Big Summer Read
Summer Reading Guide 2008
Whether children and families vacation away or stay near home, these are essential. No summer is complete without them. They travel well in cars or buses, on boats, on trains or planes. They tuck into suitcases, backpacks, and under arms. Most can be opened without electricity and are easily shared among many. They're fun and are good for children and adults alike! And the long summer days are a great time for children to engage with these alone or can be shared with children.
What are we talking about? Books and reading, of course! Whether reading books with eyes (examining the pages of books) or with listening to audio books, studies show that this portable, pleasurable activity has potent benefits for children.
So grab a book, find a comfy place, and enjoy!
Browse through the summer booklist online or download and print the PDFs before you head out to the library or store.
- Download the 2008 summer booklist for all ages (555K PDF)
- Books for 0-3 Year Olds or download the list (519K PDF)
- Books for 3-6 Year Olds or download the list (572K PDF)
- Books for 6-9 Year Olds or download the list (582K PDF)
- Audio Books or download the list (540K PDF)
For 6-9 year olds
A Couple of Boys Have the Best Week Ever
For one glorious, hot summer week, James went to stay with his friend Eamon's grandparents so the boys could go to a nature camp. Though the boys seem to prefer playing video games and staying indoors, the truth is in the comic illustration. Adults will recall summer vacation while young readers will enjoy its unbridled joy.
A Horse in the House and Other Strange but True Animal Stories
A nearsighted greyhound? False teeth for an elephant? Strange-but-true animal stories on bright pages (with sources noted) make fascinating and entertaining reading, definitely proving that truth is stranger than fiction!
All About Manatees
Manatees can grow to up to 13 feet long and weigh up to 3,000 pounds. They harm no other wildlife but are often victimized by human water traffic. These gentle mammals are distant relatives of the elephant but live in warm water. Arnosky's illustrations and straightforward text provide an introduction to these gentle giants.
Annie and Simon
Annie and her big (big) brother Simon have a special relationship. Simon is very patient and quite the opposite of his sister, but together they share summertime adventures, including Annie getting a bee sting and going out in a boat to hear a loon. Cartoon-like illustrations complement each short chapter in this warm book.
Butterfly Eyes and Other Secrets of the Meadow
Dramatic scratchboard illustrations add drama to the poetic riddles that encourage readers to turn the page and find out more. This is a unique and lively introduction to the animals, insects, and plants that comprise a meadow.
Celebrate Independence Day with Parades, Picnics, and Fireworks
Celebrate the birthday of the United States with food and fun while learning the history and meaning behind the various festivities. Elegant, crisp color photographs are sourced as is the information provided in this examination of an all-American day.
Fly High, Fly Guy!
When Buzz and his family go on vacation, they don't want to take Buzz's pet, Fly Guy, with them — but he joins them nonetheless. Though small, the fly proves his mettle and saves the day with his flying skills. Bug-eyed cartoon characters and broad humor make this an entertaining read for newly independent readers.
Gimme Cracked Corn and I Will Share
Could the chicken's dream of buried treasure — a treasure of cracked corn under a great pink pig — be true? His friend George thought so. And so Chicken and George set out to follow the dream. Corny jokes abound in this funny, fast fable sure to delight (as well elicit groans!).
Go, Go America
This fun, fact-filled glimpse at the states begins with a warning that many of the facts are "wacky and outrageous" but buckle up and join the romp! (Leominster, MA, was the birthplace of the plastic lawn flamingo, for example.) Factoids combine with humorous illustrations to engage travelers on the go!
Gold in the Hills: A Tale of the Klondike Gold Rush
Slide back to 1897 with Mattie, Alex, and Sophie where they meet a young writer named Jack London who might be involved in the mystery of a stolen dog. Before the children return to their own time, they learn about life during the Yukon Gold Rush in this highly readable fantasy, part of the Time Spies series.
If the Shoe Fits
Cassie loved to dance and aspired to grow up to dance in a troupe. The only problem was her fear of performing in front of people. Even Jake, a real dance show-off, is afraid to dance in front of his father. The satisfying resolution will encourage many young dancers, performers, and readers.
Keeker and the Not-So-Sleepy Hollow
Ten-year-old Catherine Corey Keegan Dana, better known as Keeker, goes on a family road trip — along with Keeker's horse named Plum and Plum's goat friend — to vacation in New York. There they visit relatives and solve a not-too-scary mystery in the Sleepy Hollow made famous by tales of a headless horseman.
Sophisticated readers will appreciate the over-the-top adventures of a cryogenic pickle that emerges with superhero skills through the bedroom floor of Jo Jo Wigman. This full-color comic is distinguished by funny puns and wordplay as well as the combination of familiar school problems and Magic Pickle’s fantastic dilemmas.
