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

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 7/29/19

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

Our Recent Reads:

Roll with It by Jamie Sumners

Born with cerebral palsy, Ellie just wants to be a regular kid and is tired of having an aide at school.  She craves space to show her independence so that others will see beyond her wheelchair.  Ellie’s sanctuary and passion is baking, a talent she has nurtured ever since she could reach the kitchen countertops.  When her grandfather’s dementia worsens, Ellie and her mom temporarily move from Tennessee to Oklahoma to help out.  Her grandparents’ trailer may be small and not exactly wheelchair-friendly, but Ellie soon discovers that the benefits far outweigh the negatives.  She becomes friends with Coralee and Bert and more importantly, convinces her mother (with her grandmother’s help) that she does not need an aide at her new school.  And now she can finally enter the annual bake-off at her grandparent’s church.  Challenges still exist; however, Ellie is confident that she can handle wherever life takes her.

Ellie’s voice is perfect, for she is both spunky and vulnerable, which are important traits for a dynamic middle grade character.  Kids get to see Ellie’s highs and lows through not only her narration but also through the letters she writes to famous chefs.   The supporting characters are also amazingly well developed.  While I love Ellie’s family, I especially enjoyed watching Ellie’s friendships with Coralee and Bert grow.  Coralee and Bert each have their own struggles which are gradually revealed throughout the story.

I can’t wait to share Ellie’s story with my students! Thanks to Simon and Schuster for the review copy at ALA, which I am sharing with my #bookexcursion ARC group.  Roll With It publishes in October 2019.

Truman by Jean Reidy Illustrated by Lucy Ruth Cummins

It seems like an ordinary day for Truman but when his Sarah strapped on a big backpack, gave him extra beans, and whispered to him “Be brave,” he starts to worry.  Where is Sarah going?  Impatient, Truman decides to find Sarah and while on his journey, he discovers something else-courage.

Truman is a quiet story with a big message.  When I read it aloud (my book beagles are excellent listeners),  I consciously took my time reading each gorgeous word and lingered over the exquisitely drawn illustrations.  Reidy’s words and Cummins’ artwork combined are pure magic.  Although I have over a month until summer begins, I am certain Truman will be one of my first read alouds of the year; it is perfect for the first week of school with themes of new beginnings, courage, and friendship.   Truman recently published in July.

My Furry Foster Family: Betty the Bearded Dragon by Debbi Michiko Florence Illustrated by Melanie Demmer

The My Furry Foster Family series is about the Takano family and their adventures fostering animals for the Happy Paws Rescue, the same shelter where they adopted their dachusund Ollie.   All 4 stories in the series are narrated by eight year old Kaita.  In April, I had the pleasure to read and review Truman the Dog before it was released. To read my full review, click here.

In Betty the Bearded Dragon, the Takano family gets their first non-furry foster pet.  While Kaita has learned a lot about animals through fostering, she knows nothing about bearded dragons.  Of course, Kaita can read to gain knowledge but it’s also fun to learn from her dad who used to have a “beardie” when he was in college.  While Kaita is nervous when she learns Betty is to be adopted two days after she arrives, her worry turns to excitement when she finds out Betty’s new forever home.

After the story ends, author Debbi Michiko Florence shares information on how to become a foster family which includes advice from real life Kaita, who inspired the series.  Her tips are spot on especially acknowledging that it’s ok to be sad when a foster is adopted.  But knowing you have saved the life of a pet is a proud feeling.

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.

Take Your Pet to School Day by Linda Ashman Illustrated by Suzanne Kaufman

After a note circulates that pets will be allowed at Maple View School for just one special day, students arrives with their pets which include dogs, cats, birds, and fish but also a horse, llama and a colony of ants.  The pets bring noise, interruptions, and mess which makes every adult say “Why would someone change the rule?  Pets do NOT belong in school!”  When the principal denies writing the note, she demands that the author speak up.  Who could it be?  With Ashman’s lively, rhyming text, Take Your Pet to School Day is an engaging and fun read aloud for young children.  Kaufman’s vibrant and detailed illustrations will captivate the reader especially all the animal antics.  Thanks to Penguin Random House for the review copy at ALA.  Take Your Pet to School Day recently released in July.

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? 7/22/19

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

Our Recent Reads:

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A Time Traveler’s Theory of Relativity by Nicole Valentine

12-year-old Finn has experienced a lot of loss in his young life. First, his twin sister Faith when they were both three and now his mother has abruptly disappeared. His dad’s response: Mom will be back; she just needs time.  But on a visit to his maternal grandmother’s house, Finn finds his mom’s purse in the basement.  Why would his mom have left her wallet and cell phone?  Finn wants the truth from Gran, but it is not at all what he expected.  It turns out that the women on his mother’s side of the family are Travelers and can move back in time; Finn’s mom and Gran also have the unique ability to go forward.

Through Gran, Finn discovers that his mom is lost somewhere on the timeline but built a portal in a tree in case of an emergency.  With the support of his best friend Gabi, Finn journeys to find and help his mom.  On his travels, he learns about the ISTA (The International Society for Temporal Adherence) and how in his small town of Dorset, Vermont, there is a difference of opinion of how to use this incredible gift of time travel.

