Sage’s family.  On the eve of Sage’s 12th birthday, she receives an extraordinary gift- a magic candle that will grant her wishes until the sunset on the winter solstice.  What Sage wants most is a curse-reverse which will put her family on the positive side.  But Sage learns that there is truth in the old adage “Be careful for what you wish for.”  While bad luck begins to befall Priscilla and her family, Sage’s good luck does not reap the benefits she hoped for. In fact, she loses what she values most.  With themes of friendship, family, and forgiveness,  The 12th Candle is a story that teaches us true magic occurs with honesty and kindness.  Thanks to the author and publisher Harper Collins for sending an ARC to my #bookexcursion group.  The 12th Candle recently published on October 1, 2019.

Chicken Break by Cate Berry  Illustrated by Charlotte Adler

A rhyming counting book with a chicken caper!  One by one, ten chickens collaborate to get out of the coop and enjoy a day on the town. But after ice skating, the opera, and shopping, these chickens are worn out. Counting down from 10, the tired poultry make their way back home using some innovative means such as jet packs and zip lines.  Berry’s lively text begs to be read aloud!  While most concept books are written for very young children, I would read Chicken Break to all my elementary school students.  Berry uses rich vocabulary such as scan, smuggle, droop, squish, and incognito.  It would also be a great springboard or review of multiple meaning words, for break is used in different contexts.  Adler’s hilarious illustrations fill almost the entire page and show both the shrewd and playful sides of the chickens.  Thanks to the author and publisher Feiwel and Friends for sending an ARC to my #bookexcursion group. Chicken Break recently published on October 29, 2019.  Check out this fun video Cate Berry posted to celebrate Chicken Break’s book birthday. 

 

A Way with Wild Things by Larissa Theule Illustrated by Sara Palacios

Poppy is most comfortable spending time with bugs in nature.  She does not feel at ease in the company of people and finds ways to blend in with her surroundings away from all the action. At Grandma Phyllis’ 100th birthday, Poppy stays in the background watching the party but when a dragonfly settles on the cake, Poppy can’t help approaching it.  And when the dragonfly lands on Poppy, she is now the center of attention which make her nervous.  With her grandmother’s encouragement and the dragonfly’s trust, Poppy finds the courage to share a little knowledge about the insect with her family.  A Way with Wild Things is a quiet story with a big message.  Poppy’s shyness is shown as a strength not a weakness and she teaches us there is joy in observing the little things.  Palacios’ illustrations are gorgeous and full of details.  Children will love looking for all the bugs in the artwork and I love her rendition of Poppy with her oversized glasses.  Thanks to the author for sharing a F & G in a recent Twitter giveaway.  Look for A Way with Wild Things in March 2020.  

Etta’s and Bella’s Dog Pick of the Week

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

I, Cosmo by Carlie Sorosiak 

When golden retriever Cosmo becomes a big brother to Max, he promised to not only love Max but also protect him and his family doggedly for the rest of his life.  Years later, Cosmo senses something is wrong in the house.  Mom and Dad are fighting a lot and Max confides in Cosmo that he overheard his mom say the word divorce.  With the encouragement of his uncle who is visiting, Max and Cosmo join a canine freestyle club at the community center.  Max believes if he and Cosmo can win the dance competition, it will convince his parents to never separate them or even better, ensure that his parents never break up.  Training isn’t easy due to Cosmo’s stiff joints but he is determined to dance with his boy.  

Written from Cosmo’s point of view, author Carlie Sorosiak has created a character who I doggedly love!  While Cosmo definitely lives to eat good food (especially bacon), he lives most to be a loyal and loving companion to Max. And while the story tugged at my heart and made me tear quite than a few times, I also laughed and chuckled at Cosmo’s observations which were so on point.  My blog is testament to how much I love my beagle girls, but I think reading I, Cosmo has made me love them even more reminding me of their utter goodness and unconditional love.  Thanks to the publisher Walker Books/Candlewick Press for sending an ARC to my #bookexcursion group. I, Cosmo releases on December 24, 2019.  

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

 

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

Giveaway, Picture Books, Rockstar Book Tours

Blog Tour & Giveaway: Grace Goes to Washington by Kelly DiPucchio

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Beagles and Books is excited to be part of the Grace Goes to Washington blog tour organized by Rockstar Book Tours.  The review copy did not arrive in time; therefore, this is a spotlight post with a review to follow at a later date.  Please scroll down for a brief summary, author information, and an opportunity to win your own copy of the book.