Mazes Around the World
Regardless of where they are found, mazes are amazing! Visit mazes that can be found around the world in this brief, informative, and intriguing look at these mysterious labyrinths.
Pale Male: Citizen Hawk of New York City
Stunning watercolors evoke the height and breadth of New York City while a dramatic text relates the true story of a now-famous feathered resident, a hawk named Pale Male. The tension between the lifestyle of Pale Male and human residents as well as the fate of Pale Male's mates and offspring create riveting reading.
We all know that Goldilocks met the three bears, but what did she do before? Well, she met a boy named Jack, who before he climbed up the beanstalk had a fight with his little sister, Jill … Familiar folktales and rhymes are cleverly woven together to create an entirely new tale.
Ralph Masiello's Ancient Egypt Drawing Book
Information about the symbols, emblems, and gods from Ancient Egypt is included with step-by-step instructions on how to draw them. A guide to pronunciation and where to go for more information on Egyptian antiquities is also included.
Real Pirates: The Untold Story of the Whydah from Slave Ship to Pirate Ship
The Whydah Galley was a real, fast-moving ship that was involved in 18th century slave trade, transporting people from Africa to the Caribbean until captured by pirates. How the Whydah and her treasures were discovered by underwater archaeologists is revealed in informal text and dramatic illustrations. Additional resources are included.
Science on the Loose: Amazing Activities and Science Facts You'll Never Believe
Science is all around! And summer is a great time to dip into it — especially when it's presented with such energy. Just do some "navel gazing" and get the "lowdown on lint" or find out which is more common — the "innie" or "outie." Information and experiments are playfully presented and illustrated.
The Museum Book: A Guide to Strange and Wonderful Collections
People have kept old and interesting things for a long, long time — in fact, Princess Bel-Shati Nannar in 550 BC kept her collections in what she called a museum. Read about unusual and interesting collections housed in museums in this gripping, informative, and highly readable book.
Sophisticated readers (and fans of Lemony Snicket) will appreciate the sly humor and word play in this outrageously funny take-off on novels of yesteryear. Here, the Willoughby children must overcome their self-centered parents who ultimately meet their rightful — and very satisfying — end.
Something, someone was just here/Now there's barely a trace… begins the elegantly illustrated, lyrical poem. From a pond to the sand at water's edge to the forest and beyond, what has been there "…can only be seen/in/its/traces."
Many creatures have wings: birds, bats, insects. How these amazing appendages work and how they are used are presented with brief text and stunning collage illustrations for a memorable look at flight.
Summer Buying Guide 2008: For 0-3 year olds
Sturdy pages are used to introduce the alphabet and more. Alliteration, folding flaps, and added textures create a lively, appealing, humorous menagerie in word and illustration.
When Farmer Gray went on vacation, Blue Goose and his friends decided to paint their black and white barnyard for a happy surprise. With the help of his friends, Blue Goose mixes paints to introduce both primary and secondary colors in this clever barnyard tale.
Close to You: How Animals Bond
A rhyming text combines with tender photographs of animals and their young, concluding with how humans show affection for each other. Not only is this an interesting way to introduce families, but additional information about animals and their young is included in this warm book.
Friends and Pals and Brothers, Too
Two boys nicknamed Squirrel and Bear are best buddies. Bear's rhyming narration chronicles how they play outside all year round — swimming, splashing in puddles, rolling in snow, and more. Lighthearted illustrations recount the boys' mutual affection and their play.
Grandma Calls Me Beautiful
Grandparents and grandchildren share something special everywhere. Here the universal story of a grandmother and her granddaughter is made unique as it reflects their Hawaiian life and style.
I Like It When ... / Me gusta cuando ...
A penguin parent and child celebrate the everyday pleasures of hugging, playing, dancing, and the kiss good night. Now in a bilingual board book, both languages appear in different colors on the bold, uncluttered pages.
If Animals Kissed Goodnight
In this gentle, imaginative countdown to sleep, a child and her mother imagine how a menagerie of animals would lovingly say goodnight; that is, all except the sloth and her cub. Rich language swirls around and through warmly-hued illustrations to create a satisfying bedtime tale.
Island Counting 1 2 3
Count people and animals doing what they do on a Caribbean island. From one to ten, the rhyming text combines with brightly colored, child-like illustrations to produce the sense of place and people.
Maybe a Bear Ate It!
As he gets ready for bed, a cat can't find his book anywhere! While young readers will see that the book is in plain sight, they'll delight in what the cat imagines might have happened to it. Told with few words and lively illustrations, this is sure to delight.
