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

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 1/13/20

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

Our Recent Reads:

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From the Desk of Zoe Washington by Janae Marks

From the Desk of Zoe Washington is my first #mustreadin2020 middle grade novel and author Janae Marks celebrates her debut novel’s book birthday tomorrow! Special thanks to the publisher Katherine Tegan/Harper Collins for sharing an ARC at the NCTE convention. 

On aspiring baker Zoe’s twelfth birthday, her life is forever changed when she checks the mailbox and finds a letter from her biological father Marcus who has been in prison her whole life.  While this letter is the first one Zoe has read, she learns that Marcus has been writing her letters for a long time. Curious about a man she has never met who calls her his Little Tomato and loves music, Zoe secretly begins writing to him unbeknownst to her mother and stepfather.  With each letter, she gets to know Marcus better and finds it hard to believe that he is in jail for committing murder.  When Zoe finally gets the courage to ask him about the crime, he not only explains he is innocent but also shares his alibi.  

As if the weight of clearing her father’s conviction isn’t heavy enough, Zoe is also juggling an internship at a local bakery, a possible audition with Food Network’s Kids Bake Challenge, and a disagreement with her best friend Trevor.  Fortunately, being honest with both her grandmother and Trevor provides Zoe with support as she searches for the truth. 

Written from Zoe’s point of view, debut author Marks expertly captures the voice of passionate and determined Zoe who is an advocate for her father. Readers see Zoe struggle with lying to her parents but they also see her boldness and urgency in her quest to uncover the truth about her father. Marks tackles tough issues such as institutionalized racism in a way that is accessible for middle grade readers. From the Desk of Zoe Washington is Zoe teaches us that one person can indeed make a difference and how family can forgive each other for making mistakes.

I highly recommend From the Desk of Zoe Washington! Just waiting for my hardcover copy to arrive so I can share with students and teachers!

You Can Do It, Yasmin! by Saadia Faruqi

You Can Do It, Yasmin is a collection of the four recently published books:

  • Yasmin the Soccer Star
  • Yasmin the Gardener
  • Yasmin the Writer
  • Yasmin the Friend

Each story is a chapter in this bound book.  Faruqi’s Yasmin is a great role model for young readers because while she can be hesitant, she demonstrates perseverance and innovation when faced with a problem. In Yasmin the Soccer Star, Yasmin learns soccer isn’t dangerous with a good coach.  In Yasmin the Gardener, she shows good problem solving skills when her flowers wilt.  In Yasmin the Writer, she realizes that heroes are everyday people.  In Yasmin the Friend, Yasmin’s observation skills help her find a way to get her friends to play a game together. 

Not only do I love Yasmin and her determination, but I also love that she has a strong support system in her parents, grandparents, friends, and her teacher, Ms. Alex (who I especially relate to, for she has short hair like me!)  Aly’s colorful and dynamic illustrations show Yasmin’s range of emotions which makes her very relatable.  Can’t wait to share the latest Yasmin stories with my students!  

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.

Odd Dog Out by Rob Biddulph

Written in an upbeat rhyme, Odd Dog Out is a gorgeously illustrated picture book that celebrates marching or rather dressing to your drum.  While every dog in the city looks and acts exactly the same, one free spirited female dachshund is the odd dog out. Feeling alone, she leaves her home in search of a place where she will feel more comfortable. After much traveling, she is ecstatic, for she finally finds a place where all the dogs look exactly like her except one dressed completely different.  Feeling empathetic, she consoles this odd dog out only to discover an important lesson.  Uniqueness is something to be proud of!  So when she returns home, the odd dog out is greeted warmly because she was greatly missed.  And it doesn’t take long for the city to embrace that being different is really great, for the last illustrations show the dachshunds proudly showing off their individuality.

There are countless reasons that I love Odd Dog Out. It is visually appealing with lively and colorful illustrations, and the cheery rhyming text begs to be read aloud. Add the powerful message of being true to yourself, which in my opinion means that author/illustrator Biddulph has pulled a hat trick in the world of picture books.  Special thanks to Brianna Robinson of Wunderkind PR for sending me a review copy.  Odd Dog Out recently published on December 3, 2019.

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

 

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

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

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 1/6/20

Happy New Year! Beagles and Books is thrilled to share our first post It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? for 2020!  #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:

A Place at the Table by Saadia Faruqi and Laura Shovan

Told through the points of view of Sara and Elizabeth in alternating chapters, co-authors Faruqi and Shovan have seamlessly written an authentic and powerful middle grade story that explores themes of family, culture, religion, identity, racism, friendship, food and most importantly, finding the voice to speak up for yourself and others.   I highly recommend A Place at the Table to not only students but also teachers and parents, for I gained perspective on Pakistani and Jewish culture and the challenges of being a first generation American. 

