Book Lists Picture Books

Summer Unplugged: Safari (and a Giveaway!)

June 2, 2014

Summer is officially here (unless your children are not out of school, in which case, never mind).

I think it’s easy to make enormous plans for all the awesome things you’re going to do with your kids over the summer and then lose steam about 5 minutes into the first day.

You’ve probably noticed by now that my standard mode of operation is pretty low-key.

The main things I plan to do with my girls is swim in my parents’ pool and read books in the air-conditioned house.

I can’t help you with the pool part (sorry!), but if you want suggestions for books to read with your kids this summer, I’m your girl.

Each Monday through August, I’ll be sharing a themed booklist. It’ll include both picture books and a few chapter books for older kids to read on their own or to read aloud.

I’ll also usually throw in a couple of simple activities and recipes, if you’re feeling super motivated (but if you want to skip those, there will be no judgement. I’m not saying I’ll be doing them – just that I’m including them in case you want to be more impressive than I am).

I’ll also be sharing additional books, recipes, and activities on Instagram and Pinterest (all tagged with #summerunplugged – and I’d love it if you tagged anything you’re doing this summer with it too!).

Plus, each week there will be a giveaway, sometimes for your kids, sometimes for you because. . . it’s hard to be the parent when it’s 115 degrees outside.

Anyway, with that enormous intro . . . .

This week, it’s all animal/zoo/safari themed.

Weekly themed booklists with activities, crafts, and snacks. Perfect for those long summer days!

Picture Books:

  • Out of Sight by Francesco Pittau and Bernadette Gervais – Animals behind flaps and you try to identify them by paw prints, tails, horns, and patterns. My girls were NUTS about this book (and frankly, so was I). 
  • Count the Monkeys by Mac Barnett and Kevin Cornell Not your basic counting book. Page after page goes by with no monkeys in sight because other scary animals keep frightening them off. The end of the book is coming up fast – will the monkeys ever return?
  • Life-Size Zoo by Teruyuki Komiya, Toyofumi Fukuda and Kristin Earhart – You will not BELIEVE how long a giraffe’s tongue actually is. 
  • Carnivores by Aaron Reynolds and Dan Santat – Carnivores in the wild aren’t exactly popular. Is it possible for a lion to change his diet? 
  • Me. . . Jane by Patrick McDonnell – This very simple, early biography of Jane Goodall is just 100% darling. 
  • Xander’s Panda Party by Linda Sue Park and Matt Phelan – If you’re planning a party for bears, does a koala bear get an invite? 
  • It’s a Tiger by David LaRochelle and Jeremy Tankard – I think this was the most read book in house last year. It’s funny, the illustrations are spot-on, and it’s ideal for reading aloud. 
  • A Zeal of Zebras by Woop Studios – Any idea what you call a group of sharks? How about starfish? How about pandas? 
  • Chloe and the Lion by Mac Barnett and Adam Rex – Chloe is on her way from school and is waylaid by a lion. But wait . . . the author and illustrator can’t agree on what terrifying animal it should actually be. 
  • Where’s Walrus by Steven SavageThis is one of my all-time favorite wordless picture books. 

Chapter Books

  • The One and Only Ivan by – This Newbery winner is funny, sweet, and clever. I don’t even LIKE animal novels and I loved this one. (Full review here)
  • Zoobreak by Gordon-Korman – This adventure series was so ridiculously popular at the elementary school libraries I ran in Boston, I don’t think they stayed on the shelf more than 30 seconds the whole year. 

A Few Crafts, Activities, and Recipes:

And for the giveaway, just because you’re going for a summer unplugged, doesn’t mean your computer can’t look cute. I have a partial set of these keycals and I get SO many compliments on them (plus, they just make me happy), so I’m super excited that Kidecal is offering four sets!

Enter below via Rafflecopter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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  • Reply Elaine June 2, 2014 at 11:51 am

    I love themed lists and this one does not disappoint. In case you would like a little "plugged" Zoo fun, here is my list of zoo-related links.

  • Reply Norby family June 2, 2014 at 3:09 pm

    Thanks for these. I'm always on the hunt for good chapter books for my 8 year old son, so this will be perfect! Plus, the picture books will be great for my 5 and 3 year old.

  • Reply Kathleen June 2, 2014 at 8:01 pm

    Great idea! Even though I work I might still do some of this stuff with my preschooler on the weekends.

  • Reply Jessica June 2, 2014 at 10:05 pm

    Perfect! We're having a zoo-themed combined birthday party this summer so this will get the kids in the spirit.

  • Reply Kristin June 3, 2014 at 1:03 am

    Okay. You've just made my friendly library ladies hate me even more. My holds lists is growing and growing and growing… I feel bad when I go to pick up my holds and it takes 2 or more workers to bring them over to the counter. They assure me they don't mind and that it is job security. 😀

  • Reply Heather June 3, 2014 at 5:13 pm

    Love ALL these books. The only one I haven't read yet is Zoobreak. I'll put it on my list. Thank you so much for this summer unplugged series. Wish I had a pool to toss the kids in every day. It's not hot enough for outdoor pools here until Aug.

  • Reply Christina Webster June 3, 2014 at 11:22 pm

    Thank you so much for your chapter books lists….my daughter is 6 years and we are currently going through the transition from picture books to chapter books and your lists help out a lot. Thanks again and keep them coming 🙂

  • Reply Little Gray Pixel June 6, 2014 at 7:44 am

    I am catching up with your posts from the past week, and they are all so good. That's all. Just a quick note of admiration. 😉

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