7 Summer Reads
I usually try to post something at least every two weeks (if not more), but this past month has been particularly busy, and while this list is not very long, I hope it'll be helpful for those looking for some new board book ideas.
As always, I'd love to hear about which board books you and your little one are enjoying!
1. Mrs. Peanuckle's Bug Alphabet
This is a new series for me. From bugs to trees, flowers, vegetables, birds, and fruit, the Mrs. Peanuckle alphabet series is pretty extensive, especially for only just hitting the market within the past year. With a bug fact on every page, I can see how children in the 2-3 age range would find this book immensely entertaining. Our son has, for the most part, outgrown all of his board books, but he still likes to read the ones that come through the house for the blog, and Mrs. Peanuckle's Bug Alphabet was high on the list of re-reads. With big illustrations by Jessie Ford the types of bugs are detailed enough that a child will be able to recognize the bug outside, although nothing beats seeing a bug up close in its natural habitat. My only complaint is that while I think the Mrs. Peanuckle aspect of the title is catchy, I found it out of place within the book. Text like, "Crickets are Mrs. Peanuckle's favorite because their night song means it's summertime" just seems unnecessary and distracting. After all, who is Mrs. Peanuckle within the context of the story? In order to include her name within the book, I would have preferred to see an illustrative element that introduces us to her as a character. Overall it is a fun series to explore and the vibrant illustrations and child-journal-feel add to the allure.
2. Who Can Swim?
This one isn't limited to summer but since swimming always reminds me of summer, I had to include it. As a lift-the-flap book, each page invites the child to lift an ocean flap to find out who swims.
3. Mama, Is It Summer Yet?
I'm always amazed by Nikki McClure and the beautiful stories she's able to tell. With a minimal color pallet and an X-Acto knife, her illustrations create a story in and of themselves. In Mama, Is It Summer Yet?, a child waits for summer as the buds on the trees start to swell, the earth gets soft, the swallows start to sing, the ducklings hatch, the trees blossom, and then finally -- the honeybees come out, the sun feels warm, and the berries are juicy. Summer has arrived.
4. Pippa and Pelle in the Summer Sun
Originally written in German, Pippa and Pelle is a relatively new translated series. In some ways it reminds me of Frog and Toad as the two friends go off on a series of outings in each book. In Pippa and Pelle in the Summer Sun the two friends go out to enjoy the sunshine. They admire an apple tree, they visit a farm, they notice the wildflowers and a mouse building a nest. At the end of the day they see the orange sun setting before retuning home. It was a good day.
5. A Maudie & Bear Story: The Bike Ride
I am such a fan of the British Maudie and Bear series illustrated by Freya Blackwood. Written by Jan Ormerod this series is also similar to a Pippa and Pelle type of book as Maudie and Bear have a series of adventures---this time, on a bike. A book that focuses on the process in life, which I think is a particularly resonant message for a young child, Maudie and Bear spend most of their time getting ready to go for a bike ride as Maudie gets her sunglasses, a hat, a scarf, sunscreen, and bug spray. Finally, they're ready for their ride. With beautiful illustrations that remind me of Jane Dyer and Helen Oxenbury, the pages are so enjoyable to look at.
6. How to Train a Train
Going to the library is such a crucial part of being exposed to literature that you might not otherwise come across. How to Train a Train is not old by any means but since I'd never come across it in my local book store, I was excited when I found it unexpectedly. A book that is bound to inspire a child's imagination as the reader is told exactly how to choose, track, and train your very own pet train.
My only complaint (I know, I usually have one or two) is that the board book version is slightly abridged which is unfortunate because I didn't find it quite as funny as the unabridged hard cover version. But longer books really aren't meant to be board books and I think the board book version will hold smaller children's attention whereas the full version might be a tad too long. Has anyone read both versions? What do you think?
7. The Quiet Book
At the end of a hot summer's day it might be time for some quiet. And if it is, The Quiet Book is full of furry friends who will show you all the different types of quiet. There are many you know! There's first one awake quiet. There's don't scare the robin quiet. There's coloring in the lines quiet and hide and seek quiet. For every example of quiet, the book is filled with memorable and dynamic illustrations by Renata Liwska.
As always, enjoy!