Looking for some fun new summer reads? Try one of these excellent picturebooks! Larsen, Andrew and Todd Stewart, illus. See You Next Year. Berkeley, CA: Owlkids Books Inc., 2015. Ages 3 – 8. Larsen’s simple story with short sentences reminiscent of a child’s “My Summer Vacation” writing assignment is accompanied by Stewart’s seemingly simple illustrations: line drawings with mostly two-toned palettes of blues and yellows. The sophisticated simplicity of the style matches the tale: a girl spends one week of her summer at the beach with her parents, just like she always has. But this year, she meets a new friend and realizes that some changes are welcome, as she looks forward to seeing her friend again next summer. A perfect choice for anyone feeling nostalgic about summers past or looking forward to the present one. Sayre, April Pulley. Raindrops Roll. New York, NY: Beach Lane Books, 2015. Ages 4 – 8. When the summer heat is too much to bear, cool off with this lovely photo picturebook all about raindrops. The often rhyming text of the book reads like poetry with lyrical lines like, “Rain plops. / It drops. // It patters. / It spatters,” while close-up photographs of raindrops in a variety of natural settings with plant and animal life show details often overlooked by the naked eye. Children and adults alike will delight in poring closely over the images to see all the details that may, in fact, be waiting for them right in their own backyards. Back matter includes scientific information on rain and recommended reading for more information. Sis, Peter. Ice Cream Summer. New York, NY: Scholastic Press, 2015. Ages 4 – 8. Peter Sis reveals the history of ice cream through one boy’s summer vacation adventures. Joe incorporates ice cream into his life any way he can: sculpting ice cream out of sand at the beach; learning vocabulary words from wacky flavor names like “Mango Explosion”; and even doing math problems centered around scoops of his favorite frozen treat. But it is Joe’s history lessons that are the cherry on top of this delectable confectionary tale. Beautifully illustrated double-page spreads take readers on a world journey from the first appearance of ice cream 2,000 years ago in China to the invention of ice cream on sticks in 1920 Ohio. Sis’s soft watercolor illustrations use a bright palette reminiscent of rainbow sprinkles. Young readers will delight in the images, seeing how many ice cream cones they can find on one page or trying to find the hidden ice cream shapes in other objects. A real tasty treat of a picturebook! Includes an author’s note with recommended reading for more information on the history of ice cream. Soman, David. Three Bears in a Boat. New York, NY: Dial Books for Young Readers, 2014. Ages 4 – 8. When three bears accidentally break their mother’s blue seashell they set sail in search of a replacement. Soman does an excellent job of depicting—both visually and in text—the siblings’ distinct personalities: tense Theo, confident Charlie, and daring Dash. Along the way, they encounter other bears in boats, strange new islands, and giant whales. When a new seashell for mother is nowhere to be found, the siblings turn on one other, each placing the blame for the accident on someone else. But when a sudden storm strikes and threatens their tiny boat, the bears no longer care whose fault it was, clinging to one another and each proclaiming his or her own guilt. When the bears arrive home, only to find a seashell waiting on the shore, mother’s reaction is both heartwarming and hilarious. Soman’s rich language rolls beautifully off the tongue, making this an excellent choice for a read-aloud with alliterative sentences like, “And so just like that, the sly bears slid their boat into the sea and set sail.” A great summer read before a trip to the beach. Stay tuned for more summer reading suggestions, or check out our review website.