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Home > GreenSense Directory > Books > Kid's Books > Summer

GreenSense Directory

Summer

June is the start of berry season at our house and a very busy time. The garden is growing (along with the weeds), the beach is calling, and there are all those berries to pick. Strawberries start the season, and then we progress through the summer with juneberries, raspberries, mulberries, blueberries and blackberries. Kids love berry picking; its just a great treasure hunt to them, and even the youngest child can appreciate the magic of a red ripe berry glistening through the foliage. So pack a picnic and some sunhats and take your kid berry picking while the summer sun lasts. Here are some books to gret you warmed up.

New

Blueberries for Sal - - by Robert McCloskey; The Viking Press, 1948. A classic story of humans and bears enjoying the harvest on Blueberry Hill. If you don't have a copy of this old classic left over from your own childhood you should get one for your children. It is one of those stories that really captures events from a small child's perspective. Little Sal and her mother are picking berries on Blueberry Hill. And Little Bear and his mother are eating berries on Blueberry Hill. The tale of how they all get mixed up and sorted out again is told with deep insight into the pychology of both humans and bears. The central story - that of losing your mommy and finding her again - is one that little kids really relate to. The gentle humour and clear line illustrations have lots of kid appeal. Robert McCloskey's love of the Maine landscape and way of life comes through on every page. This is a truly special book that you will read again and again.

Jamberry - - by Bruce Degan; HarperCollins, 1983. A boy and a bear frolic through a fantastic rhyming world of berries. This is the quintessential berry book for little kids. Gently humorous, cleverly rhyming, it starts off with a little boy quietly strolling through the woods and ends up with berries raining from the sky in a huge rioutous pile. Along the way you meet, among others, a berry loving bear, skating elephants, and a dixieland band composed of rabbits. Bruce Degan's illustrations are bursting with life and have a funny, old fashioned charm. The board book version is a great first baby book and its also available as book on tape with the author singing the words. A perfect thing to play on the way to the berry farm.

Picnic - - by Emily Arnold McCully; Harper & Row, 1984. A small mouse shows spunk and resourcefulness when she is separated from her family during a summer picnic. Have you ever gone on a picnic on a perfect summer day? The sky is clear, a breeze is blowing, the air smells sweet and the berries are ripe. This wordless picture book really captures that feeling. It is the story of a very large mouse family which packs a picnic and heads for an idyllic lake. All is going well in perfect, summery fashion, the kids are jumping in the water, softball practice is in progress, Grandpa is strumming his banjo, and the ants are marching towards the food. But when the family sits down to eat, they notice one little mousie is missing. What happened to her? She went flying out of the truck when it hit a bump and has been lost ever since. At first the little mouse cries but she soon rallies, and, as she is walking along, finds a huge bush of ripe berries. While the family is frantically searching for her, she is feasting! The eventual reunion is a joyful one, and the family settles down to enjoy the picnic at last. I love the wordless format - all the emotional ups and downs in the story are vividly conveyed using the illustrations alone. Your little ones will soon be reading the story to you, their stuffed animals, the neighbor, just about anyone who will listen. What a satisfying feeling for a pre-reader! Beautiful, energetic watercolor illustrations will appeal to adults and kids alike. You'll feel like you had a day in the country after reading this book.

The First Strawberries; A Cherokee Story - - retold by Joseph Bruchac; illustrated by Anna Vojtech Dial Books for Young Readers, 1993. The sun creates strawberries to heal a rift between the first man and the first woman. There are many lovely picture books based on traditional stories but The First Strawberries is exceptional. It is the story of the first man and the first woman. They are happy together, until a foolish arguement causes them to part in anger. The man tries to follow the woman, but she is walking too fast. The Sun sees that the man is sorry, and takes pity on him. The Sun shines on the earth and strawberries grow. Their taste is so sweet, it reminds the woman how happy she was with her husband. She stops to pick the berries, and the man catches up with her. As they share the sweet berries they find forgiveness for each other. This story addresses a difficult issue - that of adults fighting - in a way that is very accessible for a young child. The beautiful way in which the adults forgive each other is a lesson for all of us. The simplicity of the text really enhances the story and allows the important elements to shine through. The man and woman are shown as equal partners throughout. The illustrations are rich and detailed, and show the strength and beauty of the people as well as the natural world. This is a medium-length picture book with a beautiful message - that friendship and respect are as sweet as the taste of ripe, red berries.

