Big Summer Read
Summer Reading Guide 2013
Want to stay busy on a summer afternoon? Take a trip, meet new friends, or go on an adventure without leaving home? Find a story in a book, on an e-reader, or listen to audio version!
You'll find our recommendations for wonderful fiction and nonfiction picture books as well as audio books — all perfect for outdoor reading, warm summer evenings, and family road trips. Enjoy!
Browse through the 2013 summer lists online or download and print the PDFs before you head out to the library or store.
A Long Way Away: A Two-Way Story
Starting in space, an alien family bids adieu to their offspring (they look a lot like octopuses) who then head for earth landing in the ocean. When read the other way, he journeys home. The vertical format and strong design create a sophisticated literary and visual jaunt.
Benjamin Bear in Bright Ideas!
Benjamin Bear is full of ideas, not all of them good. Each of Benjamin's bright ideas are presented on one page as a short comic strip and present a problem to solve or a puzzle to explore, sure to encourage discussion as well as chortles.
Building Our House
The oldest child narrates the family's move from the city to build their own house on farm land. How the family works together planning and building while living in a tiny trailer pays homage to the author's parents who are introduced in photographs and a note at the end.
Can You See What I See? Out of this World
Search and find each intricate photograph to identify toys and other familiar play objects. Ultimately, a space traveler and a princess come together in a toy room in this latest installment by Wick.
Chu, a young panda, could hold his havoc-causing sneeze while at the library and even while dining but not at the circus. Expressive illustrations and few words are needed to highlight the chaos, its humorous results, and Chu's continued warm place in his family.
Whenever an emergency happens, there are vehicles staffed by trained people to help. Photographs and brief information are presented for both familiar and unique vehicles and situations. Additional material includes access to a digital book.
The animals of Sunny Acres farm try to befriend its newest arrival, but goat remains grumpy until he discovers a beautiful dandelion. They remain by goat as he grieves the flower's loss and are revived when yellow dots appear on the hillside. Lush illustrations enhance the tale.
Here Come the Humpbacks!
A mother humpback whale and her calf travel from the Caribbean Sea to the coast of New England and back over a year. Informative text is formatted to be read as a whole or in chunks and illustrated with luminous pastel illustrations. Additional information is included.
If You Want to See a Whale
If a whale is what you want to see — as does the boy in this expressive, delicately illustrated tale — then patience (plus an ocean) is needed. Images combine with poetic language to create a quiet, deeply satisfying book rich enough for multiple readings.
There are things to do indoors and outside. But the inside goes outside and the reverse with cutouts on pages in this attractive wordless book. Simple lines and flat colors are appealing on brown paper, and encourage careful — and multiple — examinations.
Isabella Star of the Story
While at the library, Isabella imagines herself in the lead role of several children's classics. The Yellow Brick Road she follows as Dorothy brings her back to reality where she checks out as Isabella. Textured illustrations and an overview of the works cited conclude the book.
A child travels to visit her grandmother, "practically on the other side of the world" on a lime green train with orange doors. The scenes from urban to rural to imagined are depicted in delicate black and white line drawings narrated by a confident, perceptive child.
Look! Watch various animals in their own environment with a young dreamer. Here, expressive but realistic watercolor illustrations are truly worth a thousand words. They are accompanied by brief, repeating language just right for new readers.
While Mama Duck and her five ducklings left their pond for a trip to town, the ducklings fall into trouble. With help from the townspeople, the Duck family is reunited in this handsomely illustrated, touching story based on an actual event.
Monsters Love Colors
Benign-looking, cheerful creatures love playing with color as they lend red, blue, and yellow to make new colors for gray monsters. Energetic lines and lively language swirl and dance across the pages of this spirited homage to color and creativity.
No Bath, No Cake! Polly's Pirate Party
At the behest of Pete, the pirate parrot, a group of grubby pirates clean themselves up for a little girl's party. Polly, however, wants real pirates at her birthday celebration! Comic illustrations combine with straightforward text.
Ol' Mama Squirrel
Ol' Mama Squirrel scares off anyone or anything that tries to encroach on her tree home with a fierce "chook, chook, chook!" Onomatopoeic language and comic illustrations tell a recognizable tale about a small but heroic rodent.
One Gorilla: A Counting Book
Whether or not the primates introduced from 1 to 10 are familiar, readers are sure to appreciate meeting them in arresting portraits. A self-portrait of the illustrator other humans are accompanied by concluding text: "All primates. All one family. All my family … and yours!"
