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.

When Daddy Came to School “I got the best present when I turned three. Daddy came to school and spent the day with me!” This book of jolly illustrations and rhymes describes Jake’s dad’s visit and how he added to the preschoolers’ fun. He brought a birthday cake, led a parade, dressed up for pretend games—and even snored at nap time! Julie Brillhart 2–4 years

Who Says Moo? “Who says moo? / Who says squeak? / Who has feathers and a beak?” The rhymed questions have colorful picture-answers. Many different kinds of animals are included. Ruth Young 2–5 years

Little Elephant A photo-story of a baby elephant taking a dip in a pool, then scurrying out to find his waiting mother. Miela Ford 3–5 years

I’ll See You When the Moon Is Full The moon is just a sliver when Abe and Daddy tell each other how much they’ll miss each other while Daddy is on a trip. Abe is going to draw Daddy a picture of the moon each night until it is full—and Daddy is home again. Susi Gregg Fowler 3–6 years

The Tree in the Wood Old-fashioned art with elaborate borders and woodcut pictures help the rhythm and repetition of this adapted nursery song show the connection between acorns, trees, grass, and a boy. “And out of this acorn there grew a fine tree, … And the green grass grew all around.” Christopher Manson (adapter) 3–6 years

Boomer’s Big Day is the story, as he sees it, of his family’s move to another house. In Boomer Goes to School, Boomer has a wonderful time at school. He even sits quietly while his young owner tells stories about him during show-and-tell. The outstanding art has captured perfectly every mood of this truly lovable dog. Constance W. McGeorge 3–7 years

Hooray for Grandma Jo! She lost her glasses, so she didn’t know that instead of her grandson at the train station, she took home a lion that had escaped from the zoo. And they had lots of fun before the burglar came! Great silly fun! Thomas McKean 4–7 years

The Biggest Horse I Ever Did See This lyrical poem-story shows horses “galloping over the highway in the morning” as the boy grows into a man and has children and grandchildren. Susan Arkin Couture 4–8 years

The Big Big Sea One night a mother takes her little girl to the sea while the moon is shining on it. They are alone to enjoy splashing and looking and thinking before going home to hot, buttered toast. Set in Ireland, the beautiful art is reason enough to get this book. Martin Waddell 4–8 years

Riptide “‘He needs a hug,’ Zach’s father said, ‘and then he needs a name.’” Zach named the puppy Riptide after the current so strong when it runs out to sea that the sandbars crumble. Riptide became a self-appointed lifeguard on the beach. The officer didn’t want him there—until the riptide came when the human lifeguards couldn’t save all the swimmers being dragged out to sea. … Based on a true story. Frances Ward Weller 4–8 years

Anna and the Bagpiper The pictures are wonderful! When Anna hears a “strange, faraway sound,” she and her dog go to see what it is. She finds an elderly bagpiper, who plays a “bright, happy tune” for her. That night, she wonders if the bagpiper had been part of a dream. Then she again hears the strange, faraway sound, and she knows that he is real. Thomas Locker 5–7 years

The Cow Who Wouldn’t Come Down Miss Rosemary said, “‘It’s a known fact cows don’t fly.’” But Gertrude didn’t care. She flew all around, anyway—and Miss Rosemary couldn’t catch her! Great silly fun. Paul Brett Johnson 5–8 years

The Old Mill Based on the well-known animated film, this is the story of an abandoned windmill, the animals that live in and near it, and the storm that crashes down upon it. Margaret Wise Brown, reteller 5–8 years

The Knight Who Was Afraid to Fight This book pokes good-natured fun at the stories of maiden-saving, dragon-slaying knights in shining armor. The hero, Sir Fred, is afraid to fight; the villain, Melvin the Miffed, thinks fighting foul is fun. Is Lady Wendylyn worth fighting for? You’ll be grinning while you decide. Barbara Shook Hazen 5–8 years

Sunshine Home When Tim and his parents visit his grandmother in the Sunshine Home, all seems well—until after the visit. Then his mom sobs, and when he takes a forgotten gift back to Gram, he finds her crying, too. They all resolve to try to make things better, and though the situation is still sad, as Tim told Gram, “It’s better when you tell.” Eve Bunting 5–8 years

