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

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 11/19/18

Beagles and Books is excited to share another edition of 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 Reads This Week:

The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise by Dan Gemeinhart

Ever since Coyote’s mother and two sisters were killed in an automobile accident,  she and her father Rodeo have been living on a converted school bus named Yeager and traveling wherever the road or their stomachs take them. With the discovery that her hometown park is about to be torn down, Coyote must find a way to get back to Washington State in order to retrieve a memory box that she, her mother, and sisters buried there years ago.  The trouble is going home is a no-go for Rodeo who wants to leave their past behind.  

Coyote though is determined to keep her promise to her mom and dig up their box. She concocts a scheme to steer Rodeo toward home without suspicion. While on route, Coyote meets some people in need of rides who join her and Rodeo on her secret journey home.  Since time is of the essence,  she eventually confides in all these passengers who support Coyote in her mission. Each individual also teaches Coyote valuable lessons about family, friendship, forgiveness, and finding your own path. 

The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise is a beautiful story that reminds us sometimes we do have to go back to move forward.  I do admire Rodeo for his kind and gentle soul but Coyote has my heart.  Of course, any character who devours books and names her kitten Ivan in honor of The One and Only Ivan is a soul mate.  What I love most about Coyote is she shows great strength in acknowledging her vulnerability. One of my favorite lines is when Coyote says “maybe we’re all a little broken. Maybe we’re all a little fragile. Maybe that’s why we need each other so much.”

A very special thanks to Christian Trimmer and Mark Podesta of Henry Holt Books for Young Readers/Macmillian Books for sending an ARC to my #bookexcursion group.  Pre-order now, for it releases on January 8, 2019.

Duck and Hippo Give Thanks by Jonathan London Illustrated by Andrew Joyner

I love finding seasonal read alouds that I can share with students before a holiday. Duck and Hippo Give Thanks is a sweet story that reminds us that true friendship is about accepting others for who they are.  To read my full review and enter a giveaway for 3 Duck and Hippo books, 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.

Little Brown by Marla Frazee

Little Brown is cantankerous dog but the question is why?  Is his negative attitude caused by the fact that other dogs won’t play with him or rather is it that the other dogs won’t befriend him because of his crankiness? Readers discover that Little Brown does has an interest in mingling with the other dogs but he clearly is afraid of being rejected. 

So what is Little Brown’s solution?  Stealing all their belongings and keeps them for himself.   The ending is a stalemate between Little Brown and the other dogs and will make readers think and want to discuss. Little Brown is a great read aloud for discussing character motivation and will undoubtedly lead to a conversation about bullying and empathy.  

Etta, Bella, and I thank you for visiting Beagles and Books.  Have a great week!

Blog Tour, Giveaway, Picture Books

Blog Tour & Giveaway: Duck and Hippo Give Thanks by Jonathan London Illustrated by Andrew Joyner

 

Beagles and Books is excited to be a part of the blog tour for Duck and Hippo Give Thanks written by Jonathan London and illustrated by Andrew Joyner. It recently published in August 2018. Special thanks to Two Lions Publishing and Barbara Fisch of Blue Slip Media for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Publisher’s Summary:

Duck and Hippo are thankful for good friends!

It’s the day before Thanksgiving, and Hippo has his heart set on having a good old-fashioned feast with Duck and their friends. Together, Duck and Hippo go shopping for food and invite Turtle, Elephant, and Pig to share the special day with them. Then they get everything ready. But while Hippo goes to bed dreaming of his good old-fashioned Thanksgiving, Duck is busy making her own plans. There’s going to be a BIG surprise—one that will remind Hippo of all he has to be thankful for. Join Duck and Hippo for a memorable celebration!

Review and Thoughts:

I love finding seasonal read alouds that I can share with students before a holiday.  Duck and Hippo Give Thanks is a sweet story with two simple yet powerful messages. True friendship is about accepting others for who they are, and the best gift is time together with friends.

At my elementary school this year, we are focusing on teaching students a virtue a week and acknowledging students who demonstrate that virtue through their words and actions. After reading aloud Duck and Hippo Give Thanks to a second grade class, I asked “What do you think the author wanted to teach us?”  Many hands went up in the air with connections to the previously taught virtues.  Here are some of the kids’ comments.

“This story taught me about being kind.  Hippo was kind to invite all his friends to Thanksgiving dinner and the animals were kind to bring food to share.”

“I think the author wanted us to know that being a good friend means you don’t always get your way. When the animals brought their own food, Hippo looked mad at first but then he changed his mind and said he was thankful for his friends.”

“The story reminded me of our virtue of cooperation. Hippo and his friends all worked together to make food for Thanksgiving.”

It always warms this teacher’s heart when children can identify themes on their own and can see that books can have multiple messages.  I enjoy Duck and Hippo because they remind me of Frog and Toad. Duck is adventurous and Hippo is a little more set in his ways.  Together, they are great friends because they bring out the best in each other.  Andrew Joyner’s illustrations warmly capture both Duck’s and Hippo’s personalities.