About the Book:
Title:
 GRACE GOES TO WASHINGTON
Author: Kelly DiPucchio, LeUyen Pham (Illustrations)
Pub. Date: September 3, 2019
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Formats: Hardcover, eBook
Pages: 40

Find it: GoodreadsAmazonKindle, B&N, iBooks, Kobo, TBD

Publisher’s Summary:
“Who’s in charge here?”  When Grace learns about the three branches of the United States government, she and the rest of the student council put the lesson into practice as they debate how to spend the money from a school fund-raiser. Should they buy new sports equipment? Books for the library? Instruments for the music room? The arguments continue as they travel to Washington, DC, for a field trip. Exploring government buildings and national monuments, Grace feels closer than ever to her dream of becoming president someday. But she and her classmates have a lot to learn about what it means to serve the needs of the people, especially when the people want such different things!

In this follow-up to New York Times best seller Grace for President, Kelly DiPucchio not only introduces how our government makes decisions, but also shares what it takes to be a true public servant.

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About Kelly:
Kelly is the award-winning author of several children’s books, thousands of To-Do lists, and a few recipe cards. Two of her books, Grace For President and The Sandwich Swap, were New York Times bestsellers.

Like most kids who grew up in the 1970’s, Kelly had a pet goat and bought all her clothes from the Sears catalog. Like most teenagers who grew up in the 1980’s, Kelly had really big glasses and feathered hair.

Today, Kelly lives with her husband and three children in southeastern Michigan, where she enjoys writing just about everything except her own bio.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Goodreads

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Giveaway Details:
3 winners will receive a finished copy of GRACE GOES TO WASHINGTON, US Only. Click link to enter.

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/e2389ba2990/?

 

Tour Schedule:

Week Three:
10/14/2019- Life Within The PagesReview
10/15/2019- Spoiled GirlReview
10/16/2019- Beagles and BooksReview
10/17/2019- Avid ReaderExcerpt
10/18/2019- NerdophilesReview

Week Four:
10/21/2019- PopTheButterfly ReadsReview
10/22/2019- Book-KeepingReview
10/23/2019- Two dogs and a bookExcerpt
10/24/2019- Little Red ReadsReview
10/25/2019- Two points of interest- Review

Week Five:
10/28/2019   Fyrekatz Blog –Review
10/29/2019   Southern Girl Bookaholic –Review
10/30/2019   That Georgia Gypsy-Review
10/31/2019   Wishful EndingsReview

Giveaway, Picture Books, Rockstar Book Tours

Blog Tour & Giveaway: Bruce’s Big Storm by Ryan Higgin

BRUCE'S BIG STORM

Beagles and Books is excited to be part of the Bruce’s Big Storm blog tour organized by Rockstar Book Tours. 

About the Book:
Title:
 BRUCE’S BIG STORM
Author: Ryan T. Higgins
Pub. Date: September 3, 2019
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Formats: Hardcover, eBook
Pages: 48
Find it: GoodreadsAmazonKindle, B&N, iBooks, Kobo, TBD

Publisher’s Summary:
Bruce’s home is already a full house.  But when a big storm brings all his woodland neighbors knocking, he’ll have to open his door to a crowd of animals in need of shelter-whether he likes it or not.   Readers will love this next installment of the uproarious, award-winning Mother Bruce series.

Review:
Wet and windy weather is coming to Soggy Hollow and Bruce would prefer to wait out the storm alone.  All the other animals think it would be more fun to have a pajama party and play games at Bruce’s house. While Bruce does not agree with this plan, he allows the animals to gather at his house and attempts to enjoy his peace and quiet reading in his chair.  Bruce’s self-imposed solitude doesn’t last long, for his help is needed to rescue a bunny who is stuck in the storm.  When Bear, the bunny, and Nibbs the mouse begin to blow away, all the neighborhood animals band together to save them. But Bruce’s adventure is not over because the storm causes an oak tree to crash into his house leaving his home in a shambles.  Fortunately, the animals unite again to help rebuild Bruce’s house making even better than before (although Bruce might disagree).

