#Bookexcursion, Book Birthday

The Train of Lost Things by Ammi-Joan Paquette

img_1031Beagles and Books wishes a Happy Book Birthday to Ammi-Joan Paquette’s The Train of Lost Things!

On a trip with his mother, Marty loses the one possession he loves the most-his jean jacket.  This jacket is special to him because his father, who is stricken with cancer, gave it to Marty on his last birthday.  The jacket is also decorated with pins that celebrate memories Marty and his father shared together.

With his father’s life quickly deteriorating, Marty is heartbroken that his jacket could be gone forever.  But then he remembers his father’s story about The Train of Lost Things, an engine that gathers every true heart’s possession lost by a child.  When he was younger, Marty believed that the story was true, but now wasn’t he too old to believe in magic?  What if the Train of Lost Things did exist? Could he get his treasured jacket back which Marty believed was the key to healing his father?

In an attempt to fix everything,  Marty takes a brave journey to find the Train of Lost Things.  To his astonishment, the train is real!  In his travels on the train, he meets Dina and Star, two young girls also searching for cherished lost things.  Unfortunately, the train is without a conductor which makes it extremely difficult to locate his jacket and Marty’s time is running out.  Will Marty be able to recover his jacket and save his father?

The Train of Lost Things is an enchanting and bittersweet story with a message of hope and love.  Marty’s hope and love for his father drives him to find the Train of Lost Things.  On his journey, Marty discovers what truly is important and learns the precious lesson that “the only way to truly move forward is to turn back on the past.”

A very special thanks to the author, Ammi-Joann Paquette for providing an advanced reader copy of The Train of Lost Things to our #bookexcursion group.

#Bookexcursion, It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 3/19/18

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Etta, Bella, and I are excited to share our reads for 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:

Jasmine Toguchi: Drummer Girl by Debbi Michiko Florence   Illustrated by Elizabeth Vukovic

In the third book in the series, Jasmine is excited about the school talent show.  While she has many talents such as climbing trees, pounding mochi, and making collages, Jasmine needs to quickly find a talent she can showcase on stage.  When her mother asks Jasmine why she likes these things, she responds that they make her feel free, strong, and happy.  Her mom then shares her love of playing the taiko.  With the help of one of her mom’s college friends, Kat, Jasmine learns how to play the traditional Japanese drum.

Jasmine is worried about her performance especially because new student Maggie Milsap keeps trying to turn the talent show into a competition.  With the support of her older sister, Jasmine soon learns that practice, not natural talent, is what makes one perform well.  And of course, Kat teaches her the best lesson of all-it’s not about being perfect, it’s about having fun!

I just love Jasmine and have recommended this series to countless students this year.  I greatly appreciate how Debbie Michiko Florence has created a character that can be both a mirror and window to young readers.  Readers can identify with Jasmine’s spunk and insecurities while also learn about Japanese traditions.  Special thanks to Debbi Michiko Florence for sending Drummer Girl on an ARC tour with our #bookexcursion group.  Pre-order now like me so you will receive your copy promptly on April 3, 2018.  And if you love Jasmine as much as I do, pre-order the fourth book, Flamingo Girl, too!

 

Poe Won’t Go by Kelly DiPucchio  Illustrated by Zachariah OHora

Mysteriously, a frowning elephant named Poe shuts down the town of Prickly Valley sitting in the only road in town. Despite all the townspeople’s extraordinary efforts, Poe just won’t go.  Not tolerating a parked pachyderm in Prickly Valley, the mayor is determined to solve the problem of Poe.  But alas, not even a person dressed as a peanut on roller skates worked.  A thoughtful young girl named Marigold finally asked the mayor, “Has anyone asked Poe why he won’t go?”   As soon as Marigold approaches Poe, his frown turned into a smile and she begins to uncover why Poe has not moved and how to help him.

I love Kelly DiPucchio’s picture books because they not only entertain but also teach readers important messages.  Poe Won’t Go teaches readers that sometimes asking the right questions, listening, and observing is the best way to solve a problem.   Zachariah OHora’s gorgeous acrylic and pencil illustrations never disappoint.   I am always amazed at the amount of details that he can draw in a spread without overwhelming the reader.

Special thanks to Kelly DiPucchio for sending a F & G of Poe Won’t Go to our #bookexcursion group.  Pre-order now, for it will be released in October 2018.