A Time Traveler’s Theory of Relativity is an intriguing, fast paced adventure with so many twists and turns, I constantly was questioning, thinking, and reevaluating.  What I love most about the story is witnessing Finn’s growth as a character.  Once only believing in facts he can scientifically prove, Finn gains the knowledge that everything cannot be explained by logic and learns “if you want to change time, you must change hearts.”  Hearts are changed by the way we treat each other so let’s all work together to be kind and believe in the good of others.  Thanks to Barbara Fisch of Blue Slip Media for sharing an ARC with my #bookexcursion group.  A Time Traveler’s Theory of Relativity publishes on October 1, 2019.

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White Bird: A Wonder Story by R.J. Palacio

For fans of Wonder, your wait is almost over.  Releasing on October 1, 2019, White Bird, a full color graphic novel written and illustrated by R.J. Palacio tells the story of Julian’s Jewish grandmother, Sara, who was hidden from the Nazis in occupied France. Readers first met Julian’s grandmother in The Julian Chapter, which was originally released as an e-book and then included as a chapter in the novella, Auggie & Me: Three Wonder Stories.

Sara describes her early life as a bit spoiled living in a large flat with two loving parents and blessed with pretty clothes.  At first, living in the free zone of France seemed normal but it doesn’t take long before Sara (and her parents) are in danger. When a roundup occurs at her school, Sara hides in the bell tower and is rescued by Julien, a classmate stricken by polio and bullied by other classmates.  While Sara never directly bullied Julien, she also did not ever stand up for him.  Through Julien’s kindness, Sara learns that “we are not defined by our mistakes but by what we do after we’ve learned from them.”  Julien and his family protect Sara by hiding her in their barn until the end of the war. Through Julien and his parents’ actions, Sara learns that it takes bravery to be kind because “kindness can truly cost you everything.”

While White Bird may begin as a story of heartache, it ends as a story of hope.  And more importantly, 7 years after Wonder, author R.J. Palacio is still teaching us about the immense power of kindness.  An afterword, author notes, a glossary, a suggested reading list, and organizations/resources provide readers with a wealth of historical information about the holocaust. Thanks to Penguin Random House for sharing an ARC at the ALA Annual Conference.

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Look! I Wrote a Book! (And You Can Too!) by Sally Lloyd Jones Illustrated by Neal Layton

Attending my first ALA conference was amazing but also overwhelming. There are so many books to stop and look at in each booth.  When I walked by this book, the eye catching and playful cover immediately made me stop and want to open the first page. I’m so glad I did!

A young girl takes through the writing process in this humorous and informative picture book.  Writers need to start with a good idea and have knowledge about their topic. They must think about their audience, their title, and the elements of a good story such as a great beginning to reel in readers.  Getting feedback is also important because writers revise to make their stories better.   Final advice includes getting blurbs from famous people, adding an author bio, and always thinking about a sequel.

As a teacher who recently participated in the Teachers College Writing Institute in June, I am excited to share this engaging picture book with students to launch writing workshop.  It will be a great mentor text to use and refer to throughout the year.  Thanks to the publisher Schwartz and Wade/Penguin Random House for sharing a F & G at the ALA Annual Conference in Washington, DC.  Look! I Wrote a Book! (And You Can Too!)  celebrates its book birthday tomorrow on July 23, 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.

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Mighty Reader and the Big Freeze by Will Hillenbrand

As a reading specialist, I love books about reading.  As a dog mom, I love books about dogs so what do you think happens when I find a book about reading and dogs and the main character is….wait for it…A BEAGLE!  You realize Mighty Reader and the Big Freeze was written to be featured on Beagles and Books! Special thanks to Alexa Higbee of Holiday House for providing a copy to me at the ALA Annual Conference in Washington, DC.

Hugo, a beagle, boards the bus on his first day of school.  He quickly makes friends with Barkley, a bull dog who is reading The Adventures of Mighty Reader. Once in school, the class is excited about their author visit later that day.  Their teacher, Ms. Wulff asks Barkley to read aloud a book written by the author, but Barkley freezes up forgetting all his reading strategies.  Luckily, Hugo knows how to solve this reading emergency.  Raiding the class’ dress up center, Hugo finds a superhero costume, grabs Barkley’s favorite book from his cubby reminding Barkley that he is a reader and how he can use his strategies to read new books.  With encouragement from Hugo, Barkley regains his confidence remembering familiar words and using the pictures to tell what is happening.

Beginning readers need support building their confidence in applying their reading strategies. When I work with young, developing readers, I always remind them that they do not have to know every single word; pictures are a great tool to help us read a story.  Mighty Reader and the Big Freeze also teaches kids that they can help each other through prompting which is what Hugo did for Barkley.  Can’t wait for students to meet Hugo (a.k.a. Mighty Reader) when school begins!

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

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

 

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

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 7/15/19

Beagles and Books is excited to share our recent reads in It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #IMWAYR is a community of bloggers who link up to share what they are reading. Kellee Moye of Unleashing Readers and Jen Vincent of Teach Mentor Textsdecided 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:

Count Me In by Varsha Bajaj

Count Me In is a moving story told in alternating perspectives by seventh graders Karina and Chris who are next door neighbors. At the beginning of the story, they are not friends but that all changes when Karina’s Indian grandfather, Papa moves in with her family and shortly after becomes Chris’ math tutor.  On a walk, all three of their lives are forever changed when Papa is assaulted and badly injured by a stranger who targets him because of his race. Karina refuses to let hate win and with the help of social media becomes an “accidental activist” launching a movement called #CountMeIn, which celebrates not only that Americans are from many races and cultures but also the power of speaking up and standing up for what is right. 

