Monday, July 13, 2009

Summer Books for Preschoolers

It's the middle of summer and I would love to share a few books that are perfect for preschoolers. I've been reading lots, but having less computer time (yay!) as we go to the beach, hike and swim. Here are some fun books to share with your little ones about all those fun summer activities.
Beach Day
by Karen Roosa
illustrated by Maggie Smith
NY: Clarion Books, 2001.
ages 3 - 5
This is a perfect summer book for preschoolers, as happy families rush onto the beach to play, picnic and have fun. The poetry is gentle and short, full of wonderful rhythm and rhymes. I particularly liked how the poetry was accessible to young listeners, giving them the sense of poetry but in a way that reminded them of things they love. Here are the opening lines as the family arrives at the beach:
"Waves roar,
Rush, and soar!
Rolling, crashing to the shore."
The illustrations in Beach Day draw you in, reminding you of all the things you love about the beach. My five-year old especially loved the illustrations - I think she liked all the children and families, the action and fun in the paintings, and the rich colors of the scenes. I was happy to note the wide range of ethnic backgrounds of families at the beach. One note from this California girl, this beach definitely is an East Coast beach - no fog or chilly winds here! Full sun and gentle waves at this beach, for a perfect family outing.

I really enjoyed how Stella and Roy Go Camping shares a young child's experience of backpacking. I remember camping and backpacking all through my childhood - as little kids, we got to carry the breakfast cereal boxes and toilet paper. Stella and her younger brother Roy go backpacking in Yosemite with their mother. Along the way, Roy is determined to find a bear's tracks - wouldn't that be exciting?!! But each time he finds an animal's footprints, his big sister says, "Wrong, Roy" - it's really a deer, or a raccoon, or some other animal's tracks. That night camping by the lake, Roy really does see a bear and the next morning the tracks prove him right.

Stella and Roy Go Camping shares a lot of information about looking for animal tracks and gives young kids a sense of the fun you can have when you go hiking and camping. Kids will enjoy the friction between the big sister who is learning to read her guide book and the younger brother who is sure that he will find a bear.
Stella and Roy Go Camping
by Ashley Wolff
Yosemite Association, 2006
ages 4 - 8
If your summer has more swimming pools than beaches and hikes, you should look for Sergio Makes a Splash, by Edel Rodriguez. Sergio is a young penguin. He loves water, fish, and all things that penguins like - except he's just not so sure about swimming. The ocean looks so big. But today is the day for the class field trip for all the penguins to learn how to swim. Sergio puts on his floaties (four!), life preserver and goggles - but still, he's so scared to jump off the cliff after his friends. Once he does, he pops right up and is convinced that swimming is the best thing ever. As Edel Rodriguez, the author says, "Sergio Makes a Splash is really about getting over your fears ... trying to do something you're not comfortable doing, which I think a lot of kids have a hard time doing."
Sergio Makes a Splash
by Edel Rodriguez
NY: Little Brown and Co., 2008
ages 3 - 6
The wonders of Sergio Makes a Splash is that it combines this heartfelt message with pure silliness. We were in giggles reading this - imagine, a penguin who can't go swimming unless he's fully decked out in floaties! It was perfect for my five-year old who has definitely had moments of terror as she is learning to swim. The artwork is brilliant - clean, simple but full of silly situations. Definitely worth seeking out for summer reading.

Do you have any favorite summer books to share with your preschooler? Let me know - I'd love to recommend others. Summer is a wonderful time to stay up a little later reading stories, after a full day playing in the sun.

These books were all from our wonderful public library. Summertime at the public library!


  1. Thank you again for the Horrid Henry book! My kids are really enjoying it.

    Please stop by my blog and pick up your award!

  2. Thanks so much, Julie! I'm glad your kids are liking Horrid Henry! Thanks for the award. Let me know what Eyes Like Stars is like - sounds fascinating!