In my house, we are solidly into summer. July is the only month of the year where there is no school for my older kids and we are all feeling it’s effects. All of those energetically optimistic (really, will I never learn) goals I had for finding new and exciting books are beginning to wane. (Yes, I realize it is only July 5th). All of those enthusiastic moments of filling in boxes with reading times are becoming a burden. And, if I am being perfectly honest, all of those warm, cozy, treasure-these-moments-in-your-heart times of cuddling up on the couch reading to the four kids are turning into sweat-inducing, nudge-producing, riot-inciting times where I have to “read” (see also: “shout”, “yell”, “scream”) over a barrage of “don’t touch me”, “I can’t see”, “quit poking me”,”I can’t hear”, “WAIT, Mom, you skipped a page”.
As such, I have found myself returning to those tried and true books that I know they will be happy to hear again. These are the books they have memorized; the books where I can start a sentence and they finish the page for me. Usually, these are the books that I avoid at all cost for that same reason. But now it is July and in July auto-pilot is an acceptable form of parenting.
And so, I have a list of picture book series that your children will be happy to read over and over again. These are good books and even better for being parts of series, giving you weeks of trips to the library without having to search for something else. Auto-pilot!
- Froggy (Jonathan London) – If your family is a little loud, a little wild, and a little cheeky these books will be great for you. As an added bonus, there are exactly twenty-seven thousand books in this series. You will find a book for every possible occasion and enjoy discovering all the ways Froggy is “a little more red in the face than green”.
- Elmer (David McKee) – I mean, what’s not to like about a patchwork elephant. Elmer and his friends seem to be constantly misunderstanding each other or their circumstances, but they learn many important problem solving skills along the way.
- Fancy Nancy (Jane O’Connor) – For the child who has a style all their own, plays every kind of dress-up imaginable and dreams in drama, the Fancy Nancy series is a must read. O’Connor does a good job of couching vocabulary and relationship building skills in stories of fanciful dramatics.
- Pigeon (mo willems) – If you have read more than one of my posts on this blog, then you are already familiar with my appreciation for the Pigeon books. This bird is hilarious and perfect for that moment when things are on the brink of collapse and everyone needs a laugh.
- Bear (Karma Wilson) – The Bear books are wonderful. Not only are the words almost lyrical in their rhyming but also Jane Chapman’s illustrations are truly beautiful.
- Ladybug Girl (Jacky Davis) – The Ladybug Girl books are excellent for the child that wants to explore, create adventure, and imagine.
- I’m Dirty! (Kate McMullan) – These are fantastic books that give voice to many of your children’s favorite vehicles. Each book is about a different vehicle and they “talk” the reader through their mechanics and jobs. My kids favorite of the moment is I’m Cool.
- Duck (Jez Alborough) – With the Duck books, you can follow along as Duck wrecks havoc on the lives of those closest to him. Duck is stubborn, rude, and never seems to learn his lesson. You can’t help but feel sorry for the characters left in his wake.
- Cows to the Rescue (John Himmelman) – These books begin with Chickens to the Rescue. The books follow a farmer and his family through the dilemmas of each day. Each books shows different animals of the farm hilariously trying to help.
- Amelia Bedelia (Herman Parish) – This classic series has been re-vamped for modern consumption and the result is surprisingly successful. Amelia Bedelia is still as literal as ever, but her circumstances and struggles have been updated. I have found the newer series much easier for my younger kids to understand.
Here’s to reclaiming reading time! Good luck.