I loved hearing both Karina’s and Chris’ perspectives and how they both learned that we are all stronger together when we use our voices.  Thank you Nancy Paulsen and Penguin Kids for sharing an ARC with my #bookexcursion group.  Count Me In releases soon on August 27, 2019.

Unicorns 101 by Cale Atkinson

Would you like to earn a certificate in unicorn science? Well you’re in luck because Cale Atkinson has written and illustrated a highly entertaining and super engaging picture book that will teach you everything you want to know about unicorns.  The book is comprised of 10 sections informing readers about topics such as unicorn biology, diet, history, habitat, and social behaviors.

While Unicorns 101 is clearly fictional, it reads like an informational picture book. In fact, I strongly believe it would be a great mentor nonfiction text, for text features (diagrams, timelines, labels and captions) are prominent throughout the book.  I can’t wait to share this imaginative yet informative book with students and teachers.  (And by the way, I think I found a new rare unicorn breed if there is ever addendum to Unicorns 101).  Thank you to Random House for sharing an F & G with my #bookexcursion group.  It publishes on September 3, 2019.

Hangry by Drew Brockington

What happens when a lizard monster is hungry and angry because the best hot dog restaurant in the city is closed for vacation?  Of course, he becomes HANGRY terrorizing the city on his search for his favorite food.  When he finally gets a hot dog with the works from.a street vendor, it seems his stomach will be happy. But just as he begins to put the hot dog in his mouth, a pigeon swipes his food.  Will the monster’s hangriness ever be satisfied?

Boldly illustrated in comic panels with all dialogue in speech bubbles, Hangry is a fun read with a simple message at the end.  Before you get hangry, ask the street vendor if he has any more hot dogs left in his cart.   Hangry recently published in June 2019.

Rocket’s Very Fine Day by Tad Hills

In this early reader, Rocket and Bella feel lucky because it is a beautiful sunny day perfect for romping and playing outside. But when the sky turns dark and is full of clouds, there is worry that their fine day will be ruined.  Fortunately, the pair realize that while they do not like rain, they love puddles!

With concise text and large expressive illustrations, Rocket’s Very Fine Day is a perfect book for emerging readers.  I also love the theme of making the most out of the day rather than dwelling on the negatives.  Thanks to Penguin Random Home for sharing a F & G at American Library Asssociation’s Annual Conference (ALAAC19) this June.

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.

Dogs and Their People by Anne Lambelet

Charmingly illustrated in a vintage, art deco style, Dogs and Their People is a story about young girl walking home from school.  On her journey,  she observes the dogs and their people noticing how some dogs match their owners perfectly while others are complete opposites. What is clearly similar in all relationships is the genuine love and affection dogs and their owners have for each other. 

When the girl arrives home to greet her own pet. readers will be surprised to see her furry best friend is not a dog, but rather a cat!  It just goes to show you that even cat people can appreciate dog and their people too!  Thanks to Page Street Kids for hosting an author signing at ALAAC19 where I received a copy.  Dogs and Their People recently published in June 2019.

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

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

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 7/1/19

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 Textsdecided 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.

It’s summer! Excited for time to relax, renew & of course, read!

Thanks to my administrators, I was blessed to participate in the TCRWP June Writing Institute at Columbia University. Even though I have been writing this blog for almost 2 years, I really didn’t identify myself as a writer. A reader, definitely, but a writer? This institute provided me with the opportunity to engage in my own writing and learn how to support teachers and students in writers’ workshop. One of the best professional learning experiences in my career! And the fact that I was able to explore and enjoy New York City made it even more memorable.

 

 

After returning home, I couldn’t pass up the chance to attend ALA Annual Conference in Washington, DC. I was only able to spend 1 day but what an incredible day meeting authors, personally thanking authors & publishers for sharing ARCs and finally getting to meet fellow literacy specialist and #bookexcursion member Lisa Maucione in real life after being virtual friends for years. At the end of the day, my heart, bags, and TBR list were (& still are) full.

 

Our Current Reads:

The Problim Children: Carnival Catastrophe by Natalie Lloyd

In the second book in the series, The Problims have 2 big missions ahead of them.  The 7 siblings need to find the remaining 3 twigs which when snapped together, create a water witch.  According to their Grandpa Problim, this water witch will lead them to “a treasure beyond measure.” They also need to find Mama Problim, who is still missing.  Set during the Annual Love Cove Corn Dog Carnival,  Mona Problim encourages all her siblings to enter one of the contests, for the prize is a boat trip to Pirates Cove which she believes is key to locating the treasure and their mother.

While all the Problim siblings are part of this adventure, Mona is the center of the  intriguing plot.  After being called cruel (more than once) and feeling misunderstood by others, Mona seeks the support of her father.  His advice is simple.  “Lead with the good. Find one good truth about someone and mention that. See how they react.”  This advice aids Mona to learn not to judge others, for she realizes everyone wants to shine and be seen in their own unique way.

In Carnival Catastrophe, readers will discover the roots of Desmonda O’pinion’s distaste for the Problims and why there was a falling out between the two families.  Amid all the mystery and mayhem, the youngest Problem keeps us chuckling with his myriad of over 200 toots.  As in Book 1, the siblings teach us the power of collaboration because it’s hard to outsmart the Problims when they are working together.  So pile up readers.  You are in for quite an adventure! But don’t worry when you get to the end. The story will continue in The Problim Children 3.

