Studies show children lose much of their reading skills if they’re idle during summer vacation. It’s extremely important — and fun — to keep reading all summer long.

These are summer-themed picture books about swimming Sasquatches, beaches with baby turtles and garden bugs.

Follow the Moon Home: A Tale of One Idea, Twenty Kids, and a Hundred Sea Turtles

By Philippe Cousteau and Deborah Hopkinson; illustrated by Meilo So; Chronicle Books; 44 pages; $16.99

One of the most affecting picture books I’ve seen this summer, Follow the Moon Home: A Tale of One Idea, Twenty Kids, and a Hundred Sea Turtles begins when a girl needs to do a service project in her new South Carolina community.

She and others take on the task of helping baby sea turtles that need dark beaches and flat sand to make it back to the ocean alive. The kids plaster their town with fliers and send out news releases and messages on social media to educate beachfront dwellers about the importance of turning off their lights at night so the turtles can follow the moonlight to the beach, not follow their lights to their houses.

Though the story is a happy one, Philippe Cousteau’s aim is to encourage young activists to keep on going to protect animals, change laws, raise money for environmental causes and more.

He offers five concrete steps at the back of the book to help youngsters identify a cause, develop a plan, take action, reflect on the results of their actions, and tell their stories to other young, caring people. There’s also parent/teacher page and a page with further information about loggerheads and other sea turtles.

Follow the Moon Home is an extremely important and empowering book for the next generation, which desperately needs to care for our world, and also a sweet, satisfying bedtime tale about a girl with a big heart.

Don’t Splash the Sasquatch!

By Kent Redeker; illustrations by Bob Staake; Disney-Hyperion; 34 pages; $16.99

Don’t Splash the Sasquatch!, Bob Staake’s take on retro modern art, has graced more than 60 delightful books. It’s definitely a highlight of this wacky, fun tale for preschoolers.

And Kent Redeker’s bold, hilarious words are perfect fodder for the out-there pictures.

A hairy sasquatch wants to sit by a pool, but he makes it clear he can’t be splashed, otherwise his hair will get “squizzlefied.”​ The red crab lifeguard tries to keep watch, but one by one, other creatures ask to take a dip in the pool.

First up is the pink Miss Elephant Shark, who takes a ker-splash off the high dive. Afterward, the lavender Octo-Rhino hilariously dives — his tentacles flopping around will entice giggles. Miss Goat-Whale and Miss Loch-Ness-Monster-Space-Alien also make a splash, provoking the lifeguard and the Sasquatch to get madder and madder.

What’s the solution? They all shimmy, spin and beautify him till a pool party ensues, which leads to, yep, a re-squizzlefied Senor Sasquatch. Fun oozes out of this action-packed tale.

Stories From Bug Garden

By Lisa Moser; illustrated by Gwen Millward; Candlewick Press; 32 pages; $16.99

Stories From Bug Garden, a Junior Library Guild Selection book, is perfect for story time in a garden.

It takes a super close look at animal life in a happening garden. Tiny inhabitants, from a mud angel-making ladybug to a roly-poly bug that loves to roll, bond together to try to reach a peach, make a little boat out of litter, and play follow the leader, always behind the lightening bug.

These short stories are perfect for small reading moments and star a bevy of insects with personalities aplenty.

Gwen Millward’s adorable illustrations are sweet, delicate and whimsical. They look like they’re out of the 1940s, and the result is a charming collection of tales that will get little ones looking more closely at their own yards and gardens.

Dig In!

By Cindy Jenson-Elliott; illustrated by Mary Peterson; Beachlane/Simon & Schuster; 32 pages; $17.99

Preschoolers and young children love to dig in the dirt. But the fact is, dirt is not only squishy and soft but also home to many fascinating things.

The child in the vibrant book, Dig In!, encounters pill bugs, worms, leafy green sprouts, rocks and seeds, all which star in this close-up look at what many of us take for granted.

Best of all, the child figures out that he can plant the sprouts and seeds, and that the wonders keep abounding, especially when he waters the dirt and makes mud.

Mary Peterson’s linoleum-block prints are retro and cool. Dig In! should encourage youngsters to get outside and play. Dirt is good!

— 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.

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.