Out of the Best Books: Summer Reading Fun


All books listed here have been reviewed by the Friend editorial staff and are generally available in libraries/bookstores.
Ah yet, ere I descend the grave
May I a small house and large garden have;
And a few friends, and many books, both true
Both wise, and both delightful too!

—Abraham Cowley

If Wishes Were Horses These lilting Mother Goose rhymes about horses are joyously illustrated by Susan Jeffers 2–5 years

Under the Moon To help teach her youngest baby to know more than that they live “under the moon,” Mama Mouse asks what the little one remembers smelling, hearing, and feeling at home. Beautiful pictures of forest and meadow creatures and scenes illustrate this gentle story. Joanne Ryder 3–5 years

Bet You Can’t A brother and sister give each other friendly challenges as they put their toys away. Penny Dale 3–6 years

Meet Jack Appleknocker There is a rainwater stain on Jack’s ceiling. When he wakes up each morning, the shape the stain makes—he sees it differently every day—helps him plan his day. Arnold Sundgaard 3–7 years

Who’s Sick Today? There are llamas in pajamas, a chimp with a limp, a fox with chicken pox, and many more appealing animals to cheer up a sick child when he most needs a bit of sympathy and comfort. Lynne Cherry 4–6 years

I Can Play Soccer Sean wants to be good at soccer, but he can’t seem to do anything right in practice. This book shows many good practice drills, especially for beginners. Sheila Fraser 4–6 years

Digby and Kate Digby and Kate are very different and don’t want to do things the same way. But they solve their problems together because they are the best of friends. A humorous beginning reader. Barbara Baker 4–7 years

Morning Beach On the first day of summer vacation, a girl and her mother always go on a picnic at the seashore near Grandma’s. They pack a lunch, and bike to the path to the sea, stopping along the way for a Popsicle breakfast, also a tradition. Leslie Baker 5–7 years

Daniel Meets a Lion This faith-promoting LDS story is about a modern Daniel whose “lion” is a bully. Besides reading about what Daniel does, you can sing the song, make the doorknob hanger at the back, and color all the pictures. Cleona D. Morgan 5–7 years

Rachel and Obadiah When a ship comes home to Nantucket Island, carrying the news of its arrival might earn the messenger a shiny silver coin. Both Rachel and Obadiah want the important task, but Obadiah says that a girl can’t do it. Can Rachel prove him wrong? Brinton Turkle 5–8 years

Ida and the Wool Smugglers Father told Ida that she was too little to help with the sheep run. Mother said that she was too little to hold the neighbors’ new baby. But when Ida’s ewe and her pet lambs were threatened by smugglers, she proves that she’s not too little to save them all by herself! Sue Ann Alderson 6–8 years

Horrible Harry and the Kickball Wedding Horrible Harry loves to do crazy things. He even decides to marry Song Lee under the sledding tree on Valentine Day. Then, just when he’s supposed to say “I do,” Dexter asks him to play kickball. Suzy Kline 6–9 years

First Grade King Joey King doesn’t feel much like a king, especially when Ronald makes fun of him and asks where his queen and the crown prince are. When he finally decides to get revenge, he finds out why Ronald has been so mean—and that changes everything. Or does it? Karen Lynn Williams 6–10 years

Man Out at First Turtleneck was late for the game because he stopped to help his neighbor, so he had to sit on the bench for a while. When he finally got in the game, he got knocked out by a ball. Then he was afraid of getting hit again. … Matt Christopher 7–9 years

Tales at the Mousehole Bob and Ozzie often talked to July, the cat, from a safe distance inside the mousehole. When July’s owners decided to get a dog, he ran away. And when the Head Mouse demoted Bob and Ozzie to the damp cellar, they ran away too. The three “friendly enemies” met again at a different mousehole. Then Maximillian came. Mary Stolz 7–10 years

Guess Who My Favorite Person Is and Everybody Needs a Rock are two wonderful, absorbing books, the kind in which you have your own private conversation with the author and you know that she thinks that what you think is great! Byrd Baylor 7–11 years

Clicker, Smoke Screen, Jaws, Short Stuff, and Smudge do everything wrong and have the whole town laughing at them. But with persistence, good detective work, and “a lot of dumb luck,” they solve the Case of the Funny Money Man. William Alexander 8–11 years

Climbing the Rainbow It’s not easy to be behind in school, especially when Toby Tully says you’re dumb! While Dora struggles to skip into her rightful grade, she becomes an “adopted sister” to Cora Beth, has some scary adventures, and helps her brother catch thousands of flies for a contest. Based on a true story. Joy N. Hulme 8–12 years

It’s a Mile from Here to Glory Not only the smallest boy for his age, Early had always been smaller than all the girls too. But when the track coach discovered how fast Early was, he became a star—until the accident! Then Early discovered what he was really worth. Robert C. Lee 9 years and up

Nonfiction

A Flower Grows The flower is an amaryllis. The text tells just what is happening as big pictures show the bulb growing into a first blossom and from that to more blossoms for as many as ten years. The last page gives detailed instructions for beginning flower growers. Ken Robbins 4–6 years

Turtle in July The nature of birds, bugs, fish, forest animals, a snake, a dog, and a cat are described in simple free verse for each month of the year. Each creature is colorfully and realistically rendered on a page that would look beautiful in a frame on your wall. Marilyn Singer 5–8 years

Song of the Chirimia: A Guatemalan Folktale Told in both English and Spanish, this Guatemalan legend is about the origin of the flute music that is claimed to be more beautiful than the song of the birds. Jane Anne Volkmer(reteller) 6–9 years

Science Fun with Mud and Dirt Find out just what dirt is, what kind of animals live in it, how to make things out of mud, and more. Rose Wyler 7–13 years

Outdoor Fun Fun facts and intriguing questions are included in this book of outdoor crafts and games, such as a scarecrow with a pie-plate necklace and long fingernails, Inuit Eskimo games, and a Chinese dragon parade. Catherine Ripley 8–11 years

Instant Paper Airplanes These easy-to-make notebook-paper planes include one designed by a middle-school student. Included are Bulldog, Little Stubby, Lean Machine, Flying Bengal, Tjaden Twister, Super Glide, and many more. Why and how things work and specialized terms are explained. E. Richard Churchill 8–13 years

Simple Science Experiments With Everyday Materials If you’d like to do tricks with ordinary things, you want this book. Besides telling you how to do things like make a cantilever bridge and a galvanometer (for detecting electric currents), it tells you why they work so that you can adapt the ideas. Muriel Mandell 9–12 years

Louisa May Alcott: Her Girlhood Diary What might a famous author have written in her diary when she was young? Here are some of the things the author of Little Women wrote in hers, beginning when she was just ten years old. The editor who compiled them said, “Louisa’s diary might have been Jo’s own.” Cary Ryan (editor) 10 years and up

Primary Crafts for Kids Esther’s Crown, Noah’s Amazing Ark, Tithing Treasure Chest—you can make these crafts and more with the help of this book. Though written for Primary leaders, you can have fun with it, too, and it’s great for using in family home evenings. Available through distributors of LDS books. Cathy Blight all ages