I don’t talk about picture books too often on this blog–I’m a YA librarian, so I pretty much stick to YA with a little adult thrown into the mix. But I’m a mama to two boys–a 3-year-old and a 5-year-old–so picture books and small chapter books are becoming the daily norm in our house. And this summer we’ve found some GREAT books! Books with fantastic illustrations, sweet story lines, and creative writing styles. Of course, the boys don’t necessarily realize all that–they just know they want to re-read the stories over and over again!
Here are 10 books that the little ones in your life should definitely check out! In no particular order…
1–The Invisible Boy by Trudy Ludwig
Brian seems to be an invisible boy in his class at school–no one invites him to parties, sits with him at lunch, or even speaks to him. But when a new boy joins Brian’s class, Brian becomes visible.
This book is heartbreaking yet beautiful. Brian is in black-and-white as an “invisible” character and then starts to show color as he becomes more visible to his classmates. This was a little difficult for my 5-year-old to understand, but it brought up a great discussion on how we treat others.
2–It’s An Orange Aardvark! by Michael Hall
Five carpenter ants sit inside their tree stump when they hear a noise. As they drill holes in their stump and see bright colors, they convince themselves that an orange aardvark is outside waiting to eat them. Die-cuts are featured on almost every page to add to the mystery of what’s waiting outside.
This book is really fun and focuses on colors and silliness. My boys loved seeing the colors and guessing what was lurking outside the stump. A very creative book!
3–Gaston by Kelly DiPucchio
A poodle named Antoinette and a bulldog named Gaston don’t seem to quite fit into their families; then they learned that they were accidentally put in the wrong families at birth. But families are more than just being exactly alike, right?
The illustrations in this book are so adorable! My boys laughed at how silly Antoinette and Gaston seemed as they tried to fit in with their siblings. This book would make a great gift for a kiddo–it’s so cute!
4–Mogie: The Heart of the House by Kathi Appelt
This is the story of Mogie, a real-life Labradoodle from Texas who helps sick kids feel better in a Ronald McDonald House. An inspirational look at how puppies can brighten dark moments.
I love the writing style of this book–it focuses on a few kids and how their personalities changed once they got sick. Then it switches to Mogie–a dog that just can’t seem to follow directions needed for certain tasks–who finds his purpose in helping sick kids. The characters then connect in such a heartwarming story.
5–Goldi Rocks and the Three Bears by Corey Schwartz
Papa Bear, Mama Bear, and Baby Bear are in a rock band, and they’re holding auditions for a new singer. But their auditions are a dud…until they come home and find a girl asleep on Baby Bear’s keyboard.
A super fun adaptation of “Goldilocks and the Three Bears.” It’s laugh-out-loud funny, especially with silly audition from Little Red Riding Hood and The Three Little Pigs. Fun to read aloud!
6–Blizzard by John Rocco
Based on the infamous blizzard of 1978, this book features a boy’s excitement as the first snowflake falls. The family waits anxiously for the snowplow and for a much-needed trip to the grocery store.
The illustrations in this book are beautiful and bring history to life. Although a little boy walking to the store by himself is a little daunting, it nevertheless made him heroic and admirable. Maybe a little strange to read this in the summer, but a beautiful story nonetheless.
7–My Grandfather’s Coat by Jim Aylesworth
A fun, rhyming rendition of a popular folksong about a coat that gets recycled throughout the life of a man.
I was a little worried that this book would be a little dated–the cover wasn’t overly attractive to me. However, the illustrations are lovely and the story so beautiful. A perfect story for my boys who quickly move from one toy to another and forget the value in reusing something. Maybe that’s a lesson I need to remember, too!
8–Carnivores by Aaron Reynolds
Sure, Wolf, Lion, and Shark eat well–but they’re lonely! No one likes them since they ate their relatives at one time. So the trio of carnivores try to make plans to keep themselves from eating other animals…but is it possible for them to change?
This book was funny and the large, exaggerated illustrations drew us right in! A great choice for a light, goofy book!
9–Dog vs. Cat by Chris Gall
Dog and Cat do not get along. So when they’re forced to share a room together, things are bound to go very, very wrong. But when a third roommate threatens to move into their space, Dog and Cat might find themselves on the same side.
A very cute story about differences and conflict. The ways that Dog and Cat try to sabotage each other are funny, and we found ourselves taking sides very quickly! The addition of Baby into the mix was a fun surprise, too. Loved this one!
10–If I Built a House by Chris Van Dusen
Jack has endless creativity and enthusiasm, and while sitting outside with his mom, he dreams of the house he would like to someday build. It comes with a racecar room, a bedroom in a tower, and even a zero gravity room!
This was by far my boys’ favorite book this summer! We found it on a whim while visiting a library program and wanted to re-read it as soon as we finished. The illustrations are so creative and beautiful! And for an interior design fanatic like me, I couldn’t help appreciating Jack’s design plans!
So there you go–ten books that my boys loved! Have you been enjoying any picture books this summer?