Nothing like summertime to curl up with a good book and let the hours fly by. Especially if you have a hammock.
That’s how I spent most of my childhood summer days. Perhaps that’s why my Mum (with five other children) always insisted we had a hammock. Probably explains our frequent trips to the library too. The tradition continues though (despite my current lack of hammock) with my own kids. Giving a kid a good book to read is a sure sanity saver over the summer.
As part of my summer survival guide, here is a list of fabulous books to keep your kiddos happy and out of your hair. We’ve read them all, multiple times. We take quality control seriously around here. Yes I know, when it comes to books I’m willing to make the sacrifice so you, my dear reader, need not suffer through the mediocre. Whether they’re read aloud, or independently, here are some books you will not want to miss.
The only improvement would be reading them with a big glass of lemonade.
So, without further ado, I give you the Hammock Jr. List of 2017!
The Hammock List
The Picture Books
“The Party” by Barbara Reid
We have loved our way through three copies (no lie) of this book, because story time would be incomplete without Reid’s rhyming gem of a book.
Going to a family party does not sound very fun, but with games to play, a feast to eat (grab your slice of cake) and cousins to befriend these two sisters are in for the time of their lives.
“The Gruffalo” by Julia Donaldson
More rhyme time fun! Donaldson is a master, and this is our favourite of her books.
A little mouse outwits all the preadtors in the deep dark woods with tales of the fantastical Gruffalo. But when he actually meets the beast he’s described, the trouble really starts. Can he escape the ferocious Gruffalo, or is this clever mouse about to be lunch?
“Should I Share My Ice Cream?” by Mo Willems
Here’s a dilemma kids can laugh over! Willems, author extraordinaire, has done it again. Told in speech bubbles here’s a book to delight all readers, but especially those learning how.
Share his cold treat with his best friend Piggie, or keep it all to himself? Gerald worries and frets… but time is running out.
Comics and Graphics
“The Adventures of Tintin: Cigars of the Pharaoh” by Herge
No childhood road trip was complete without a stack of these books! We’d clean out the library’s collection, then parents and kids would fight over who’s turn it was to read Herge’s classics.
Intrepid reporter Tintin, along with his faithful dog Snowy, fight crime and solve mysteries. The entire series is wonderful, but this is one of my favourites. The movie is also excellent.
“Asterix and the Goths” by R. Goscinny and A. Underzo
Another nostalgic hit from growing up! Asterix is huge in Europe, but sadly too little known here in North America. Only as an adult did I realize just how funny and well written these books are.
Asterix, a bold Gaulish warrior, helps to keep the Roman invaders out of his tiny (and crazy) village. Not that the Romans quit trying. With the help of some magic potion, and the help of Asterix’s best friend Obelix, the adventures are hilarious.
The Chapter Books
“Bink & Gollie” by Kate DiCamillo and Alison McGhee
Winner of the Theodor Seuss Geisel Award, the only problem with this book is that it’s too short. Bink and Gollie are so adorable I want to adopt them. Or at least move into their treehouse.
Opposites attract into the best friends and reading fun. From the great sock debacle, exploring the Andes, and one fabulous fish… this dynamic duo are a joy. The best part? They have two more books.
“James and the Giant Peach” by Roald Dahl
The scrumdiddlyumptious Roald Dahl is still one of my all-time favourite authors! Read to me in one fell swoop (my big sister and I stayed up until 3 a.m) I have love this book ever since.
Bullied by his two horrid aunts, James escapes on a giant peach and some surprising new friends. A perfect adventure for hammock reading if you can get it, but anywhere (or time) works too.
“The Secret World of Og” by Pierre Burton
A Canadian classic that deserves to be more well known. It’s a grand summer tale, staring the author’s own children. The beautiful illustrations are even done by one of his daughters too!
When their baby brother disappears down an mysterious trapdoor in their playhouse, these siblings (whose names all begin with “P”) begin a rescue mission in this underground world. Enchanting readers since1961.
“The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy” by Jeanne Birdsall
I have been a huge Jeanne Birdsall fan from the moment I read this book! More delicious than a cold lemonade, I cannot recommend it highly enough.
Rosie, Skye, Jane and Batty (accompanied by the faithful Hound) are on summer vacation at a cottage on the grounds of Arundel. Along with new friends, a first crush, birthday parties, soccer games and one snooty landlord, they’re in for a holiday they’ll never forget.
“Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” by J. K. Rowling
There’s a reason we read these books so much around here! When the hype started, I was skeptical. Then my Dad read us the first chapter. I’ve been hooked ever since.
The one that started them all… I have so many memories of when these books came out over summer vacation, rereading them this time of year has become a tradition. Harry and his friends still delight. Always.
The Balm of Books
Phew! Did you get all those? That’s the Hammock List for this year. This is the season of fun. With these books to read you and your kids are in for a fabulous, and sane, summer!
Coming up next: my weekly roster of activities to keep us everyonehappy, plus the Hammock list for adults. And more poetry- of course- because poetry is awesome. See you Saturday and into next week.
No please excuse me, I’m going to look into the cost of hammocks (and how to actually install one in my garden).
Happy reading to you all!