July’s Top Picks in Picture Books

Summer boredom: if the epidemic hasn’t reached your house yet, beware. And, by all means, Google the worst-case scenario. You’ll know the symptoms when you see them—glassy eyes and twitchy fingers, looking for the nearest remote control or portable screen. Luckily, we have the antidote: 12 handpicked picture book selections guaranteed to suit every little reader’s taste. From celebrations of summer birthdays, to road trips, nature, and back-to-school, July gives us a multitude of reasons to declare our independence from banality. Check out one (or all of them) today!

What Pet Should I Get?by Dr. Seuss
When the endearing author with a doctorate in the unique condition of childhood died at 87, he left behind an overflowing box of partially finished manuscripts and illustrations. These documents immortalized his life’s work—creating meaningful nonsense—and among the most precious treasures were the bones of a book that tackled a quintessential moment of childhood: what pet to get. Join these characters as they mull over the decision inside the pet store. What will they choose? You’ll love the zany rhymes that meander their way to the final answer!

If You Ever Want to Bring an Alligator to School, Don’t!, By Elise Parsley
If you’re looking for an entertaining way to ease your children back into a school-friendly mindset, look no further than this hilarious cautionary tale. When Magnolia, our determined heroine, attempts to one-up her classmates on show-and-tell day with an alligator, her epic check-mate attempt soon lands her in checkmarks-on-the-chalkboard territory. Full of nonstop laughs and heart-pounding illustrations, Parsley’s debut picture book is a surefire cure to summer boredom!

R Is for Rocket: An ABC Book, by Tad Hills
If your little reader hasn’t been introduced to Rocket yet, it’s high-time the two of you take a moment to experience the world from his 4-legged perspective. Rocket, of course, is the lovable mutt who, along with a colorful cast of characters, brings the alphabet to life in an unforgettable way. It will surely be love at first bite, and you likely won’t stop biting until you’ve devoured all of Rocket’s adventures, including How Rocket Learned to Read, and Rocket’s Mighty Words.

Happy Birthday, Cupcake!, by Terry Border
If you adored Peanut Butter and Cupcake, then you won’t be able to resist the latest mouthwatering manifesto from Border. Indeed, Happy Birthday, Cupcake is a tribute to birthdays and snacks, so we’re sure it will be an easy sell with your youngest readers. Cupcake’s best friend, Blueberry Muffin, is full of great ideas for what to serve at the birthday party, but will she come up with the right one? You’ll certainly be surprised at what everybody agrees upon!

Off to School!, by The Sesame Workshop
It’s the middle of summer, but school is right around the corner. Why not introduce the concept to your toddler by allowing them to share the anticipation with one of their favorite monsters? Elmo is excited about school—from busses to backpacks, he can’t wait for his first day, and we’re sure your little reader will feel the same way.

First Grade, Here I Come!, by Tony Johnston and David Walker
Kindergarten is so…last year. “I’m zooming off to first grade now,” cheers an indefatigable, red-headed boy. He imagines all the fun he’ll have throughout the day, and the friends he can’t wait to share snacktime, lunchtime, show-and-tell, and, of course, recess with. Share this sweet story with your proud kindergarten graduate tonight!

The Very Best Teacher, by Ye Shil Kim and Miku Moriuchi
To her 10 diligent rodent pupils, Ms. Tulip is the very best teacher, and her birthday’s tomorrow! Squeak! The mice frantically scurry around in search of the perfect gift, but they’re running out of time. It quickly becomes clear that a little teamwork is in order to get the very best for their superlative Ms. Tulip. What ever will it be?

Richard Scarry’s Busy, Busy World, by Richard Scarry
It’s been half a century since the original release of Richard Scarry’s childhood classic, but the world has, if anything, only gotten busier. Slow down and experience Richard Scarry’s world in all its exuberant color and mischief in this 50th anniversary edition.

Mad Scientist Academy:The Dinosaur Disaster, by Matthew McElligott
It’s the first day of school at the Mad Scientist Academy, and, after learning that their school pet is a live dinosaur, Dr. Cosmic’s students realize that they are in for an extraordinary year. Science and drama are centerstage in this thrilling adventure, and early elementary readers won’t stop turning the pages. Don’t miss out on this one!

Little Bird’s Bad Word, by Jacob Grant:
Just after Papa Bird remarks on the “extra wiggly lunch” in his beak, the meal slips from his clutches. He chirps an unpleasant word that Little Bird has never heard before. And now, Little Bird can’t wait to share it with all his forest friends. BLARK BLARK BLARK goes Little Bird, but pretty soon he learns that his word has the power to hurt feelings. Can he expand his vocabulary in a more positive way? You’ll have to settle into your nest tonight to find out!

Are We There, Yeti?, by Ashlyn Anstee
The classic refrain has a hilarious new twist when Bigfoot the Bus Driver resolves to take his adventurous crew on a mysterious, extended field trip. The rapidly changing landscape out the bus windows is captured in Anstee’s whimsical, highly-detailed illustrations, and the bus doesn’t stop until the children reach decidedly-Alpine surroundings. Bigfoot is at home here, but the kids have a lot of questions and exploring to do. Get cool—and primed for school—in this hilarious romp. You may never look at road trips the same way again!

Maple & Willow Apart, by Lori Nichols
Through gentle, poignant language, Nichols tells the story of two sisters separated by school. Maple and Willow are best friends, and, as their names suggest, they love to explore nature together. In fact, they spend all summer that way. But when the school bus picks Maple up for the first day of kindergarten, everything changes. Will they find a way to stay connected even though they live in different worlds now?

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