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15 Best Summer Picture Books to Beat the Heat!

15 fabulous picture books to read this summer! Bring them along on your vacation or read them by the pool!

15 Best Summer Picture Books to Beat the Heat for boys and girls

Well, summer is a great time to kick back and relax and enjoy those lazy, hazy days! It's also a great time to pick up a good book and wile away the hours!

Love having a book or two for the trip to the beach? Be organized with our super cute and colorful Beach Day Packing List to make it a smooth prep!

Beach Day Packing List colorful printable for boys and girls

Here are some of our recommendations that are not only great to read, but are also perfect jumping off points for having some fun too!

1. The Berenstain Bears and Too Much Vacation!

by Stan and Jan Berenstain

The Berenstain and too Much Vacation book cover bears under umbrella

Sometimes those vacations just don't turn out as planned! This hilarious Berenstain Bears adventure reminds me of a few vacations from my childhood! Soggy pancakes in a camper van come to mind!

When Papa Bear sees an ad for a picturesque mountain getaway, the family excitedly jumps at the opportunity. However, things don't go quite as planned and the Berenstain Bear family finds themselves getting into one sticky situation after another!

The Berenstain Bears have a story for anything you can think of and The Berenstain Bears and Too Much Vacation is one of our faves!

2. Scaredy Squirrel at the Beach

by Melanie Watt

Scaredy Squirrel at the Beach picture book

Scaredy Squirrel doesn't leave his beloved home in the tree much, and when he does, it's for a very good reason!

Though Scaredy likes the backyard beach he's designed for himself just fine, something's still missing... and our favorite squirrel decides to brave the open spaces and hidden dangers of a genuine beach in the process!

This witty, ultra organized and utterly hilarious squirrel's beach day could not be more entertaining! Scaredy Squirrel at the Beach is the perfect choice for a summer read!

3. Harry by the Sea

by Gene Zion Pictures by Bloy Graham

A day at the beach results in a case of mistaken identity when Harry goes missing and is covered in seaweed!

Harry's misadventures never fail to amuse the younger set who will definitely get a kick out of this classic Harry the Dirty Dog 'tail!'

4. Mossy

by Jan Brett


Mossy, a turtle with her own personal garden on her shell, enjoys her life near the pond and has just met a new friend when she's taken to live in a museum by Dr. Carolina.

Realizing Mossy misses home, the doctor and her niece come up with an idea to grant Mossy's wish while keeping some of her charm at the museum where she's loved.

Mossy is one of our favorite Jan Brett books and will capture your heart with its gorgeous illustrations and sweet title character, Mossy!

5. Summertime in the Big Woods

adapted from the books by Laura Ingalls Wilder


This is an easy to read, yet beautifully illustrated version of the classic by Laura Ingalls Wilder.

Relive Laura and her family's day to day experiences during a Wisconsin summer in the late 1800's.

When you've finished this one, there are other books in this adapted picture book series that are wonderful reads as well!

6. Splat the Cat - I Scream for Ice Cream

Based on the creation by Rob Scotton


Splat the Cat and his friends are thrilled to go on an ice cream factory tour and eat as much ice cream as they can get their paws on!

When Splat and his friends find themselves in a frosty situation with more ice cream than they know what to do with, will they fix the problem and come out with sweet tooths intact?

If you're like us, any book with the words 'ice cream' in the title is a must read, especially during the summer, and Splat the Cat delivers a funny picture book that lives up to it's tasty name!

7. Winnie-the-Pooh

by A.A. Milne

Winnie the Pooh book and bear

Who doesn't love Winnie-the-Pooh? This lovable bear finds himself in many an adventure along with Christopher Robin and the rest of the gang from the Hundred Acre Wood!

This delightful Anniversary collection complete with charming illustrations will be a cherished summer read!

8. Max's Bunny Business

by Rosemary Wells


Bunny siblings Max and Ruby are on the trail to riches via a lemonade stand and some hungry customers in this fun 'tail'!

Ruby and her best friend, Louise, are going into business with each other...and little brother Max decides to join them!

Lemonade, a bunny business and another fabulously illustrated Max and Ruby book make this an automatic and amazing addition to the bookshelf!