Special thanks to author Natalie Lloyd for sharing an ARC with my #bookexcursion group. The Carnival Catastrophe recently celebrated its book birthday on June 25, 2019.

Max Attacks by Kathi Appelt Illustrated by Penelope Dullaghan

With a simple yet intriguing title & the cover illustration of a striped blue cat sitting quietly in the top right corner, what reader could resist opening this picture book?

As the title states, Max likes to attack things but the question is…Can Max catch his prey?  Throughout the story, the thing Max wants to catch most are the fish swimming in a bowl. But every time he gets ready to pounce, something distracts him such as a lizard, a toy bird, a basket full of socks or shoe strings.  Will Max ever be victorious?

Written in rhyme with rich vocabulary, author Kathi Appelt’s words beg to be read aloud.  I also love that the narrator keeps score of who is winning.  For example, after Max attacks the socks in the basket, the next page spread simply states “Socks, None. Max, Ninety One.”  Illustrator Penelope Dullaghan’s artwork is gorgeous and it’s hard to believe that Max Attacks is her debut picture book.   Her expressive illustrations capture Max’s feisty and confident personality.  And I can’t forget to mention the black and white dog who watches Max’s escapades with concern, surprise, and satisfaction.

When school begins in the fall, I will be sharing Max Attacks widely with both teachers and students! Special thanks to the publisher Atheneum Books for Young Readers/Simon & Schuster and Barbara Fisch of Blue Slip Media for sending me a copy to share with my #bookexcursion group. Max Attacks recently published in June 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.

Diary of a Pug: Pug Blasts Off  by Kyla May

I love the Scholastic Branches series because the books are specifically written for readers transitioning into chapter books.  Pug Blast Off, the first in the new Diary of a Pug series, is a fun and engaging story written from a pug’s point of view in the form of diary entries.

Baron Von Bubbles, Bub for short, was rescued by young Bella at a pet adoption fair.  In this story, Bella must craft her own creation to enter in her school’s Inventor Challenge. When Bub’s accidentally ruins Bella’s invention, he is determined to make it up to her.  Through words and illustrations, readers see Bub’s brainstorming and planning process which helps Bella realize that sometimes accidents happen for a reason and collaboration makes a better invention.

With comic illustrations and written in under 75 pages, readers will think Diary of a Pug is simply paw-tastic.  Thanks to publisher Scholastic for sharing an ARC at ALAAC19. Look for Pug’s release on October 1, 2019. Three more books will be published in 2020.

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

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

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 6/17/19

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 Textsdecided 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 Current Reads:

Listen by Holly McGee Illustrated by Pascal Lemaitre

A young girl takes off her shoes to experience the natural world using all of her senses.  She listens to sounds, looks at the sun, breathes the air, tastes sunflower seeds, and feels the raw earth.  On each page, a small red bird carrying a tiny leaf is her companion.  The girl realizes that while her senses connect her with the world, it is most important to listen with her heart, for the heart are our ears, eyes, nose, mouth, and hands. 

Lyrically written with concise language, Holly McGee inspires readers to be empathetic through understanding not only our own story but each other’s stories. Pascal Lemaitre’s warm, gorgeous illustrations evoke a sense of calm and peacefulness.  Special thanks to author Holly McGee for sharing an Advanced Reader’s Edition  (ARE) with my #bookexcursion group. Listen publishes in September 2019.

Moon’s First Friends: One Giant Leap for Friendship by Susanna Leonard Hill Illustrated by Elisa Paganelli

All her life, the Moon has been anxiously awaiting visitors. As she looks down at Earth from the sky, she sees dinosaurs, pyramids, and all modes of transportation but no one is tempted to make the journey into space to be her guest. A glimmer of hope surfaces when the Mercury capsule is launched with a chimpanzee but to the Moon’s dismay, he does not call on her. Finally, the Moon gets her wish with the Apollo 11 voyage having her first visitors.

With the 50th anniversary of the moon landing, I have been reading a lot of picture books about the moon. What I love about Moon’s First Friends is that Leonard Hill chronicles the history of the moon in a kid friendly way.  When I read it aloud to a my adopted second grade class for #classroombookaday, the students were so attentive and after reading, they had tons of questions.  Paganelli’s illustrations of the Moon with her rosy cheeks and sweet smile are so charming and makes me want to be friends with the Moon too!

The picture book also includes back matter about NASA, the Apollo 11 Voyage, and the stages of the Saturn V rocket.  An added bonus are QR codes on the end pages that can be scanned to hear the countdown to Apollo’s liftoff and Neil Armstrong’s first words on the Moon.  Special thanks to author Susanna Leonard Hill for sharing a copy with my #bookexcursion group. Moon’s First Friends recently published on June 4, 2019.

Juniper Kai: Super Spy by Laura Gehl Illustrated by Alexandra Neonakis

Super spy Juniper Kai is the only kid on her street.  Her parents are usually always willing to play with her but suddenly her mom is too tired and her dad is too busy. And they keep whispering to each other.  Using her keen detective skills and cool spy gadgets, Juniper is determined to uncover her parent’s secret.  Clues include mom’s phone conversation with grandma about a big change, dad putting together a piece of furniture in the guest room, and a note full of names.  Will Juniper solve the case?

