Fathers come in all shapes, sizes and personalities – and they are priceless and a valued treasure. Father’s Day also comes as summer vacation and family activities begin. Here are books that celebrate both. All are picture books and are good for all ages, unless indicated.

image 2I Love My Daddy, by Giles Andreae, and brightly illustrated by Emma Dodd, is a fun read-aloud that showcases a delightful and humorous rhyming text that toddlers will enjoy. He lifts me on his shoulders high, Until I nearly touch the sky. And when we’re playing on the swings, He does all sorts of silly things.” Each page is filled with a different bold background of color and features dad and youngster action bound.

Daddies Do It Differently, by Alan Lawrence Sitomer, and painted with a wash of watercolors by Abby Carter, is a fun-loving book that actually contrasts the ways Mommy and Daddy spend time with their child. When Mommy fixes breakfast, the table is nice and organized and there’s a discussion of the day’s plans. When Daddy fixes breakfast, a fort is built out of waffles and sometimes they eat cereal right out of the box. And so it goes. But ultimately, both parents end the day with expressing their great love for their child.

image 3Little Treasures: Endearments from Around the World, by Jacqueline K. Ogburn, and painted with his award-winning trademark ink, watercolor and gouache by Chris Raschka, exhibits the tender, sweet expressions that parents give to their children the world over. English speaking parents may call their offspring: pumpkin, sunshine or babycakes. In Finland, they may express affection as flower bud or star eye. Hindi-speaking parents may call their beloved children my princess or my sweet little moon. These are just a few examples that showcase these expressions the world over. There’s even a pronunciation key under each expression as well as the way it’s written.

image 4How To Babysit a Grandpa, by Jean Reagan, and wonderfully painted digitally by Lee Wildish, has the vital instructions youngsters will need to inform them about what to do when Grandpa comes to tend. Included in this fun, and funny, book are what snacks to have: Ice cream topped with cookies / Olives served on fingertips / Anything dipped in ketchup / Cookies topped with ice cream”. Other instructions include “How to take Grandpa on a walk” and “How to play with Grandpa”. I especially like the last instructions on how to say goodbye to him because it’s so sweet and endearing.

image 5A Perfect Brightness of Hope, by David S. Baxter, is a book to help members of the Church get through difficult times. I’ve included this outstanding new book in this section of my review because so many people have arduous relationships with parents or other family members and circumstances can often be resolved in how we look at life. Our attitudes can become like an avalanche of hope if we just look into ourselves and how the Lord has blessed each of us to help make our lives a little happier. This book is best suited for teens through adults.

The rest of the review features books about outdoor fun and activities. Into the Outdoors, by Susan Gal, has so many teachable levels that can easily be taught as a family goes to a wooded hillside to set up camp. There are prepositions that are highlighted in a different color as the family sets out to explore. As they head across a river and up a mountain side, animals are doing the same movements in the background. The charcoal drawings and digital collage create a natural setting of great beauty. Be sure to check out the delightful end-pages. After reading this book, be prepared to get your camping equipment out for the ready!

image 6When You Are Camping, by Anne Lee, is another wonderful camping tale that will surely invigorate the camper in all of us. Hazel and Tilly are about to experience all that awaits them in the great outdoors as they wake up in their tent to see that it’s raining. They get hot chocolate in their tent and after the rain they run through wet grass and into the woods. By day’s end, they get to sit by the campfire and enjoy family time. The watercolors are beautifully painted giving off the air of outside.

A Stick is an Excellent Thing: Poems Celebrating Outdoor Play, by Marilyn Singer, and illustrated with pencil and ink and painted digitally by LeUyen Pham, captures what summertime should be for kids: getting outside and playing. Some of the poems include “Edges” which is about balancing along the edge of curbs and sidewalks, “Jump” which is about jumping to the beat of jump rope and “Hide-and-Seek” which about playing that game that time may have forgotten. I love this book!

imageGo Out and Play! Favorite Outdoor Games From KaBoom!, is a great handbook for parents and families who want to go outside and play organized games. Some of these games take just two to play, others require more and some games need some kind of a ball, but all need the great outdoors. The instructions are easy and the space, number of players and equipment is highlighted at the bottom of each page. There are some fond memories here as I remembered games that perhaps kids don’t know about that I grew up with, which include “Red Rover”, “Steal the Bacon”, Ghosts in the Graveyard, and “Four Square”. This book is a must!