If Duck and Hippo are new to you, check out the series.  And be on the look out for the next book, Duck and Hippo: The Secret Valentine, due out on December 18, 2018.

About the Author:
Jonathan London is the author of more than one hundred children’s books, including the Froggy series, illustrated by Frank Remkiewicz, which has sold more than fifteen million copies. Jonathan lives in Graton, California. Learn more at www.jonathan-london.net

About the Illustrator:
Andrew Joyner is an Australian illustrator and author whose work has been published in more than twenty-five countries. He has created the artwork for many picture books, and he is author and illustrator of a chapter book series about a warthog named Boris. Andrew lives in South Australia. Learn more at www.andrewjoyner.com.au.

There’s more fun with Duck and Hippo in the free downloadable activity pages: https://www.andrewjoyner.com.au/activities/.

Duck and Hippo give thanks for good friends in this sweet book trailer.

Giveaway!
Two Lions is offering a set of all three Duck and Hippo books–DUCK AND HIPPO IN THE RAINSTORM, DUCK AND HIPPO LOST AND FOUND, and DUCK AND HIPPO GIVE THANKS–to one lucky winner (U.S. addresses).  Giveaway begins Friday, November 16, 2018 and ends at 12:00 a.m. on Friday, November 23, 2018. Enter by clicking the link below.  

A Duck and Hippo Rafflecopter Giveaway

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

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 11/12/18

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Beagles and Books is excited to share another edition of 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.

I had the honor and pleasure of being part of blog tours for newly released books over the past two weeks.  Some books are still on tour so please click links to read my full review and enter current giveaways.  Etta and Bella’s pick of the week is the anticipated follow up to Madeline Finn and the Library Dog, which is one of my favorite picture books.

Our Reads This Week:

Inkling by Kenneth Oppel

When an ink blot escapes a sketchbook, he has no idea of the impact he would have on the Rylance family.  They are still mourning the loss of their mom and comic artist dad is struggling to write his next graphic novel. Inkling tackles tough issues but gently and with care. Kids will be able to relate to Ethan and his challenges of finding his own path. Sydney Smith’s illustrations are also crucial to the plot.  As a reader, I actually felt the presence of Inkling, for splots grace every page.  And I never thought I would fall in love with a cute ink blot, but Kenneth Oppel’s characterization of Inkling will make it hard for you not to do the same. To read my full review and enter a giveaway, please click here.

Love Like Sky by Leslie Youngblood

Told from the point of view of 11-year-old Georgie, Love Like Sky is an honest and heartwarming story about family and friendship. What I love about Love Like Sky is Georgie’s voice is so authentic.  Young readers will  easily be able to relate to Georgie’s struggles but they will also see her strength. While still a child, she is getting older and wants to be treated more like a grown up.  Like other kids her age, Georgie’s choices can be selfish at times but she is self-reflective and learns from her mistakes. To read my full review and enter a giveaway, please click here.

Little Dreamers: Visionary Women Around the World by Vashti Harrison

Little Dreamers is a companion to Vashti Harrison’s Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History. This well written and beautifully illustrated compilation of concise biographies is a celebration of 40 curious, creative, and persistence women who are role models for us all.  Each woman challenged the norm, saw things differently, and wasn’t afraid to ask questions and share their thinking. To read my full review & enter a giveaway, please click here.

Duck on a Disco Ball by Jeff Mack

Every kid wants to know what their parents do while they are asleep. Well, Duck on a Disco Ball is a hilarious story about one boy who decides to take matter into his own hands and finds out.  A lively and back-slapping companion to Duck in the Fridge, Duck on a Disco Ball will continue the laughter and young children will beg for more Duck shenanigans. To read full review, 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.

Madeline Finn & the Shelter Dog by Lisa Papp

For fans of Madeline Finn and the Library Dog, Lisa Papp’s follow up will be a warm hug.  Madeline convinces her mom to allow her to adopt one of Bonnie’s puppies and names him Star.  Wondering how Mrs. Dimple chose Bonnie, Madeline discovers that Bonnie came from a shelter.  Mrs. Dimple invites Madeline to join her at the shelter when she donates supplies.  While Madeline can see the animals have their basic needs met, she is still worried.  “Does any tell the shelter dogs they love them?”  Taking action, Madeline collects towels for the shelter and organizes a read aloud for the dogs.

It is no secret that I have a special place in my heart for rescue dogs and when a story combines my love for reading and rescue dogs, it’s well, perfect.  It is quite clear that Madeline takes her job as Star’s caretaker very seriously which is very important to me.  Children need to realize that having a dog especially a puppy is a big responsibility.  While she has a dog of her own to love, Lisa Papp’s text and warm illustrations beautifully convey Madeline’s genuine concern for the shelter dogs especially a black and white dog named Mr. Chips.  Sponsoring a second grade class for #classroombookaday, I love to read aloud books that teach kids that they too can make a difference.  Madeline is a great role model for children demonstrating small gestures can make a big impact!

