Sweet summer reading

As the heat of July gives way to August, what better way to fill in that sweet down time between lounging at the beach and an evening chasing fireflies than with a great book.  Below is a quick run-down of a few of the best titles available right now. 

Joe and Sparky go to School, by Jaimie Michalack, illustrated by Frank Remkiewicz; Candlewick Press, $15.99, 48 pages, ages 5-7. 

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The kids may have just finished classes and want nothing to do with school, but this caper involving Joe the giraffe and Sparky the turtle will delight kindergarden-age readers.  Michalak’s third book in this award-winning series sets the spunky duo loose on a class full of children and a vision-impaired teacher. 

Good Night, Sleep Tight, by Mem Fox, illustrations by Judy Horacek; Scholastic Press, $16.99, 32 pages, ages 3-5.

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Acclaimed Australian children’s book author Mem Fox and fellow Aussie Judy Horacek have another hit for young readers. The duo, who created the outstanding Where is the Green Sheep? share a story of two tireless youngsters and their heroic babysitter. Skinny Doug attempts to lull his charges to sleep by reciting seven nursery rhymes, each to the delight of the little Bonnie and Ben. This book will encourage memorization skills in early readers and likely be requested frequently as a read-aloud.  

The Boy and the Airplane by Mark Pett; Simon & Schuster, $15.99, 40 pages, all ages. 

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This wordless book is an ode to a boy who devises a unique way to retrieve his toy airplane that he stranded on a rooftop. The sepia-toned pencil and watercolor drawings by veteran cartoonist Mark Pett illustrate a timeless and charming tale of patience and ingenuity while sharing the magic of aviation and imagination.

Quick Picks

So much to read, so little time. Here are three lovely books that deserve attention and will no doubt brighten any young reader’s day. 

 “Tell me About Your Day Today,” by Mem Fox, illustrated by Lauren Stringer; Beach Lane Books, $17.99 40 pages, ages 3-6.

Bestselling author Mem Fox writes about a charming boy who loves all the comforting rituals of bedtime and shares them with his stuffed animals. Award winner Lauren Stringer’s acrylic painting on hot press water-colored paper creates a cuddly, warm and inviting atmosphere, making this an all around perfect selection for bedtime reading.

“Ten Tiny Toes,” by Todd Tarpley, illustrated by Marc Brown; Little, Brown and Company, $16.99, 32 pages, ages 3-6.

Marc Brown (creator of the beloved Arthur series) joins up with author Todd Tarpley to pay homage to lovable, huggable baby toes. From birth to Halloween, parents celebrate milestones (in rhyme) with these adorable bouncing babies rendered in cut paper, gouache and colored pencil.

“Ready for Pumpkins,” by Kate Duke; Alfred A. Knopf, $16.99, 40 pages, ages 4-7.

Join first-grade class guinea pig Hercules and a country rabbit named Daisy as they plant pumpkin seeds and watch them grow.  Duke’s curious critters engaging in agricultural pursuits will delight and encourage budding farmers to cultivate their own gourd gardens.