While Bruce may be grumpy and antisocial, what I love about the Bruce series is the animals accept Bruce for who he is.  And Bruce begrudgingly partakes in the animals’ activities from playing Duck Duck Goose to serving as the den leader for the Acorn Scouts Adventure Club (pay close attention to the endpapers).  In my school, our virtue for the month of September was unity and during a read aloud of Bruce’s Big Storm, a student made the connection that the animals demonstrated unity not only by working together to save Bruce, the bunny, and Nibbs but also by rebuilding Bruce’s house.  Higgins’ artwork is full of such detail that the children wanted a re-read just to have a closer look at the illustrations especially the animated facial expressions on all the animals which counter Bruce’s cranky demeanor. The verdict- Bruce’s Big Storm blew us away so I highly recommend!

Ryan

About Ryan:
Ryan T. Higgins is a New York Times Bestselling author/illustrator residing in Southern Maine. He lives with his two dogs, two cats, one gecko, one tortoise, one son, one daughter, and one wife. As a child, he lived on a diet of cartoons, cheese sandwiches, and climbing trees. At the age of four he decided to become a cartoonist and he’s been making his own cartoons ever since.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Goodreads

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Giveaway Details:
3 winners will receive a finished copy of BRUCE’S BIG STORM, US Only.  Enter by clicking link below. 

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/e2389ba2988/?

 

Tour Schedule:

Week Three:

10/14/2019- Treestand Book ReviewsReview
10/15/2019- Beagles and BooksReview
10/16/2019- Little Red ReadsReview
10/17/2019- Wonder StruckReview
10/18/2019- Life Within The PagesReview

Week Four:

10/21/2019- Fyrekatz BlogReview
10/22/2019- Southern Girl BookaholicReview
10/23/2019- Two points of interestReview
10/24/2019- Novel NoviceReview
10/25/2019- Here’s to Happy EndingsReview

Week Five:
10/28/2019- YA Book NerdReview
10/29/2019- Satisfaction for Insatiable ReadersReview
10/30/2019- NerdophilesReview
10/31/2019- Wishful EndingsReview

 

 

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

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 10/14/19

Beagles and Books is excited to share our current 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:

Weird Little Robots by Carolyn Crimi Illustrated by Corinna Luyken

Shy Penny Rose has just moved to a new neighborhood and her only companions are the little robots she creates out of found objects. Encouraged by her parents, she befriends Lark, a quirky girl who lives across the street and makes unique bird houses. The two girls quickly bond over their love of tinkering building a metropolis for Penny Rose’s robots. Not long after, the robots magically come to life to the astonishment of the girls.

With a best friend and magic robots, Penny Rose’s life is better than she could ever have imagined. But her perfect life hits a snag when she receives an invitation from the Secret Science Society. In order to become a member, she needs to pass tests which includes taking pictures of something “science-y: she created. But sharing photos of her robots violates the pact that she and Lark made. Will Penny Rose risk her one and only true friendship to join this secret club?

Weird Little Robots has a lot of kid appeal, for what young reader can resist robots that come alive, a secret club, and a crisis?  A blend of realistic fiction and fantasy, Crimi has also seamlessly weaved in themes of friendship, fitting in, and forgiveness into her first novel.  Not only is the plot engaging but also the format. Novels can be overwhelming for some kids but Weird Little Robots is highly accessible written in 234 pages with short chapters.  Within each chapter, Luyken’s expressive, full page illustrations provide additional support to readers.  Thanks to Barbara Fisch of Blue Slip Media and Candlewick Press for sharing an ARC of Weird Little Robots. It recently published on October 1, 2019. 

Operation Photobomb by Tara Luebbe & Betty Cattie Illustrated by Matthew Rivera

When Monkey finds a Polaroid camera in an unattended backpack and begins taking pictures of birds and animals with fur, Chameleon feels left out. He solves his problem by photobombing all of the pictures which angers Monkey.  Monkey enlists the help of the other animals to stop Chameleon but sneaky Chameleon changes colors to blend in. Will the animals find a way to convince Chameleon to stop? 

I love the collaboration between sisters Tara Luebbe & Betty Cattie! Operation Photobomb is an amusing story that will guarantee giggles! Matthew Rivera’s playful illustrations are eye catching and humorously reveal the jungle animals’ feelings.  I especially love Chameleon for his facial expressions are adorable!  Thanks to Barbara Fisch of Blue Slip Media and Albert Whitman & Company for sharing a copy of Operation Photobomb.  It recently published on September 1, 2019. 