A  very special thanks to Lisa Papp and Peachtree Publishers for sending a F & G of Madeline Finn and the Shelter Dog to my #bookexcursion group.  Pre-order now like me, for Madeline Finn and the Shelter Dog will be published in March 2019.

Etta, Bella, and I thank you for visiting Beagles and Books.  Have a great week!

Blog Tour, Book Birthday, Giveaway, Picture Books, Rockstar Book Tours

Blog Tour & Giveaway: Little Dreamers Visionary Women Around the World by Vashti Harrison

LITTLE DREAMERS

Beagles and Books wishes a Happy Book Birthday to author and illustrator Vashti Harrison and her latest picture book Little Dreamers: Visionary Women Around the World. I am excited to be part of the blog tour organized by Rockstar Book Tours.

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About the Book:
Title:
 LITTLE DREAMERS: VISIONARY WOMEN AROUND THE WORLD
Author: Vashti Harrison
Pub. Date: November 6, 2018
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Formats: Hardcover, eBook, Audiobook
Pages: 96

Find it: GoodreadsAmazonAudible,  B&NiBooksTBD

 Summary:
From the New York Times bestselling author of Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History comes the highly anticipated follow-up, a beautifully illustrated collectible detailing the lives of women creators around the world.

Featuring the true stories of 40 women creators, ranging from writers to inventors, artists to scientists, Visionary Women Around the World inspires as it educates. Readers will meet trailblazing women like Mary Blair, an American modernist painter who had a major influence on how color was used in early animated films, actor/inventor Hedy Lamar, environmental activist Wangari Maathai, architect Zaha Hadid, filmmaker Maya Deren, and physicist Chien-Shiung Wu. Some names are known, some are not, but all of the women had a lasting effect on the fields they worked in.

The charming, information-filled full-color spreads show the leaders as both accessible and aspirational so reader knows they, too, can grow up to do something amazing.

Review:
Little Dreamers is a companion to Vashti Harrison’s Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History. This well written and beautifully illustrated compilation of concise biographies is a celebration of 40 curious, creative, and persistence women who are role models for us all.  Each woman challenged the norm, saw things differently and wasn’t afraid to ask questions and share their thinking. Because of their determination and willingness to make mistakes, the world is a better place.

Harrison’s extensive time researching is evident, for she includes women from as far back as the ninth century as well as women who are still alive today. She highlights women who have made significant and lasting contributions to the arts and science.  While some names were familiar to me such as Marie Curie, Toni Morrison and Maya Lin, I must shamefully admit that the majority of women were new to me, which is why Little Dreamers is such an important book to be read and shared with children.

Little Dreamers is an utterly gorgeous book in its content, design, and message. The format makes the text highly accessible to elementary age students. One page mini biographies are accompanied by a strikingly beautifully yet simple portrait. 

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The learning doesn’t end, for the backmatter includes an introduction to 18 additional women and resources for readers to conduct their own research. A glossary of terms is also included. Little Dreamers: Visionary Women Around the World is an affirming and uplifting text that should be in every home, classroom and library to educate and inspire future little dreamers.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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About Vashti:
Part author – illustrator – filmmaker, Vashti Harrison is an artist originally from Onley, Virginia. She has a background in filmmaking and a love for storytelling. She earned her BA from the University of Virginia as a double major in Media Studies and Studio Art with concentrations in Film and Cinematography. She then went on to receive her MFA in Film and Video from CalArts where she snuck into Animation classes to learn from Disney and Dreamworks legends. There she rekindled a love for drawing and painting. Now, utilizing both skillsets, she is passionate about crafting beautiful stories for children and young adults in the film and kidlit worlds.

Website | Twitter | Instagram |Facebook | Goodreads

Giveaway Details:
3 winners will win a finished copy of LITTLE DREAMERS: VISIONARY WOMEN AROUND THE WORLD, US Only.  Click the link below to enter.

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/e2389ba2839/?

Tour Schedule:
Join us on the other stops of this tour for more giveaway chances and to read more about author Vashti Harrison and her new picture book LITTLE DREAMERS.

Week One:
11/5/2018- Such a Novel Idea– Review
11/6/2018- Beagles & Books– Review
11/7/2018- Mama Reads Blog– Review
11/8/2018- Book-Keeping– Review
11/9/2018- The Layaway Dragon– Review

Week Two:
11/12/2018- YA Books Central– Excerpt
11/13/2018- Two Points of Interest– Review
11/14/2018- Adventures Thru Wonderland– Review
11/15/2018- Novel Novice– Review
11/16/2018- Do You Dog-ear?– Review

 

Blog Tour, Giveaway, Picture Books

Blog Tour & Giveaway: Duck On a Disco Ball by Jeff Mack

Beagles and Books is excited to be a part of the blog tour for Duck on a Disco Ball by Jeff Mack. It recently published on October 1, 2018. Special thanks to Two Lions Publishing and Barbara Fisch of Blue Slip Media for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
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Publisher’s Summary:

Bedtime has never been so silly!