Juniper Kai: Super Spy is a story with a lot of kid appeal.  Young readers will enjoy piecing the clues together to solve the mystery.  Kids will also love all of Juniper’s neat spy tools. The expressive illustrations of Juniper show her range of feelings from curiousity, resolve, concern, and at the end, excitement.  Special thanks to author Laura Gehl for sharing a copy with my #bookexcursion group. Look for Juniper Kai in September 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.

The Peculiar Pig by Joy Steuerwald

It is pretty clear that Penny, one of Mama Pig’s babies is not a piglet, but in fact, a dachshund puppy.  While Mama Pig loves all her babies equally and consistently reassures Penny her differences don’t matter, her siblings think Penny is peculiar.  She does not look like them, has a weird oink, and prefers using her paws to dig than her snout.  But when a snake threatens the litter, Penny’s peculiar growl scares the creature away.  The piglets realizes that being peculiar is pretty positive trait! 

The Peculiar Pig is a sweet story that celebrates differences.  Steuerwald’s illustrations are absolutely adorable and will captivate young readers. Special thanks to Penguin Kids for sharing a copy with my #bookexcursion group. The Peculiar Pig celebrates its book birthday tomorrow on June 18, 2019.

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

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

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 6/10/19

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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 Current Reads:

Awesome Dog 5000 by Justin Dean

A video game fanatic, Marty is nervous about starting a new school and making friends.  While he failed to follow any of his first day rules (do not do anything weird, embarrassing or uncool), Marty did meet Ralph and Skyler who both share his love for his favorite video game Sheriff Turbo-Karate.  One day, the trio find a robot dog at Marty’s house which was was left behind by the previous owner who was an inventor.  The robot dog, Awesome 5000, is well, pretty awesome because a walk means a flight in the air at 300 miles per hour.  But Marty’s adventure hits a snag when he and Awesome 5000 accidentally ruin Dr. Crazybrains’ birthday party, an eccentric scientist with a mad passion for making evil potions.  Dr. Crazybrains vows revenge on Marty which leads to a comical adventure that is so engaging, it will be hard to put Awesome Dog 5000 down.

Author/illustrator Justin Dean’s new series (yup, Book 2 comes out in Spring 2020) is perfect for a wide variety of readers.  At 160 pages long with short, illustrated chapters. Awesome Dog 5000 will appeal to kids who are transitioning into chapter books. Within those 160 pages is an intriguing plot with dynamic characters so solid middle grade readers will devour the novel in one sitting. As an adult who grew up in the 80’s and fondly remembers playing video games at an arcade or at home on our Atari system,  Dean’s old school video illustration transported back to my childhood which was a lot of fun! What I love most about Awesome Dog 5000 is it’s also a story of friendship between 3 kids who not only love playing Sheriff Turbo-Karate but also have each other’s back.  Special thanks to Random House for sending an ARC to my #bookexcursion group. Awesome Dog 5000 releases on July 2, 2019.

Being Small (Isn’t So Bad After All) by Lori Orlinsky

Being one of the smallest in my class for pretty much my entire school career (and still only 5′ 3), I can easily relate to the main character in Being Small (Isn’t Bad After All).  While the little girl focuses on all the negatives of being small (having to stand on a stool to get a drink, getting picked last for a team), her mother identifies the benefits of her small stature (squeezing through small spaces and having the most leg room on a plane).

Written in rhyme, Being Small (Isn’t Bad After All) is a heartwarming story that promotes a positive self image for the mother tells her daughter to not dwell on her height because “you can do anything when you give it your might.”   As a reading specialist, I have shared this picture book with primary grade teachers as well as our guidance counselor to teach the virtues of empathy, respect, and tolerance.

Special thanks to the author for sending a copy to Beagles & Books. Being Small (Isn’t Bad After All) recently published in April 2019.

 Etta 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.

Kayla & King and the Case of the Found Fred by Dori Hillestad Butler Illustrated by Nancy Meyers

Our second graders have a mystery genre unit and at our school, students have an option of reading books from the Kayla and King series.  In the Case of the Found Fred, King discovers a lost dog who needs help finding his family.  Told from King’s point of view, he is able to learn the dog’s name (Fred) and his family’s location (campground).  But of course Kayla doesn’t know this but with King’s help (and nose), the duo works together to piece the clues together.

To solve the case, Kayla models effective problem solving skills by making a list of all that she knows and writes questions about what she doesn’t know.  King’s amusing narration (nine or three days go by showing a dog’s concept of time) keeps the reader both interested and entertained.  With less than 50 pages, short chapters, an engaging plot, and humorous and colorful illustrations, King and Kayla is perfect for early readers transitioning to chapter books.  Special thanks to Peachtree Publishers for sending an ARC to my #bookexcursion group.  Kayla & King and the Case of the Found Friend recently published in March 2019.

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

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

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 6/3/19

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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 Current Reads:

The Vanderbeekers to the Rescue by Karina Yan Glaser

Once you meet the Vanderbeekers, you instantly fall in love with this family! So blessed to have the opportunity to read an ARC of the eagerly anticipated The Vanderbeekers to the Rescue, which is the third book in this beloved series.

It may be spring break but the Vanderbeekers’ schedule is jam packed! Isa is prepping for a violin audition and Oliver can’t wait to build a treehouse with Uncle Arthur. The most exciting news of all is Mama’s cookie business will be featured in an upcoming issue for Perch Magazine and the brownstone needs to be photo shoot ready.  But when an inspection of Mama’s baking business uncovers serious violations, the kids need to think and work fast without Mama and Papa knowing.  And while the Vanderbeekers are huge animal lovers, the animals that mysteriously appear at their door every morning are making their job even harder.