Such a Silly Baby
Everyday is an adventure with a silly baby who gets switched at the zoo, the circus, and other places. When the silly baby is retrieved by mom, that happy child makes joyful noises all the way to bedtime — or playtime! The jaunty illustrations complement the predictable adventure.
The Pigeon Wants a Puppy
Pigeon — like most young children — wants a puppy and he wants it now. He wheedles, begs, and promises to get it. Will pigeon change his mind when a puppy shows up? Readers will appreciate that the indomitable pigeon speaks directly to them on each appealing page.
Colorful, cartoon-like illustrations clearly depict signs with mealtime meaning. From "eat" to "all done" (with more in between), the simple signs can easily be shared with young children to aid communication or just for a different way of sharing.
Arthur: Anniversary Collection
Arthur's everyday world, both real and daydreamed, is presented through a lively narration of four books: Arthur's Mystery Envelope, Arthur Makes the Team, Arthur Accused!, and Arthur and the Lost Diary. Children and adults alike will recognize the concerns and the humor in these gentle sagas.
In a story of the Ila people of Zambia, the colorful birds of Africa ask Blackbird, whom they think is the most beautiful of birds, to decorate them with some of his "blackening brew." The story line is simple and the rhythmic chants of the flock frequently interspersed throughout the text add drama and a rapper's cadence to this award-winning book that is ready-made for participative storytelling.
Cam Jansen and the Birthday Mystery
Cam Jansen's photographic memory once again foils the bad guy as she helps catch the thief who snitches her grandparents' luggage — along with birthday gifts for Cam's parents — at the airport. There is a lot to celebrate in this well-paced and engagingly narrated mystery.
Flat Stanley: His Original Adventure
Life as a paper-thin boy is not all bad as Stanley finds out. He was flattened by a bulletin board bit adjusts quite well with the help of his parents to his new dimensions — all of which makes for very funny reading (and travels in later books about Stanley and his family).
Ivy and Bean
Two girls, Bean and Ivy, learn that in spite of their very different personalities, they have lots in common. And their funny, sometimes outrageous, highly credible, everyday adventures begin one summer.
Mr. Popper's Penguins
When Admiral Drake sends a penguin named Captain Cook to the Popper family, Mr. Popper's dreams of seeing the world begin to come true. Humor abounds in this early Newbery Honor book as readers follow Mr. Popper and his penguins to Antarctica.
Poems and Folktales
Have you ever wondered why there is thunder and lightning? Hear this Nigerian folktale and other tales (as well as original poems) retold and shared by a master storyteller, artist, and writer. Ashley Bryan's distinctive style and resonant voice echo the techniques of traditional griots.
Ralph S. Mouse
Ralph is a mouse who speaks human and lives at the Mountain View Inn run by Ryan’s family. The fun starts when Ralph’s motorcycle breaks and he convinces Ryan to take him to a mysterious place called school. Characters come to life through the lively narration.
Ramona, now starting 4th grade, gets a teacher who is a stickler for proper spelling. Ramona is propelled into writing a letter when she finds an error in an advertisement — all with the verve and humor readers expect of Ramona.
Stink the Incredible Shrinking Kid
Stink's real name is James, just like President James Madison. And like Madison, Stink is short — a notion constantly reinforced by his older sister Judy. Stink, however, learns how to cope with it while along the way learning about U.S. presidents.
When We Were Very Young and Now We Are Six
A. A. Milne’s When We Were Very Young is a collection of poems that have touched the hearts of readers for more than 90 years. His verses sing with a playful innocence, weaving together the worlds of reality and enchanting make-believe. Now We Are Six contains an enchanting collection of verses about Christopher Robin and, of course, Winnie-the-Pooh
For 3-6 year olds
Ballet Sisters: The Newest Dancer
Bonnie takes ballet classes while her little sister, Sylvie, waits outside for her. That is, until Sylvie follows Bonnie in one day and wins a place in the class. The warm relationship between the girls is revealed through Bonnie's voice. Expressive illustrations are sure to be appreciated by dancers and non-dancers alike.
Before John Was a Jazz Giant: A Song of John Coltrane
John's music began when he listened to the music in his childhood. Semi-abstract illustrations vivify sound-filled poetry, together introducing a boy who would grow up to become the great John Coltrane.
Benny and Penny in Just Pretend
Benny is busy being a pirate and doesn't want to play with his little sister. But when Penny seems to be lost, Benny realizes that sometimes playing alone isn't all that much fun. Words and illustration in a comic book-like format create an appealing, short novel for emerging readers.