Every night it’s the same old story. A boy wants to stay up late, but his parents won’t let him. But sometimes in the morning, he notices things look a little off—like when he sees a disco ball in the kitchen…with his toy duck on it. So one night he decides to stay up. And that’s when the fun really begins.

Silliness builds with each page of this high-energy, pun-filled companion to Duck in the Fridge until the moment when sleep eventually takes hold and morning arrives once more.

Review and Thoughts:

Every kid wants to know what their parents do while they are asleep.

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Well, Duck on a Disco Ball is a hilarious story about one boy who decides to take matter into his own hands and finds out.  He sneaks downstairs and witnesses his parents back partying with his toy duck and other stuffed animals which have come alive! His parents are bellyflopping and backflipping, eating, singing and even flying.

I love the format which are primarily full page vivid and bold illustrations with the boy’s narration in typewriter text and all dialogue in speech bubbles.  During the parents’ late night antics, puns pervade the party.  The horse asks “Can I get a drink of water? I’m just a little hoarse.”  A duck remarks “Everyone loves donuts” and another duck responds ” Not me. I’m sick of the hole thing!” In response to the parents saying they wanna rock (in other words, sing) a boulder literally crashes into their house and rock puns ensue.  In the morning, the boy finds his toy duck and a guitar behind the sofa confirming what he saw was no dream.  At the end, the duck gives a cute little wink confirming the late night romp making me wonder what will be his next adventure.

A lively and back-slapping companion to Duck in the Fridge, Duck on a Disco Ball will continue the laughter and young children will beg for more Duck shenanigans.

The silliness continues in the trailer!

About Jeff Mack:
Jeff Mack is the award-winning author and illustrator of Duck in the Fridge; Mine!; Ah Ha!; Good News, Bad News; and the Hippo and Rabbit series. He has also illustrated many books, including If My Love Were a Fire Truck by Luke Reynolds. His books have been awarded the Texas 2×2, a Junior Library Guild award, a Colorado Bell Award, a Pennsylvania Family Literacy Award, a New York Public Library Best Book of the Year Award, and a Bank Street Best Book of the Year award. Jeff lives in Massachusetts. Visit him online at jeffmack.com
Twitter: @jeffmackbooks
Facebook: JeffMackBooks
 
Giveaway!
One lucky winner will receive a copy of BOTH books featuring the silly duck–Duck in the Fridge and Duck On a Disco Ball, courtesy of Two Lions (U.S. addresses).  To enter, click the link below.
#Bookexcursion, It's Monday! What Are You Reading?, Middle Grade Literature, Picture Books

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 10/29/18

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Beagles and Books is excited to share another edition of 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.

Unfortunately, Bella has become quite camera shy especially a book is nearby.  Imagine that!  Thankfully Etta is willing to pose as long as treats are part of the deal.

Our Reads This Week:

Property of the Rebel Librarian by Allison Varnes

12 year old June Harper has always been a rule follower, but after her parents confiscate her library book, The Makings of a Witch, the librarian Ms. Bradshaw is put on indefinite leave, and the school board passes a resolution banning all books which contain profanity, drugs, violence, rock/rap music, witchcraft, drinking, smoking or rebellion of any kind, June has no choice but to rebel for the first time in her life.  Recalling Ms. Bradshaw’s words that one book can change everything, June secretly starts a banned book library in an abandoned locker stocking it with books borrowed from a Little Free Library located in her neighborhood.  Word begins to spread about June’s library but fear of getting caught is growing. Can she keep her underground library hidden or will it be discovered?

I love books about books and most especially I love characters who are voracious readers. June is a proud library groupie who understands the true power of books.  As I read Property of the Rebel Librarian, I’ll admit I was so angered by all the adults in the novel (except of course for Ms. Bradshaw who is awesome) who firmly believed in censoring books.  While it may have seemed far fetched, all I have to do is scroll my Twitter feed to be reminded that censorship is happening when parents and teachers think graphic novels are not real reading or students can’t choose books outside of their reading levels.  I greatly admired June for taking a stand choosing books over a boy and fighting for the freedom to read and most importantly, for the freedom of choice.

While The Makings of a Witch is not a real novel, all other titles mentioned in the novel are real and it was so cool to see familiar and loved titles such as EngiNerds, Pax, A Snicker of Magic, and Because of Winn Dixie. A full list of all titles mentioned appears at the end of the book.  Special thanks to author Allison Varnes for sending an ARC to my #bookexcursion group.  Property of the Rebel Librarian recently published in September 2018.

Bone Soup: A Spooky and Tasty Tale by Alyssa Satin Capucilli Illustrated by Tom Knight

Bone Soup is a fun Halloween retelling of the classic tale Stone Soup that I can’t wait to read aloud to students this week!  On Halloween morning, three hungry witches have nothing in their cupboards except a bone.  “Let’s make bone soup!” said Naggy Witch.  Carrying their cauldron with the lone bone from house to house, the witches trick or treat for more ingredients to make bone soup.  An assortment of ghoulish characters contribute to the soup by adding a bit of water, a savory morsel, a crunchy treat, and some tasty tidbits.   But wait!  Soup from a bone?  Is this a trick instead of a treat?

