Summer Reads: Babies and Toddlers

As the mother of 4-year old twins, I (Meghan speaking now) can tell you that summer can be rough.  The kids are out of school, and it’s a constant battle to set up enough playdates and outings to entertain two balls of energy (and intelligence and stamina).  Not only do I love books, I often turn to them to keep us occupied during lulls in the action – at the beach, at a picnic, in the car, and on those days where I just think of anything else to do.  So here are the books that Mom (Ruth) and I have discovered that currently hold the kids attention the best (and ours, too):

Harvey, the Child Mime by Loren Brantzc – This little mime is a kick in the pants.  Off he goes on a wild quest when he  so convincingly shuts himself inside an invisible box that he’s mistakenly shipped off to sea as cargo. When he docks, he finds himself in the company of a loud, demanding princess. An ode to imagination!


Should I Share My Ice Cream?  by Mo Willems – A new Elephant and Piggy is always a cause for celebration.  This one is perfect for the summer quandry, “Shall I share my ice cream?”  Hint:  He’d better decide quickly!


Little White Rabbit by Kevin Henkes – We get to share this little bunny’s big imagination through the wonders of Kevin Henke’s incredible spreads filled with bright colors and all kind of textures.  A great book to invite summer adventures!


Ladybug Girl and the Bug Squad by Jackie Davis and David Soman- While this isn’t our favorite Ladybug Girl adventure, any new Ladybug Girl book is a cause for celebration.  The best thing about this one?  The whole bug squad is back, so it’s the perfect read-aloud for a playdate.  Any book that can quiet a bunch of kids hopped up on sunshine and Fudgepops is a keeper!


Just in Time,  Abraham Lincoln by Patricia Polacco –  Time travel is the perfect vehicle to get young readers into historical fiction, and Patricia Polacco is just the one to write it.  In her third picture book about the Civil War, the museum is literally a doorway into the past.  A great invitation to museum visits over the summer!


Say Hello by Rachel Isadora – On a walk through the neighborhood to visit Abuela Rosa, Carmelita, her mom, and their dog Manny meet and greet the folks in their community.  And their greetings are in a range of languages:  “Konichiwa” to the Japanese restaurant staff, “Jambo,” to Joseph and his parents, “Al salaam a’alaykum” to the butcher and his family, and so on. Great colorful collages to go with this introduction to different languages.


Previously by Allan Ahlberg – Not exactly a retelling, this creative and hilarious picture book tells what happened “previously” to a host of fairy tale characters.  They’re not exactly told backwards, but tell readers what happened “before” the stories  took place, interweaving the tales of Goldilocks, Jack and the Beanstalk, Jack and Jill, The Frog Prince, Cinderella, and The Gingerbread Boy.


Press Here by Herve Tullet   In the tradition of There Are Cats in This Book (another favorite), this book proves that you don’t need an iPad for interactive fun.  It’s a great book for kids 0-7 for car trips and beach fun.


Monster’s Eat Whiny Children by Bruce Eric Kaplan –  Kids love this book about what happens to kids who whine.  You will, too.  And it will make you feel less like a monster yourself when you hear whining in the backseat and you find yourself saying, “You’d better stop that before the monsters come and eat you!”


Al Pha’s Bet by Amy Kraus Rosenthal – A clever story that explains how the letters in the alphabet got placed in that particular order.  The book is fun and engaging, and it’s a great way to sneak in a conversation about just how kids think that actually might have happened.  (Come to think of it, what is the history of the origins of the alphabet?  I feel a book flight coming on in the future…)


Bugs by the Numbers by Sharon Werner – Uh-oh!  It feel like we’re sneaking a little A-B-C and 1-2-3 in the summer fun.  But letters and numbers ARE fun, especially when they’re treated to an inventive typographical treatment, as they are in this follow up to Alphabeasties.  It’s summer-appropriate too, since it’s filled with fun bug facts, and everyone knows bugs are everywhere in the summer!


2 Responses to Summer Reads: Babies and Toddlers

  1. I can’t wait to read Harvey, the MIme – and just love Al Pha’s Bet – she’s so clever and love Press Here, too! Thanks for the suggestions I didn’t know about. 🙂

  2. rosefamily says:

    Our family are the biggest Amy Rosenthal fans! My favorites on the list are the three you picked out!

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