Rabbit and the Not-So-Big-Bad Wolf
An unseen narrator asks a terrified rabbit to depict the not-so-big-bad wolf on a chalkboard. When it arrives, rabbit is no longer frightened but hugged by a child in a wolf suit. The rabbit's reactions create humor as tension builds to a satisfying conclusion in simple illustrations.
The children are distressed that it's raining while visiting their grandfather. But Grandpa has the children don rain gear to "find colors for garden stew." Vegetables collected, the family makes and eats a delicious stew. Joy-filled illustrations accompany the rhythmic text.
Seashells: Treasures from the Northeast Coast
No visit to a beach is complete without finding shells. Those who visit the Northeast coast of the U.S. are sure to gain information and insight from a small but instructive, clearly illustrated book on seashells.
Take Me to Your BBQ
Willy's barbeque is about the best around, even attracting green, 3-eyed, barbeque-loving aliens! Laughs abound in the rhyming tale and swirling, understated illustrations and its surprise ending.
The Book Boat's In
Jesse wants a book from the floating library/bookstore that visits his town. Though he has worked and saved money, Jesse wonders if it will be sufficient. Art evokes the story's 19th century setting, inspired by an article about early barges from the author's hometown.
Lazlo is afraid of the dark but gets unexpected help from The Dark when his nightlight goes out. Illustrations enhance the tension as Lazlo slices through inky night to overcome his fear and find a replacement bulb. And the dark isn't so frightening any longer.
The Frazzle Family Finds a Way
The frumpy Frazzle family is very forgetful. They forget most things including pants and umbrellas — until Aunt Rosemary comes to help them out. Watercolor illustrations appear slapdash but complement the laugh-filled, list-filled telling for a satisfying saga.
Tiger in My Soup
A tiger roars out of the boy's alphabet soup for a lively, well-illustrated adventure until his sister agrees to read to him. One wonders, however, if the tiger disappears entirely. This is Imaginative, quirky and well-told story, lushly illustrated.
Tito Puente, Mambo King / Tito Puente, Rey del Mambo
Tito Puente was born to be a musician. He grew up to become the Mamba King to whose music people danced the mambo, rumba, and cha-cha. Rhythmic language — in English and Spanish — and animated illustrations briefly present Tito's life and the impact of music throughout.
Trixie TEN tires of her noisy nine siblings, from pink, sneezy Wanda ONE to Nathaniel NINE who likes to roar like a lion and so longs for a quiet place. Characters, created from fingerprints and lines, are sure to engage children and may inspire aspiring illustrators.
Who Put the Cookies in the Cookie Jar?
The ingredients needed to make cookies launch a journey around the world to find out who contributed what from different parts of the world. Rhyming couplets and cheery illustrations reminiscent of folk art combine to answer the question posed as a title.
A Splash of Red: The Life and Art of Horace Pippin
Horace Pippin was born in Pennsylvania in the late 19th century to become a talented — and ultimately recognized — 20th century artist. Mixed media illustrations and simple text present an overview of Pippin's life and times, including overcoming a disability.
Bink and Gollie: Best Friends Forever
Friends Bink and Gollie are very different but they have fun together — even when one of them behaves peculiarly. In three vignettes, Gollie assumes a royal role, Bink tries to get taller, and together they start a memorable collection. Comic illustrations add to the fun of the short text.
Bramble and Maggie Give and Take
Bramble is a stubborn mare who becomes lonely when Maggie attends school. This makes Mr. Dingle's garden even more appealing. The resolution of the dilemma is gently humorous as are the abundant, expressive illustrations throughout this early chapter book.
Expertly executed watercolors and free verse introduce a variety of cats and their distinctive personalities on double page spreads. From Peony, the tiny cat made large by fluffy fur to playful Simon to the lover cat Romeo, word and image capture each distinctive feline.
Deadly: The Truth about the Most Dangerous Creatures on Earth
A host of deadly predators and their lethal methods are presented. Informative though playful descriptions with cartoon illustrations (that both enhance and mitigate the "gross" factor), the thin volume is sure to intrigue — and inspire further reading.
Dirt on My Shirt
Everyday activities and family members can be laughable especially when presented in short, light verse. Add to the mixture comic illustrations and the thin, liberally illustrated collection of humorous poetry is ready for independent reading or for sharing aloud.
Discovered! A Beagle Called Bella
Bella was always a beautiful pup but as she grew, her owners knew that the bright, energetic beagle needed more to do. With the help of the Rainbow Street Shelter, Bella finds friendship and just the right job for a happy conclusion for everyone — canine and human.
Escape from Silver Street Farm
Friends Meera, Karl, and Gemma with a little help from the farmer solve the mystery of missing sheep and turkeys returning them to the Silver Street farm. Animal tracks and tracking plus interesting characters create a quick paced, funny, easier to read mystery.
