- Caroline Parr
Have your kids picked up their Potomac Nationals coupon yet? Have they whispered the secret word to the librarian and received a treat? How about keeping up their reading skills by reading whatever they want all summer long, and earning prizes along the way?
If not, don’t despair! They can do all this and more when they sign up for the free Summer Reading Club at the Central Rappahannock Regional Library. Now through the end of the month, stop by any branch or online at Kids.LibraryPoint.org, and your kids can join the thousands of others in our area who are having fun reading this summer.
Even pre-readers are welcome to join. Start them out with some beachy books just right for the dog days of summer.
Margaret Wise Brown’s “The Seashore Noisy Book” invites participation between adult and child as the little dog Muffin explores the seaside. Aboard a sailboat, Muffin can taste, see, feel and smell the sea. But what does he hear?
Grown-ups and children will have fun making all the sounds, like the “Scree Scree Scree” of the gulls and the “lapping slapping slap lap lap” of the waves against the boat. Muffin can hear the foghorn, and a buoy, and sheep baaing on a nearby island. But can Muffin hear a jellyfish lying in the sand, or a giant shark swimming round and round, or the starfish and barnacles and flounders under the boat? The guessing game ends with lots of splashing in the water near the boat. Yes, it’s Muffin, enjoying a swim!
Bebé is the star of several picture books by Susan Middleton Enya, who sprinkles Spanish words and phrases throughout her rollicking, rhyming stories. In “Bebé Goes to the Beach,” the little toddler and his perky mother spend the day wading in the waves, eating a picnic, and exploring everything that washes up on the shore. Bebé is an active little boy who tastes the golden seaweed, the “alga marina,” climbs on the sand sculptures, and enjoys his creamy “sorpresa” from the ice cream stand. “At last, descansaré,” Mamà sighs with relief as her sweet Bebé finally falls asleep. A glossary in the back will help English speakers with the simple Spanish.
For the littlest ones, Karen Katz’s “Where is Baby’s Beach Ball?” has just the right mix of surprise and predictability. In a lift-the-flap format, Baby, sporting a pink polka-dotted outfit and a crisp little hat, searches for her beach ball behind the umbrella (nope, only seashells), in Mommy’s beach bag (sand pails), and behind the sand castle (two little crabs). Children will enjoy counting and naming all the beach creatures and paraphernalia Baby uncovers.
Author-illustrator Suzy Lee captures the fascination of the ocean in her wordless picture book, “Wave.” Using only black, white and blue acrylics and charcoal, she fills each rectangular double page spread with scenes of a little girl dabbling in the water, getting bolder as small waves wash onto shore, and finally sticking out her tongue at a big wave. It knocks her down but leaves in its wake an abundance of beautiful shells for her to play with. Young children testing their mettle will appreciate the story Lee tells here and are sure to be captivated by the swirling energy of water and sand in her illustrations.