I finished reading A Place at the Table before the New Year so I did not include it on my official #mustreadin2020 list, but this novel, beautifully co-written by Saadia Faruqi and Laura Shovan  and releasing in May 2020 is truly one you do not want to miss. To read my full review, click here.

Cub by Cynthia Copeland

Set in the early 1970s, Cub is a graphic novel memoir which chronicles the author’s internship as a cub reporter for a local newspaper. Cindy was recommended by her English teacher and is mentored by a young female reporter, Leslie Jones. While Cindy is learning to navigate the world of reporting, she is also facing the challenges of being a seventh grader. Cindy shares her tactics on how to go unnoticed by the mean girls at school (known as the predators which is a nod to Wild Kingdom), experiences her first crush, and copes with changes in her friendship with her childhood best friend.   

What I loved most about Cub is Copeland gradually shows the positive effects of Cindy’s internship.  Cindy hones her writing skills, develops an interest in photography, and gains confidence in not only her writing but also in herself.  While the predators will always be there (in school or in the real world), Cindy learns that she is in charge of telling the world who she is.  The illustrations blew me away and I especially enjoyed seeing Jones’ edits of the Cindy’s typewritten ledes, which showed how feedback contributed to her growth as a writer.   

I was born in the early 70s so I am a little younger than Cindy, but I could relate to both the historical references as well as her journey in discovering her true passion and finding her own voice.  Cub also champions the importance of having mentors and the support of your family and friends.  

I would most definitely add Cub as to my #mustreadin2020.  It is an honest and engaging coming of age memoir with a positive message.  It has definite kid appeal but I also recommend it to adult readers (like me) who wish to journey back in time.  Special thanks to the Algonquin Books for Young Readers/Workman Publishing for sharing a copy at the NCTE convention.  Cub celebrates its book birthday tomorrow!  

 Love, Sophia on the Moon by Anica Mrose Rissi  Illustrated by Mika Song

Love, Sophia on the Moon is a heartwarming story of how a little girl creatively handles her mother’s scolding.  After being sent to time out, Sophia decides to run away to the moon. She & her mom keep in touch through writing letters. Proclaiming her independence, Sophia moves to the moon bringing her cat, Mr. Wubbles as her companion.  In her letters, Sophia shares the perks of living on the moon such as a new friend, Frurgbert, moon-juice, and most importantly, no time outs and better yet, no bedtimes.  Mom’s letters back shows her concern for Sophia’s absence and while she respect her daughter’s decision, she makes subtle mention of things in an attempt to get Sophia to come home.  

I absolutely love that the story is told in the form of letters which allows readers to see both Sophia’s and her mom’s perspective. Starting with the title page, Song’s warm and muted illustrations are full of significant details giving readers a true glimpse of what has and is really happening in the story and why Sophia choose to escape to the moon.  Love, Sophia on the Moon is an excellent read aloud for families, for it reinforces the unconditional love between parents and their children.  Special thanks to the author for sending a F & G to my #bookexcursion group.  Love, Sophia on the Moon publishes March 31, 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.

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Stormy: A Story about Finding a Forever Home by Guojing

Stormy is a gorgeously illustrated wordless picture book about a stray dog who seeks shelter under a park bench.  When a young woman sits on the bench, the dog runs away but stays nearby within the view of the woman.  Befriending the dog with a ball, the woman shows extreme patience waiting for the dog to make the first move. Gradually, the dog begins to show a little trust fetching and dropping the ball but is still too frightened to get close.  When the woman leaves, the dog follows her home with the ball in its mouth.  A fierce storm erupts and the dog finds shelter in a box while the woman returns to the park frantically searching for the pup.  While heartbreaking to see both apart, readers are rewarded with a heartwarming reunion that brought me to tears.  Guojing’s use of muted colors in each stunning panel deftly conveys the changing mood of the story.  A story about patience, trust, and love, Stormy is a book that proves pictures are indeed worth a thousand words.

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 This Book is Gray by Lindsey Ward

 

Beagles and Books is excited to be part of the blog tour for This Book is Gray written and illustrated by Lindsay Ward. It recently released in November 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:
Please sure to read the front endpapers and the title page first, for readers discover that Gray wants to be included in the rainbow, but sadly, gray is not one of the featured colors.  Feeling dejected, he decides to write his own book aptly titled, This Book is Gray. 

Gray proceeds to write a story about wolf, a kitten, and a hippo and draw all the illustrations in (you guessed it)…gray! Gray is so proud until the Primary colors pay him a visit and are critical of his color scheme.  The Secondary colors join the Primary colors interrupting Gray’s storytelling with comments which slowly pushes Gray over the edge. Unable to remain calm, Gray finally tells (well, actually yells to) all the colors his true feelings about being left out and how gray is really a cool color.   

