Summer reading: Four noteworthy picture books
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Big Truck Little Island
Chris Van Dusen
Van Dusen’s vivid illustrations and opening scene will capture children’s attention quickly. A tugboat tows an oversized truck on a barge with an “extra large load … all under wraps.” The truck arrives at a little Maine island where it soon gets stuck on a narrow road, blocking traffic in both lanes. Hurried parents grow impatient, but their kids find a creative solution. A wrecker helps the truck deliver its surprise contents, to the islanders’ delight. Inspired by similar events at Maine’s Vinalhaven Island, the story is an “example of problem solving and cooperation.” (Ages 3-7)
The Creator in You
Two children observe fantastical scenes depicting “a working God” masterfully creating “in a matter of days, a world for exploring, for work, for play.” Giant hands form mountains, hold planets, and fashion human beings “to look like Him—to act and work and create with Him.” By working and creating new things, we reflect God’s character. Raynor emphasizes in a note to parents that God’s creativity is often overlooked, impacting how work is perceived. The story seeks to convey to children that the Biblical mandate to “fill the earth and subdue it” involves cultural creation, too. (Ages 3-7)
Find Out About Animal Homes
Jenkins, a conservation biologist, describes with fascinating detail the variety of homes animals build for protection from predators, keeping warm, and having babies. Big animals, such as polar bears, build small homes, while tiny termites build mounds as large as a bus. Some animals use sticks, stones, or their own spit to make their nests. Endnotes include more information about animal homes and an index. The book’s simple text and Jane McGuinness’ mixed-media illustrations make for an engaging read aloud. (Ages 3-7)
My Nana’s Garden
A little girl grows up experiencing her grandmother’s “lovely and wild” garden through its various conditions and seasonal changes. Where she sees tangled weeds, Nana sees wildflowers and food for bees. In this special place, a girl and her mother make fond memories with Nana, including stargazing, picking apples, planting seeds, and having bonfires, until one sad, wintery day Nana’s chair in the garden is empty. The book’s artwork and rhyming couplets portray a mother-daughter duo carrying on Nana’s garden. Soon, four generations find joy and healing in a place “blooming with life.” (Ages 3-7)
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