Time to grab a picnic basket and your swimsuit and head to the beach–it’s summer! And that means gardening, catching fireflies, building sandcastles, and more. But the best way to get the fun started is with these summery picture books.
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Sam and the Firefly
by P.D. Eastman
It’s when Sam the Owl teaches an enthusiastic firefly how to use his glowing light to spell words that the trouble begins! Soon Gus is creating chaos with his shining instructions in the sky. Sam warns Gus that his tricks will cause trouble, but Gus won’t listen—until he finds himself stuck in a jar!
Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt
by Kate Messner
This colorful picture book is a charming ode to one of summer’s most beloved activities—gardening! If you want to bring out the green in your little one’s thumb, you’ll love looking at planting, growing, and harvesting a garden from two different vantage points…Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt!
A Camping Spree with Mr. Magee
by Chris Van Dusen
Mr. Magee and his dog Dee are headed out with their trusty camper for a few days in the great outdoors. But their trip goes awry when a nearsighted bear, a bag of marshmallows, and a fifty-foot waterfall get involved! Their first night of camping may turn into more adventure than they bargained for!
Goldfish on Vacation
by Sally Lloyd-Jones
In New York City, where H, Little O, and Baby Em live, there’s not much for kids (or goldfish) to do in the summertime. But then a man arrives to clean up the broken fountain on their street and turn it into a summer home for goldfish. Maybe this won’t be such a boring summer after all!
by Julie Brinckloe
It’s a warm summer evening and the night sky is blinking with tiny lights. A boy rushes outside with a jar to join the neighborhood kids and before long, his jar is glowing with the spoils of the hunt. But to his dismay, the light from his fireflies starts to grow dim. What can he do to save his fireflies?
The Sandcastle that Lola Built
by Megan Maynor
What’s more fun than building a sandcastle at the beach? Finding new friends to help you! Together, Lola and the other kids build the best sandcastle ever, complete with moats, walls, and tall towers. But then the waves come in and wash their castle away! Now what will they do?
by Danny Parker
In this whimsically illustrated rhyming picture book, three kids and a cat spend a perfect day doing all the things they love to do most. They nibble and scribble. They mix things and fix things. They find places to walk to and someone to talk to. What about you? How will you spend your perfect day?
Scaredy Squirrel Goes Camping
by Mélanie Watt
Camping is not for Scaredy Squirrel. There are too many dangerous things at campsites—mosquitoes, bears, and maybe even penguins! Watching a camping show on TV is much safer. But plugging in his TV requires a trip into the wilderness, and that will require all of Scaredy’s survival skills!
How I Spent My Summer Vacation
by Mark Teague
When Wallace Bleff reads an essay to his class about what he did on his summer vacation, he tells a wilder tale than anyone expects! That’s because on the way to spend time with his aunt out west, Wallace was captured by cowboys to help with their roundup. Now that’s an unforgettable summer!
The Relatives Came
by Cynthia Rylant
When The Relatives Came, things were a bit over-crowded in the house. But nobody minded, because there were family suppers to eat, lots of work to do, and plenty of music to make! And when the visit came to an end, nobody was sad. After all, next summer was right around the corner!
by Kirsten Hall
Have you ever wondered how bees make honey? Well, it takes a lot of flying, collecting, and even some dancing, but the bees know it’s worth the work when that honey starts flowing! Join a hive full of buzzing worker bees for a rhyming romp through this bee-utiful picture book!
Five Little Monkeys Wash the Car
by Eileen Christelow
Mama Monkey has had it with her old battered car, so the five little monkeys are eager to help her sell it. They wash it and paint it and spray it with perfume to make it more attractive to buyers. Imagine their dismay when the car rolls into the swampy brown lake. Who will ever buy their car now?
The Watermelon Seed
by Greg Pizzoli
Crocodile loves watermelon—great big slices of watermelon for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and even dessert! It’s his favorite summertime treat. But when he swallows a seed, poor Crocodile fears a whole watermelon might grow in his belly! Will he ever be able to enjoy watermelon again?
What Lives in a Shell?
by Kathleen Weidner Zoehfeld
Homes are important. Your home keeps your family safe, warm, and dry. But did you know that animals live in many different kinds of homes? In What Lives in a Shell, you’ll learn about all the animals that make themselves at home in shells, including snails, hermit crabs, and even turtles.
Duck & Goose Go to the Beach
by Tad Hills
All Goose wants to do is stay home in the peaceful meadow, but Duck has other plans. Duck is ready for adventure! Together they make their way to the beach, and before long it’s Goose who’s having fun! Has Duck introduced Goose to an adventurous place he’ll never want to leave?
A Stick Is an Excellent Thing:
Poems Celebrating Outdoor Play
by Marilyn Singer
Presented in bouncy, energetic verse, this collection of delightful poems celebrates the wonder of play—especially outdoor play! Read them all at once or one at a time. Either way, you can’t go wrong with these summery poems about blowing bubbles, jumping rope, playing hopscotch, and more!
If You Ever Want to Bring a Piano
to the Beach, Don’t!
by Elise Parsley
Little Magnolia is learning that If You Ever Want to Bring a Piano to the Beach, DON’T! For one thing, pianos are heavy and hard to move. But that’s not all. Unfortunately, Magnolia is also discovering that pianos can get lost! And how can a little girl enjoy the beach if her piano is carried out to sea?
The Summer Nick Taught
His Cats to Read
by Curtis Manley
Nick does everything with his cats. Well, almost everything. Unfortunately, Nick’s cats can’t read! So Nick decides to teach them. Verne learns quickly, but Stevenson just hides under the bed. Can Nick and Verne convince Stevenson that reading is fun? Maybe if they find just the right book…
The Very Lonely Firefly
by Eric Carle
When a tiny firefly is born on a dark summer night, he’s eager to find more fireflies to be his friends. And though he discovers lots of lights—a lightbulb, a lantern, and a fireworks display—The Very Lonely Firefly can’t seem to find just what he is looking for. Will he ever be able to find a friend?
We Are the Gardeners
by Joanna Gaines
It started with a single potted fern. But when the fern died, instead of giving up, the family studied, planned, and dreamed together! And before long, all their dreaming and work paid off. They had a garden! The best part? The family that gardens together enjoys the fruit of their labor together too!
Would you like to read some of my favorite summer picture books with your children? Download our Summer Picture Books Library List.
Does your family have a favorite picture book about summer? Please share it in the comments and I’ll add it to our Readers’ Picks box!