With June’s arrival and summer around the corner, I wanted to share with you a few children’s books that we have been reading to celebrate the season. Just this afternoon we gathered on a blanket in the backyard and the children ate popsicles while listening to a few stories.
Sunflower House by Eve Bunting, Illustrated by Kathryn Hewitt
A cheerful book about the magic of childhood and of gardening. A child sews sunflower seeds in a circular pattern and over time the giant yellow blossoms open and form a living house. The space is just big enough for children to play inside. It is a safe place for imagining and wishing and sleeping under the stars. As the season passes, the sunflowers brown and wilt. All that is left are a plenitude of seeds. The children fill their pockets to the brim, birds come to feast on the bounty, and the book ends with an illustration of seeds scattered along the garden path — Yes, the sunflowers will be back next year.
Mama, Is It Summer Yet? by Nikki McClure
Nikki McClure’s beautiful paper-cut illustrations are a work of art that is accessible to children in its large scale and minimalist use of color. A boy eagerly awaits winter’s end, and every page or so he asks his mother, “Mama, is it summer yet?” Mama gently points out the signs of sunny days ahead, such as buds forming on bare branches, squirrels building their nests, and the sound of birds in the air. This was a peaceful read.
Harry by the Sea by Gene Zion, Illustrated by Margaret Bloy Graham
A much beloved classic in our house (the front cover has come completely unbound). Harry the dog goes to the beach with his family but there is no room under their umbrella. He wanders off to find some shade and eventually realizes he is lost. After a quick swim in the sea he becomes covered in seaweed and everyone around him mistakes him for a sea monster. He runs toward a hot dog stand and jumps so high that the seaweed falls off, revealing that he is indeed only a dog. Harry is then reunited with his family, who goes on to buy a spotted beach umbrella large enough for everyone to fit underneath, so that he will never get lost again. The illustrations are very sweet and simply colored in pale shades of green, yellow, black and white.
How Will We Get to the Beach? A Guessing-Game Story by Brigitte Luciani and Eve Tharlet
The children loved this fun story where mother Roxanne decides she wants to take her baby to the beach. She has five things to bring (including aforementioned baby), and she needs to find the right transportation that will get her to the beach with everything. As Roxanne tries different forms of transpotation (a bike, a skateboard, a bus, etc.), children guess which item couldn’t go along for the ride. Eventually, Roxanne finds just the right means to get to the beach with her baby and their belongings. For added fun, children can find the hidden ladybug on each page. This book was so much fun that we looked through it twice.
Time of Wonder by Robert McCloskey
A beautiful book by beloved children’s author and illustrator Robert McCloskey. McCloskey brings readers directly into the story by writing in second person narrative. You get to experience the magic and adventure of island life, from the rain storms, to the long days at the shore, to the peaceful quiet hours spent listening to fiddlehead ferns unfurl, and so much more. This is a longer book that I imagine is perfect for quiet afternoon reading or as a bedtime story. The plot is loose and can be picked up quickly where you left off. Illustrations are soft and peaceful works of art. This book is a Caldecott Medal winner.
I am also waiting on the arrival of a few more books from the library: Beach by Elisha Cooper and Summersaults: poems and paintings by Douglas Florian. I will post a little review after we read them.
Hope you are enjoying your June so far. Happy reading –