Kids will not only enjoy this spooky plot of this remake but also the entertaining and not too scary illustrations.  At the end of the book, there is a recipe to make bone soup which would be a great family activity.  As a teacher, I love author Alyssa Satin Capucilli’s word choice exposing children to rich vocabulary (gleefully, beguiling, boomed) and her use of puns (“I won’t hang around much longer,” sneered the bat.)  Another bonus is under the recipe, she includes a note which reminds readers that the theme of both Bone Soup and the original folktale is that of collaboration and sharing.  That makes Bone Soup a treat for adults to read to kids!

Special thanks to Barbara Fisch of Blue Slip Media for sending Bone Soup to Beagles and Books.  It released in July 2018.

Sanity & Tallulah

Sanity & Tallulah by Molly Brooks

With engaging artwork using a limited color palette, a fast paced plot, strong and diverse characters and of course, an adorable three-headed kitty,  I hope that Sanity and Tallulah is the first of many space adventures with this charming, intelligent, and plucky duo. To read my full review, 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.

Blue by Laura Vaccaro Seeger

Blue is a tender and poignant story chronicling the relationship between a boy and his dog.  The first double page spread is a beautiful water color illustration of a puppy and boy sleeping head to head both touching a blue blanket with only two words, baby blue.  Each subsequent spread sweetly captures a moment in time that the boy and his dog share as they grow up together.  The blue blanket is now a kerchief which the boy and the dog take turns wearing.  Just two words, one being blue, describe each scene.  The bonded pair chase butterflies, run in the ocean waves, sleep together, read in a tent, and walk in the rain and snow.  Inevitably, the dog ages and the boy copes with his grief and the loss of his best friend.  As a dog mom, I too have experienced this sorrow and especially with Etta getting older, this story hits very close to home. Blue though reminds me that I can cherish my precious memories and open my heart once again.

Etta, Bella, and I thank you for visiting Beagles and Books.  Have a great week!

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

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? & Enter 2 Giveaways! 10/15/18

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Beagles and Books is excited to share another edition of 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 Reads This Week:

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Revenge of the Enginerds by Jarrett Lerner

Snow in May? A satellite falling out of the sky? But wait….it gets worse. An alien obsessed girl with nifty gadgets wants to join the EngiNerds. Ken is at his wit’s end and his fellow EngiNerds are not stepping up. The highly anticipated follow up to EngiNerds exceeds expectations with a hilarious action packed plot and a glimpse into Ken’s struggles to accept that friendships change and grow.

The novel takes place one week after Ken, Dan, Jerry, and John Henry Knox defeated sixteen of the robots. Told from Ken’s point of view, readers quickly discover that there is still one robot on the loose, and strange things are occurring in town. Ken is determined to find this rogue robot and is fueled by a quote from his grandpa.  “Finish what you start or down the road, it’ll bite you in the backside.” His fellow EngiNerds are not only discouraged but also distracted by Mikaela Harrington, a girl who believes aliens are to blame for all the strange occurrences and is eager to share all her handmade fancy gizmos.

Ken cannot understand why his friends actually are taking Mikaela seriously especially his best friend Dan.  Readers will easily identify with Ken’s jealousy and his growing concern that he and Dan are drifting apart.   Thanks to his dog Kitty and Mikaela’s data eater, Ken finally finds the lone robot Klaus working at Things and Stuff.  Will Ken be able to defeat Klaus alone or with the help of the EngiNerds?  Can Ken accept and become friends with Mikaela?  Is Klaus or aliens to blame for all the mysterious happenings?  Only one way to find out.  Pre-order Revenge of the Enginerds now so you can have it delivered promptly on February 19, 2019.

Special thanks to author Jarrett Lerner for sending an ARC to my #bookexcursion group to read and share.

Remarkably You by Pat Zielow Miller Illustrated by Patrice Barton

What makes you remarkable?  In Remarkably You, Pat Zielow Miller’s inspirational text affirms that no matter your volume, age or size, we all have the power to make a difference in world with our own individual gifts.   Written in rhyme, she speaks directly to readers encouraging us to uncover our talents, follow our passions, solve problems, and most importantly, be ourselves and believe in ourselves.  Patrice Barton’s warm and expressive illustrations depict children of all sizes and ethnicities who exude confidence.  An added bonus are the endpapers which is a sea of verbs and adjectives to positively describe and celebrate us as the unique individuals we are!  Can’t wait to share Remarkably You with teachers and students!

Special thanks to author Pat Zietlow Miller for sending a F & G copy to my #bookexcursion group to read and share.  Remarkably You publishes in February 2019.