 

Dude Word by Aaron Reynolds  Art by Dan Santat

Cowabunga! Two dudes (a platypus and a beaver) are totally stoked to surf but another not so righteous dude (a shark!) is getting in their way. Bummer! Can they find a way to all get along?

What is so rad about this picture book is Reynolds pretty much only uses one word, “Dude”, repeatedly in different contexts to tell the story, and Santat’s awesome illustrations support the meaning.  The use of punctuation also makes the story an epic read aloud!

Special thanks to Macmillan Kids for sending an advance reader’s copy of Dude to our #bookexcursion group.  Look for its tubular release soon in April 2018.

 

Bella’s and Etta’s Dog Read 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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Don’t Call Me Choochie Pooh by Sean Taylor  Illustrated by Kate Hindley

I love reading books from the dog’s point of view!  A little dog is fed up with the silly way his owner treats him.  He does not appreciate heart-shaped mini puppy treats, being carried in a handbag and most especially, the name Choochie Pooh!  At the dog park, feeling like a Mini-Puppy-Treat-eating-Choochie-Pooh in a handbag, he is jealous of all the other dogs who have ordinary names like Bandit, Rusty, and Chief .  When Chief invites him to play, he is surprised and has a fabulous time doing normal dog things like running around and getting muddy.  When it is time to leave, his owner get again embarrasses him by uttering his disgustingly sweet name.  Choochie Pooh soon realizes that like him, his new canine friends have similar woes.

Reading this adorable picture book makes me wonder about all the pet names I have for both Etta and Bella.  Based on their tail wagging and howling, I think they realize that it is worth the love and of course treats!

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

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#Bookexcursion, It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 3/12/18

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Etta, Bella, and I are excited to share our reads for 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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The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl by Stacy McAnulty

When Lucy was eight years old, she was struck by lightning while holding on to a metal fence.  As a result, she has acquired savant syndrome; Lucy can not only tackle any mathematical problem but she can also see math in colors and remembers every set of numbers she hears or sees.  It is no surprise that Pi is favorite number (and she can recite it to the 314th decimal place).

Having this rare condition is not without its drawbacks.  Lucy has obsessive compulsive tendencies, no offline friends, and hasn’t left the apartment she shared with her Nana for 32 days.  While Lucy wants to begin college, Nana proposes an alternate plan.  Go to middle school for at least 1 year. Make 1 friend. Join 1 activity. Read 1 book that is not math related.  Nana wins.

Lucy accomplishes her first goal quickly.  On her first bus ride to school, she becomes friends with socially conscious Windy.  But adjusting to middle school is still tough especially because of Lucy’s constant need to sanitize, her repetitive sitting behavior, and her desire to keep her giftedness hidden from her peers including Windy.   A group service project with Windy and budding photographer Levi gives Lucy the opportunity to use her math genius for a good cause-helping dogs gets adopted at a local shelter.  At the shelter, Lucy meets Cutie Pi, a chihuahua with a lightning bolt spot on its back and is determined to find him a home.  Being a dog mom, seeing Lucy’s affection for Pi was heartwarming.

Lucy soon learns that all things are not easy to calculate.   As a reader, I calculate one important lesson. If you have a couple of friends who accept you for who you are, you are pretty lucky.   Special thanks to Allison Stout, a fellow #bookexcursion member for sharing an ARC of The Miscalculations of Lighting Girl that she received at NCTE.  Look for its release in May 2018.

Baby Monkey, Private Eye by Brian Selznick and David Serlin

Baby Monkey is on the case helping clients locate lost jewels, missing pizza, and a stolen spaceship.  Putting on his pants.  Well, that is another story.

At 187 pages, Baby Monkey, Private Eye looks and even feels like a full length chapter book.  Once opened, readers will find a whole new format- a combination of  chapter book, picture book, beginning reader, and graphic novel.   Written in large font, Serlin’s text is sparse and repeats in the first few chapters which builds young readers’ confidence and provides schema for the last two chapters.  Caldecott medalist Selznick’s pencil illustrations are chocked full of details. In each chapter, the illustrations subtly provides clues of Baby Monkey’s next case.