The exclamation mark knew he was different from the moment he arrived. When he conversed with the question mark, however, a world of possibilities opened up! Seeing punctuation in action has never been more fun than with these emotive punctuation marks as characters!
Follow Follow: A Book of Reverso Poems
The original form of poetry (introduced in Mirror Mirror) is again used to present different perspectives on the same topic. Characters large and small — from the Emperor in a birthday suit to tiny Thumbelina — a clever form and lush illustrations bring well known characters into focus.
Henry and the Cannons
In 1775 George Washington "ached for cannons" as he watched the British in Boston. A Boston bookseller, Henry Knox, figured out how to get cannons from a New York fort to Boston by boat, across land, in only 50 days. Watercolor illustrations and brief text chronicle Henry's feat.
I Scream Ice Scream! A Book of Wordles
What's a "wordle"? The title uses wordles. "Reindeer" and "rain dear" are wordles. Get it? Readers will be inspired to make up their own as they go through the clever language and comically illustrated wordles presented.
Kelsey Green, Reading Queen
Meet Kelsey Green, extraordinary 3rd grade reader, maybe even the best. When her school begins a reading competition, Kelsey discovers what's most important about reading and about readers. This is the first installment in a new series, "Franklin School Friends".
Meet the Marvel Super Heroes
The comics have produced many heroes with very special powers. Male and female superheroes, an easy to read brief bit about their background, and their special talents are arranged alphabetically with a cartoon "portrait" of each.
Mush! Sled Dogs of the Iditarod
Iditarod racers often run in families of humans and the dogs that run. The grueling, exciting race is introduced in clearly labeled photographs and crisp text just right for dipping in and out of for a glimpse at the brave animals and people who run it.
My Cold Plum Lemon Pie Bluesy Mood
Jamie's day goes from a "purple kind of mood/Cold-plum eating…" to a gray and yellow and finally back to plum. The use of colors to describe moods associated with familiar family goings-on is enhanced by stylized illustrations and lively, lyrical language.
My Happy Life
Dani has a happy life but as do all lives, hers is filled with ups and downs. Short, lyrical chapters and expressive black line drawings present Dani, her trepidation about starting school, finding a friend and having her move away, even revealing her mother's death all told with warm charm.
National Geographic Kids Bird Guide of North America
This handsome book invites readers to look at birds while learning about their habits and habitats; clearly organized by region and illustrated with illuminating photographs for identification. Easy activities, positive actions, and additional resources are also included.
Next Stop Grand Central
Take a trip to New York's Grand Central Station to glimpse the range of people who go through it. This distinctive look at a celebrated station is sure to encourage readers to observe the lively world around them while traveling or at home.
Ninja Meerkats: The Clan of the Scorpion
Meet Jet, Chuck, Donnie and Bruce — not only ninjas skilled in martial arts but clever, bright and brave. The first books in the series about ninja meerkats are fast and funny, silly and generously illustrated, just right for light summer reading!
On a Beam of Light: A Story of Albert Einstein
As a child, he was a late talker but as he grew up, Albert Einstein never stopped asking questions. The man whose ideas and questions changed the world is presented in engaging, child-like illustrations and easy but surprisingly informative text.
In the spring in Pakistan's Hindu Kush Mountains, two hungry snow leopard cubs wait for their mother. As they grown, they must learn to survive on their own in a harsh environment. Stunning illustrations and dramatic narration provide a glimpse of the animals' lives.
Stardines Swim High Across the Sky and Other Poems
Rich language and inspired collage illustrations are used to present 16 imaginative creatures, each combining the familiar and exceptional. Meet "Slobsters" that are "…slovenly/SLOBSTERS are crude…", "Jollyfish" with infectious humor and "buoyant effervescence", and many more.
Stink and the Freaky Frog Freakout
Stink is still afraid to put his head underwater so fears he'll remain a "polliwog". When frogs start to appear everywhere, however, Stink learns about them, what's really going on, and learns to swim! The latest installment about Judy Moody's little brother is sure to please.
The 13-Story Treehouse
Terry and Andy are friends who live in a huge tree house complete with a bowling alley, game room, laboratory, and much more all of which lead to fantastic, funny adventures. Comic cartoon illustrations vary the format which ranges from traditional to comic book.
The Granddaughter Necklace
A handsome necklace symbolizes the connection between generations of women in this realistically illustrated story. The story like the necklace is handed down from one generation to the next and was inspired by her roots.
The Wild Weather Book
There's always something to do outside regardless of the weather. A range of activities are presented through short descriptions and photographs with notation to indicate if the activity can be done independently or if adult help is needed. Some are messy, all are doable.
