Start the summer holiday off with fun books

After another tumultuous school year on several accounts, summer vacation is a welcome break for kids.

While children need to step away from academics for a while, they still need to be read to and to read independently if their skill set allows. One of the best ways to keep children listening/reading is to seek out books that are light-hearted and fire the imagination, such as the books reviewed today.

It’s a proven fact that kids who don’t read (or are not read to) over the summertime will fall behind their peers when they return to school. Your public library has just about everything a kid could ask for in the reading world your local library is eager to help. What’s more, your public library’s offerings are free of charge. That’s a real win-win.

Empower kids with a summertime of terrific books that they won’t be graded on. Instead, keep kids reading, just for the fun of it!

Books to borrow

The following book is available at many public libraries.

“Stick Dog” written and illustrated by Tom Watson, Harper, 189 pages

Read aloud: age 7 and older.

Read yourself: age 8 and older.

Stick Dog lives in an empty pipe under a Highway. He has lived in the pipe for as long as he can remember, and Stick Dog has four very good dog friends: Poo-Poo, Karen, Mutt and Stripes. Stick Dog’s friends are very important to him, but there is one thing that is even more important — food!!

It is summer, and Stick Dog knows it is the time for humans to be grilling outdoors. One afternoon, Stick Dog and his buddies smell the irresistible aroma of hamburgers grilling in Prospect Park. Stick Dog has to get one of those hamburgers, and his friends decide to join him. But the task turns out to be much more complicated than any of the dogs anticipated.

Hilarious on every account, the kind-hearted Stick Dog and his four canine friends will have kids laughing page after page.

Librarian’s choice

Library: Hamburg Public Library, 35 N. Third St., Hamburg

Library director: Chelsea Williams

Youth services librarian: Becky Hartman

Choices this week: “The New LiBEARian” by Alison Donald; “Boy: Tales of Childhood” by Roald Dahl; “Holes” by Louis Sachar

Books to buy

The following books are available at favorite bookstores.

“Poopsie Gets Lost,” written and illustrated by Hannah E. Harrison, Dial, 2022, 44 pages, $18.99 hardcover

Read aloud: ages 3 – 7.

Read yourself: ages 6 – 7.

Poopsie the cat lives a charmed life, preferring to lounge her days away sleeping in her lovely cat bed. However, the narrator of this book has a different idea for Poopsie, strongly suggesting that Poopsie is an online adventurer and should push herself out the cat door and venture to where the real fun is.

Not knowing where to go and unable to read the warning signs indicating the place she is about to enter if full of danger, Poopsie goes into a jungle-like area where she encounters poisonous snakes, hungry crocodiles, angry tigers and a frightening descent down a waterfalls. Poopsie must use her wits to try and escape the perils that surround her. Will she ever make it home to her comfy cat bed?

Highly original and brimming with just the right amount of playful suspense, “Poopsie Gets Lost” is pure fun.

“Air Miles” by Bill Salaman, illustrated by Helen Oxenbury, Candlewick, 2022, 36 pages, $18.99 hardcover

Read aloud: ages 4 – 8.

Read yourself: ages 6 – 8.

Miles the dog lived with his people, Norman and his mother, Alice. As a younger dog, Miles was very active and even learned to drive a car made by their neighbor, Mr. Huddy. But Miles was older now, and he had trouble doing the things he used to enjoy.

Thinking Miles needed something new to cheer him up, Norman and Alice asked Mr. Huddy for advice. Mr. Huddy had been making an airplane and needed a pilot small enough to fit in the cockpit. Since Miles already knew how to drive a car, it seemed he could quickly learn how to fly, and he did.

Flight after flight, Miles flew to many exciting places, and when he returned, he slept for a long time. Then one day, Miles didn’t want his food, left the house and headed for the plane. Norman followed, gently lifted Miles into the cockpit, and Miles took off into the sky again, this time higher and farther than ever before — his final flight.

A magical, heartfelt story of love and saying goodbye, “Air Miles” is ultimately an uplifting story that is perfectly complemented by the expressive illustrations of award-winning art of Helen Oxenbury.

Nationally syndicated, Kendal Rautzhan writes and lectures on children’s literature. She can be reached at [email protected].

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