Kids Summer Book Review

Here’s our top picks for this summer’s children’s reading list.

Hot Hot Hot by: Neal Layton explores the plight of two wooley mammoths that are enduring the summer heat. Turns out, they hate summer; go figure with all that hair! Nothing they can do can cool them down until in desperation they shave themselves, all the other animals, and the local cave man bald.  Then winter comes again, and everyone (except the poor caveman) grows their thick hair back.  The back of the book contains some Ice Age Facts appealing to older kids. (Hot, Hot, Hot read aloud)

In Zoomer’s Summer Snowstorm by: Ned Young it’s super-hot and Zoomer the dog is looking for a way to cool off.  His mom gives him permission to make a snow cone as long as he doesn’t make a mess.  WELL…Zoomer DOES make a snow cone, but he also makes a snowy mess that gets out of control and escapes through the kitchen window!  At 102 degrees outside Zoomer finds himself making a snow menagerie and requesting hot chili for dinner!? (Zoomer’s Summer Snowstorm read aloud)

100 Bugs by: Kate Narita was a fun spring/summer counting and learning book.  We Join a pair of young explorers as they tally up lady bugs, dragon flies, and katydids to name a few.  The interesting twist that sets this book apart from other ‘count to ten’ books is that they are counting in groups of ten. Each page also shows all the different number combinations that add up to ten (ie. four ladybugs by the rafters, 6 by the asters).  At the end of the book there’s a count by ten chart all the way up to one hundred as well as a little educational paragraph about each bug mentioned in the book.  Perfect for your budding entomologist! (100 Bugs read aloud)

In Summer by: Cao Wenxuan we join a group of animals in, you guessed it, the sweltering summer.  They desperately want to find some cool shade. The animals observe how a father’s shadow shades his son and they get a brilliant idea!  In a page layout similar to that in The Very Hungry Caterpillar the book depicts how the lynx’s shadow shades the mouse and the Jackal’s shadow shades the lynx and so on until all the animals are standing in the shade of the big elephant who then gets shaded by a big cloud.  We are left with the pleasant reminder that “In summer, all the friends cool off in the shade TOGETHER.” (Summer read aloud)

Good Night, Firefly by: Gabriel Alborozo brings back summertime child hood memories of catching fireflies in an old Helman’s container.  We join Nina who was scared of the dark and needed a night light.  But when the power (and Nina’s night light) go out she is left wondering what to do. Quick thinking Nina catches a friendly firefly who lights up the night for her. Nina and firefly enjoy some great times together, but there’s a problem- her firefly’s light keeps getting dimmer and dimmer.  She knows she must return the firefly because his work is done- she’s no longer scared of the dark!  Good night firefly; good night Nina. (Good Night Firefly read aloud)

In Sea Rex by: Molly Idle a boy, his mom, and his friend the T-rex spend a day at the beach.  Perfectly normal right?  They apply their sunblock and then they enjoy the water and build sandcastles.  The lifeguard is a pterodactyl, and a triceratops joins their sandy fun.  Okay, so maybe it’s NOT a totally normal day at the beach afterall, but at the end of the day ‘When you’re surrounded by friends.  Life’s a day at the beach.’ (Sea Rex read aloud)

Ice Cream Summer by: Peter S`is was written in the form of a letter from a little boy to his grandfather.  Before too long it becomes clear that the little boy has more than ‘a few scoops’ on the brain.  Full of delightful illustrations and bowl after bowl of ice cream trivia you will surely be ‘dished up’ some entertainment.  There’s even a fine sprinkling of math and a side of word problem toppings. (Ice Cream Summer read aloud)

Dinotrux Dig The Beach by: Chris Gall is every little boys’ dream come true! Dinotrux combines dinosaurs and construction trucks-what’s NOT to love?  It’s summer and the dinotrux are over heated so they decide to cool off with a day at the beach. Afterwards they work together to build a sand castle complete with sharks in the moat!  Neither the dinotrux or my son wanted this book to end! (DinoTrux read aloud)

In Everyone Counts by: Judy Sierra we Join Takoda the tiger cub who has a grand vision of turning an old dump into a special zoo, complete with a water slide for all the animals to share. Everyone pitches in, but when the bugs offer to help the rhinos tell them to get lost. When the water slide is done all the animals want to go for a test run, but the double-crossing rhinos claim it for themselves. Remember those bugs? They come to the rescue and teach the rhinos how to share! Overall, a fun ‘learn to count’ book with an important message at the end- no matter how big or small you are, ‘everyone counts!’ (Everyone Counts read aloud)

Cheers For A Dozen Ears: A Summer Crop Of Counting by: Felicia Sanzari Chernesky was absolutely gorgeously illustrated! The simple sentence structure was perfect for my kindergarten reader. And counting one watermelon, six berry boxes, and eight fuzzy peaches made my mouth water! Don’t forget twelve ears of corn for dinner-yum! (Cheers read aloud)

In Pig Kahuna by: Jennifer Sattler Fergus and Dink, brother piglets, find all sorts of treasures: shells, seaweed, rocks, and shark teeth-only what comes to the shore because everyone knows that the ocean is full of ‘lurking, murky, ickiness’. Everything changes when a surfboard named Dave washes up on the beach and Fergus forgets his fears while he discovers surfing! (Pig Kahuna read aloud)

Enjoy these titles for free this summer at your local library or listen to them read aloud on YouTube with the links provided. Also, don’t forget to check your library to see if they are offering any summer reading incentive programs like ours here in St. Charles (see link below). (Summer reading program offered through St. Charles public library)

Happy summer reading!





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