If you know the Vanderbeekers, you know that when epic mistakes are made, they band together to problem solve. Better yet, when one sibling feels defeated, another sibling reminds another to think positive.  And their actions speak louder than words, for as neighbor Miss Josie beautifully states “From where I am standing, I see five kids who are growing up and wanting to do good in the world. And that fills me with hope.”  Reading the Vanderbeekers always warm my heart and soul because of their genuine kindness toward others and their love for their community.

Special thanks to Karina Yan Glaser and Houghton Mifflin Publishing for sharing an ARC for my #bookexcursion group.  The Vanderbeekers to the Rescue publishes in September 2019.

Moon: Earth’s Best Friend by Stacy McAnulty Illustrated by Stevie Lewis

The second grade class I adopted for #classroombookaday this year absolutely loves McAnulty’s Earth and Sun so I was so grateful to get an advanced reader’s edition (ARE) of Moon to read aloud before the school year ends.

McAnulty’s Our Universe series is a blend of fiction and non-fiction which is highly engaging for read aloud.  Playfully narrated by Moon, readers learn facts about the moon’s formation and its close relationship with Earth.  While I knew Earth depended on the Moon, McAnulty’s lively text and Lewis’ adorable illustrations help even me better understand space science concepts such as rotation and gravity. I love how even as an adult, I can learn from reading picture books!

After reading Moon, several students crossing their fingers eagerly asked “Is there another picture book in the series? When I visited the Macmillan website, I saw a new title, Dude, I Am Ocean slated for release in spring 2020.

Special thanks to Christian Trimmer of Henry Holt/Macmillan Kids for sharing an ARE of Moon, which releases soon on June 11, 2019.  

Rosie the Dragon and Charlie Make Waves! by Lauren Kerstein Illustrated by

Searching for a fun summer read?  Look no further than Rosie the Dragon and Charlie Make Waves!   Written by debut author Lauren Kerstein, this lively picture book provides a splash of entertainment after a hot day at the beach, pool or park.  To read my full review and enter a giveaway, please click here.

Flora’s Tree House by Gabriel Alborozo

Flora’s little brother Will has no idea that his imaginative play inspires her artwork.  Content with her sketches, she retreats to her tree house to hang up her latest masterpiece.  When Will follows her, he quickly discovers that his fantasy world is the subject of all of Flora’s drawings.  As Flora shares and explains her illustrations, the siblings bond realizing that it is even more fun to collaborate to create new and exciting adventures together.  On the very last pages, the tree house becomes a boat on rough seas and Flora joins Will in his latest romp. 

Beautifully drawn, Flora’s Tree House is a charming story about the power of imagination and how play is much more fun with a partner.  Special thanks to Christian Trimmer of Henry Holt/Macmillan Kids for sharing an ARC. Flora’s Tree House recently celebrated its book birthday on May 28, 2019.

Etta 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.

Spunky Tells All by Ann Cameron Illustrated by Lauren Castillo

I have always been a fan of Ann Cameron’s Julian and Huey series so imagine my surprise when I discovered there was a book told from the perspective of the family dog, Spunky.    Of course, Spunky loves the Bates family and knows they love him back.  Occasionally, there are misunderstandings but that is because humans do not understand the language of dog.  This language barrier causes the Bates family to think Huey needs a companion.  Rather than get another dog, the family decides to adopt a cat named Fiona.  Much to Spunky’s dismay, Fiona disrupts his normal routine so much that he refers to his old life as B.F.-Before Fiona and A.F.-After Fiona.  Fiona accompanies the family on daily walks, eats his food and drinks his water and has the audacity to join him and Huey in their Blanket Cave.  Will Spunky and Fiona ever get along?  

At only 106 pages,  Spunky Tells All is a great story for readers transitioning to chapter books or it would be an excellent and engaging read aloud.  In addition, Lauren Castillo’s expressive black and white drawings complement the text helping young readers better understand Spunky and Fiona.

Thank you for visiting Beagles & Books! Happy reading!

Blog Tour, Giveaway, Picture Books

Blog Tour & Giveaway for Rosie the Dragon and Charlie Make Waves by Lauren Kernstein Illustrated by Nate Wragg

 

Beagles and Books is excited to be part of the blog tour for Rosie the Dragon and Charlie Make Waves  written by Leslie Kerstein and illustrated by Nate Wragg which published on May 1, 2019.  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.

 

Praise for Rosie the Dragon and Charlie Make Waves!

“The digital illustrations are bright, playful, and attractive, well suited to the story…There are some young dragon lovers and fans of mischief who will revel in this silly romp.”
Kirkus Reviews
 
“Kerstein’s playful story about friendship, patience, and responsibility for a pet is nicely matched by Wragg’s bold, colorful illustrations, rendered in blocky shapes and a vivid color palette. New pet owners are the natural choice for this one, but kids with younger siblings might appreciate it, too.” – Booklist
 Publisher’s Summary: 
It’s summertime, and you’re invited for a rollicking day at the pool with Charlie and his pet dragon (and best friend!), Rosie. But be careful—swimming with a dragon can be, um, challenging. As Rosie and Charlie blow bubbles (don’t forget your umbrella!), practice flutter kicks (watch out for tidal waves!), and offer shoulder rides (hang on tight!), Rosie proves that dragons make the most fun pets ever. Now if only Charlie can keep Rosie’s attention focused on the rules at the pool and NOT on her gummy snacks (you know, the ones that cause stinky dragon breath!)…Grab your towels and sunscreen and join Rosie and Charlie for a fun-filled summer adventure!
Review:
Searching for a fun summer read?  Look no further than Rosie the Dragon and Charlie Make Waves!   Written by debut author Lauren Kerstein, this lively picture book provides a splash of entertainment after a hot day at the beach, pool or park.  