As a reading specialist, I love Baby Monkey, Private Eye!  I can recommend it to primary grade students who yearn to read a chapter book.  The novel is also perfect for my intermediate students who are still developing readers.  Hope there will be more cases for Baby Monkey to solve!  It released in February 2018.

I’m Sad by Michael Ian Black  Illustrated by Debbie Ridpath Ohi

In the sequel to I’m Bored, a flamingo announces to a little girl and a potato that he is sad.  His friends affirm that feeling sad is natural. Everyone, even potatoes, feel sad sometimes (giggle, giggle). The little girl and potato console Flamingo by sharing things that cheer them up like ice cream, hockey, and dirt (giggle, giggle, again).   While Flamingo is still sad, he learns that his friends still like him no matter what!

I’m Sad teaches children that friends can’t always fix your problems but their loyalty can be the best support. Black beautifully conveys the book’s message with few words and Ohi’s bold and colorful illustrations perfectly match the text. Despite its title,  it would be hard to remain sad while reading. With its sense of humor, the potato will keep readers laughing from beginning to end!  Black and Ohi’s collaboration in bringing a potato to life was the highlight for me!  I can’t wait to share this read aloud for #classroombookaday!

Special thanks to Debbie Ridpath Ohi for sending an ARC of I’m Sad to our #bookexcursion group.  Look for its release in June 2018.

The Gorilla Picked Me by Michele McAvoy  Illustrated by Valentina Carboni

Olive considers herself plain and ordinary always blending in rather than standing out. Olive wishes just once that she would get picked out from a crowd.  When Olive was eight, her wish finally comes true.  Attending a dance with her father as her date, he steps away briefly telling Olive he’ll be back in a jiffy.  In his absence, a gorilla tooting a kazoo appears. He chooses Olive to be his dancing partner making her the center of attention.  Right after the gorilla leaves, her father returns and she shares her exciting news.  On the last page, as they walk home, a kazoo can be seen in her father’s back pocket.

Michele McAvoy wrote a sweet story about the love between a little girl and her father.  Illustrator Valentina Carboni’s adorable illustrations tenderly show their mutual affection for each other and how this one small act of kindness can have positive effects.

Special thanks to Michele McAvoy for sending Beagles and Books an e-copy of The Gorilla Picked Me. It published in February 2018.

Featured Dog Selection 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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My Old Pal, Oscar by Amy Hest Illustrated by Amy Bates

Regardless your age, it’s hard to say goodbye to a pet.  Amy Hest tenderly shares a story that celebrates the bond between a boy and his beloved dog while capturing how your heart still has room to love another pet.  Amy Bates’ warm and peaceful watercolor and pencil illustrations complement the story perfectly.

When a little boy meets a stray puppy on the beach, he is not interested in becoming friends.   The boy is still mourning the loss of his old pal, Oscar.  “My only and only dog,” the boy says. The persistent puppy continues to follow the boy on his walk.  During their walk, the boy recounts why Oscar was so special to him.  As a thunderstorm approaches, the boy sees the puppy’s trepidation. Carrying the puppy home, it is clear that the little boy is beginning to warm to the idea of having a new pal in his life.

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

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#Bookexcursion, Book Birthday

The Mad Wolf’s Daughter by Diane Magras

Happy Book Birthday to Diane Magras’ The Mad Wolf’s Daughter!

Wee lass Drest and her family are attacked by knights from Faintree Castle.  Drest desperately wants to join her father, Mad Wolf of the North and her five brothers in this battle, but Mad Wolf orders her to hide. She witnesses her family bound, captured, and sailing away from her.  Her only hope of finding her family is a young knight named Emerick who Drest witnessed being attacked by one of his own men.  She strikes a deal with Emerick to take him to Faintree Castle and in return, he will release one of her brothers, although Drest plans to rescue her entire family.

Throughout their journey, Drest hears tales of her family’s brutality from Emerick, which she does not believe to be true.  In addition, a bandit by the name of Jupp shares his own story of her father’s cruelty.  Drest begins to realizes that words are strong weapons because not only is she beginning to doubt her family but also she is struggling to figure out her own identity. Can a warrior be brave and kind?

The Mad Wolf’s Daughter is an adventure that has action and heart.  With each chapter, Diane Magras kept me on the edge both excited and afraid to read on.  I absolutely love Drest who learns that you can’t always control our own legend, and sometimes words not swords can save lives.

