Month: June 2014

The Best Summer Picture Books | From Blue Bells and Cockle ShellsWhen we set out our summer nature table, we also brought out our summer book basket. We don’t have as many summer books as we do winter books. I still haven’t figured out if this shows a personal or publishing industry bias. One does tend to want to be outside during the summer, rather than inside and reading. Additionally, with the long summer days, I’ll confess that bedtime stories sometimes get canceled in favor of staying outside “just a few more minutes”. Still, there are always rainy summer days to read during, so I thought I’d share some of the best summer picture books that we have read.
Blueberries for Sal – Kuplink, kuplank, kuplunk! Sal and her mother a picking blueberries to can for the winter. But when Sal wanders to the other side of Blueberry Hill, she discovers a mama bear preparing for her own long winter. Meanwhile Sal’s mother is being followed by a small bear with a big appetite for berries! Will each mother go home with the right little one? With its expressive line drawings and charming story, Blueberries for Sal has won readers’ hearts since its first publication in 1948.
Fireflies – A young boy is proud of having caught a jar full of fireflies, which seems to him like owning a piece of moonlight, but as the light begins to dim he realizes he must set the insects free or they will die.
Flower Fairies of the Summer – This beautiful reissue of the well-loved classic Flower Fairies title is complete with Barker?s original poems and exquisite artwork. Each page features her recreation of nature?s beauty and the enchanting world of the fairies.
The Flowers’ Festival – A lucky little girl is invited by the flower fairies to join them for their Midsummer festival. Gathering around Queen Rose, all the flowers and bumblebees and birds tell their enchanting stories, while Pea-blossom and the Dew-cups serve refreshments.
Jamberry – They’re off…a boy and an endearing, rhyme-spouting bear, who squires him through a fantastic world of berries. And their adventure comes to a razzamatazz finale under a starberry sky. Children will want to feast again and again on Bruce Degen’s exuberant, colorful pictures and his rollicking, berryful rhymes.
Little Fairy Can’t Sleep – Faith, the little fairy, can’t get to sleep. It’s a lovely summer’s night and magic is in the air, so she flies off to see who else is still awake. Faith meets a mother fox and her young cubs, who can’t get to sleep, an elf father whose children can’t get to sleep, and the sandman who is filling sacks with magic dust to help children everywhere get to sleep. Finally the little fairy meets a moth-fairy prince who takes her to the source of the night’s magic – a wonderful Midsummer Night’s party – where she dances until she is so tired that she finally falls asleep. This magical, dreamlike tale makes perfect bedtime reading.
Peter in Blueberry Land – Peter is looking for blueberries for his mother’s birthday but he can’t find a single one. Suddenly he feels a light tap on his shoe, and a strange and magical adventure begins.
The Story of the Butterfly Children – Far far away, the butterfly folk live in a kingdom of beautiful gardens. The butterfly children play, dance and sing all day long with their little brothers and sisters, the caterpillars. The children can’t wait until the first day of spring, when they will finally get their wings. But first, they must learn about the many brightly-coloured flowers in the kingdom, so they can take part in the flying procession of peacock, swallowtail, red admiral and many other butterflies.
Summer – This is one of a series of four books without text, which lead the young child through the seasons of the year. Full of fun, active illustrations, this chunky board book shows the joys of fishing for tadpoles, playing at the beach, eating ice-cream, and enjoying evening picnics.
Summer Days and Nights – On a hot summer day, a little girl finds ways to entertain herself and stay cool. She catches a butterfly, sips lemonade, jumps in a pool, and goes on a picnic. At night, she sees an owl in a tree and a frog in a pond, and hears leaves rustling. Before long, she’s fast asleep, dreaming about more summer days and summer nights. As with his earlier books featuring this spunky little girl, Wong Herbert Yee’s focus is on appreciating the small but special details that define a season.
Summer Story – It was such a hot summer. The sky was deep blue and the sun never faltered. All along Brambly Hedge, the mice did their best to keep cool. Poppy Eyebright sought refuge in the mossy shadows of the mill wheel; Dusty Dogwood took to walking by the banks of the cooling stream. Dusty and Poppy spent more and more time together, so no one was at all surprised when they announced their engagement. They decided on a very unusual setting for the wedding ceremony, but even they didn’t realize just how unusual it would prove to be!
Summer’s Vacation – Vibrant, sunny Summer is too busy having fun shaping sand castles, jumping in the waves, gobbling berries, and camping under a blanket of stars to do her chores. But it’s not until she hikes to the top of a mountain and sees the dull, parched land below, that she realizes what she has done. Summer grabs her sprinkling can. Is she too late to make amends?
The Sun Egg – A mysterious orange egg has fallen into the woods. “It’s a sun egg!” declares the elf who finds it nestled on the forest floor. Soon she and her friends find out what it really is, but not before the little elf has one of the best adventures she has ever had.
Sunflower House – A little boy plants sunflower seeds in a big circle. He cares for them and watches them grow into a round wall of stems with golden flowers at the top. After playing in the “sunflower house” all summer, he and his friends collect the seeds from the dying plants to sow for next summer’s flowers. Rhymed couplets written in first person express the boy’s determination, surprise, and delight as he weaves his own play into the sunflowers’ cycle from seed to seed. The watercolor-and-colored pencil artwork shows a variety of perspectives, from cross sections of the seed sprouting underground to moonlit scenes of children sleeping out in the sunflower house.

Our Summer Waldorf Seasonal Table | From Blue Bells and Cockle Shells

With summer starting last weekend, we set up our summer nature table. As with our previous nature tables, I thought I’d take the time to highlight a few of the things that we have found over the last several years for our nature table. Sola’s favorite part of our summer nature table is our small […]

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