Friday, May 29, 2009

Summer Reading

Next to watching him learn to talk and walk, there was nothing more exciting to me than my two-year-old starting to love books. Seeing him pick through his crammed bookcase for just the right stories each night never fails to make me smile. Sometimes there is what seems to be endless pondering and other nights he knows just what he wants even before we get to the top of the stairs. I always have him choose (even through the What Color is Elmo? streak of '08) and we both look forward to this bedtime ritual.

I figured this would be the place I could make the choices. Summer has arrived and if I could pull some books off of my shelf that would be just right for the occasion they would be.....

Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey- A little girl and her mother, a bear cub and mama bear, set out to search for blueberries and sweet silliness ensues. A true children's literature classic, nothing evokes the Maine landscape of a warm summer day like McCloskey's timeless monochrome illustrations.

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Three Days On a River In a Red Canoe by Vera B. Williams- When reading this child's journal of a canoe trip, it is difficult not to feel a part of her travels. Two cousins and their mothers take a true summertime journey and with every turn of the page are illustrations, maps, or instructions that detail the adventure.

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Bats at the Beach by Brian Lies- For some, summer is all about time at the beach. Brian Lies tells the tale of the ultimate beach experience.....with bats. At night the sand and surf come alive- the humorous and wonderfully detailed illustrations are never too dark, but have the perfect rich purple-y luminescence of a moon lit sky. And those bats, their antics will exhaust even the most enthusiastic beach goer.

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Come on, Rain! by Karen Hesse- Hesse and Muth collaborate to capture the anticipation of and jubilation during a summer storm in the hot city. Through prose poetry and muted, glistening watercolors we experience the wait for the clouds to roll in, the rains to pour down, and we take part in the celebration when there is relief from the heat.

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Weslandia by Paul Fleischman- Fleischman and Hawkes introduce us to Wesley. Wesley is teased because he does not fit in. After considering what he learned in school that spring, he decides to found his own civilization for a summer project. It is here is "Weslandia" that he can celebrate all of his innovations and pursuits and that sparks the interest of the neighborhood children. It is thrilling to witness Wesley creating his own intricate civilization and to watch him ultimately succeed outside of the created kingdom.

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