6 Picture Books that Celebrate Summer

summertime picture booksI bought watermelons from three different stores last week. I stopped at a roadside fruit stand on the way home from the grocery store one day and bought another watermelon there, even though I had one in my backseat purchased from the grocery store 20 minutes earlier. It’s safe to say that we are big watermelon fans. (Except one of those three was a seeded watermelon. I relish in telling my children that they’re missing out when they eat seedless melons, but Josh and I both agree that the small sacrifice in flavor is worth not having to deal with tons of seeds. We’re spoiled brats, apparently.) Yesterday, the kids ate watermelon for breakfast and then sat around doing puzzles in their pajamas until lunch. Nothing is more summer to me than all day pajamas. Here are 6 picture books that capture that same summer feel:

The Watermelon Seed by Greg Rizzoli is on the list, of course. Did I not just confess to the world how much I love watermelon? Ever since we read this one, the kids are obsessed with growing watermelons in their stomachs. We’ve had no luck so far.

If You Ever Want to Bring a Piano to the Beach, Don’t! by Elise Parsley. When Mom says it’s time to grab a toy for the beach, Magnolia is sure the family piano will be just the thing. I can relate with the Mom here, but also with Magnolia. Sometimes two favorite things don’t mix, no matter how much I wish they would.

Ice Cream Summer by Peter Sis is a perfect book, especially for readers who love ice cream. (So, everyone.) The entire book is an illustrated letter between Joe and Grandpa. “I read every day,” he tells Grandpa. “I am conquering big words like tornado and explosion.” Meanwhile, the illustrations show Joe standing at an ice cream counter contemplating between chocolate, vanilla, and cherry tornado. Summer is full of tough choices.

Sea Rex by Molly Idle. We thought Tea Rex was clever and charming. Sea Rex is no different. Cordelia and her dinosaur friends head to the beach, because of course they do. A T-Rex with floaties is more adorable than I thought it could be.

Flotsam by David Wiesner is another beach book, though it has a completely different feel. Like I’ve come to expect from David Wiesner, the illustrations in this wordless book are both fantastical and incredibly realistic. A curious boy spends a day at the beach examining shells and various flotsam. When a camera washes ashore, he finds a view into a magical underwater world. (Wave by Suzy Lee is another gorgeous wordless beach book done entirely in pen and blue watercolor.)

Are We There Yet? by Dan Santat is an ode to the trip that seems to go on forever, whether because the main event can’t come soon enough or because it really is a long road trip. We drove across the country last summer and are planning a multi-state trip in August, so this was just the book for us.


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