These fun picture books full of wordplay and stories of vacations and beach time fit the hot August bill perfectly. Please remember to read with your children often, even in summertime.

Cockatoo, Too

By Bethanie Deeney Murguia; little bee books/Bonnier Publishing; 34 pages; $17.99

On a recent night, my son told me that “Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo” is a real sentence. (Apparently buffalo is also a verb that means “to bully.”) So I chose Cockatoo, Too, a zesty book with wordplay about a tropical cockatoo that wears a tutu and finds a similar friend.

“Two cockatoo tutus, too?” reads the large text, which seems funny enough until dancing island birds arrive and present a challenge: “​Tutued toucans can-can. Can Cockatoos can-can, too?”

With palm leaves and tropical flowers and blue and orange birds dancing on every page, Bethanie Deeney Murguia created a pleasing picture book that’s a joy to chant, er, read.

Toddlers will love hearing this funny tale, and because of the light amount of words they will feel like they’re reading it, too.

One Day in the Eucalyptus, Eucalyptus Tree

By Daniel Bernstrom; illustrated by Brendan Wenzel; Katherine Tegen Books/HarperCollins; 32 pages; $17.99

Riding on the heels of the popular movie, The Jungle Book, the classical-feeling, read-aloud book, One Day in the Eucalyptus, Eucalyptus Tree, features a plucky boy, a hungry, huge, yellow snake, a giant eucalyptus tree and a host of other animals.

Rhythmic, sing-along text makes Daniel Bernstrom’s lovely read uber-fun.

“Oh! An ape eating grapes, lounging like a queen. Twist-twist bent the snake from his place in the leaves and gobbled up the ape and her munchy bunch of grapes, one day in the eucalyptus, eucalyptus tree” it reads.

And it’s full of delightful, bright colors.

Papa Seahorse’s Search

By Anita Bijsterbosch; Clavis Books; 28 pages; $14.95

Undersea life has never been more popular in children’s entertainment, thanks to Finding Dory and the growing popularity of seahorses, fishies and octopi.

Papa Seahorse’s Search, a sea-colored toddler book with flaps stars a caring Papa Seahorse who has lost one of his 10 babies and asks readers to help him search. Tots can lift flaps with images such as a rock and even peer behind a snail, shell, angelfish and sea anemone to help Papa find his baby. Finally, a shrimp looks at Papa’s belly and finds the missing seahorse.

With counting aspects and lots of hands-on fun, Papa Seahorse’s Search is also a pro-ocean read that encourages children to appreciate sea life.

The Airport Book

By Lisa Brown; A Neal Porter Book/Roaring Brook Press; 34 pages; $17.99

The Airport Book is a must for any family traveling with young children.

Lisa Brown’s thoughtful book introduces airports and flying on airplanes with every detail. She points out that some people have big bags on wheels and some carry smaller bags on their shoulders, that a machine X-rays all the bags people take on planes and that sometimes "little sisters cry when they go through the scanner.”

Brown even notes that the walk down the jetway looks like an accordion and “you squeeze into your seat” and “Sometimes the plane is bouncy, but most of the time it is smooth.”

The story stars a young, multiracial family and explores a few “bumps” in their travels, as in a nearly lost sock monkey.

The Airport Book is lighthearted, informative and appealingly illustrated with cool, detailed drawings.


By Danny Parker; illustrated by Matthew Ottley; Eerdmans Books for Young Readers; 32 pages; $16

Toby always wears a parachute, just in case something happens when he gets out of bed in the morning or goes down the slide or whenever else danger might strike (pictured in Parachute is a large elephant peering down at Toby).

Toby is challenged one day when he notices his cat, Henry, way up a tree, higher than his treehouse. Toby climbs up to rescue Henry, and in is imagination he floats down to safety using his parachute.

But in reality Henry climbs down safely, and “as time passed, Toby needed his parachute less and less.”

The beautifully crafted artwork is magical and flowy and paints a surreal picture of a sensitive boy with a vivid imagination learning about his limits.

Parachute is a lovely tale for any young child learning to grow up.

— Lee Littlewood writes the Kids’ Home Library column for Creators. The San Diego wife and mom’s pure love of children’s literature helps her stay interested in words and pictures meant for tots to teens. Click here to contact her, or click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.

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