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Pippa’s Night Parade by Lisa Robinson Illustrated by Lucy Fleming

Pippa’s Night Parade is an enchanting story about conquering one’s fears with persistence and imagination.  Robinson’s lively and engaging text and Fleming’s detailed and action packed illustrations will keep children’s attention from beginning to end.  To read full review and enter a giveaway, click here.

Etta’s and Bella’s Dog Pick of the Week:

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

Mr. Scruff by Simon James

In this touching story, all the dogs bear a resemblance to their owners and have a name that rhymes. For example, Polly belongs to Molly, Lawrence belongs to Florence, etc. But old Mr. Scruff is still at the shelter waiting for his furever home. So when young Jim walks in and bonds with Mr. Scruff, his parents don’t think it’s a good match saying “He’s so big and you’re so small!” Jim stands firm and Mr. Scruff gets a home of his very own.

You would think that is the end of the story but then Mr. Gruff walks into the shelter and sees a small pup who is perfect for him. And guess the puppy’s name? Tim! I love any story that advocates dog adoption but author/illustrator James deserves accolades for such an original narrative. With engaging and cheerful illustrations and mostly rhyming text, Mr. Scruff is a heartwarming story about how opposites attract.

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

 

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

Blog Tour, Giveaway, Picture Books

Blog Tour & Giveaway for Pippa’s Night Parade by Lisa Robinson

 

Beagles and Books is excited to be part of the blog tour for Pippa’s Night Parade written by Lisa Robinson and illustrated by Lucy Fleming. It recently published on October 8, 2019. Special thanks to Two Lions/Amazon  Publishing and Barbara Fisch of Blue Slip Media for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Publisher’s Summary:
Pippa’s wonderfully wild imagination is perfect for dreaming up wildly adorable creations. But at night, her imagination runs a little too wild. That’s when the villains and monsters and beasts sneak out of her storybooks to scare her. Pippa tries everything: from night-lights to triple knots to clever disguises. But when the baddies keep coming, she realizes she’ll need to come up with something new. To prepare for this battle, Pippa will have to use everything she’s got—especially that wild imagination. Ready or not, here she comes!

Review:
While Pippa has a wild imagination, she can protect herself during the day with mighty masks, bold boots and spunky scarves.  At night though it is hard for Pippa to calm her fears, for creatures such as dragons, pirates, serpents, and monsters surface from her storybooks.  Pippa’s trepidation is conveyed through the text and the illustrations but readers also see Pippa’s problem solving skills.  First, Pippa attempts to soothe her fears with extra night lights and a disguise.  Next, she runs to her parents’ bedroom.  When these tactics do not work, Pippa decides to confront the creatures by inviting them to a scary night parade leaving invitations in each book.  Will Pippa be able to get rid of the creatures once and for all?

My students loved all the creatures in the book.  While Pippa’s Night Parade is not a Halloween story, the presence of all the creatures gave the story a spooky feel.  After I reading, we discussed the author’s purpose for writing the story and what did the author want to teach us.   Here are a few of the student’s comments.

“Pippa was teaching us not to be afraid.”

“Pippa was scared of the creatures but she kept trying to find ways to get rid of them.”

“Pippa was brave because she wouldn’t let the monsters win.”

As a class, we discussed Pippa’s actions and how she was persistent because she didn’t give up.  Soon after, another student shared “Pippa was smart because she used all the things in her design studio to make the creatures stop scaring her.”  We then discussed how persistence means trying out new and better ideas.  

Pippa’s Night Parade is an enchanting story about conquering one’s fears with persistence and imagination.  Robinson’s lively and engaging text and Fleming’s detailed and action packed illustrations will keep children’s attention from the beginning to end.  

Meet the Author and Illustrator: 

Lisa Robinson was born in Kampala, Uganda, to Peace Corps volunteers who later became world-traveling diplomats. When she was a child, her family moved frequently, so books became her best friends. She now works as a psychiatrist and writer. She holds an MFA in creative writing for young people from Lesley University. She is also the author of Pirates Don’t Go to Kindergarten!, illustrated by Eda Kaban, and has more books forthcoming. She lives in Massachusetts with her family and three cats. Learn more about the author at www.author-lisa-robinson.com, or on Twitter: @elisaitw.

