As the “dog days” of summer are about to turn into school days for your family, we’re recommending books that will subtly pivot your kids from breezy summer vibes to minds ready to learn! We sought selections that will bridge home-to-school learning, with picks that touch-on the fundamentals your kids will be diving into this year.
by Bill Martin, Jr. and John Archambault, illustrated by Lois Ehlert (Little Simon $7.99) Age 1-4
The latest edition of this classic “Alphabet Romp” (the first of many in the CCBB series) is a durable board book, strong enough to survive a hand-me-down-journey for future little-learners when it’s their turn to make friends with upper-and lower-case letters.
Employing a simple but infectious rhyme (be prepared to hear chants of “chicka chicka, boom boom” from your toddlers), the tale follows the journey of 26 lower-case letters racing one another to the top of a vibrant coconut tree. When some of the little letters inevitably tumble to the ground, their upper-case “parents” are there to help them, with soothing words and encouragement.
In addition to alphabet recognition, the catchy story reinforces an important lesson on resiliency; emphasizing the reliable security of mom and dad, and the power behind dusting yourself off and trying again.
by Hervé Tullet (Chronicle $15.99) Age 2-5
Numbers, colors, basic geometry, and following directions: these are just a few of the intellectual skills stimulated by this rather extraordinary (and popular) interactive picture book. Author Tullet uses simple graphics and primary colors in unexpected ways, embedding timeless magic in the pages and keeping your imagination alive.
He employs a series of boldly colored dots as he walks readers through a progression of simple actions with astonishing consequences on the page. This book continues to enchant, and reinvents your imagination, no matter how many times you’ve flipped through it! (If you still can’t quite picture it, search for the book online and watch the brief video that shows how it works…you’ll be hooked!)
by Maureen Fergus, pictures by Carey Sookocheff (Groundwood $16.95) Age 3-6
Buddy and Earl are best friends, but even this dog-and-hedgehog duo have their carefree summer days curtailed by the start of school.
The happy tale is an entertaining way to help children get motivated for their first day school, while instilling a sense of adventure for education that will continue-on in the coming years.
Themes of encouragement, and “dreams” saturate the pages; momentously introduced when we discover Earl’s dream to become a dentist. While Buddy doesn’t think hedgehogs can become dentists, Earl is able to remind him that “With the right education, I can become anything—and so can you.” After musing about silly and ambitious professions, they head off to the classroom and discover just how much fun school can be.