Summer time means vacation trips, watermelon, fresh garden vegetables, and the county fair. These books about summer favorites can remind us about summer time fun year round.

“The Watermelon Seed” by Greg Pizzoli, Disney Hyperion Books, 2013, ages 3-6.

This alligator loves watermelon, but panics when he swallows a seed. Playing on a natural childhood curiosity, alligator wonders if a watermelon will grow in his stomach and vines out his ears. In shades of green and red, the simple illustrations and the quirky ideas of the alligator will appeal to readers’ sense of fun.

“What’s in the Garden?” by Marianne Berkes, Illustrated by Cris Arbo, Dawn Publications, 2013, ages 3-8.

A garden is full of good things to eat, and the clever rhyming poems and vivid illustrations in “What’s in the Garden?” give children the opportunity to guess the fruit or vegetable that will appear on the next page. Simple recipes for delicious and nutritious food made from fresh produce will entice even the most staunch junk food lover. Rich in additional resources, the book provides a picture glossary with descriptions of each fruit or vegetable, and additional information about gardening and cooking, with accompanying vocabulary and suggested websites.

“Let’s Go for a Drive” by Mo Willems, Hyperion, 2012, ages 3-6.

Pig and Elephant decide to go for a drive, but first they must pack a map, sunglasses, and other essential items. The trip plans are progressing smoothly until the realization hits they are missing one key ingredient, so they improvise. Comic style illustration and talking bubbles will make this simple text a favorite for novice readers.

“Hurry Down to the Derry Fair” by Dori Chaconas, Illustrated by Gillian Tyler, Candlewick Press, 2011, ages 5-8.

The Derry Fair brings together friends, family, food, and fun. Delicate and detailed watercolor and ink illustrations depict one family’s preparations and enjoyment of the fair. A four-page spread illustration of the fair will capture the attention of readers, who will spend much time exploring the exhibits and activities presented in great detail.

“Noisy Bug Sing Along” by John Himmelman, Dawn Publications, 2013, ages 3-7.

What’s a summer evening without the noises of nature: buzz, chirp, click, tick, keraaaack? “Noisy Bug Sing Along” uses brightly colored illustrations to present various bugs and their sounds. Tree crickets ring like a telephone, while a katydid calls from the tree tops, “ch-ch-ch”. An illustration and description glossary appears at the end of the book, presenting additional information about each bug and how and why it makes such noises.

The heat of summer presents us with opportunities to enjoy a good book about summer in the cool of the shade or air conditioning.

Reviewed and photo by Elizabeth Dobler

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