Time to celebrate those relatives near and dear to your hearts: aunts and uncles! Summer is the perfect time to take note of these important family members. And we’ve got the book recommendations to help.
What Aunts Do Best, What Uncles Do Best by Laura Numeroff, illustrated by Lynn Munsinger
We all know kids love to spend time with their aunts and uncles–and vise versa. Numeroff’s book is a fun way to enjoy those memories and think about creating new ones. The parallel stories are in a kind of “flip book” format and can be read to focus on either aunt or uncle good times. Refreshingly, the activities are pretty gender neutral, too: building clubhouses, staying up late for TV/movie watching–and both sexes cook and shop. Endearing expressions on the faces of the animal critter families add to the book reading pleasure. A great kick-off for Aunt and Uncle Day!
Uncle Elephant by Arnold Lobel
This funny, thoughtful–and a little sad–tale of a young elephant visiting his uncle is now in its second generation of entertaining our family members. The format of several small stories makes it a great choice for the youngest child, and early readers enjoy their success as they read it themselves. The charm of the story, though is not lost on the adults in the family. This poignant story of love of family, joy, and hope is a winner, and one of my favorites.
Uncle by J.P. Martin, illustrated by Quentin Blake (New York Review Children’s Collection)
Who wouldn’t love an elephant who sports a purple dressing gown? And lives in a huge ramshackle castle with a crew of quirky and funny friends? Thank goodness this 50-year-old classic has been re-issued, and it’s still hilarious and intriguing across generations. Based on the stories that Martin used to tell his kids, Uncle contains a delightful selection of adventures, mostly with the detestable Badforts. Quentin Blake’s illustrations are just the ticket. Perfect read-aloud fun.
Aunt Claire’s Yellow Beehive Hair by Deborah Blumenthal, illustrated by Mary Grandpre
Though the title is a grabber,this book isn’t just about Aunt Clair. It’s about Annie exploring her family and what makes each member special. The old photos on her grandmother’s mantel are a perfect starting pace, as her great-aunt shares the stories that go with them. The exploration branches out to include mementos such as letters, and even a lace wedding veil. Annie and her aunt create a family history album, that might be an inspiration for your family as a summer project, too. And as a side-note, the illustrations will look oddly familiar to readers of the Harry Potter novels. yes, Mary Grandpre is the cover and interior illustrator for that formidable series.