A very special thanks to Diane Magras for providing our #bookexcursion group with an ARC of The Mad Wolf’s Daughter.

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

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 3/5/18

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Etta, Bella, and I are excited to share our reads for 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:

24 Hours in Nowhere by Dusti Bowling

Thirteen year old Gus lives in Nowhere, Arizona, the least livable town in the United States.  No one has it easy in Nowhere including Gus,  Living with his grandma, money is tight and because of his small size, Gus is frequently bullied by Bo Taylor.  Obsessed with words, Gus feels his only hope out of Nowhere is a high score on the SAT.

At the start of the novel, Gus is indebted to Rossi Scott who saves him from Bo’s torment in exchange for her treasured dirt bike.  Feeling responsible, Gus agrees to enter Dead Frenchman’s Mine in search for gold to buy the bike back.  While Gus first embarks on his journey alone,  he is soon joined by Matthew, one of Bo’s sidekicks, an old friend, Jessie and Rossi herself.

In Dead Frenchman’s Mine, the reader discovers that Gus is not only searching for gold, but also for himself.  During their journey, Rossi challenges Gus to think about his identity.  Is he going to let his past define who he is or will he take charge and be defined by what he does in life?  Like Aven in Bowling’s debut novel Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus, Rossi is an exceptional role model for kids. She does not dwell on the past and realizes that she alone has the power to save herself.  She also recognizes strength in others like Gus which is a remarkable trait for a young person.   24 Hours in Nowhere is a book that could be a mirror, window or door for readers of all ages.  Gus, Rossi, Jessie, and Matthew’s experiences gave me such perspective about how life can be for some of my students, which will make me a better teacher and individual.

Special thanks to Dusti Bowling for sending an ARC of 24 Hours in Nowhere to my #bookexcursion group. It will be released in September 2018.

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Penguin & Tiny Shrimp Don’t Do Bedtime by Cate Berry Illustrated by Charles Santoso

On the very first page, pajama clad Penguin announces “This is not a bedtime book” with night cap wearing Tiny Shrimp chiming in saying “We don’t do bedtime!”  The adorable characters make it clear that there is no room for typical bedtime rituals such as toothbrushing or counting sheep.  On the contrary, readers will be enticed to stay wide awake with fireworks, vine swinging, hot air balloon rides, songs, jokes and even the rare appearance of a Uni-Hippo! Clearly, storytelling is tiring work!

Penguin & Tiny Shrimp Don’t Do Bedtime is a hilarious and highly entertaining picture book from debut author Cate Berry. Not only did I pre-order this book immediately, I now have the perfect recommendation for a bedtime read aloud (sorry Penguin and Tiny Shrimp!) that parents will take great pleasure in reading again and again to their children.  Santoso’s pictures adorably depict Penguin and Tiny Shrimp’s insistence and excitement in staying awake yet by the end of the book, his illustrations subtly and sweetly transition to show their fading energy.  Even the background color of the pages becomes gray to signify the change.  Like Penguin and Tiny Shrimp, Bella is tuckered too!

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A very special thanks to Cate Berry for sending an ARC of Penguin & Tiny Shrimp Don’t Do Bedtime to our #bookexcursion group.  Can’t wait for its release May 2018.

When Your…Series by Susanna Leonard Hill Illustrated by Daniel Wiseman

What do you do when your elephant has the sniffles, your llama needs a haircut and your lion need a bath? Check out Susanna Leonard Hill’s When Your..series!  For full review, click here.

 

Featured Dog Selection 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.

Shark Dog! by Ged Adamson

A young girl joins her famous explorer dad on one of his trips.  Sailing home, she hears a noise and then something slobbery wakes her up from her sleep. It’s a shark.  No. It’s a dog. No. It’s Shark Dog! With her father’s permission, the girl takes Shark Dog home. He is quite an unusual pet stalking a cat like a shark and fetching slippers like a dog when underwater.  On a trip to Shark Dog’s favorite place, the beach, he spys what he thinks is another shark dog but it is just a beach toy.  This makes Shark Dog very sad.

Thinking he is homesick, the girl and her dad decide to take Shark Dog back to his home where he is greeted enthusiastically by his fellow shark dogs.   Will this make Shark Dog happy?  Read this heartwarming story about to find out!  Shark Dog is adorably drawn with both dog and shark like features. Young readers will be captivated by the colorful and detailed illustrations.  I especially loved the spread when the characters are traveling on plane to Shark Dog Island.