***

Blueberries for Sal - - by Robert McCloskey; The Viking Press, 1948. A classic story of humans and bears enjoying the harvest on Blueberry Hill. If you don't have a copy of this old classic left over from your own childhood you should get one for your children. It is one of those stories that really captures events from a small child's perspective. Little Sal and her mother are picking berries on Blueberry Hill. And Little Bear and his mother are eating berries on Blueberry Hill. The tale of how they all get mixed up and sorted out again is told with deep insight into the pychology of both humans and bears. The central story - that of losing your mommy and finding her again - is one that little kids really relate to. The gentle humour and clear line illustrations have lots of kid appeal. Robert McCloskey's love of the Maine landscape and way of life comes through on every page. This is a truly special book that you will read again and again.

Jamberry - - by Bruce Degan; HarperCollins, 1983. A boy and a bear frolic through a fantastic rhyming world of berries. This is the quintessential berry book for little kids. Gently humorous, cleverly rhyming, it starts off with a little boy quietly strolling through the woods and ends up with berries raining from the sky in a huge rioutous pile. Along the way you meet, among others, a berry loving bear, skating elephants, and a dixieland band composed of rabbits. Bruce Degan's illustrations are bursting with life and have a funny, old fashioned charm. The board book version is a great first baby book and its also available as book on tape with the author singing the words. A perfect thing to play on the way to the berry farm.

Picnic - - by Emily Arnold McCully; Harper & Row, 1984. A small mouse shows spunk and resourcefulness when she is separated from her family during a summer picnic. Have you ever gone on a picnic on a perfect summer day? The sky is clear, a breeze is blowing, the air smells sweet and the berries are ripe. This wordless picture book really captures that feeling. It is the story of a very large mouse family which packs a picnic and heads for an idyllic lake. All is going well in perfect, summery fashion, the kids are jumping in the water, softball practice is in progress, Grandpa is strumming his banjo, and the ants are marching towards the food. But when the family sits down to eat, they notice one little mousie is missing. What happened to her? She went flying out of the truck when it hit a bump and has been lost ever since. At first the little mouse cries but she soon rallies, and, as she is walking along, finds a huge bush of ripe berries. While the family is frantically searching for her, she is feasting! The eventual reunion is a joyful one, and the family settles down to enjoy the picnic at last. I love the wordless format - all the emotional ups and downs in the story are vividly conveyed using the illustrations alone. Your little ones will soon be reading the story to you, their stuffed animals, the neighbor, just about anyone who will listen. What a satisfying feeling for a pre-reader! Beautiful, energetic watercolor illustrations will appeal to adults and kids alike. You'll feel like you had a day in the country after reading this book.

The First Strawberries; A Cherokee Story - - retold by Joseph Bruchac; illustrated by Anna Vojtech Dial Books for Young Readers, 1993. The sun creates strawberries to heal a rift between the first man and the first woman. There are many lovely picture books based on traditional stories but The First Strawberries is exceptional. It is the story of the first man and the first woman. They are happy together, until a foolish arguement causes them to part in anger. The man tries to follow the woman, but she is walking too fast. The Sun sees that the man is sorry, and takes pity on him. The Sun shines on the earth and strawberries grow. Their taste is so sweet, it reminds the woman how happy she was with her husband. She stops to pick the berries, and the man catches up with her. As they share the sweet berries they find forgiveness for each other. This story addresses a difficult issue - that of adults fighting - in a way that is very accessible for a young child. The beautiful way in which the adults forgive each other is a lesson for all of us. The simplicity of the text really enhances the story and allows the important elements to shine through. The man and woman are shown as equal partners throughout. The illustrations are rich and detailed, and show the strength and beauty of the people as well as the natural world. This is a medium-length picture book with a beautiful message - that friendship and respect are as sweet as the taste of ripe, red berries.

 

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