Out of the Best Books: Summer Reading Fun

All the books listed have been reviewed by the Friend editorial staff and are generally available in libraries/bookstores.

Snuggle Piggy and the Magic Blanket Aunt Daisy made Snuggle Piggy’s blanket. On it were the moon and a houseboat—and a man and a woman and all sorts of friendly creatures that came to life at night and danced with Snuggle Piggy. Then one night the blanket was left out in a rainstorm. … Michele Stepto 2–5 years

Play Rhymes Old favorites like “Do Your Ears Hang Low?” are accompanied by lively counting and animal verses, all with diagrams of actions for children to do, colorful illustrations, and, at the back of the book, simple music for the rhymes. Marc Brown 2–6 years

Max and the Magic Word Max asks for lots of things but doesn’t get them, so he tries demanding them. That doesn’t work, either. Finally he learns that the magic word makes everyone happy. Colin and Jacqui Hawkins 2–6 years

Up to Ten and Down Again In this delightful counting book, a duck watches a family come on a picnic and sail toy boats before a storm chases them home. Then the duck is alone again—or is it? Lisa Campbell Ernst 3–5 years

Things That Go There are 107 pictures of things that go! All are clearly seen, and all will be appealing to young children. Anne Rockwell 3–6 years

What’s Claude Doing? When Claude passes up free bones, sliding on the pond with his friends, and the cats’ invitation to chase them, everyone wonders why. A beginning reader. Dick Gackenbach 3–7 years

Maybe a Band-Aid Will Help How would you fix your favorite toy if it broke? Sarah tried to fix hers with a Band-Aid. But it didn’t work. … Anna Grossnickle Hines 4–6 years

A Night in the Country You can almost feel the quiet, country-night peace on each page. Cynthia Rylant 4–7 years

Solomon Grundy Eighty years (1830–1910) of Eastern Seaboard life are cleverly illustrated in this traditional nursery rhyme about the days of the week. Susan Ramsay Hoguet 4–8 years

Harald and the Great Stag The hunters were Harald’s friends, but when they went to hunt the great stag, he did everything he could to prevent their dogs from following its scent. And that caused him to become the dogs’ prey. All ends happily for the great stag and its two friends. Donald Carrick 5–8 years

Spectacles Iris saw all sorts of strange things—until she got her glasses. Then the fire-breathing dragon became Great-aunt Fanny, and the giant pygmy nuthatch became her good friend Chester. But then there was that red rhinoceros with a tulip in its ear. … Ellen Raskin 5–9 years

Penny in the Road The copper penny splashed up out of the mud by a boy in 1913 was as big as a half dollar—and the date on it was 1793! Although as a rare coin, it was already very valuable, it became priceless for the boy—and for his children and grandchildren. Katharine Wilson Precek 5–11 years

Bimwili & the Zimwi In this African folktale, Bimwili finds a wonderful seashell, which she puts on a big rock. When she goes to get it to take home, the Zimwi kidnaps her, hides her in his drum, makes her sing, and tells the villagers that it is the drum that is singing. The Zimwi can change shapes, but he is not all-powerful, and, with the help of her family, Bimwili escapes and shares the wonderful seashell with her village. Verna Aardema 6–8 years

Henry and Mudge Henry is a little boy, Mudge is his 180-pound dog, and they love each other. Mudge romps in puddles with Henry and is the protector of the neighbor’s kittens; Henry protects Mudge when Mother tells scary Halloween stories. There are five easy-to-read books in the series so far—one to introduce you to Henry and Mudge, and one for each season—and they’re all wonderful and have delightful cartoon-style illustrations. Cynthia Rylant 6–9 years

Least of All At first, Raven Hannah, the “least of all,” was too little to do any of the important chores on the farm. As the year went on, though, she was given the churning to do. And Raven Hannah learned to do something while she churned that no one else—not her five older brothers, not Mama, not Papa, not even Grandmama—could do! Carol Purdy 6–10 years

A Case for Jenny Archer Jenny was bored, so she decided to be a detective. Then she decided that the people moving into the house across the street were crooks, and she called the police. The only trouble was, they weren’t crooks! An easy-to-read book. Ellen Conford 7–9 years