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

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#Bookexcursion, Picture Books

When Your… Series by Susanna Leonard Hill Illustrated by Daniel Wiseman

What do you do when your elephant has the sniffles, your llama needs a haircut and your lion need a bath? Check out When Your…  series!  My #bookexcursion group was sent copies of the series in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.

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When Your Elephant Has the Sniffles

Your poor elephant has the sniffles.  Taking care of him is a priority because when an elephant sneezes, it is serious business! After putting him to bed, hide anything that can induce sneezing and give him things that provides comfort.  He will get bored so plan fun things such as shadow puppets to keep him occupied.  But when you entertain him, be careful of your props. Because if your elephant sneezes, you may end up with the sniffles too!

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When Your Llama Needs a Haircut

It’s Picture Day!  Your llama thinks his hair looks just fine, but you know it’s a mess.  So how can you convince him to get a haircut?   First, you have to catch him.  After washing and brushing, try out some different styles but simple is probably best.  But beware because you may end up with a haircut too!

When Your Lion Needs a Bath

Uh oh!  Your smelly lion needs a bath but cats don’t like water. How can you get him in the tub?  Sneakiness, preparation, and a bag of tricks are the keys to success.  But once you are successful in your task, be sure to close the front door!

While the suggested range is ages 3-5, Leonard Hill’s When Your… entertaining and amusing series would appeal to primary grade students. Here’s hoping an option to buy standard copies of the series will occur in the future. All the board books read like picture books exposing students to tier 2 words (distract, stubborn, and tempt) that enrich children’s oral vocabulary. Wiseman’s colorful and cartoonish illustrations will delight children especially the animals’ antics and facial expressions. Reminiscent of Laura Numeroff’s If You Give series, children would giggle all their way through listening or reading.

If you like the When Your… series, a fourth book, When Your Monkeys Won’t Go to Bed will be published in August 2018.

#Bookexcursion

R is for Rebel by J. Anderson Coats

Happy Book Birthday to J. Anderson Coats’ R is for Rebel!

Three generations before Malley was born, the country of Milea was conquered by the New Wealds. After her parents were imprisoned for being resisters to the new government, Malley was sent to a national school. The school’s mission is to reform Malley and other young girls to be loyal Wealdan subjects and train them for domestic service.

From the very first chapter, it is very clear that Malley is her parents’ daughter and is not willing to be reeducated.  She wants to do something song worthy, like her Milean ancestors. At first, she thinks she is alone in her fight, but as the story unfolds, Malley notices that other girls quietly subscribe to the same beliefs as her.  She soon realizes that resistance is all around her in many different forms.

R is for Rebel is a novel that left me thinking and questioning.  As Malley stated,  “It’s one thing to lose something; another thing to entirely give it up.”  When I first began reading, I wasn’t quite sure if R is for Rebel was a historical fiction or a fantasy.  In the end, it doesn’t matter because like other dystopian novels, Malley’s story teaches us an important lesson-to always personally fight for what you value most.

Special thanks to J. Anderson Coats for providing our #bookexcursion group with an ARC of R is for Rebel.

#Bookexcursion, It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 2/19/18

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Etta, Bella, and I are excited to share our reads for 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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Takedown by Laura Shovan

Told in alternating points of view, Takedown is the story of six grade wrestlers, Mikayla and Lev.  In Mikayla’s family, wresting is their thing.  At the start of the novel, Mikayla (known as Mickey on the mat) is ready to move up from a rec league and follow in her brothers’ footsteps by joining the Eagles travel team.  The Eagles coach Dr. Spence though is not willing to accept girl wrestlers.  As a result, Mikayla makes the bold decision to join the Gladiators, the Eagles rival team.  Lev also comes from an athletic family and has been a member of the Gladiators for a few years.  So when Coach Billy pairs him with Mickey for training, Lev is at first reluctant about having a girl partner.  Slowly, Lev warms up to the idea and realizes that Mickey understands better than anyone what it means to work hard and push yourself.

