dive into all things summer…a splash of picture books

Every season has its splendors. Now’s the time to celebrate the radiance of summer!

Summer is …old-fashioned outdoor playtime!

And Then Comes Summer, written by Tom Brenner, illustrated by Jaime Kim
published in 2017 by Candlewick Press

Flip-flops and lemonade stands; parades and fireworks; ice-cream cones and swimming; campfires and marshmallows to toast. It’s all here. The jubilant best of summer is on full display in this happy catalogue of summertime. Whet your appetites for summer fun. Ages 2 and up.

Summer is…time for high-dive bravery!

Jabari Jumps, written and illustrated by Gaia Cornwall
published in 2017 by Candlewick Press

Every kid either remembers or anticipates with tummy-flutters their first leap off that talllllll diving board. Jabari and his dad tackle those jitters with aplomb and splashy success in this glad story. I love this book! Share it with ages 2 and up.

Summer is…full of creeping things!

My Awesome Summer by P. Mantis, written and illustrated by Paul Meisel
published in 2017 by Holiday House

A praying mantis keeps a summer journal in this genius book. Beginning with his birth on a beautiful May day, P. Mantis tells us about his favorite foods, his tricky camouflage moves, his molting episodes, and his pretty dastardly habit of…well, you’ll have to read it to believe it. All in his matter-of-fact, engaging voice. Masterful creative nonfiction and nature lore for ages 2 and up.

Summer is…mud pies!

Mud Book: How to Make Pies and Cakes, written by John Cage, illustrated by Lois Long
published in 2017 by Princeton Architectural Press

This pint-sized book contains just two recipes — Mud Pie and Mud Layer Cake; with a variation on the layer cake to turn it into a birthday smash hit. The startling thing is — it was written by avant-garde composer John Cage!!! I was astonished to see this. And illustrated by textile designer Lois Long. In the 1950s. A limited edition print was done in the early 80s by these two. And now you, too, can enjoy this happy, eccentric little piece. Thank you Princeton Architectural Press. A delight for ages 2 and up.

Summer is…camp-outs!

The Camping Trip, written and illustrated by Sven Nordqvist, translated by Tara Chace
first published in Sweden in 1992; English edition 2017 by NorthSouth Books

The popular Swedish duo, ol’ Pettson and his cat Findus, are headed for a camp-out. But of course one thing after another goes awry for these two in this silly, affectionate adventure. The Pettson and Findus tales are classic Swedish fare so if you’ve got a Scandinavian bone in your body you really mustn’t miss them. Nordqvist is an excellent storyteller and there is so much additional mayhem in his illustrations for kids to spot. Ages 4 and up.

Summer is…red-white-and-blue Independence Day celebrations!

Long May She Wave: The True Story of Caroline Pickersgill and Her Star-Spangled Creation, written by Kristen Fulton, illustrated by Holly Berry
published in 2017; Margaret K. McElderry Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster

Meet Caroline Pickersgill, a gal who grew up surrounded by women stitching truly historic American flags. In 1812, at age 13, Caroline set to work on the most colossal flag ever. Turns out it was the very one that inspired our national anthem! Read her true story, deftly handled by Kristen Fulton. No draggy sawdust history here. Perky text, with clever inclusions of phrases from the anthem, and bold, dynamic illustrations to match. Lively and patriotic for ages 4 and up. 

Summer is…beach time!

There Might Be Lobsters, written by Carolyn Crimi, illustrated by Laurel Molk
published in 2017 by Candlewick Press

One sweet but timid dog heads to the beach with her owner, Eleanor, but has the dickens of a time due to her boatload of fears. Especially…lobsters. (They do have such pinchy pinchers!) Eleanor does her level best to coax and cajole dear Sukie to join in the beach fun, but it takes a small emergency for Sukie to leap into action. A darling read for ages 3 and up. Dog-lovers, your hearts will melt!

Summer is…bursting with garden produce!

The Children’s Garden: Growing Food in the City, written by Carole Lexa Schaefer, illustrated by Pierr Morgan
published in 2017 by little bigfoot, an imprint of sasquatch books

Bursting with all the colors of luscious summer fruits and veggies, this book has a lovely old-fashioned feel to it. It’s the breezy account of a garden tended by kids in one Seattle neighborhood. Turning the earth, planting the seeds, watering, harvesting, weeding and resting is all happier when it’s done with a group of friends.  Inviting and inspirational for ages 3 and up.

There are lots more great summer reads in the Orange Marmalade archives. Find them by clicking on the Subject tab, then scrolling down to Seasons.