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Summer can be a great time to keep your mind stimulated and your intellect growing. Here are the perfect picture books to grow the IQ of youngsters ages three through seven.

An Excessive Alphabet: Avalanches of As to Zillions of Zs, by Judi Barrett, and cleverly illustrated with pen and ink and colored digitally by Ron Barrett, is a delightful alphabet book that becomes interactive. Each page introduces a new letter and a menagerie of objects that begin with that letter. This “seek and find” book entices learning helping families participate in the fun. The end pages display simple words alphabetized.

One is Not a Pair: A Spotting Book, by Brittany Teckentrup, is another wonderful learning book in this series. This interactive book involves discovering the one object that is different from all the pairs on the page. Each page showcases a different theme of shapes. There are colorful ice cream cones, black Magpies with something in their beaks and so on. On the opposite page is a brief rhyming text indicating what you are to find. The pictures were created digitally.

Triangle, by Mac Barnett, and illustrated by using watercolor, graphite and digitalization by Jon Klasson, is a clever story both visually and with text. Triangle is a cunning shape and manages to play a trick on Square. But in the end, does he really? The pictures are simple with a backdrop of white and the story is minimal as well. The conclusion leaves you hanging. This brilliant book is the beginning of a series of more shapes to come.

Shapes, Reshape!, by Silvia Borando, is an imaginative book exploring ways to use shapes and invent an animal from the shapes. Each page is filled with an array of squares and rectangles. This is where you move them around in your mind to come up with an animal. Turn the page to see if you’re correct. You could take this a step further and make paper shapes of the same size and see what you can concretely create.

Round, by Joyce Sidman, and wonderfully illustrated in mixed media with printed texture by Taeeun Yoo, is a colorful tribute to everything round. This book helps bring awareness of simple round items all around us that are instilled in the beauty of earth: seeds, blueberries, boulders, even tree rings. Be sure to read the closing page inquiring why so many things in nature are round.

Big Bear, Small Bear, by Karma Wilson, and brightly painted with acrylic by Jane Chapman, is actually a book about opposites. Here is a book rich in color, detail, simple rhyming text and smiling animals as you learn about this concept: “Slow Badger, fast Hare, / Small Mouse, big Bear!” 

7 Ate 9: The Untold Story, by Tara Lazar, and illustrated using colored pencils, watercolors and 19th century wood type then blended digitally by Ross MacDonald, is full of wit, humor and numbers! Number 6 is worried, thinking it’s next due to the fact that number 7 just subtracted number 9. Now private 1 is going to try to help number 6. There are plenty of funny puns that highlight this clever and colorful book!

Penguins Love Colors, by Sarah Aspinall, is rich with bright primary colors, secondary colors and cuddly little penguins. Upon opening and closing the book you see a diagram of the order of rainbow colors. The story is delightful and the colors are vibrant. This book begs to be read out loud.

Grandfather Clock, by Roger Hargreaves, teaches time very effectively. Grandfather turns into a clock when someone needs to see what time it is. The round clock is easy to read and teach as grandfather goes through the day. Each time the large and small hands of the clock move, the morning moves to afternoon, then evening.

One Lonely Fish: A Counting Book with Bite!, by Andy Mansfield, and brightly colored by Thomas Flintham, is a board book with graduating pages that begin large and gradually get smaller as each fish gets eaten by a larger fish. The size of the fish and pages make this clever book not just a counting book, but also a book about size as well as the food chain.

Hap-pea All Year, by Keith Baker, teaches the months of the year in an enjoyable and enchanting way: through his cute little smiling peas. Every new open spread showcases a new month with the bold giant letters spelling out the month. The peas are happily celebrating the month according to the season it represents. The colors are rich and vibrant and the peas are adorable! 

5 Little Ducks, by Denise Fleming, is an overly large book which is actually a rendition of the familiar song by the same name making this a captivating counting book. Color fills every page with vibrancy and the baby ducks are charming as you count them. This is one book youngsters will want to revisit again and again.

Find the Dots, by Andy Mansfield, is a very unique smallish sized book full of flaps, slides, spins and peek-through pages that cleverly maneuver each page as you attempt to find specific colored dots. Watch out for the final page as it explodes off the page upon turning to it. Each page almost defies logic as you look for the dots.