After Gray honestly shares how he feels, all the colors show empathy for him.  They offer Gray their apologies and best of all, they collaborate together to make the book both gray AND Pcolorful.  In the end, Gray gets the last word stating his book is pretty GRAYt!  (get it?)

This Book is Gray is a story full of humor and heart.  While readers will chuckle at the many puns and the story within the story of the kitten, wolf, and hippo, children also feel empathetic with Gray’s situation. During my read aloud to my #classroombookaday students, a few children remarked that the colors were being mean to Gray and how they felt sad for him.  When the colors and Gray worked together to fix and finish the book, students cheered and expressed their happiness that all the colors saw that Gray is indeed a pretty cool color. 

Ward’s illustrations and page layout is visually appealing to young readers.  The colors are adorably drawn adorned with hats, rosy cheeks, and other fun accessories.  The witty dialogue is written in speech bubbles.  Be sure to visit the front endpapers again, for Ward has included a glossary for basic color concepts to accompany her color wheel diagram.  

Praise for This Book is Gray!

“This book is a fun introduction to color theory that may inspire children to use more gray in their artwork and remind them to include friends who are left out.”
Booklist

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Meet the Author/Illustrator: 

Lindsay Ward is the creator of the Dexter T. Rexter series as well as Brobarians, Rosco vs. the Baby, and The Importance of Being 3. Her book Please Bring Balloons was also made into a play. Lindsay lives in Peninsula, Ohio, with her family. Gray is one of her favorite colors. Learn more about her online at www.lindsaymward.com.
Twitter: @lindsaymward
THIS BOOK IS GRAY low-res cover (1)Enter a Giveaway!

One lucky winner will receive a copy of This Book is Gray, courtesy of Two Lions/Amazon (U.S. addresses only). There are now multiple ways to enter the giveaway.
  • Follow me @lauramossa on Twitter and retweet my This Book is Gray giveaway tweet.
  • If you are not on Twitter, fill out the Google form below.

This giveaway is open from December 6, 2019-December 13, 2019 and ends at 10:00 p.m. EST.  Winner will be announced on December 14, 2019.

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

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 12/2/19

Beagles and Books is back and thrilled 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:

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Santa’s Story by Will Hillenbrand

It is Christmas Eve and Santa is ready to begin his monumental sleigh ride but he has a problem.  None of his reindeer can be found.  To read my full review and to enter a giveaway, click here.

One Snowy Morning by Kevin Tseng Illustrated by Dana Wulfkotte

In this fun story, a chipmunk and a squirrel see a snowman but do not recognize it as one.  Instead, they show readers their vivid imagination as they invent different uses for each item. For example, the coal eyes are lumpy kickballs, the scarf is a theater curtain, and the carrot is a rare dragon tooth.  Feeling inspired, they decide to use the carrot to stir up a pot of dragon tooth soup, find new uses for each item, and invite their friends over for a party. After their party ends, the items are returned to the “giant pile of snow” so that others can enjoy them.  What I love about One Snowy Morning is that the two woodland friends teach us to be out of the box thinkers. Readers will enjoy the humorous  and creative plot and the warm and lively illustrations. Thanks to the publisher for sharing an early copy with my #bookexcursion group.  One Snowy Morning recently published on November 5, 2019.

Snowy Race by April Jones Prince Illustrated by Christine Davenier

From the very first page, readers will feel the excitement of a little girl as she wakes up and says “Today’s the day! She’s on her way!” Behind her bed nailed to the wall is a calendar with many crossed out dates and only one date circled in red.  Who is the little girl waiting for?  The excitement grows as the little girl and her father eat breakfast and then board the snow plow headed for town. As the weather worsens, the rhyming text and energetic yet warm full page spread illustrations conveys the mood as the father and daughter brave the storm together.  Finally, they reach their destination, a train station and readers finally see who the little girl was waiting for.  Snowy Race is a heartwarming story about family.  Thanks to the publisher for sharing an early copy of Snowy Race with my #bookexcursion group.  It recently celebrated its book birthday on November 26, 2019.

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.

