ten to read in the hammock

Hope you’re enjoying some leisurely moments this summer. Here are 10 awesome 2016 books to while away the hours.

tell me a tattoo story cover image

Tell Me a Tattoo Story, by Alison McGhee, illustrated by Eliza Wheeler
published in 2016 by Chronicle Books

This warm story has to be one of the first that stars a parent’s tattoos. In affectionate conversation, Dad tells his son the special significance of a number of his inkings.

tell me a tattoo story interior mcghee and wheeler

And no wonder his little boy never tires of hearing these stories! They are brimming with love for the special people in his life. Illustrated with buttermilk-fresh beauty by the talented Eliza Wheeler. This charmer will be the perfect fit for many, and a delightfully warm family tale for all, ages 2 and up.

on the farm at the market cover image

On the Farm, At the Market, written and illustrated by G. Brian Karas
published in 2016, Christy Ottaviano Books, Henry Holt and Company

Impeccably timed for the farmer’s market season, this marvelous book tracks the gorgeous, farm-fresh produce from the field to the market stalls.

on the farm at the market interior g. brian karas

Vegetables, cheeses, mushrooms — the hard work of raising and preparing them for us is a glory to witness, as is the joy of putting these goods into our hands and the delicious meal made from them all at the Busy Bee Cafe. Written and illustrated with joy and friendliness, this is a treat for ages 3 and up!

treat cover image

Treat, words and pictures by Mary Sullivan
published in 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

And speaking of treats, any of you who are dog-lovers will snicker mightily over this little dog’s passionate pursuit of a dog treat!

treat interior mary sullivan

Only one word is used in this story, and it’s music — at times tortuous music! — to this little dog’s ears. Treat!! Laugh along at his frantic obsession in this funny, oh-so-fetching story. Ages 3 and up.

crossing niagara cover image

Crossing Niagara: The Death-Defying Tightrope Adventures of the Great Blondin, written and illustrated by Matt Tavares
published in 2016 by Candlewick Press

This is the absolutely stunning story of a tightrope walker in the 1800s who crossed the Niagara Falls gorge not just once, not just with his slender balancing pole for company, but more than a dozen times with increasingly-impossible added burdens and twists.

crossing niagara illustration detail by matt tavares

To put this in perspective, the Twin Tower walk was 140 feet; Blondin walked 1100 feet. Your jaw will drop when you read this incredible story, masterfully told and illustrated by Matt Tavares. Ages 5 and up.

buddy and earl go exploring cover image

Buddy and Earl Go Exploring, by Maureen Fergus, illustrated by Carey Sookocheff
published in 2016 by Groundwood Books, House of Anansi Press

Second dog story of the day, and this one is so funny and charming. Buddy the dog and Earl the hedgehog are pets in the same household and very good friends.

buddy and earl go exploring interior fergus and sookocheff

When Earl wants to go a-roving in the nighttime, however, his slightly-dim wits and ignorance of the household rules are quite alarming to Buddy! Watch the disaster unfold and fall in love with that good dog, Buddy. Illustrated with imagination, humor, and buckets of personality. Ages 3 and up.

can i eat that cover image

Can I Eat That? by Joshua David Stein, illustrated by Julia Rothman
published in 2016 Phaidon Press Inc.

I’ve never seen anything quite like this exuberant, off-beat exploration of food! Curious questions and surprising answers. Ways to eat a sea urchin and maybe-possibly something that at least sounds like a tornado.

can i eat that? interior stein and rothman

Do eggs grow on eggplants? And where does one go to pick pickles? Have a blast wandering and wondering through this book, illustrated with blasts of lively color and cool design. Ages 2 and up.

Groundwood Logos Spine

Tokyo Digs a Garden, by Jon-Erik Lappano, illustrated by Kellen Hatanaka
published in 2016 by Groundwood Books, House of Anansi Press

A whimsical, fantastical, eco-friendly story awaits you in this gorgeous book coming to us from our good neighbors in Canada.

tokyo digs a garden illustration kellen hatanaka

Tokyo’s grandfather remembers when the vast city they live in was a place of “hills and forest and meadows and streams.” Now it’s a concrete jungle. Until a mysterious old woman appears, on a bicycle, hauling some earth, and handing out seeds to Tokyo. Crazy things ensue in this strikingly-handsome story for dreamers ages 3 and up-up-up.

hannah and sugar cover image

Hannah and Sugar, written and illustrated by Kate Berube
published in 2016 by Abrams Books for Young Readers

Third and final dog story for the day. (Can you tell I love dogs?!)

Hannah is quite shy of dogs. Timid of their teeth perhaps. Alarmed by their bold wagging and playfulness. So every day when the rest of the kids get off the school bus and happily greet Sugar (as sweet a dog as her name suggests), Hannah walks the other way. Quickly.

hannah and sugar interior kate berube

One day, though, Sugar is lost and as it turns out, Hannah is the only one who can save her. Watch what happens in this tender, warm story. I love it. Ages 2 and up.


Yaks Yak: Animal Word Pairs, by Linda Sue Park, illustrated by Jennifer Black Reinhardt
published in 2016 by Clarion Books, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Language that’s ticklishly playful. Fascinating pairings to ponder for children who revel in the wonders of words.

yaks yak interior park and reinhardt

Humorous, spectacular illustrations of yaks yakking, bugs bugging bugs, ducks ducking, and oodles more. Brain-fizzing, imagination-sparking cleverness galore spills forth on every page of this ingenuous book. Great fun for ages 4 or 5 and up.

my book of birds cover image

My Book of Birds, written and illustrated by Geraldo Valério
published in 2016 by Groundwood Books, House of Anansi Press

This oversized beauty is a cover-to-cover gorgeous sampling of birds, impeccably presented by Groundwood Books.

my book of birds interior geraldo valerio

Brazilian artist Valério has always been fascinated by birds. When he moved to Canada he met a whole new group of them who reside in the northern hemisphere. Here he presents his favorites via his stunning collages.

my book of birds interior 2 geraldo valerio

Revel in the shape of the Great Blue Heron, the vivid red of the Northern Cardinal, the streamlined swoop of the swallow family. And read snippets of information that sparkle with the wonders of each bird. Visually-sumptuous — a bit of a Charley Harper feel — for ages 2 to 100.