When Charlie goes to the shelter to adopt a pet, he did not plan to come home with a dragon.  Rosie does fit his criteria, for she is silly, active, and playful.  Rosie and Charlie quickly bond enjoying outdoor activities such as flying kites, playing soccer or skateboarding.  Being a responsible pet owner, Charlie wants to ensure an enjoyable and safe pool outing which means a lot of preparation (swim gear, sunblock and snacks), rules (no drinking, no running, no diving or belly flops) and close supervision of Rosie (no eating of gummy skunks until after swimming).

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A good teacher, Charlie provides lessons on blowing bubbles and practicing flutter kicks but teaching these skills to a dragon can be problematic especially when other swimmers are in the pool.  Ever patient, Charlie is encouraging as Rosie embarks on her first solo swim.  When Rosie shows trepidation and concern, Charlie is right there by Rosie’s side to be her support.  

Rosie the Dragon and Charlie Make Waves is an amusing laugh out loud picture book with a lot of heart.  Amid the giggles, it is a story about the genuine love between a boy and his pet.  Charlie is caring and responsible and Rosie is determined to make her boy happy and shows remorse when she makes mistakes (gummy skunks are just so tempting).  The colorful, eye catching artwork will appeal to young readers and adorably illustrates Charlie and Rosie’s sweet relationship.

As a reading specialist, it warmed my heart when I saw Charlie reading to Rosie and his friends at the end.  Now that Rosie has conquered swimming (well, sort of), perhaps, Rosie’s next adventure is learning to read?  When you have a best friend who believes in you, anything is possible (even if your best friend is a dragon)!

Get a sneak peek at Rosie and Charlie by viewing the book trailer!

About the Author and Illustrator:

Lauren H. Kerstein is an author and psychotherapist. She is a Jersey girl at heart who, as a child, loved underwater handstands and slurping cherry Italian ice at the pool. Lauren currently lives in Colorado with her husband, Josh; their dragons…er, daughters, Sarah and Danielle; and Hudson, the dog. Learn more about the author at www.LaurenKerstein.net.  Follow her on Twitter @LaurenKerstein and Instagram  @laurenkerstein

 

Nate Wragg works as a production designer and illustrator for animation and book projects. His animation projects include Ratatouille, Toy Story 3, and Captain Underpants.  He is the illustrator of a number of popular picture books, including At the Old Haunted House, written by Helen Ketteman. He lives in Southern California with his family. Learn more at natewragg.tumblr.com.

 

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Giveaway!
One lucky winner will receive a copy of Rosie the Dragon and Charlie Make Waves, courtesy of Two Lions (U.S. addresses).  Enter the giveaway by retweeting my blog post tweet on Twitter and/or by making a comment on this blog post.  Giveaway ends Tuesday, June 4, 2019.

 

 
 

 

 

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

It’s Monday! What Are You Are Reading? 5/20/19

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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 Current Reads:

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Planet Earth is Blue by Nicole Panteleakos

It is 1986. 12 year old Nova Vezina is anxiously awaiting for two big events- the launching of the space shuttle Challenger and reuniting with her older sister Bridget. Bridget ran away from their last foster home and Nova is adjusting to living with her new foster family, the Wests.

While Nova’s school reports consistently included phrases such as “cannot read” or “does not speak,” her older sister Bridget always disagreed stating that Nora “is a thinker, not a talker.” Bridget has been Nova’s strongest advocate recognizing and fostering Nova’s intelligence.   With only 10 days before the Challenger launch,  Nova is clinging on to Bridget’s promise that she and Nova will reunite and watch this historic event together.

I love the format of the novel, which alternates from third person to first person.  Nova’s first hand account is written as letters to Bridget, which everyone else calls “scribbles.”  Since Nora is autistic and nonverbal, her letters are extremely compelling sharing her deep thoughts and feelings on everything from her new foster family, new school and friends as well as past memories of her mother and Bridget.  Reading Nova’s letters is truly gut-wrenching because she shares her frustrations that people cannot understand her and how desperately she misses Bridget.  While my heart ached for Nova, Nova’s new foster family gave me hope. Francine, Billy, and their college age daughter Josie take the time to truly get to know Nova recognizing her potential rather than her limitations.

From the very first page, Nova’s story pulled me in and I couldn’t put the novel down. While I knew the outcome of the Challenger launch, debut author Nicole Panteleakos’s well crafted novel kept me wondering until almost the very end.  A heartbreaking yet uplifting story, Planet Earth is Blue reminds us of our universal need for love, respect, and understanding.  I am a firm believer that books have the power to change you and make you a better person; Planet Earth is Blue is that story, for we can all do better in showing compassion, patience, and tolerance towards others.

Special thanks to Penguin Random House and Rockstar Book Tours for a copy of Planet Earth is Blue.  It recently published on May 14, 2019.