In Trouble with Teacher If you didn’t get enough words right on your spelling test, Mrs. Wix made you march up to her desk to get your paper. In front of everyone. And she frowned! Montgomery hadn’t studied—the words on the list were extra hard, and everything going on around him had been more interesting. So now he had to march up to her desk. Patricia Brennan Demuth 6–9 years

Centerfield Ballhawk Jose’s father had batted .375 in the minor leagues, and in order to win his respect, Jose wanted to hit that well, too. But he kept fouling up. Although he never came even close to his dad’s batting average, his father admired him for a different, just as important, baseball talent. Matt Christopher 7–9 years

Song Lee and the Hamster Hunt Song Lee’s hamster is lost, and no one in the class can find him. This story shows how what all the children do helps Yi to be found, safe and sound, a week later. Suzy Kline 7–10 years

One Rainy Night Not many children get to play in the rain at night! Actually, the boy isn’t playing. He’s helping his mother catch wood frogs, salamanders, snakes, turtles, and toads in the beams of their car’s headlights for the nature center where she works. In a couple of weeks, on another rainy night, they’ll return the animals and catch more for people to look at. Doris Gove 7–10 years

The Wind Is Not a River Sasan and Sidak’s mother had died, and their father had gone to the mainland to learn new ways for the future. Now their grandmother had died. She had taught them, especially Sasan, who was older than Sidak, how to live the old way. When they saw the enemy capture all the rest of their village, it was good that they knew the old ways. … Arnold A. Griese 8–11 years

The Trouble with Spitt The trouble with Spitt was that his creative imagination always got Kevin in trouble. The two of them were unlikely—but successful—missionaries, and Mr. Horvath probably would have died if Kevin hadn’t listened to the Holy Ghost. The author has written many favorite Friend stories. Vicki Blum 8–12 years

Quest for the Eagle Feather Quiet Water—or John Butler? Several years before, a storm had caused the boy to be separated from his parents, who were going to seek gold in California. Now he had to decide whether to try to find them or stay with Tall Deer and Blue-Flower-Blooming, who considered him their son. Somehow he knew that his quest with Running Fox and Screaming Crow would end the turmoil he felt. John Duncklee 8–12 years

Nonfiction

Serious without being somber, the text and busy, lively illustrations of When Pioneer Wagons Rumbled West capture the spirit of the first group of Latter-day Saint pioneers’ trek to the Salt Lake Valley. Pair this with Dance, Pioneer, Dance! (see below). Christine Graham 4–10 years

Mouse Cookies Besides ten wonderful (and easy) cookie recipes—including Pop’s Peanut Butter Munches, Grandma Jemma’s Jelly Jamborees, Skeeter’s Lemon Drops, and, of course, Mouse Cookies—there is a clever wordless story. Laura Numeroff 4 years and up

Gordon B. Hinckley: Fifteenth President of the Church This simply told biography is beautifully illustrated. Melinda T. Garff 6–8 years

Rosie, A Visiting Dog’s Story Rosie is a real dog. She was trained to visit children in hospitals, elderly people in nursing homes, and other people with special needs. This is her story. Stephanie Calmenson 6–11 years

Travel Fun The crafts, recipes, and activities in this slim book are from a popular children’s magazine. Use them to get ready for, or enjoy on, a trip by car, plane, bus, or train; none take much space. Included are a simple lap board, “Spin a Yarn” activity, roll-up sandwiches, “Hotel Hoops,” and a portable puppet stage and scarf puppet. Beth Murray (editor) 7–12 years

Nature in a Nutshell for Kids and Science in Seconds for Kids Both books are filled with interesting, inexpensive experiments that can be done in just a few minutes. Some are of things that are so ordinary that you might not otherwise think about them, such as why ice is slippery (Science); some are about things that might surprise you, such as dandelion elastic (Nature). All are explained and have necessary illustrations. Jean Potter 8–12 years

How to Handle Bullies, Teasers and Other Meanies A slim, easy-to-read book that lives up to its title. Kate Cohen-Posey 8–13 years

Dance, Pioneer, Dance! Don’t miss this joyous rendition in rollicking rhyme and fanciful art of the fun the Latter-day Saint pioneers had on one occasion while making their way west. It is prefaced with a quote by Brigham Young and followed by a note about the people and animals on the trek. Pair it with When Pioneer Wagons Rumbled West (see above). Rick Walton all ages