 Lucy Fleming, like Pippa, has a wonderfully wild imagination, which she uses to create illustrations for children’s books. She has illustrated more than twenty titles, including River Rose and the Magical Christmas by Kelly Clarkson and For the Beauty of the Earth by Folliott Sandford Pierpoint, which was a Junior Library Guild Selection. She is a graduate of the University of Lincoln in England. She lives and works in a small town in England with a cup of ginger tea in hand and her cat close by. Learn more about the illustrator at www.lucyflemingillustrations.com and Instragram: @illustratelucy


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Enter a Giveaway!
One lucky winner will receive a copy of Pippa’s Night Parade, courtesy of Two Lions/Amazon (U.S. addresses). Enter the giveaway by Friday, October 18, 2019 at 8 p.m. 

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

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 10/7/19

Beagles and Books is excited to share our current 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:

Give and Take by Elly Swartz

When dementia causes Maggie’s Nana to not recognize her as her granddaughter, Maggie becomes anxious that she too will forget. To ensure she can keep hold of her precious memories, Maggie begins saving small objects.  Not only is Maggie attached to these mementos, but also Izzie, the baby their family is fostering until her adoption is final. And when her coach dad dismantles her all girl trapshooting team, her anxiety becomes even more elevated.   

Maggie’s saving becomes out of hand filling up 10 boxes in her room and most of her school locker.  When her mother discovers the enormity of her collection, Maggie’s normally kind temperament quickly turns to uncontrollable anger. Maggie quickly shows contrition and her mother assures her they will work together as a family to help her make the mad go away.  With the help of a child therapist and her supportive and loving family, Maggie begins to slow process of learning how to let go.  Some of my favorite scenes are when Maggie visits her grandfather who reminds her that saving things doesn’t necessarily keep you from forgetting but “love never leaves; it carves into your heart.” 

Written from Maggie’s perspective, Swartz did a beautiful job capturing Maggie’s compassion, conflicts, and courage.  My heart hurt for her as she struggled with the act of throwing away her keepsakes and even though it got a little easier each time, Swartz continued to show the full process Maggie had to undertake to be successful.  With themes of family, friendship, facing fears, and forgiveness, Give and Take is a story that is a must read for middle grade readers.

Special thanks to the author Elly Swartz and fellow #bookexcursion member Lisa Maucione for sharing an ARC of Give and Take with our group.  Pre-order today so you have Give and Take in your hands, for it celebrates its book birthday next week!

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Along the Tapajós by Fernando Vilela Translated by Daniel Hahn

Alligators, anacondas, and winter rains oh my!  Get a glimpse into the everyday life of two siblings who live in Para, Brazil in Along the Tapajós. To read my full review and enter a giveaway, please click here.

Etta’s and Bella’s Dog Pick of the Week:

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

Very Lulu: The (Mostly) True Story of a Training School Dropout by Stephanie Campisi Illustrated by Jessica Gibs

In an effort to calm her energetic behavior, Lulu is enrolled in police dog training school.  While all the other dogs do as they were told, Lulu can’t follow directions no matter how hard she tries. Even with increased supports, Lulu is not successful. What should Lula’s handler do with her?

It becomes clear that perhaps Lulu’s job isn’t to be a police dog but rather to be the fun loving, super sniffing member of the handler’s family, which the last couple of page spreads show is a perfect fit for Lulu. Gibson’s lively illustrations capture Lulu’s free spirit, and Campisi gently teaches the importance of accepting others for who they are, which is an important lesson for both children and adults. 

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

 

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

Blog Tour, Giveaway, Picture Books

Blog Tour & Giveaway for Along the Tapajós by Fernando Vilela

 

Beagles and Books is excited to be part of the blog tour for Along the Tapajós written and illustrated by Fernando Vilela and translated by Daniel Hahn.  Released on October 1, 2019, this picture book is published by Amazon Crossing Kids, a new imprint for children’s books in translation.  Special thanks to Amazon Crossing Kids and Barbara Fisch of Blue Slip Media for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Publisher’s Summary:
Cauã and Inaê are a brother and sister who live in a small community along the Tapajós River in Brazil. Here, the homes are on stilts and everyone travels around by boat—even to school! When the rainy season comes, they must leave their village and relocate to higher ground for a while. But after moving this year, Cauã and Inaê realize they’ve left behind something important: their pet tortoise, Titi! Unlike turtles, tortoises can’t swim, and Cauã and Inaê are really worried. So the pair sneaks back at night on a journey along the river to rescue him. Will they be able to save Titi?  This picture book, first published in Brazil, offers kids a unique look into the lives of children who live along Brazil’s beautiful Tapajós River.