We Could Be Heroes by Margaret Finnegan

Fourth grader Hank is a compassionate kid with autism.  He is largely overlooked by his classmates, but Hank is content spending time with his rock collection.  After an incident at school which leads to a three day suspension, Hank gains the attention of high-spirited classmate Maisie.  And coincidentally, her parents are geologists. Maisie invites Hank over to her house to see rocks but actually has an ulterior motive. She wants to find a new home for her neighbor’s dog, Booler.  Booler suffers from seizures so in order to keep the dog safe, Booler lives outside tied to a tree.  From Maisie’s perspective, Booler is being mistreated and needs to be rescued, but Maisie doesn’t know the whole story.  Hank is eager to have a real friend, but experiences anxiety for Booler and his situation.  Maisie though is so relentless that Hank refers to her as a barnacle, for she has latched on to a plan to save Booler and won’t it go.  Reluctantly, Hank agrees to help Maisie and while their intentions are admirable, their actions do result in some negative consequences, but the silver lining is learning how to truly be a friend.  

I read a lot of middle grade novels and many are written with older characters.  I love that debut author Finnegan novel features two dynamic characters for a younger audience.  Drawing from her own experiences as a parent of a child with autism, and epilepsy, , Finnegan also did a beautiful job creating authentic characters in Hank and Maisie.  While the novel is under 250 pages, Finnegan slowly and skillfully reveals the plot which makes the book hard to put down.  Readers do not learn until close to the end why Maisie is so steadfast in wanting to rescue Booler.  I also love how the friendship between the children and Mr. Jorgensen gradually unfolds.  With themes of family, friendship, and forgiveness, We Could Be Heroes is a must read.  Pre-order now, for the novel publishes on February 25, 2020.

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 Santa’s Story by Will Hillenbrand

 

Beagles and Books is excited to be part of the blog tour for Santa’s Story written and illustrated by Will Hillenbrand. It released in September 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:

It’s Black Friday and instead of shopping, I am relaxing and reading by the fire with my book beagles.  Since the day after Thanksgiving is typically the official start of the Christmas season, it is the perfect time to share a new Christmas picture book.

 It is Christmas Eve and Santa is ready to begin his monumental sleigh ride but he has a problem.  None of his reindeer can be found.  

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Using alliteration and rich vocabulary,  Hillenbrand shows the readers where the reindeer are and what they are up to.  A few of the reindeer’s actions matched their names, for Dasher dashed and Prancer pranced, but Vixen vexed, Cupid crooned and Donner dozed.  I love how children are exposed to sophisticated words which will enhance their oral vocabulary.  Supporting the concise and rich text are warm double page illustrations with a muted color palette.  If readers look closely, on some pages, they will see Santa looking for the reindeer with his binoculars. And Santa’s adorable little dog is right by his side, which makes me love the story even more.

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Santa attempts to call the reindeer with playing a horn and ringing bells, but has no success.  But with the help of Comet and his dog, Santa finally realizes why the reindeer are not responding and shouts the two words, STORY TIME, that will gather his team for their Christmas Eve tradition of reading The Night Before Christmas.  After the read aloud, the reindeer are ready to bring a merry Christmas to all!

As a reading specialist, I am always promoting the power of reading aloud and I love that Hillenbrand wrote a holiday story featuring this important family activity.  Reading aloud should not just be a tradition on Christmas Eve, but a daily habit.  Here’s hoping Santa’s Story may be a vehicle to reminding parents, caregivers, and teachers to set aside time each day to share a good book!

Meet the Author/Illustrator: 

 
Will Hillenbrand has written and illustrated many beloved picture books, including Snowman’s Story, Down by the Barn, Mother Goose Picture Puzzles, and the Bear and Mole series. He has also illustrated dozens of books, including the Big Bear series by Maureen Wright. Will lives with his wife and son in Terrace Park, Ohio. You can find out more about him at www.willhillenbrand.com.
 
Connect with Will on Facebook
On Instagram: willhillenbrand
 
 
Praise for SANTA’S STORY:
 
“Hillenbrand’s digital illustrations have a pleasingly soft visual aesthetic…A merrily-ever-after read.” —Kirkus Reviews
 
“Hillenbrand reveals the spirited goings on in snowy, buoyant digital pictures featuring expressive reindeer and a jolly Santa who would be right at home in an animated movie. A light and cheery holiday tribute to tradition and storytelling.” —Publishers Weekly
 
“Interesting vocabulary, a touch of suspense, and a satisfying conclusion make this simple story a good addition to holiday collections.” —School Library Journal
 
 
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Enter a Giveaway!
One lucky winner will receive a copy of Santa’s Story, courtesy of Two Lions/Amazon (U.S. addresses). There are now multiple ways to enter the giveaway.

  • Follow me @lauramossa on Twitter and retweet my Santa Story giveaway tweet.
  • If you are not on Twitter, fill out the Google form below.

This giveaway is open from November 29, 2019-December 6, 2019 and ends at 10:00 p.m. EST.  Winner will be announced on December 7, 2019.

 

 

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 Higgins

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