Sports have never been my thing but I devoured Takedown.  Laura Shovan wrote a engaging and captivating story that will appeal to all readers.  I absolutely loved the format of the novel hearing from both Mikayla’s and Lev’s perspective, which revealed their determination, competitiveness, and insecurities.  A very special thanks to Laura Shovan for sending Takedown to our #bookexcursion group. For my full review, click here.

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The Care and Feeding of a Pet Black Hole by Michelle Cuevas

Told in the second person, The Care and Feeding of a Black Hole is a conversation that eleven year old Stella has with her father who recently passed away.   The story begins with Stella being rebuffed at the NASA gates.  She wished to meet with astronomer Carl Sagan and deliver a precious recording for the Voyager’s Golden Record.  On her way home, Stella is followed by a black hole that she names Larry and decides to keep as a pet.

Stella quickly learns that a black hole can come in handy by getting rid of tangible items she dislikes such as Aunt Celeste’s itchy sweaters, brussels sprouts, and her younger brother Cosmos’ Fuzzle record.  Eager to get rid of memories of her dad which make Stella sad, she collects items such as her father’s old red hat, her bug collection, and even the recording of her dad’s laugh.  Stella places them all in a box and feeds them to Larry. To her surprise, her actions have serious consequences.  Her mom stops calling her by her nickname Bug and her father’s red hat no longer appears in a framed photo.

When her new dog (The Dog with No Name) disappears into Larry, Stella ventures into the black hole to rescue the dog, her brother (who inadvertently gets swallowed by Larry) and most importantly herself.  Through her journey, Stella learns how to face her grief and finds a way to move forward realizing that her father will always be with her.

Michelle Cuevas’ brilliant writing had me both laughing and crying.  I listened to the audio version narrated by Laura Ortiz on my way to and from work but I found myself rereading the actual novel which included amusing black and white illustrations.  I was glad to have experienced both mediums for it made my reading experience even richer.

Geraldine by Elizabeth Lilly

Being the new kid at school isn’t easy but for Geraldine it is even harder.  Why?  Geraldine is the only giraffe in a school full of human children.  She misses blending in with all the other giraffes in Giraffe City.  One day when Geraldine goes to her lunch hiding spot, she meets a girl named Cassie who feels like an outsider too. Together Geraldine and Cassie learn that they are not defined by being a giraffe or liking math and wearing glasses. Their friendship gives Geraldine the confidence to introduce herself and Cassie to other classmates.

Written and illustrated by debut author Elizabeth Lilly, Geraldine is a tender story that can teach students about the power of having that one friend who like you for just being you.  Special thanks to Macmillan Kids for providing our #bookexcursion group with an ARC.  Look for its release in June 2018.

Featured Dog Selection 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.

A Book for Benny by Judith Koppens Illustrated by Marja Meijer

Sam is enjoying reading on a rainy day but her dog Benny thinks differently.  “Reading is fun!” she tells Benny.  When Benny walks away, Sam realizes that perhaps it is her book, not reading, that Benny dislikes.  So off to the library Sam and Benny go to pick out a book just for Benny.

Entering the library, Sam is quickly told that dogs are not allowed inside.  As Benny waits outside, Sam shows him books about knights and the circus.  Ben’s actions clearly show his distaste in Sam’s choices.  Digging deep in a book bin, Sam finally thinks she’s found the perfect book.  Sam wags his tail, barks, and licks the window in agreement.

A Book for Benny is a great read aloud to teach students the power of choice and interest when reading.  As a reading specialist, I not only get excited when students love a book, but also when they are honest and tell me that a book doesn’t appeal to them.  Finding the right book at the right time is so important!

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

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#Bookexcursion

Takedown by Laura Shovan

Takedown

Told in alternating points of view, Takedown is the story of two six grade wrestlers, Mikayla and Lev.  In Mikayla’s family, wrestling is their thing.  Ever since her parents’ divorce, wrestling is also the way Mikayla ensures one on one time with her father.  At the start of the novel, Mikayla (known as Mickey on the mat) is ready to move up from a rec league and follow in her brothers’ footsteps by joining the Eagles travel team.  Coach Spence though is not willing to accept girl wrestlers.  As a result, Mikayla makes the bold decision to join the Gladiators, the Eagles rival team.