Review:
As Dr. Rudine Sims Bishop wisely stated:

“Books are sometimes windows, offering views of worlds that may be real or imagined, familiar or strange. These windows are also sliding glass doors, and readers have only to walk through in imagination to become part of whatever world has been created and recreated by the author. When lighting conditions are just right, however, a window can also be a mirror. (1990, p. ix)”

From the very first page spread, Along the Tapajós is definitely a window teaching my students a different way of life.  As I read the text beautifully translated by Hahn, there was an immediate reaction from children.

“They have to take a boat to get to school?”

“I wish I could have a tortoise for a pet!”  

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At my school, students mostly walk or ride in a car to get here.  We actually have very few bus riders compared to other schools in our district.  Of course, the children were utterly amazed by Cauã’s and Inaê’s boat ride especially the alligators and porpoises!  When the siblings arrive at school, the students quickly noticed how different their schoolhouse is compared to theirs.  

Vilela’s vivid illustrations quickly convey the change from serene to turbulent as the season quickly changes from summer to winter with nonstop rain.  I heard some gasps from the children as they saw Cauã’s and Inaê’s family pack up their house and boat to dry land in the rainforest.  

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While the first part of the book exposed all my students to a contrasting way of life, Inaê’s concern for their pet tortoise Titi immediately was a mirror for some of my students who later shared how their own pet had been lost or missing.  The illustrations of their journey back home are breathtaking and strikingly show the aftermath of the massive rain. When the siblings find Titi, the illustrations clearly indicates that aside from the roof, their home is entirely under water, which again shows the severe impact of the winter rain.  The rescue of Titi may be frightening to very young children, but my students were mesmerized at Cauã’s risky but heroic act. After reading, we did discuss whether leaving their parents without permission was a good or bad choice.  

At the end of the story, Vilela includes backmatter which includes facts about the Tapajós River and the inspiration for writing this story.  After reading, my students had so many reactions that I knew this story would be talked about for a long time.  I was proud that one student made a connection to our virtue of the month.

“I think all the people in the book showed unity because they worked together to get the kids to school, the kids home when it rained, and the families packed up and moved to a rainforest. Then the brother and sister had to work together to save Titi.”  

There is no doubt that my students thoroughly enjoyed Along the Tapajós.  As a teacher, what I love is the story was a window into a different way of life, but was also a mirror when the siblings showed concern for their missing pet.  It also reinforced the virtue of unity, which is important as we continue to build our classroom community.   I highly recommend Along the Tapajós..

Praise for Along the Tapajós!

★The vibrant colors in Vilela’s illustrations and the expressive faces of Cauã and Inaê bring lightheartedness to their dangerous journey and the cyclical living it prescribes. A riveting journey.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
 
“This is one of those engaging titles that offers a glimpse of a location new to most American readers. More translations like this one, please!” —Fuse #8 Production

 

Meet the Author/Illustrator and Translator:

Fernando Vilela is an award-winning author and illustrator from Brazil. Published in Brazil under the title Tapajós, this book was inspired by one of his trips to the Amazon rainforest. He has received many awards for his books, and he has exhibited his artwork at home and abroad, including at the MoMA in New York and the Pinacoteca of the State of São Paulo. For his picture books, he has received five Jabuti awards (Brazil) and the New Horizons Honorable Mention of the Bologna Ragazzi International Award. He is also a plastics artist, and he teaches courses, lectures, and workshops on art and illustration. Learn more about him online at www.fernandovilela.com.br.

Daniel Hahn is an author, editor, and award-winning translator. His translation of The Book of Chameleons by José Eduardo Agualusa won the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize in 2007. His translation of A General Theory of Oblivion, also by José Eduardo Agualusa, won the 2017 International Dublin Literary Award. He recently served on the board of trustees of the Society of Authors. In 2017, Hahn helped establish the TA First Translation Prize, a new prize for debut literary translation. Learn more about him online at www.danielhahn.co.uk.


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Enter a Giveaway!
One lucky winner will receive a copy of Along the Tapajós, courtesy of Amazon Crossing (U.S. addresses). Enter the giveaway by Friday, October 11, 2019 at 8 p.m. 