Frankie Sparks and the Class Pet by Megan Frazier Blakemore Illustrated by Nadja Small

When Frankie’s teacher announces that the class is going to research and vote on a class pet, Frankie is determined to convince her classmates that a rat is the best choice. Scared of rodents, Frankie’s best friend Maya disagrees and feels a fish is a better choice. Frankie struggles with Maya’s lack of support which creates a rift in their friendship. With the help of her parents, Maya gradually realizes that true friendship means accepting each other’s differences.

Frankie Sparks is an early chapter book series with a lot of depth. Megan Frazier Blackmore has created such a dynamic and passionate main character in Frankie. Readers see her at her best when she is researching and/or creating as well as her worst when she is angry and frustrated that no one is listening to her. As a teacher, I love the inclusion of the endnotes which provide more information on “problem scoping” and encourage kids to be creative.

Special thanks to Simon Kids/Aladdin for sending an ARC to my #bookexcursion group. Frankie Sparks and the Class Pet and Frankie Sparks and the Talent Show Trick will be released soon on June 18, 2019. A third book, Frankie Sparks and the Big Sled Challenge will be published in November 2019.

Etta 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.

Dog vs. Ultra Dog by Troy Wilson Art by Clayton Hammer

Pup Tuffy and his boy Tim are best buds but then suddenly, Ultra Dog, a cartoon superhero steals Tim’s attention.  Worried that he is losing his boy, Tuffy attempts to be the ultra-est dog at obedience, chores, affection, and even (gulp) flying.  Unfortunately, Tuffy isn’t as successful as he hoped. How can Tuffy convince Tim that he is top dog?

Dog vs. Ultra Dog has a lot of kid appeal. With bold comic illustrations and text written in speech bubbles, the story has a graphic novel feel. While young readers will laugh out loud at Tuffy’s efforts, they will easily relate to Tuffy’s concern over being replaced by a new and more exciting friend. Amid the humor, Troy Wilson has written a heartwarming story that teaches kids that a true and loyal friend is irreplaceable.

Special thanks to Tricia Harlan of Owlkids Books for sharing a copy with Beagles and Books.  Dog vs. Ultra Dog recently published in April 2019.

Thank you for visiting Beagles & Books! Happy reading!

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

Review & Giveaway: The Duchess and Guy A Rescue to Royalty Puppy Love Story by Nancy Furstinger

 

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It’s a boy!  Beagles and Books is celebrating the birth of Archie Harrison Monbatten-Windsor, the son of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex with a review and giveaway of The Duchess and Guy: A Rescue to Royalty Puppy Love Story written by Nancy Furstinger and illustrated by Julia Bereciartu. I received a copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Publisher’s Summary: 
A heartwarming tale about a beagle and the Duchess who adopted him, this picture book is inspired by the true story of Meghan Markle and her rescue dog, Guy. When he was a pup, Guy was just like any dog in the shelter; he liked to bark and follow his nose, and dreamed of a forever home above all things. But when Guy met Meghan, he had no idea he was about to star in his own Cinderella story. Guy can now be spotted escorting Queen Elizabeth and frolicking in Buckingham Palace. This rags-to-riches story of how one regal beagle got a second chance at life will charm and delight.

Review:

It’s pretty clear that I love dogs and books, but when the book is about a rescue beagle, it is even better.  And the fact that the beagle was rescued by a future Duchess, well, it is the absolutely best!

Although I know Guy has a happy ending, my heart still hurt when I read Furstinger’s poignant first words and Julia Bereciartu’s gorgeous yet forlourn illustration of Guy in the shelter.  

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When I turned the page, my heart leaped for joy when Guy was adopted by Meghan and finally got his furever home.The story focus shifts to Meghan’s impending marriage to Prince Harry and how Guy wants to prove he is a regal beagle.  Being among royalty is a bit overwhelming for Guy and despite his best intentions, his transition isn’t as smooth as he envisioned.  Meghan reminds Guy to be the happy go lucky dog he is. 

Whether you are two legged or four legged, adjustment to a new situation or surrounding can be challenging; I love that Furstinger emphasizes the way to capture hearts (even the Queen of England’s) is to simply just be yourself.   

At the end of the book, Furstinger includes a factual account of Guy’s rags to riches story.  What especially warms my heart is information on dog adoptions which is a cause close near and dear to me.  Like Guy, both Etta and Bella are rescues from the south and were sponsored and saved by Penny Angels Beagle Rescue in New Jersey.  

Special thanks to author Nancy Furstinger for sharing a copy of The Duchess and Guy with Beagles and Books.  It recently published in January 2019. 

Meet the Author:

Nancy Furstinger has been speaking up for animals since she learned to talk, and she hasn’t shut up yet. She is the author of nearly 100 books, including many on her favorite topic: animals! She started her writing career in third grade, when her class performed a play she wrote while recovering from chicken pox. Since then, Nancy has been a feature writer for a daily newspaper, a managing editor of trade and consumer magazines, and an editor at two children’s book publishing houses. She shares her home with big dogs, house rabbits, and a chinchilla (all rescued), and volunteers with several animal organizations.

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Giveaway!
One lucky winner will receive a copy of The Duchess and Guy (U.S. addresses only).  Enter the giveaway by retweeting my blog post tweet on Twitter and/or by making a comment on this blog post.  Giveaway ends Sunday, May 19, 2019.