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July Summer Books

By on July 2, 2014

Whether you and your child visit the farm in person or in a book, you can offer her/him the experience of farm animals this summer. Children of all ages love animals. Many zoos include both farm animals and wild animals as part of the zoo experience.

Feeding the Sheep

BOOKsheepby Leda Schubert, illustrated by Andrea U’Ren.

Beginning with a snowy day, a little girl and her mother follow the stages, from raising sheep to making a sweater. Schubert uses rhythmic, rhyming text and the little girl’s repeated question, “What are you doing?” to frame this cozy story. Feeding, then shearing the sheep, washing and carding the wool, and spinning wool into yarn moves readers through spring and into summer.

Dyeing the yarn, and knitting the wool carry the lively tale into the fall season. The sweater is completed with a “woolly hug.” The entire process is flavored with warmth and love. The ending, with a reversal of roles, supplies the beginning of the repeating cycle.

U’Ren’s bright watercolor illustrations, spread across double pages, show both concentration and action. This is especially true as the little girl models her mother’s activity: She brushes the dog while mom is carding the wool; the girl turns cartwheels as mom is spinning the yarn, etc.

A simple storyline balances details in the paintings. This vivid weaving of words with artwork makes a complex project easily understandable to young readers.

Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $16.99 (hardcover) Interest Level: Pre-Kindergarten–Grade 3 (This book is available to borrow at the Miami Dade Library; Miami Lakes Branch, South Dade Regional.)

Little Pink Pup

BOOKpinkpupby Johanna Kerby.

Pink is the tiniest piglet in a litter of newborns. Healthy brothers and strong sisters playfully push him away from mama pig at eating time.

Fortunately, a new dachshund mom on the farm, named Tink, becomes a foster mom for Pink. “She licked him and fed him and tucked him in close.”

Even though he doesn’t look like them, none of the puppy brothers or sisters pushes him away. They are all the same size.

Photos show Pink, Tink and both sets of siblings. Especially appealing are the pictures of Pink eating, sleeping and playing with the dachshund pups.

The author/photographer and her family raise many animals on their farm in West Virginia. Her text and matching photos show a compassionate story of a sweet dachshund mother, whose foster baby, Pink, is thriving on the farm today.

Putnam, $16.99 (hardcover) Interest Level: Pre-Kindergarten–Grade 1 (This book is available to borrow at the Miami Dade Library; Kendall Branch. Also may be purchased from Books & Books online:

What the Ladybug Heard

BOOKladybugby Julia Donaldson, illustrated by Lydia Monks.

What fun to read this book out loud! The text has wonderful rhymes, repetition and rhythm.

In the farmyard the ten animals each have something to say. The ladybug, however, listens. And that is Donaldson’s clever key to the story.

Ladybug hears two thieves as they make their plan to steal the prize cow. Readers see a humorous map they have made of the farmyard.

Ladybug chooses her first word well: It is the most important. “Help!” Then, after the animals “Gather round,” she whispers into each ear, her plan to outwit the robbers.

Monk’s cheerful paint and collage illustrations catch the eye and give each animal identifiable visual characteristics to match their predictable sounds. A variety of textures and perspectives create action and interest.

This brightly colorful tale is high on slapstick and lacking in menace. It invites listener participation and begs to be read again and again.

Henry Holt, $17.99 (hardcover) Interest Level: Junior Kindergarten–Grade 3 (This book is available to borrow at the Miami Dade Library; Opa Locka Branch, South Dade Regional.)

Here are more great titles to make the farm fun and fascinating:


by Elisha Cooper. Orchard Books, $17.99 (hardcover) Interest Level: Kindergarten–Grade 3

Cock-a-doodle-doo, Creak, Pop-pop, Moo

by Jim Aylesworth, illustrated by Brad Sneed. Holiday House, $7.99 (paperback) $16.95 (hardcover) Interest Level: Pre-Kindergarten–Grade 1

The Cow Loves Cookies

by Karma Wilson, illustrated by Marcellus Hall. McElderry Books, $16.99 (hardcover) Interest Level: Pre-Kindergarten–Grade 2 (This book is available to borrow at the Miami Dade Library; Allapattah Branch, Lemon City, Culmer Overtown, Edison, Kendall, Miami Lakes, Kendall, North Shore, Opa Locka, South Dade Regional.)

The Geese March in Step

by Jean-Francois Dumont. Eerdmans, $16.00 (hardcover) Interest Level: Junior Kindergarten–Grade 3

Wake Up, Rupert!

by Mike Twohy. Simon & Schuster, $16.99 (hardcover) Interest Level: Pre-Kindergarten–Grade 2

Cock-a-Doodle Dance!

by Christine Tricarico, illustrated by Rich Deas. Feiwel and Friends, $16.99 (hardcover) Interest Level: Junior Kindergarten–Grade 2 (This book is available to borrow at the Miami Dade Library; Culmer Overtown Branch. )

The Cow Who Clucked

by Denise Fleming. Henry Holt, $17.99 (hardcover) Interest Level: Pre-Kindergarten–Grade 1 (This book is available to borrow at the Miami Dade Library; Main Branch, Miami Lakes, Miami Springs, Kendall, Naranja, North Shore, South Dade Regional. )


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:

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