9. Angelina at the Fair

by Katharine Holabird, Illustrations by Helen Craig


Everyone's favorite ballerina mouse enjoys the warmer weather and an exciting day of rides and surprises in a wonderfully illustrated book that will have you wishing you could join her!

Angelina Ballerina takes time off from dancing and heads to the fair with little cousin Henry in tow. Angelina has been looking forward to visiting the fair for months, but she's less then thrilled at having Henry along for the ride(s)!

After some unexpected twists and turns, though, the cousins wind up having a day to remember in this fantastic adventure filled with friendships and fairs!

10. Clifford the Big Red Dog

by Norman Bridwell


Clifford and his friends always have fun on their adventures on Birdwell Island!

Join Clifford, Emily and the rest of the gang for some easy breezy summertime 'tails!'

11. Adele and Simon in America

by Barbara McClintock

This sister and brother come to America from Paris to visit with their aunt during the early 1900's.

Adele & Simon's aunt takes them on a train trip around the United States where they visit famous sites and landmarks.

Adele & Simon in America is a wonderful picture book filled with extras like non-fiction historical details, famous places and an I-Spy activity throughout!

A fun bonus is trying to spot the items Simon has dropped along the journey!

12. Miss Rumphius

by Barbara Cooney

Miss Rumphius book cover woman kneeling down by lupine flowers

After reading this book, I never looked at a lupine-or other flowers, really, without thinking of the book, Miss Rumphius.

I first read it years ago when I was teaching reading and out of all of the many books that were part of my career in education, this one remains one of the most memorable.

In this timeless story, the main character, Alice wishes to travel the world and live by the sea. In addition to living out her dreams, she also spreads lupine seeds to keep her promise to make the world a more beautiful place.

Based on a true story, this award-winning book leaves you with a sense of awe and inspires the reader to follow in Miss Rumphius' footsteps!

13. The Relatives Came

by Cynthia Rylant Illustrated by Stephen Gammell

The Relatives Came picture book by Cynthia Rylant car filled with people

When I was a kid, I couldn't wait for those special summers when our relatives came to visit!

They would travel in their camper from Texas all the way to the northeast!

They were city; we were country and the excitement and memories made once they arrived were unmatched!

The Relatives Came by Cynthia Rylant captures that same magic of family, old fashioned travel and summertime!

14. The Very Hungry Caterpillar

by Eric Carle


Nothing says summer like the sight of butterflies in the daytime and their captivating chrysalises that they emerge from!

The story of a little caterpillar who loves snacking has been treasured for both its wonderful story and stunning illustrations!

This classic picture book by legendary artist Eric Carle is a perfect summer addition to the bookshelf!

Click here to see our post about the Eric Carle Museum!

15. Gilbert, the Surfer Dude

by Diane De Groat


This beach day read finds opossum Gilbert and his family off to swim and soak up some sun, but things don't go quite as Gilbert imagined!

Equally perfect for a sunny day by the pool or a rainy one indoors, this opossum will keep you amused with his antics!


Well, there you have it! 15 fabulous picture books to read this summer!

Be sure to Pin this post for future reference!

Splat the Cat book Pinterest pin I Scream for Ice Cream book cover

Bring them along on your vacation or read them by the pool. They're also guaranteed to make great additions to your bookshelf!


Cenzia & April

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Love Ice Cream? Well here are some fun books to go along with this summertime sweet treat!

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The Relatives Came Picture Book pinterest pin car filled with people

Looking for a fun summer activity? Filling out a Summer Bucket List keeps all of your summertime fun planning and goals organized and in one spot!


Aug 01, 2019

Thanks for getting back to me. Helpful info. Love all the picture books & the ice cream one ---(Splat...)is super over the top.


My Kidz Bookshelf
My Kidz Bookshelf
Jul 30, 2019

Hello vonsamson43!

At this time, all of the books in this post are currently available (we always check to make sure before publishing!). If your local library doesn't have a particular title, see if your library participates in an inter-library loan (libraries band together to offer their patrons access to other partner libraries' materials. Regarding bookstores, it's always good to check their stock online or call ahead to make sure they have copies! Happy reading!


Jul 25, 2019

Loved all the new reviews. Each one is nicer than the next. Are all these books available at a local library, or do they have to be purchased? If so, where? Great job ----mom & daughter duo!!

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