The Wrigley Riddle
Go inside Wrigley Field where the Chicago Cubs play baseball with Mike and Katie as they solve the mystery of the missing ivy. Baseball aficionados and those who like a mystery are sure to enjoy this latest installment in an easier to read, baseball- themed mystery series.
Too Hot? Too Cold? Keeping Body Temperature Just Right
Find out the difference between "warm blooded" and "cold blooded" creatures, learn why sweat is important, how to stay warm or cool, and how animals cope with temperature changes. Attractive illustrations and crisp text will inform and engage.
Who Says Women Can't Be Doctors? The Story of Elizabeth Blackwell
Elizabeth was a strong-minded girl. As a young woman, it was her determination and strength that allowed her to graduate as the first female physician in 1849. Lighthearted illustrations and limited information make this an appealing introduction to an era and a pioneer.
A bee sounds like "BUZZ' in English, but "SURR' in Swedish and "ZZZ' in Italian. Many animals sounds from different countries (with a national flag) are presented in lighthearted illustrations and large typeface.
Butterfly Colors and Counting
Count colorful butterflies in natural settings in this small, sturdy, attractively illustrated concept book. Each of the colorful ten butterflies is identified by name on the back cover.
Cats don their hard hats and go to the site where they use big trucks to build a playground. Simple illustrations and language are sure to appeal to construction and truck aficionados!
Dinosaurs of many colors zoom, splash, chug, and more in different kinds of vehicle in order to get to a special birthday celebration for the smallest dinosaur in this lively, fresh adventure.
Faces for Baby
Works by many artists uniquely depict people from many parts of the world. No words are needed to view varied portraits, in many styles from many places all of which are identified.
Bright colors and simple patterns on sturdy pages present simple images of familiar farm animals, enhanced by textured paper. On the opposite side of each page is a pattern that incorporates the animal.
Travel by air begins with one sign for the airport, all the way up to 33,000 feet in the air, ending with one happy meeting. Stylized illustrations and simple text me present what can be seen from start to finish.
I Spy on the Farm
An old game is again fresh as each die-cut lets reader spy with their little eye a farm animal of a specific color that begins with a specific letter. A page turn reveals the entire animal and the sounds it makes.
I Will Keep You Safe and Sound
Whether in the den or a log, in the water or lodge, young animals are kept safe and sound by their parents. Soft illustrations and a gently rhyming text present a comforting tale.
Maisy Grows a Garden
Maisy and her friends plant a garden, tend it, and watch the vegetables and flowers grow. Pull tabs on sturdy pages let young readers see the results in this participatory garden tale.
Mama Hen's Big Day
Mama Hen looks for just the right place to lay her egg, safe and away from other animals. Jaunty, comical illustrations animate the straightforward text and its cozy conclusion.
Maria Had a Little Llama / Maria Tenia una Llama Pequena
Mary's little lamb is well known, but Maria lives in Peru and has a fleecy llama. The well-known cadence in English and Spanish and fresh illustrations present the familiar in a lively new setting.
Monkey Ono longs for a beach day and ultimately gets there with help from family pets and a bit of creativity. Colorful collages and bright text combine for an inspired beach day to remember!
Not that Tutu!
Taylor loves her tutu so much she wears it every day and everywhere — that is until she trades it in for pink bunny slippers. Sprightly illustrations and text present a familiar family occurrence.
Meet marine animals in lush photographs and informative, straightforward text. Count familiar and lesser known sea animals from 1 to 10 and learn more from factual back matter.
Carefully placed holes create eyes for different creatures, real and imaginary, in a series of questions and answers. Young readers are sure to respond aloud as they finger the die-cuts.
Fast and sluggish, over and under, in and out as well as other concepts are simply demonstrated by a cheerful, quick duck and a comical, slow snail in companion board books. Also see Quick Duck by the same author.
Who's hiding? Lift the flap to find out! Sturdy pages and flaps combine with simply shaped, brightly colored illustrations for a playful game even for the youngest child.
Stallion by Starlight
In this Magic Tree House book, siblings Jack and Annie time travel to ancient Greece to help Alexander the Great, successfully read by the book's author.
Peter is now 12 and still tormented by younger brother, Fudge. And then he learns that his parents want to leave New York City for some time in the country — and a new baby in the family. One Fudge is bad enough, but how will Peter cope with yet another? Humor abounds in this recognizable tale.
Treasury for All Seasons: Poems and Songs to Celebrate the Year
There's something for every member of the family in this carefully selected and expertly performed poetry by a well-known mother-daughter team.
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