Lev also comes from an athletic family and has been a member of the Gladiators for a couple of years. His goal is to make it to States after losing to Coach Spence’s son, Nick last year.  So when Coach Billy pairs him with Mickey for training, Lev is at first reluctant about having a girl partner.  Slowly, Lev warms up to the idea and realizes that Mickey understands better than anyone what it means to work hard and push yourself.

Sports has never been my thing but I devoured Takedown.  Laura Shovan wrote an engaging and captivating story that will appeal to all readers.  I absolutely loved the format of the novel hearing from both Mikayla’s and Lev’s perspective, which revealed their determination, competitiveness, and insecurities.  Mikayla believes in herself but has to constantly prove to her family, peers, and coaches she is strong enough to wrestle.  Through being Mickey’s partner, Lev recognizes not only her strength as a wrestler but also as a person.  As the story unfolds, Lev learns that while wrestling is a part of his life, it does not have to be his whole life.  Family and friendships are equally if not more important.

A very special thanks to Laura Shovan and Random House for sending Takedown to our #bookexcursion group. Pre-order now so your copy will be delivered promptly on June 19, 2018.  Can’t wait to get this book in readers’ hands!

#Bookexcursion, It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 2/12/18

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Etta, Bella, and I are excited to share our reads for 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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The Battle of Junk Mountain by Lauren Abbey Greenberg

Shayne lives in Maryland and always spends summers on Thomas Cove with her grandmother Bea and her best friend Poppy.  Nostalgic for summers past, this vacation is different.  Poppy’s free time is limited because she has to work at her father’s grocery store. Bea is not ready to let go of her treasured collectibles as Shayne is organizing  and pricing them for sale at a flea market. Then to her surprise, Shayne develops an unlikely friendship with Civil War obsessed Linc, the grandson of Bea’s neighbor Cranky.

The Battle of Junk Mountain is a definitely a page turner. Lauren tackles not only familiar topics like changing and new friendships but also the serious topic of hoarding.  Although she can tackle new situations like banding lobster claws and driving a boat, it is evident that Shayne like Bea is holding on to the past and apprehensive about change.  Growing up and letting go is hard, but Shayne learns that change can actually surprise you in a good way.

A sincere thank you to fellow Marylander Lauren Abbey Greenberg for sharing an ARC of The Battle of Junk Mountain with my #bookexcursion group.  Look for its release in April 2018.  To read my full review, click here.

Beep and Bob: Too Much Space by Jonathan Roth

Bob attends Astro Elementary, a school near Saturn where only the bravest and smartest students get admitted.  Bob never intended to go to school in space but his plan of failing the admissions test backfired.  Who knew that choosing C for every answer would result in the only perfect score? Each chapter is Bob’s space blog entry or SPLOG with his alien sidekick Beep drawing the illustrations.  In Bob’s first SPLOG,  he explains how he met Beep, a little lost alien who thinks Bob is his new mother.

Bob’s adventures include getting his tongue stuck to ice on Pluto and accidentally having alien brain freeze sprayed in his eyes, which alters Bob’s personality.  His new-found confidence and knowledge propels Professor Zoome to take the class on a trip to a super massive black hole.  Will Bob and his classmates survive this dangerous class trip?

Like Lauren Abbey Greenberg, author/illustrator Jonathan Roth hails from my home state of Maryland.  Beep and Bob is a humorous and “sporky” transitional chapter book series that I look forward to sharing with students.  I was excited to discover that Too Much Space is the first book in the series.

Thank you to fellow #bookexcursion member Allison Stout for sharing her ARC from NCTE.  Beep and Bob: Too Much Space along with Book 2 Party Crashers publishes in March 2018.

Featured Dog Selection 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.

Tiny and the Big Dig by Sherri Duskey Rinker Illustrated by Matt Myers

Tiny smells a bone. A BIG bone. So he starts digging. When a larger dog, a cat, and a bird discount his ability,  Tiny maintains his confidence that he is strong enough to bring that bone home. Tiny isn’t the only one who is optimistic, for his young owner also believes in him.

Written in rhyme, Tiny and the Big Dig is a story that celebrates strength and determination.  This quote sums its theme completely.

Matt Myers’ bold illustrations capture Tiny’s sheer willpower in obtaining his goal-a BIG, BIG bone. Tiny and the Big Dig will be a great addition for #classroombookaday.

Thank you so much for visiting Beagles and Books!  Have a great week!  Happy Reading!