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

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 9/30/19

Beagles and Books is excited to share our recent 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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Keep It Together, Keiko Carter by Debbi Michiko Florence
 

I am a huge fan of both of Debbi Michiko Florence’s early chapter book series, Jasmine Toguchi and My Furry Foster Family so I was so excited to hear she had written a middle grade novel.  What was even more thrilling is having the opportunity to read an ARC.

Keiko loves chocolate, her family, her two best friends, Audrey and Jenna, and everything pretty much staying the same.  But beginning seventh grade means changes such as Keiko’s mother working full time, sharing the same school building as Audrey’s annoying brother and his friends, and Audrey declaring that this is the year they all need to get boyfriends and go to the Fall Ball.  So when Audrey and Jenna get into a disagreement (about a boy), the trio’s friendship is threatened.  Always the peacemaker, Keiko attempts to fix things but begins sacrificing her own happiness to keep the friendships intact.

Keep It Together, Keiko Carter is a novel that I would have loved when I was in middle school. It is a solid upper middle grade novel for those not quite ready for YA.    Michiko Florence’s voice for Keiko is perfect, for she captures her hopefulness of wanting to believe the best in everyone with the gradual realization that true friendship means wanting the best for each other.  The story also shows that heartbreak can come in all forms-a daughter missing time spent with her mother, a changing friendship, and a first crush. Thanks to the author and publisher Scholastic for sharing an ARC with my #bookexcursion group. Keep It Together, Keiko Carter publishes in May 2020.

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The Itty Bitty Witch by Trisha Speed Shaskkan Illustrated by Xindi Yan

The Itty Bitty Witch is much more than a Halloween story.  Shaskan has written an engaging and positive story with themes of assertiveness, persistence, and acceptanceTo read my full review and enter a giveaway that ends on Friday, October 5th, click here.

Old Rock (is not boring) by Deb Pilutti

Spotted Beetle, Tall Pine, and Hummingbird all think Old Rock lives a pretty boring life, for he sits in the same spot day after day.  He doesn’t get to fly like Hummingbird, climb high like Spotted Beetle or dance in the breeze like Tall Pines. Or did he? Old Rock tells the story of his life from his birth erupting out of a volcano, living among the dinosaurs, traveling inside a glacier, and tumbling down a ridge, which explains how he ended up in his no boring but rather, very nice spot.  With a touch of humor, rich vocabulary, and charmingly illustrated, Old Rock (is not boring) is the perfect text for teaching about history of natural world.  It also would be a great mentor text in English language arts to teach perspective.  On the last page, an infographic beautifully summarizes Old Rock’s journey from 1.8 billion years ago to present day.  Thanks to Penguin Random House for sharing a F & G with my #bookexcursion group. Old Rock publishes in February 2020.

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I’m Trying to Love Math by Bethany Barton

If you are one of 4 out of 10 Americans that hate math, this picture book might help you change your mind.  An alien visiting the Earth seeks to convince the narrator and readers how cool math is.  For example, you can’t make cookies, music, and travel without math.  While I may not love math, I don’t mind reading about it because Barton’s text is hilariously funny and interactive and her pen and ink illustrations are colorful, engaging, and make use of the whole page spread.  Thanks to Viking/Penguin Random House for sharing a copy with my #bookexcursion group. It published in July.

Etta’s and Bella’s Dog Pick of the Week:

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

Sparky & Spike: Charles Schultz and the Wildest, Smartest Dog Ever by Barbara Lowell illustrates by Dan Anderson
 

This picture book tells the story of how Schultz’s dog, Spike became the inspiration for the iconic cartoon character, Snoopy.  Spike was an unusual dog for he virtually could eat anything without getting sick and could ring the doorbell to come inside.  Aside from spending time with Spike, Sparky (Schultz’s nickname) loved reading the comics and loved drawing.  But Sparky realized that drawing cartoons was much harder than just drawing pictures.  Fortunately, having an extraordinary dog like Spike gave Sparky an idea.  He wrote a letter to Mr. Ripley about Spike and included a drawing of his wild and smart dog.  After a lot of waiting, two months later, Sparky’s drawing appeared in the Ripley’s Believe It or Not comics, which makes him realize that becoming a cartoonist was indeed possible.  What I love most about this story is the illustrator shares his own personal story of writing a letter to Schultz and includes the cartoonist’s reply encouraging him to continue drawing and writing.  Sparky and Spike is a great picture book for teaching perseverance to young students.

