There are a bunch of wonderful picture book that would be perfect for reading to your favorite child this summer. Here are five of them. The child will love them and so will the reader.
“Moon: A Peek-Through Picture Book” by Britta Teckentrup is a clever and beautifully illustrated, cut-out picture book showing the different phases of the moon in lovely night-time scenes. The colors are all muted, as befits a book filled with illustrations of night after night. The full moon shines over an ocean filled with luminescent jellyfish. A crescent moon shines over a snowflake-filled sky with dancing penguins looking up at the beauty of the night. Foxes and deer frolic under swooping owls under a crescent moon as page after page reveals the moon in all its permutations. This would be a great book to read at bedtime and a great book to get kids ready for the best nighttime show of summer — the meteor showers! (Doubleday Books for Young Readers)
“Kate, Who Tamed the Wind” is the not-quite-true story by Liz Garton Scanlon about a girl who thinks up an environmental solution to a problem. The story starts out as almost a fairy tale, “Once there was a man living all alone in a creaky house on the tip-top of a steep hill.” But when wind blows at the top of a steep hill and there’s nothing to stop the wind, it can be a destructive force. So Kate, a girl who lives at the bottom of the hill, hears the man’s plea for help and brings him a bunch of young saplings. They plant the small trees and “The trees grew, the wind blew, and the time flew.” Finally, when the trees are tall, they shade the house and protect it from the wind. It’s a beautiful story that is not only sweet, with clever internal rhyme, it’s about the importance of trees to the environment. At the end is a section titled “More About Marvelous Trees,” and the author shares information about trees and how they provide “fruit for breakfast, and home to all sorts of birds and wildlife.” The illustrations by Lee White add lovely details in shades of sepia, burnt umber and yellow ochre and lots of swirly wind.(Schwartz & Wade Books)
“Roar: A Dinosaur Tour” by Michael Paul is a nonfiction book with very colorful illustrations of dinosaurs along with simple text. The illustrations themselves are not detailed, but the juxtaposition of hard lines, soft lines, textured paper, and other effects make each page interesting. Paul takes artistic license with the drawings of the dinosaurs and explains that “The latest research by paleontologists suggests that dinosaur species came in a multitude of colors, similar to modern birds. Although we can’t know exactly what colors species were because intact skin, feathers, or scales have not been preserved, I was inspired by this research to show the dinosaurs in the book in a wild and wide range of colors.” The endpapers feature “headshots” of the dinosaurs with their Latin names at the beginning of the book and the common names at the end. This is a great choice for any budding dinosaur lover. (Crown Books for Young Readers)
“Lazybones” by Claire Messer is a picture book narrated by a dog nicknamed Lazybones because he doesn’t like going out. He loves his dad, and he’s smart and learns lots of tricks, but when it comes to going out for walks, Lazybones would rather stay in. So he learns to hide and pretend he’s sleeping when it’s walk-time. But one time, something different happens. Lazybones discovers a game that he’s perfect at playing — hide-and-go-seek! There’s a cute twist at the end after Lazybones sees the light. The illustrations are simple with lots of white space. And while it’s really difficult to draw (or photograph) a black dog, Messer makes Lazybones stand out, and his face is filled with expression. Perfect for dog lovers! (Albert Whitman & Company)
“Grumpy Monkey” by Suzanne Lang and illustrated by Max Lang is the story of a grumpy monkey named — cleverly — Jim Panzee. How can one not adore a book with a main monkey character named Jim Panzee? He’s not in a good mood at the start of the story. “The sun was too bright, the sky was too blue, and the bananas were too sweet.” He insists he’s not grumpy when his friends ask him about his bad moods, but it’s really obvious that he is — grumpy. It’s a great story for talking about feelings and examining the facial expressions on all the animals in the story. And the moral? Sometimes it’s okay to be a bit grumpy. Really. (Random House Books for Young Readers)
Please note: This review is based on the final, hardcover picture books provided by the publishers for review purposes.