The Snow Queen (translated by Eva Le Gallienne) This classic fairy tale is about good and evil and the power of a child’s faith. Hans Christian Andersen 7–10 years

Pickles Sarah wanted a pony, but she had no place to keep one. Her friend Frances had an old shed, and between them, they bought Pickles, a pony that had been mistreated and deemed unreliable. Sarah succeeds in saving him, and all is well—until she is hit by a car! Linda Yeatman 7–10 years

Knots on a Counting Rope He was named Boy-Strength-of-Blue-Horses by his grandfather. Born blind, how could he understand blue?Blue is the morning … the sunrise … the sky … the song of the birds. … Blue is happiness, Grandfather! I feel it … in my heart!” Bill Martin, Jr., and John Archambault 8–11 years

Top Secret When Allen turns himself into a human plant, no one believes him except Grandpop, the editor of a quack newspaper, a swarm of aphids—and the president of the United States, who commands him to never reveal his discovery! A hilarious, thought-provoking spoof. John Reynolds Gardiner 8–12 years

Roxanne Bookman: Live at Five! Roxanne blew the championship game when she tried to get revenge. It took her a long time to win back her friends. Then she almost lost them again in another harebrained scheme. But even her brother ended up dancing the Mashed Potato in the Burger Barn. Cathy Warren 8–12 years

What Katy Did There’s no getting around it—Katy was an impetuous tomboy. And as the oldest of six motherless children, she often had her own way. Then disaster struck. Written almost 120 years ago, this story will have you both laughing and crying as you read just what Katy did. Susan Coolidge 9–12 years

Mr. Z and the Time Clock Julie and Jerimy time-travel to 1,000,000 B.C. and to A.D. 3000. They become friends with their great-great-great-grandmother when she was just a little girl. And the time clock they use was made by … well, when you read the story to find out, you just may find yourself a lot more interested in genealogy than you think that you are. Bonnie Pryor 9–13 years

I’m in Charge of Celebrations With beautiful pictures and not a lot of words, this book about celebrating life is to be felt; it can’t be merely read. Byrd Baylor 9 years and up

A Brown Bird Singing Anego, a Chippewa, lives happily in a tiny Scandinavian village in Minnesota with a white family for several years. Then her father returns for her. What can she do? She loves her white family, but she wants to hold fast to her Indianness too. … Frances Wosmek 10–13 years

The Incredible Journey In this tale of three courageous animals, Tao the cat rescues old Bodger, an ugly bull terrier, from an angry mother bear, then is rescued herself from drowning. This classic is for everyone, especially for all those who have “ever been owned by an animal.” Sheila Burnford 10–13 years

The Return of Captain Conquer Watson has only the help of eccentric Captain Conquer fans to help him find his father and save the world from aliens who want to turn its air into something that is “almost exactly like something that is not quite the same as cold cherry Jell-O.” This parody on space adventures is as exciting as it is silly. … Mel Gilden 10 years and up

The Scroobious Pip Nancy Ekholm Burkert’s illustrations of this nonsense-literature classic are so beautifully rendered that you’d be proud to have them framed and hanging on your wall. A bit of the verse: “For as yet we have neither seen nor heard / If you’re fish or insect, beast or bird!” Edward Lear all ages


Easy Origami For some real quiet-time fun, this book is a treasure. You can make all kinds of birds and animals, wrestlers, building “blocks,” boats, planes, flying saucers, greeting cards, boxes, flowers, and much more. And it’s truly easy! Dokuohtei Nakano 7–12 years

Unriddling: All Sorts of Riddles to Puzzle Your Guessary Besides the great riddles from logic to nonsense and from words to droodles, you’ll be fascinated by the back-ground information given in “Notes” at the end. Collected from American folklore. Alvin Schwartz (Compiler) 9 years and up

Sports Medicine: Scientists at Work This book covers a lot more than just the treatment of injuries. It is also about improving your playing, learning how to avoid getting hurt, deciding which sport you might be best in, and much more. Melvin Berger 10 years and up