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Maria Salvadore

Reading Rockets' children's literature expert, Maria Salvadore, brings you into her world as she explores the best ways to use kids' books both inside — and outside — of the classroom.

Sure signs of summer: watermelon and weather

July 11, 2013

I love the long days of summer. I even enjoy the heat (not so much the humidity though). And what could be better on a hot summer day than a cool slice of watermelon?

Thunderstorms are a part of summer, too. But many brave children who (like a small dog named Rosie) aren't afraid of night shadows or tigers or anything else — except thunder. Rosie's boy couldn't comfort her — not even by telling her that "thunder was watermelons rolling off a watermelon truck." But the wait for the end was much easier when the boy held Rosie.

Young children will appreciate Rosie's fear and the assurance that quiet will return eventually, sure to empathize with her in Boom! Big, Big Thunder and One Small Dog (Hyperion) by Mary Lyn Ray.

Sometimes summer rain is just wet. No boomers. And like most things, it can be a good thing — or just the opposite. Two points of view about rain converge as a child revels in a rainy day while an older man is quite grumpy about it. The opposing perspectives are shown through limited text and cheery, child-like illustration. Kindness, playfulness and just plain fun win out in Linda Ashman's engaging look at Rain! (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt).

Like the crocodile narrator in The Watermelon Seed (Hyperion) by Greg Pizzoli, I agree that there's nothing better than a slice of watermelon. Though my mother warned us not to swallow the seeds, even as children we didn't have quite the vivid imagination this crocodile has! Children of all ages will laugh at his fear — and at the very satisfying belch that made him feel much better — until he swallows the next seed.

Here's hoping that your summer is filled with laughter, sunny days and good books. Oh! … and, of course, a slice or two of watermelon!

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