this week’s crop of ten top books

Because it’s pool time!

swimming-swimming cover image

Swimming, Swimming, lyrics from an old song, illustrated by Gary Clement
published in 2015 by Groundwood Books

Big, bold, sunny-day illustrations carry us along an energetic run-through of this classic children’s song.

swimming swimming illustration gary clements

If you don’t know the actions and the take-away-a-line-at-a-time part, I believe you can find them at Your kids will be singing it all summer long. Ages 2 and up.

Brand new and jazzy for beginning readers

what this story needs is a pig in a wig cover image

What This Story Needs is a Pig in a Wig, written and illustrated by Emma J. Virján
published in 2015 by Harper

If your child can read the title, he’s proficient enough to read this snappy new story featuring…a pig in a wig.

what this story needs is a pig in a wig illustration virjan

Sonic-boom colors. Mo Willem-esque illustrations. Friendly, happy story. A watery winner!

For fans and non-fans of creepy-crawlies

some bugs cover image

Some Bugs, written by Angela DiTerlizzi, illustrated by Brendan Wenzel
published in 2014 by Beach Lane Books

Let’s face it: summer is a buggy time. 

some bugs interior diterlizzi and wenzel

This upbeat catalogue of bugs is just the ticket to make them seem intriguing instead of irritating. Minimal words. Bold-as-brass pictures. Colorful and catchy…plus you learn the names of lots of exciting insects. Ages 2 and up.

A curious blast of poetry

beastly verse cover image

Beastly Verse, various poets, illustrated by JooHee Yoon
published in 2015 by Enchanted Lion Books

 Yoon’s cheerful, playful illustrations completely dominate these pages, some of which fold out to accommodate her weirdly-wonderful, capacious creatures.

This is a Spangled Pandemonium

This is a Spangled Pandemonium

Unconventional art, paired with classic animal-poems from the likes of Lewis Carroll, William Blake, and Christina Rossetti. A smashing success to share with ages 3 to 100.

Tea and crumpets, anyone?

london calls cover image

London Calls!, by Gabby Dawnay, illustrated by Alex Barrow
published in 2014 by Tate Publishing

Dash along with Pearl and Granny Rose on a whirlwind tour of London.

london calls interior dawnay and barrow

The rhyming text merrily skips along, zigging and zagging among charming illustrations of everything from the London Eye to the Tube to Kensington Gardens. If you love London, I promise you will like this little book. Ages 4 and up.

Completely clever way-more-than-an-alphabet book

take away the a cover image

Take Away the A: An Alphabeast of a Book!, written by Michaël Escoffier, illustrated by Kris Di Giacomo
published in 2014 by Enchanted Lion Books

What happens when letters up and go missing?

Well, without the D, the dice are ice!

take away the a interior2 escoffier and digiacomo

Without the C, a chair has hair!

take away the a interior escoffier and digiacomo

26 extremely clever pages, especially fun for newish readers.

Calling Sherlock!

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Where’s the Pair?: A Spotting Book, written and illustrated by Britta Teckentrup
published in 2015 by Big Picture Press

Can you spot which two are precisely a pair?

where's the pair illustration britta teckentrup

That’s the game on every page of this tricky, tantalizing book. These puzzlers are not for amateur sleuths! Try them with ages 5 and up, with maybe a bit of help to get started.

Classic Scandinavian lore

the terrible troll-bird cover image

The Terrible Troll-Bird, written and illustrated by Ingri and Edgar Parin d’Aulaire
originally published in 1976; reissued by The New York Review  Children’s Collection in 2007

I could write a whole post on this one. 

the terrible troll bird illustration d'aulaire

The glorious troll-ish landscape of Scandinavian folklore, combined with the d’Aulaires magic touch at retelling and illustrating. Find out how Ola, Lina, Sina and Trina cope with the immense Troll Bird! Ages 6 and up.

Because it’s simply the best to sleep in a tent 

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Eddie’s Tent and How to Go Camping, written and illustrated by Sarah Garland
published in 2015 by Frances Lincoln Children’s Books

Coming from one of my favorite UK author/illustrators, this charming story about a family camping trip.

eddie's tent illustration sarah garland

Tents. Hot Chocolate. Starry Skies. Snug Sleeping Bags. Roasted chocolate-stuffed bananas. Really, does it get any better?! Rev up for your camping trip or start dreaming of one when you read this gem. Ages 3 and up.

Of Bicycles and Neighborliness

the red bicycle cover image

The Red Bicycle: The Extraordinary Story of One Ordinary Bicycle, written by Jude Isabella, illustrated by Simone Shin
published in 2015 by Citizen Kid/Kids Can Press

Another winner coming out of the Canadian Citizen Kid line. This time, we see how the donation of a bicycle changes the lives of people across the world.

the red bicycle interior jude isabella and simone shin

Follow the bike as it changes hands and see the kind of good you can do when you act like a good neighbor to people you never even meet. A lengthy account for ages 5 or 6 and up, that could be read in installments if necessary.