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Picture Books - 2012 Kids' Summer Reading List

Picture Books (Fiction & Nonfiction)

Preschool-grade 3; suggested grade level listed with each entry

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A Good Knight’s Rest, by Shelley Moore Thomas, illustrated by Jennifer Plecas (Dutton, $16.99)

The good knight badly needs a vacation—but since he allows three demanding young dragon friends to come along, he doesn’t get much rest and relaxation. Preschool. 32 pages.

A Stick Is an Excellent Thing, Poems Celebrating Outdoor Play, by Marilyn Singer, illustrated by LeUyen Pham (Clarion, $16.99)

Eighteen poems celebrate outdoor play, featuring different styles of poetry and moving from morning to dusk. The illustrations show a multicultural group of children enjoying the exciting day. Grades K–3. 40 pages.

Brothers at Bat: The True Story of an Amazing All-Brother Baseball Team, by Audrey Vernick, illustrated by Steven Salerno (Clarion, $16.99)

The Acerra family from Long Branch, New Jersey, was the longest-playing all-sibling baseball team in the mid-twentieth-century. This story of a real American family whose bond was the game is vividly brought to life. Grades 1–3. 40 pages

The Camping Trip That Changed America: Theodore Roosevelt, John Muir, and Our National Parks, by Barb Rosenstock, illustrated by Mordicai Gerstein (Dial, $16.99)

After reading John Muir’s book advocating for forests, the president asked Muir to take him camping. By the time they reached Yosemite, Roosevelt was persuaded to create our national parks system. Grades K–3. 32 pages.

Coral Reefs, written and illustrated by Jason Chin (Porter/Flash Point/Roaring Brook, $16.99)

Alongside a straightforward description of tropical coral ecosystems, fantastical illustrations show a girl enjoying an adventure when the contents of this very book come to life. Grades K–3. 40 pages.

The Duckling Gets a Cookie!? written and illustrated by Mo Willems (Hyperion, $15.99)

The Duckling asks politely for a cookie and gets one, setting the Pigeon off on one of his trademark tirades. His rant comes to a screeching halt when the Duckling generously offers him the cookie. Preschool. 40 pages.

I Want My Hat Back, written and illustrated by Jon Klassen (Candlewick, $15.99)

In this subversive, hilarious tale, a bear has lost his red hat. After he questions his fellow woodland critters to no avail, a sudden recollection leads the bear back to the thief. Grades K–3. 32 pages.

Neville, by Norton Juster, illustrated by G. Brian Karas (Schwartz & Wade/Random, $17.99)

A lonely boy stands outside yelling “Neville!” Soon every kid in the neighborhood is calling for Neville, though no one knows who he is—not even the reader, who finds out on the satisfying last page. Grades K–3. 32 pages.

No Dogs Allowed! by Linda Ashman, illustrated by Kristin Sorra (Sterling, $14.95)

Faced with a restaurant's "NO DOGS ALLOWED" sign, a boy and his dog sit at a fountain. Soon there's a crowd of people with pets enjoying the hospitality of a nearby lemonade and ice cream stand. Grades K–3. 40 pages.

Press Here, written and illustrated by Hervé Tullet (Handprint/Chronicle, $15.99)

This interactive book invites the reader to press, tilt, blow, and clap to “transform” colored dots from page to page. Satisfying patterns alternate with surprises to keep the activity fresh. Preschool. 64 pages.

Secrets of the Garden: Food Chains and the Food Web in Our Backyard, by Kathleen Weidner Zoehfeld, illustrated by Priscilla Lamont (Knopf, $16.99)

Alice and her family have a plot of land upon which they grow edible plants, raise chickens, and enjoy their interactions with the variety of living things in their backyard ecosystem. Grades K–3. 40 pages.

Stars, by Mary Lyn Ray, illustrated by Marla Frazee (Beach Lane/Simon, $16.99)

Beginning and ending with stars in the sky, this quiet narrative muses about star shapes in nature and around the home. Expressive illustrations offer a spot-on portrayal of imaginative play. Grades K–3. 40 pages.

The Three Little Aliens and the Big Bad Robot, by Margaret McNamara, illustrated by Mark Fearing (Schwartz & Wade/Random, $16.99)

A mama alien sends her children to find a planet of their own, warning them to watch out for the Big Bad Robot. Robotic onomatopoeia and a space setting will make this take on a classic tale a read-aloud hit. Grades K–3. 40 pages.

Z Is for Moose, by Kelly Bingham, illustrated by Paul O. Zelinsky (Greenwillow, $16.99)

In this funny and inventive ABC book, Moose jumps for joy in anticipation of his moment in the spotlight. When we finally get to M, though, it turns out to be for…Mouse, resulting in a major meltdown. Grades K–3. 32 pages.

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