Kick Off Summer Reading with Learning, Fun & Fatherly Celebrations

Let June begin with ideas to extend learning through the summer and opportunities to honor Dad for all he means. Here are some books to help with both.

The Fandex Family Field Guides: Bugs (Workman Publishing, $10.95) is not an ordinary book. Cards featuring enlarged photographs of creepy, crawly critters are linked so that young entomologists can easily flip through the options and determine exactly what is crawling up their leg. From lady bugs to scorpions, each card explains where the bug is found, gives the scientific name, and offers interesting information written with kid-friendly style.

Along the same lines, Workman also offers a Bug Bottle ($13.95) for temporarily housing anything that is caught, purely for observational purposes. Along with a bug condo, the kit includes a small field and activity guide, identification chart, journal and magnifying glass.

For those interested in the “sweetest” kind of bug, In the Trees, Honey Bees (Dawn Publications, $8.95) features simple, rhyming text for young readers as well as longer, scientific information about bees and the honey-making process.

Larger, odder animals are the subject of There’s a Babirusa in My Bathtub: Facts and Fancy About Curious Creatures (Dawn Publishing, $8.95). Vivid illustrations depict animals like the large-eyed Loris while text explains how the slow-moving animal sings in a high-pitched voice and that it sleeps gripping the branches of a tree in its southeast Asian home.

The true animal lover could spend hours poring over The Illustrated Atlas of Wildlife (University of California Press, $39.95). The hefty volume features stunning photographs and illustrations of animals divided by geographic area. The text is interesting without being overwhelming, and the layout makes information easy to read and not at all text-booky.

Great learning can start with just getting out of the house. More than 135 activities for families in the Chapel Hill-area are featured in The Big Fun Guide to Tar Heel Country (DRT Press, $13.95). Along with great suggestions for finding parks, festivals and other destinations, it also includes where to picnic, push a stroller or find a potty.

Father’s Day is the perfect opportunity to share some books that feature Dad as the star. Just the Two of Us (Scholastic, $5.99) is based on the lyrics to the famous song remade by actor and rapper Will Smith and focused on the birth of his first child. With sweet pictures and encouraging words, the book offers a heartfelt message from father to beloved child.

In My Daddy and Me (Scholastic, $3.99), fathers and their children chase the seasons, engaged in a variety of activities from flying kites to splashing in puddles.

When a little girl goes Shopping with Dad (Barefoot Books, $16.99), a trip to the grocery store doesn’t go quite as planned, but father and child share a special experience just the same.

A little boy aspires to be many things in When I Grow Up (Scholastic, $16.99), but he eventually decides he wants most of all to be like his dad.

And in Grizzly Dad: Why Dads are Great (Even the Grumpy Ones!)(David Fickling Books, $16.99), a particularly cranky father morphs into a bear and then back to himself after a fun day with his son.

Categories: Early Education, Family, Family Fun, Family Ties, Food + Fun, Preschool Activities, Preschool Early Learning, Relationships, SK Activities, Things To Do