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It’s summer and there are some outstanding picture books celebrating this wonderful season of the year by enjoying the beauty outside and the many varieties on God’s green earth.  All the books are good for ages three to eight unless otherwise indicated.

Busy-Eyed Day, by Anne Marie Pace, and painted with vibrant double-page illustrations by Frank Preston-Gannon, demonstrates that there is so much for us to see with all the beauty that surrounds our world.  This lyrical book has few words on each page staging a glorious scene at every turn of the page.   Two siblings enjoy a day in the park and notice all around them. “Big-eyed bug. Stalk-eyes slug” “Blind-eyed mare. Crossed-eyed Bear”.  This is a “Busy-eyed day at the park.”  The illustrations were rendered using a mixture of digital and hand drawn techniques. 

Florette, by Anna Walker, is a wonderful story, perfectly illustrated with watercolor, telling the tale of how young Mae adjusts to a move.  Her parents are moving to the city leaving behind Mae’s garden.  She doesn’t know how she can grow a garden with buildings, cement and pavement everywhere.  But it doesn’t take Mae too long to realize there’s a way to grow plants and trees even in the heart of a city.  Walker has painted such a delightful story rich in detail that includes tiny birds and plant life within the city. 

We’re Going on a Bear Hunt: Let’s Discover Bugs, by Andrea Cascardi, is a wonderful interactive book that’s packed with activities to learn about insects by colors, shapes and sizes.  There are simple diagrams of the parts of an insect and descriptions of some different types of bugs such as lady bugs, crickets and snails.  The book is kid-friendly with fun facts, related activities found throughout, and stickers found in the back of the book. 

A Peaceful Garden, by Lucy London, and brightly illustrated with watercolor and Adobe illustrator to create the digital pictures by Christa Pierce, has two cats preparing and nurturing their garden.  The book takes the reader through selecting seeds, preparing the dirt, labeling the plants – and the importance of watering. You will see vegetables and flowers slowly growing throughout the book.  Be sure to check out the insightful front and back end-pages.

The Things That I Love About Trees, by Chris Butterworth, and intricately painted with watercolor and ink by Charlotte Voake, truly celebrates the majesty and importance of trees.  The book begins with spring and proceeds through the seasons showing and describing how each season affects trees.  The text treats this magnificent plant like an ode as it navigates the reader throughout the life of a tree through the year.  A youngster enjoys the changes throughout the book.  Be sure to check out the back pages listing activities, as well as an informative index. 

Walk This Wild World, by Kate Baker, and digitally illustrated with an ablaze of color by Sam Brewster, showcases the world of animals and their habitats.  Each fully colored open-page exhibits a different region and continent.  The wonders of the Amazon, the sun-drenched Sonoran Desert and the Spanish Wetlands are a few of the examples shown here.  What makes this thick-paged book so effective and enjoyable for kids is every page has several lift-the-flaps to enhance learning. 

Splash, Splash Ducky!, by Lucy Cousins, is another brightly painted book with gouache and outlined with thick black lines that Cousins has made famous.  Ducky loves water and rain.  Everything loves water and rain including plants, flowers, frogs, slugs and other critters.  The text is short using declarative sentences. Almost every double-page scene also has Ducky declaring “Quack, quack, quack” making this book a perfect read-out-loud and good for ages two to four.

Bitty Bot’s Big Beach Getaway, by Tim McCanna, and with digitally illustrated pictures by Tad Carpenter, begins with a splash of orange and yellow as robots enjoy the sand by the beach.  However, Bitty Bot wants to explore the ocean floor.  So he, along with his tiny robot helpers, build a most unique submarine which takes them way below the surface of the sea.  The color of the pages turns dark blue and purple as they go deep into the water.  This underwater adventure leads them to seeing stingrays and squids.  But there’s more to discover in this delightful tale as the submarine goes deeper into the ocean.  The entire story is told in a delightful rhyming cadence 

Misunderstood Shark, by Ame Dyckman, and brightly illustrated by Scott Magoon, begins with a TV production of underwater life when it’s interrupted by a SHARK!  But this shark seems to be misunderstood. The crew believes he’s about to eat a fish.  But he explains, tongue-in-cheek, that he was just trying to show his pretty teeth.  The entire book is hilarious, but there is factual shark information found throughout as well. 

Festival of Colors, by Kabir & Surishtha Sehgal, and colorfully illustrated by Vashti Harrison, is a celebration when this season comes to India.  With the announcement of a new temple being built in this country there is much curiosity and interest.  A brother and sister are getting ready for Holi, the Indian Festival of Color.  They begin to gather different colorful flower petals and then proceed to crush them into powder.  These vibrant powders are tossed on the big day which gathers family members and friends as they celebrate fresh starts and friendship.  This book would be of interest to all ages.