Summertime may be full of activities and when bedtime comes along, time may be short. Here are some clever picture books to read when kids are tired and perhaps mom and dad are too. All ages will enjoy reading or listening to these great books.

NFranklinsBigFranklin’s Big Dreams, by Davie Teague, and gloriously illustrated by Boris Kulikov, is a sagacious story about a boy who wakes up in the middle of the night when someone with a sledgehammer breaks into his bedroom wall.  Before he knows it, a set of rails are built and a train runs through his bedroom. He experiences two more exciting nights similar to this and the conclusion will likely bring some incredible dreams of your own. The full page pictures, encompassing blues and greens and embodying night, fill the imagination as the text exhilarates.

The Little Fly, by Michael Rosen, and illustrated with gouache and digitally enhanced by Kevin Waldron, demonstrates how big isn’t always the best. Three very large animals, the elephant, the hippo and the tiger, can’t seem to stop a fly swirling and dipping all around them. Check out the last large fold-out where all three huge animals barely fit on the spread.

NallthewaterAll the Water in the World, by George Ella Lyon, and digitally illustrated by Katherine Tullotson, is a rainfall of H2O as it surrounds the earth with sprinklings of words as they seem to flow with the water. This is a magnificent celebration of the importance of precipitation.

No One But You, by Douglas Wood, and beautifully painted by P. J. Lynch, is a celebration of the simple things that surround us outside in summer.  Mr. Wood writes a concise message that our world is heightened when observing with all our senses. And Lynch magically captures nature’s simple beauties with his full page oil renderings.

When Martha’s Away, by Bruce Ingman, is a book that will surprise cat owners. What Martha doesn’t know is how active her cat, Lionel, is when she heads to school for the day. Lionel lifts weights, cooks and even paints.  This hilarious book is painted with brief strokes of acrylic paint so that the uncluttered pages help fill the storyline.

NbillyTwittersBilly Twitters and his Blue Whale Problem, by Mac Barnett, and wonderfully illustrated by Adam Rex, is a hilarious story about a boy who doesn’t keep his room clean. So his parents threaten him with getting a whale if he doesn’t shape up. He thinks this is an idle threat except the next day a delivery truck has a huge trailer attached with a Blue Whale inside. He has to take this whale everywhere and the humorous situations follow him. But will he learn to clean his room?

Flying Lessons, by Gilbert Ford, has an airplane mimicking a flock of doves. The illustrations are funny when the airplane attempts to sit on a power line, get in a birdbath and lay eggs with the birds. The airplane finally figures out how to solve this dilemma.

NZoomersZoomer’s Summer Snowstorm, by Ned Young, will bring a chill to your summer heat. Zoomer turns his super snow cone machine into high pitch by mass producing snow. He turns his backyard into an amusement park of cold with a roller coaster and a Ferris wheel. These illustrations are enough to chill you with the vibrant colors of summer beside the hues of whites and blues of the snow.

Art & Max, by David Weisner, is a romp through creativity. Max attempts to paint his friend, Arthur. The only problem is Arthur is a great painter and Max doesn’t know how.  He takes the leap of courage and attempts and fails, but tries again. The illustrations of his attempts and the concluding pages will inspire even the shyest of all.

Dust Devil, by Anne Isaacs, and illustrated by Paul O. Zelinsky, is a story told in tall tale fashion. Swamp Angel has recently moved to Montana where she must wrestle with a whirlwind. She discovers a giant horse in the middle of this storm and names it Dust Devil. She must tackle a mean giant of a man who rides on a monster mosquito. This tall tale will most likely inspire some tall tales of your own.

NFortuneFortune Cookies, by Albert Bitterman, and illustrated by Caldecott Medalist Chris Raschka, is a brilliant book with pull tabs on every fortune cookie. By pulling the tabs, you read the fortune and young Fortune, who just received a box of fortune cookies from her uncle, enjoys reading her fortune each day of the week. Raschka’s delightful trademark watercolor pictures help tell the tale, and the good tips of advice can be found inside each cookie.


Holly E. Newton,  M. A.

Newton’s Book News

317 E. Manilla Drive

Draper, Utah   84020

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