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Eduardo Guadardo, Elite Sheep by Anthony Pearson Illustrated by Jennifer E. Morris

Eduardo Guadardo, Elite Sheep is a laugh out loud story which reinforces the benefits of cooperation and teamwork! To read my full review and enter a giveaway for your own copy, please click here.

Have You Heard About Lady Bird? Poems About First Ladies by Marilyn Singer Illustrated by Nancy Carpenter

When I lived in Washington, DC, one of my favorite places to go was the Smithsonian Museum of American History to see the First Ladies exhibit.  I could spend hours looking at the First Ladies gowns and reading about their lives and the causes they championed.  Have You Heard About Lady Bird? is an opportunity to meet all the women who have served in this public role through Marilyn Singer’s lyrical and rhyming poetry.

What did I learn? Here are a few facts.

  • Martha Dandridge Custis Washington was a wealthy widow with two children before marrying our nation’s first president.
  • Martha Wayless Skeleton Jefferson, wife of Thomas Jefferson died before he became president.
  • Louisa Catherine Johnson Adams became closer to her husband, John Quincy Adams after his presidency when they both fought for abolition.
  • Abigail Powers Fillmore was the first to add a sizeable collection of books at the White House.
  • Margaret “Peggy” Mackell Smith Taylor, wife of Zachary Taylor refused to participate in White House social functions and relinquished the role of hostess to her daughter Betty Bliss.
  • Lou Henry Hoover spoke four languages and studied geology at Stanford University.

Nancy Carpenter’s artwork has a vintage feel with ink and wash illustrations that complement the poetry well.  The back matter includes a narrative about the history of the role of First Lady, brief profiles of each woman with a quote and recommended books and websites.  This anthology of poetry reminds us how each First Lady embraced or surprisingly rejected their role as partner of the Commander in Chief.

Special thanks to Disney Hyperion Books and Rockstar Book Tours for sending a copy to Beagles and Books.  Have You Heard About Lady Bird? celebrates its book birthday tomorrow on October 16, 2018!  To enter a giveaway sponsored by the publisher to win a copy of your own, 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.

Douglas, You’re a Genius! by Ged Adamson

Douglas and his glasses are back in a new story which promotes innovation, creativity, and persistence! While playing with Nancy, their ball disappears into a hole at the bottom of the fence.  To their surprise, the ball came back but how? Douglas hatches a plan to find out who is on the other side of the fence by sending a toy train through the hole.  After what seems like a long wait, the train returns with the following messages: “Hola” and “Queremos Conocerte.”  Nancy shares plan after plan with Douglas in hopes of getting over the fence but much to Douglas’ chagrin, every idea involves him doing something dangerous.  Finally, Douglas speaks up for himself and takes charge which truly shows he is a genius!  After discovering the mystery neighbors, I am hopeful for a third installment.

Etta, Bella, and I thank you for visiting Beagles and Books.  Have a great week!

Blog Tour, Giveaway, Picture Books

Blog Tour & Giveaway: Eduardo Guadardo, Elite Sheep by Anthony Pearson

Beagles and Books is excited to be a part of the blog tour for Eduardo Guadardo, Elite Sheep written by Anthony Pearson and illustrated by Jennifer E. Morris It recently published on October 1, 2018. Special thanks to Two Lions Publishing and Barbara Fisch of Blue Slip Media for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Publisher’s Summary: 

Eduardo Guadardo may look fluffy. He may look cute. But he’s no little lamb. He’s about to graduate from the FBI—that’s the Fairytale Bureau of Investigations—as an Elite Sheep.

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He knows five forms of kung fu, and he can outfox the foxiest of foxes. In fact, he’s so good they put him on his own case: to keep the farmer’s daughter, Mary, safe from Wolf, Troll, and Witch. It’s a job for somebody baaaaaaad—someone like a soon-to-be Elite Sheep. The thing is, protecting Mary isn’t quite as easy as Eduardo expected…

This imaginary backstory for “Mary Had a Little Lamb” is hilarious, action-packed, and filled with subterfuge (that means pulling the wool over your eyes, for you civilians).

 

Review and Thoughts:
This year, my elementary school is focusing on one value or virtue per week to teach and reinforce with students on the daily morning announcements and during daily class meetings.  Since this week’s virtue was cooperation, Eduardo Guardaro, Elite Sheep was the perfect picture book to read aloud to the second grade class that I sponsor for #classroombookaday.  To learn more about #classroombookaday, please click here. 
At the beginning of the story, Eduardo exudes confidence in his ability to handle his very first case on his own.  When Gingerbread Man asks who will be his partner, Eduardo dismisses him firmly stating “I don’t need to work with anyone.”  Protecting adventurous Mary Sawyer from Wolf, Troll, and Witch is hard work but nothing that Eduardo can’t handle.  Don’t forget he is an Elite Sheep.
But even an Elite Sheep get tired especially when it’s three against one. A frustrated and frightened Eduardo finally realizes that he needs help and fast.  After he admits he was wrong and begs the Gingerbread Man for help, Eduardo discovers that his first case was actually a set up which reveals he is lacking one crucial skill-the ability to work as part of a team.When I asked students about the purpose for reading and what is the author trying to teach us as readers, they quickly saw the connection between our virtue of the week and the message of the story.  After reading, we briefly brainstormed how cooperating with others helps us.
As a teacher, I always carefully choose #classroombookaday picture books because I want the text to teach or change students in some way.  What I love about Eduardo Guadardo, Elite Sheep is Anthony Pearson’s hilarious writing is full of sheep puns and told completely through dialogue.  Coupled with Jennifer Morris’ humorous and detailed illustrations, my students were laughing out loud the entire time I read the story.  But through the laughter, they learned the benefits of cooperation and teamwork, which are important skills to be successful in life.
About the Author:

Anthony Pearson is not a spy. He’s not. We promise. He’s actually a school counselor, a child therapist, and the author of Baby Bear Eats the Night, illustrated by Bonnie Leick. But that didn’t stop him from digging for clues about “Mary Had a Little Lamb.” What he found made him imagine what could have inspired the rhyme: a sheep that is totally, absolutely, 100 percent in control of things … or maybe just 95 percent. And squirrels in sunglasses. Oh, and a witch flying a helicopter. But you didn’t hear about the Fairytale Bureau of Investigations from him. Anthony and his family live in deep cover in Georgia. Get more intel about him at www.AnthonyPearson.info.

Twitter: @APearson_Writer

About the Illustrator:
Jennifer E. Morris has written and illustrated award-winning picture books and has also illustrated children’s magazines, greeting cards, partyware, and educational materials. She has not illustrated classified documents nor is she a super secret agent. She is, however, the creator of May I Please Have a Cookie? which has infiltrated more than a million homes. If you say “The dove flies at noon,” she may tell you what the ducks recorded on their cameras. Maybe. But most likely not. Jennifer lives with her family in Massachusetts, just a few miles from the little red schoolhouse where “Mary Had a Little Lamb” originated. Read more of her dossier (that’s DAH-see-ay) at www.jenmorris.com.

Twitter: @jemorrisbooks

Check Out Book Trailer:
Get some intel on Eduardo Guardado in his very own book trailer!

Enter Our Giveaway:
One lucky winner will receive a copy of Eduardo Guadardo, Elite Sheep, courtesy of Two Lions (U.S. addresses only). Click the link below to enter.  Giveaway begins at Friday, October 12, 2018 at 12:00 a.m. and ends on Friday, October 19, 2018 at 11:59 a.m.  Please click the link below to enter.
#Bookexcursion, It's Monday! What Are You Reading?, Middle Grade Literature, Picture Books

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 10/8/18

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Beagles and Books is excited to share another edition of 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 Reads This Week:

Del Toro Moon by Darby Karchut

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While the Del Toro family business of combating wolf like monsters known as skinners may have initially convinced me to read Del Toro Moon, it is the importance of sticking together as a family that will remain with me long after I have read.   To read my full review, click here.

Porcupine’s Pie by Laura Renauld Illustrated by Jennie Pon

Porcupine is bursting with excitement to make her Famous Cranberry Pie for Fall Feast Day.  As she heads to the river to wash her cranberries, she encounters her forest friends who all are missing an ingredient to make their signature dish.  Ever helpful, Porcupine offers provisions in her pantry to her friends.  When she finally reaches the river, she realizes that her pail of cranberries is empty and no longer can make her beloved pie.  Her friends come to her rescue and Porcupine discovers that she can now make Friendship Pie, which is much more festive.   Debut author Laura Renauld has written a heartwarming story about friendship and sharing, and illustrator Jennie Pon’s warm and tender artwork will captivate young readers.

Last week, I had the pleasure of interviewing Laura about her debut picture book.  To read the interview, click here.  Thanks to Laura Renauld for sharing an e-copy of Porcupine’s Pie with Beagles and Books.  Porcupine’s Pie will celebrate its book birthday tomorrow on October 9, 2018.

Kitten Construction Company: Meet the House Kittens by John Patrick Green

What happens when a cute little kitten named Marmalade wants to be taken seriously as an architect and design the mayor’s mansion? She teams up with fellow kittens Sampson, an electrical engineer, Bubbles, a plumber, and Professor von Wigglebottom to start House Kittens Construction. This graphic novel for early readers is absolutely adorable (sorry House Kittens). Readers will easily fall in love with these enterprising felines. Hoping this is a series with more adventures to come.

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.

The Rough Patch by Brian Lies

Have you ever been blown away by a story?  The Rough Patch is a poignant story about love, loss, grief, and healing.  Evan, a fox and his dog were inseparable until the dog unexpectedly dies.   Evan’s garden which was once the source of happiness is now a lonely place.   To deal with his pain, Evan destroys his once magnificent garden allowing weeds to take over.  When a lone prickly pumpkin vine makes its way into the garden, Evan lets it remain and tends it to until it grows into an enormous pumpkin. This prize pumpkin is integral to the story because it ultimately helps Evan mend his broken heart.  Lies’ illustrations are absolutely beautiful and tenderly reveal the range of emotions that Evan experiences.

