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July Books: Summer’s Here!

By on July 4, 2012

Looking for summer stories and activities for the younger crowd? Look no further! Try any or all of these titles to get the little ones moving, or even to settle them down for a nap after swimming or soccer. Great choices are listed below to keep campers occupied and involved as the summer progresses. Enjoy!

By Meribeth C. Shank

Camp K-9 by Mary Ann Rodman, illustrated by Nancy Hayashi. Peachtree, $15.95,  Ages 4–8

On the bus to summer camp, Roxie meets the resident bully, a poodle named Lacy who, Roxie fears, will discover her secret – that she brought her blankie along. When Lacy shows up in Roxie’s cabin, she takes the bunk bed Roxie has chosen, at dinner Lacy “accidentally” knocks someone’s plate off the table with her pooch pouch, at campfire time she jumps out from behind a tree during a spooky story, scaring the entire group, and then is missing at the dock the next day, for paddle time.

Muted watercolor, pen and colored pencil illustrations accompany the dramatic text, showing the anthropomorphized dog characters involved in familiar camp activities, with clever dog identifiers like chow time, Barks & Crafts, a dog trot. Additionally, the repetition of the bully’s apology, “’Sorry,’ says Lacy,” followed by Roxie’s’ observation, “but I know she’s not,” gives readers a feel for Roxie’s view of what’s really going on.  Meanwhile Roxie’s refrain, “I want my blankie. I want it right now!” supplies a sense of how painful it can be to keep something important hidden.

When Roxie discovers Lacy’s secret, Roxie recognizes the possibilities for friendship that can emerge, when secrets are shared.

You Are a Lion:  And Other Fun Yoga Poses, by Taeeun Yoo. Penguin, $16.99, Ages 3–7

Want a fun yoga book for young children? You’ve come to the right place with author-illustrator Yoo’s active non-rhyming picture book in verse for young children. Pretend you are a lion, a butterfly, especially a dog, even a snake, and you will be off on a journey of imagination to find a mountain of engaging movement for the youngest set.

Linoleum block prints and pencil drawings are enhanced with Photoshop, creating bright, colorful illustrations of children from multiple ethnicities, to accompany the rhythmic text. Beginning with stretching in a morning garden, single pages of brief instructions follow, leading to double page spreads of a child in a yoga position, beside an animal actually looking like the pose. The children’s clothing hints at the creature they will imitate. A concluding rest brings the playful yoga session to a close.

Hop, Hop, Jump! by Lauren Thompson, illustrated by Jarrett J. Krosoczka. Simon & Schuster, $14.99, Ages 3–5

This brief action-packed, camp-based picture book sets readers up for vigorous movement and games. Not only are the activities named and the multicultural children in the cheerful acrylic illustrations eager participants in the high-spirited romp, but the parts of the body involved in performing the lively amusements are identified as well.

Short rhythmic verbs, and bold typeface are coupled with smiling campers demonstrating sports and activities from hiking, swimming and tumbling, to dancing, photography and bowling. From fingers and toes, through elbow, knee and shoulder, to eye, waist and heel, readers are invited to “groove it” and “goose it” with their friends, through a series of rollicking images and a near-exhaustive listing of body parts.

Meribeth Shank works in the Media Center at Miami Country Day School, an independent school in Miami Shores, Florida, teaches classes on Writing Books for Children, and earned her MFA in Writing for children from Vermont College.  You can also find her on the web: http://meribeths.blogspot.com

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