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

 

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Blog Tour, Giveaway, Picture Books

Blog Tour & Giveaway for The Itty Bitty Witch by Trisha Speed Shaskan Illustrated by Xindi Yan

 

Beagles and Books is excited to be part of the blog tour for The Itty Bitty Witch by Trisha Speed Shaskkan and illustrated by Xindi Yan.  Special thanks to Two Lions/Amazon Publishing and Barbara Fisch of Blue Slip Media for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Publisher’s Summary:
Betty can’t wait to be a first-grade witch. But on the first day of school, her classmates start calling her “Itty Bitty” because she’s small and still uses her kinder-broom. Betty doesn’t like the nickname—or how it makes her feel itty-bitty inside. So she comes up with a BIG idea to prove herself: winning the Halloween Dash.

Review:
When I think back to my first grade self, I can relate a lot to Betty.  I was excited to be in first grade and couldn’t wait to learn.  Like Betty, I was one of the smallest children in my class.  In fact, I do not think I ever moved from the bottom row for class pictures. Not often, but I do remember sometimes being called “Shorty” by other classmates and feeling itty bitty inside like Betty.  Unlike Betty, I though never had the courage to speak up for myself.

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My school district has adopted Conscious Discipline, which is a comprehensive, multidisciplinary, self-regulation program that integrates social-emotional learning, school culture, and discipline.  One of Conscious Discipline’s first lesson is teaching children to use their big or assertive voice to tell someone when their feelings are hurt.  As I was reading The Itty Bitty Witch to my second grade #classroombookaday class, a student said, “Itty Bitty used her big voice!”  How I love when read alouds connect to and reinforce our content; what is even better is when students come to these conclusions on their own. 

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While Betty uses her big voice, she still doesn’t feel confident but that does not stop her from trying to improve her chances of winning the Halloween Dash.  One by one, her ideas fail, but Betty remains persistent.  She creatively makes up a poem to help her remember the race course and during the actual race, when the other witches pass her, she thinks of her biggest idea of all, which ultimately helps her win.  What I love most is Betty’s small stature was crucial to her victory which proves that being small can be an advantage.  Yan’s expressive illustrations are eye catching and beautifully convey Betty’s feelings throughout the story. The Itty Bitty Witch is much more than a Halloween story.  Shaskan has written an engaging and positive story with themes of assertiveness, persistence, and acceptance.  I highly recommend The Itty Bitty Witch!

Watch the adorable book trailer!

Praise for The Itty Bitty Witch!

“Caregivers and teachers will be pleased with the multiple extensions the story offers, all wrapped up in a Halloween theme. Proving size does not matter, this itty-bitty witch casts a bewitching spell.” —Kirkus Reviews
 
“A familiar portrayal of [a] determined, lone underdog who discovers her sense of worth.” —Publishers Weekly

 

Meet the Author & Illustrator:

When Trisha Speed Shaskan was a child, Halloween meant bobbing for apples, daring to touch brains (which may have been noodles), and—best of all—wearing costumes. She still loves dressing up for Halloween. Trisha is the author of more than forty children’s books, including Punk Skunks and the Q & Ray series, both illustrated by her husband, Stephen Shaskan. Trisha lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota, with Stephen; their cat, Eartha; and their dog, Beatrix. Learn more at www.trishaspeedshaskan.com. Find her on Twitter and Facebook.
 
Xindi Yan grew up in a small city called Wuhu in China, and like Betty, she was always the smallest in her class. Standing a little shy of five feet, she still can’t reach the high shelves in grocery stores and sometimes finds that shoes made for kids fit her best. But her size didn’t stop her from chasing her big dreams of being a published artist in New York City. Xindi is the illustrator of Sylvia Rose and the Cherry Tree by Sandy Shapiro Hurt and the Craftily Ever After series by Martha Maker. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and hopes to have a puppy one day. Learn more at www.xindiyanart.com,
Twitter: @xindiyan, and Instagram: @xindiyanart

 

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Enter a Giveaway!
One lucky winner will receive a copy of The Itty Bitty Witch courtesy of Two Lions/Amazon (U.S. addresses only).  Enter the giveaway by Friday, October 4, 2019 at 8 p.m.