Etta, Bella, and I thank you for visiting Beagles and Books.  Have a great week!

Author Interview, Debut Author, Picture Books

An Interview with Laura Renauld: Author of Porcupine’s Pie

Beagles and Books is honored to host an interview with author Laura Renauld.  Her debut picture book, Porcupine’s Pie will be released next week.  Stay tuned for my review of this heartwarming story of sharing and friendship on the blog later this week.

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Porcupine’s Pie
Written by Laura Renauld
Illustrated by Jennie Poh
Beaming Books (October 9, 2018)

Publisher’s Summary:
Porcupine can’t wait to share Fall Feast with her woodland friends, so when everyone she greets is unable to bake their specialty due to a missing ingredient, Porcupine generously offers staples from her pantry. When Porcupine discovers that she, too, is missing a key ingredient, the friends all work together to create a new Fall Feast tradition. Porcupine’s Pie will inspire children ages 4-8 to act generously. A recipe for “friendship pie” can be found at the end of the book.

Congratulations on your debut picture book, Porcupine’s Pie LauraTell me a little about your writing journey. Have you always enjoyed writing?

Thank you, Laura! I’m so happy to share my book with your readers.  Ever since I can remember, books and reading have been an important part of my life. I could sit on my bed and travel to another planet, share a cake with a panda, or hideout in an art museum. I found friends and adventures between the pages. I don’t remember writing being part of my childhood in quite the same way. I kept a lot of journals and I created a town newspaper with a friend that we distributed to the neighborhood, but I didn’t start writing stories until I was an adult.

Where did you get the inspiration to write Porcupine’s Pie?
Have you heard of Tara Lazar’s Picture Book Idea Month (now Storystorm)? I’ve participated every year since 2011. Published authors share idea-gathering strategies in daily posts. It encourages me to fill a notebook that I can draw on all year long. During PiBoIdMo 2014, Tammi Sauer’s guest post challenged writers to frame a story as a How-To Book. So I jotted in my notebook: “How to make porcupine pie (or a pie for a porcupine)”. (Even at this early stage I thought that Porcupine Pie sounded a bit morbid!) My story never evolved into a How-To Book, but the alliterative title stuck with me and I ran with it!

Porcupine Pie is a beautifully illustrated by Jennie Poh. As an author, share your experience seeing your story come to life with her artwork.
The first time I experienced Porcupine outside of my own imagination was when the book cover was revealed. Porcupine looked different than what I had visualized, but after seeing her strutting through the woods in her little blue boots and carrying a pie, I couldn’t imagine her any other way. Creating a picture book is truly a collaboration. I love the color palette Jennie chose and Porcupine’s cozy den feels so inviting. The characters were friends in my text, but Jennie’s illustrations make those relationships warm and believable. I am very grateful to Jennie for bringing my characters to life.

From your bio, I read that you are a former third grade teacher.  How did you make the transition from third grade teacher to published picture book writer?
When I taught third grade, my favorite part of the day was the read-aloud. I chose a variety of picture books as mentor texts for Reading and Writing Workshops, as supplements for Science, Social Studies, and Math units, and as a springboard for discussions on social topics, such as inclusion, bullying, and empathy. I witnessed the power of story to captivate, amuse, and encourage. Stories are powerful and I felt drawn to the creative process.

After I left teaching and had my children, I started to take my writing seriously. I joined SCBWI, attended conferences, sought out a critique group, and found online resources that supported my journey. But most importantly, I made writing a priority and started treating it as a part-time job. My advice to aspiring writers? The laundry can wait!

Besides writing, what are your other passions?
I’ve always loved to sing. I’ve been in a choir nearly every year since middle school. In fact, that’s how I met my husband: on the choir tour bus in college. I currently sing with my church choir. I belong to a book club and I enjoy hosting tea parties for that group. I also love to bake, which ties in nicely with Porcupine’s Pie since I created a pie recipe to include at the end of the book. My book club even got roped into a taste test!

Do you have any other writing projects planned in the future?
My next book is a picture book biography called Fred’s Big Feelings: The Life and Legacy of Mister Rogers. It is scheduled to release in Fall 2019, with Brigette Barrager illustrating.

Thank you so much Laura for stopping by Beagles and Books!  There is still time to pre-order Porcupine’s Pie to receive a signed bookplate and be entered to win a pie kit.  Preorder available at AmazonBarnes & NobleIndiebound, and Beaming Books.

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About Laura:
Laura Renauld grew up in Vermont with a forest as her playground. While she never met a pie-baking porcupine, walks in the woods were always an adventure. When she is not enjoying nature with her husband and their two boys, Laura can be found reading, singing, and baking in Northern Virginia. This is her debut picture book.

Connect with me online at: laurarenauld.com and on social media:

Twitter – @laura_renauld
Facebook – @kidlitlaura
Instagram – @laurarenauld