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Summer’s here

Climbing trees, getting wet, having outdoor adventures. The following picture books capture the mood of summertime exploration and fun.

Even though he’s warned to stay safely inside the icebox, the titular star of Ice Boy escapes to the outside (“Hello, world!”). He loves the outside with its beach and its sun…and he soon becomes Water Boy, with friendly waves and sea creatures to keep him happy. After his adventures in the water cycle, he lands back home — and coaxes his parents into joining him for more fun. “Best Day Ever!” David Ezra Stein’s joyful, varied mixed-media illustrations will bring smiles to young readers’ faces. (Candlewick, 4–7 years)

In Wet by Carey Sookocheff, a young boy introduces the reader to a range of ways to get wet, from entering a swimming pool to standing in the rain to landing in a puddle at the bottom of a slide. Sookocheff reinforces her matter-of-fact text with simple, cool-color illustrations that feature cameos by members of the boy’s community and family. The emphasis on everyday experiences and emotions is warm and welcoming. (Holt/Godwin, 3–6 years)

Lulu, the young star of Another Way to Climb a Tree, loves trees. When she gets chickenpox and is confined to her room, she misses the trees — and they miss her. After spying the shadow of her favorite tree on her bedroom wall, Lulu knows just what to do, and she finds a whole new way to climb her tree (hint: it involves imagination). Lulu’s tree-loving joy jumps off the pages through Liz Garton Scanlon’s warm words and Hadley Hooper’s simple but luscious illustrations. (Roaring Brook/Porter, 3–6 years)

Outside, a summer storm rages. Inside, no problem! For This Beautiful Day‘s three kids and a dog there are dress-up opportunities, dance music on the radio, and the creative possibilities of an empty cardboard box. When the sky brightens, the children burst out the door, equipped with rain boots and umbrellas — which turn magic, lifting everyone into the sky, Mary Poppins–style. Richard Jackson’s buoyant, impressionistic text is perfectly matched to Suzy’s Lee’s joyful acrylic and pencil illustrations. (Atheneum/Dlouhy, 3–6 years)

From the July 2017 issue of Notes from the Horn Book.

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Elissa Gershowitz About Elissa Gershowitz

Elissa Gershowitz is executive editor of The Horn Book, Inc. She holds an MA from the Center for the Study of Children's Literature at Simmons College and a BA from Oberlin College.

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