Carl's Summer Vacation
Instead of taking a nap, Carl, the loveable large dog, and his human charge, Madeline, use the time to go boating, explore the playground, and even play a bit of baseball. Tired out, dog and toddler sleep through dinner and fireworks. Their adventures are related through realistic watercolor illustration.
Do Unto Otters: A Book About Manners
When new neighbors move near Rabbit; he learns from a wise owl to "do unto otters as you would have otters do to you." That includes saying please and thank you (in several languages), cooperating, and more. The humorous take on manners makes them fun to see in practice, in stylized, engaging illustrations.
Everywhere the Cow Says "Moo!"
Dogs say "bow-wow" in English, "goo-ow" in Spanish, "wah-wah" in French, and "wan-wan" in Japanese. But no matter where the cow lives, it says "moo!" Bright, bold, playful illustrations introduce how animals sound in different languages.
It's Moving Day!
Moving day for animals happens when seasons change or when a threat comes close. Lushly colored, textured paintings invite readers to look closely at the animals on moving day and in their homes. A bit of additional information about the animals concludes this fascinating book.
Little by Little
A young otter named Otto does many things well, but swimming isn't one of them. With the help of his sister, Otto does learn to swim well, little by little. Idealized illustrations and a gentle text help the satisfying story to unfold.
Looking Closely Along the Shore
A full-color, close-up framed by black and a repeated text focuses the reader's eye. Look closely. What do you see? Turn the page to discover an ochre sea star, sea anemone, a coastal rock, and more. Brief text and crisp photographs introduce children to a different way of seeing and looking.
Maisy Big, Maisy Small
Maisy the mouse is used to introduce opposites. Maisy stops and goes; she's messy and clean; says hello and goodbye. Signature illustrations use bold color and broad line with limited text create a fresh look at the two sides of many things.
Max and his brothers play outdoors on a summer day, but Max is the first to see his dragon. When chased by a dark cloud that looks surprising like a fierce dinosaur, only a rhyme — and the breeze from the dragon's sneeze defeats it. Textured, rounded figures and playful language combine to present this imaginative summer adventure.
During the hot summer, Devon likes to visit Mitch. Mitch is a man who makes sparks fly as he creates welded metal sculptures — and invites Mitch to make one with him. As the boy decides what to make, he begins to see things differently — because of "that fiery metal man."
Not a Stick
A young pig is warned to be careful with a pointy stick — but it's not really a stick. It's a paint brush, it's a fishing pole, it's "not-a-stick"! Children and adults will recognize a child's imaginary play and an adult's concern for safety in the brief text, simple line, and flat color in this good-natured book.
What is summer without a rainstorm? Alliterative language and richly textured collages create a day's play interrupted by rain — until the sun returns.
Scaredy Squirrel at the Beach
Scaredy Squirrel comes by his name honestly; he's a bit frightened of just about everything! Can his preparation for a day at the beach protect him adequately? Readers will laugh at Scaredy Squirrel's ultimate realization that there is a lot to enjoy at the beach!
Silly Lilly and the Four Seasons
Lilly is an effervescent child who enjoys each season and the special things that can be done during them. Comic book-like format and conversation balloons clearly depict her delight and make this book easy to follow and to read.
Dumpling, an enthusiastic dog with a poor sense of smell, enjoys her life with the Frisbees. With a useless sniffer, she has no dog pals and befriends a small black animal with a wide white stripe down its back. Eventually, the dog's family learns to keep tomato juice handy in this satisfying family story.
Someday When My Cat Can Talk
As her cat goes out, a girl imagines his world travel: on a gondola in Venice, in Spanish soccer games, and more before he returns to his home and favorite person. The rhyming text combines with richly detail, naive illustrations for a satisfying armchair adventure.
The Boy Who Wouldn't Swim
In order to beat the heat that summer, most of the residents of Clermont County practically lived in the pool. That is, everyone except Eric Dooley. He and his rubber giraffe were afraid of the water. How Eric learns to overcome his fear is told with humor and bubbly illustrations.
Tweedle Dee Dee
The familiar, lively, cumulative song entitled "And the Green Grass Grew All Around" has been refashioned. Here, word and picture show children watching birds hatch in a tree where the "green leaves grew around… and the birds went, 'Tweedle-Dee-Dee!'"
No words are needed to share a child's seaside adventure as she plays with the waves, is knocked down by one, and then discovers the sea's gifts brought to shore by the wave. Softly lined wash in a limited color palette evoke a summer afternoon on the beach.
Wolfsnail: A Backyard Predator
The wolfsnail is no ordinary slug. This snail eats meat, and other snails are the source. Full-color photographs give a close-up look at this fascinating, slightly gross creature. Additional information including the wolfsnail's true size concludes this informative book on an unusual subject.
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