Make a Leap: 8 Summer Picture Books Get You On The Water


Written and drawn by Roozeboos

Dutch artist Anne Roos Kleiss, who uses her childhood nickname professionally to remind herself to approach her work with the fresh eyes of a child, says she came up with this first concept she created on colored paper using crayons, felt-tip pens and colored pencils. and ink — drawing outside in a public pool: “I saw a little boy tapping water constantly to see if he could jump in. I was struck by his sensitive hesitation in this happy, busy environment.” The book’s delightfully curious protagonist dips her toe into a small whirlwind of choice before she feels it’s right to follow her heart: stepping off life’s springboard.

32 p. Kid game. $17.99. (5-7 years old)

Biography of African-American Environmentalist MaVynee Betsch
Written by Heidi Tyline King.
Illustrated by Ekua Holmes

When Betsch left her career as an internationally acclaimed opera singer to devote her life to saving the Florida coast that her great-grandfather had bought for African Americans in the 1930s, she painted her lips and nails orange as a reminder of the rope that separates Blacks from whites. On Jim Crow-era beaches. When he died, hundreds of orange butterflies were released. Caldecott Medal Winner Holmes celebrates this champion of color with a gorgeous multi-pattern collage.

40 s. Putnam. $17.99. (4-8 years old)

Written by Camille Andros.
Illustrated by Amy Bates

Listening to your inner voice is the theme of this emotionally daring and poetic work. Reflecting on the life cycle, it begins with a young boy holding a seashell to his ear while his grandparents stare (“the sea was old and wise”) and closes years later when the boy himself becomes a grandfather (“the boy was old”). and wise”). What he feels in-between is sometimes “dark and dangerous”, sometimes “calm and sensitive” and sometimes “attraction of something more”: dreaming, loving, being. Bates’ moving, sumptuous art in gouache, watercolor, and colored pencil matches and elevates these stakes, demonstrating not only joy but suffering.

32 p. Abrams. $17.99. (4-8 years old)

Written and drawn by Elly MacKay

The setting fits perfectly with the message in this unique book about a girl’s quest for wave-washed treasures: “a bubble wand, a rusty key, a marble too, all lost at sea.” Inspired by Victorian paper movie theaters, stereoscopes and tunnel books, MacKay creates his illustrations from layered paper cutouts placed in three dimensions. Some scenes look like another world; He holds a table lamp to make the paper shine, uses cellophane for the water, mixes ink and salt for the sand.

32 p. Running Press. $16.99. (4-8 years old)

Written and drawn by Dorien Brouwers

Despite its title, this metaphorical story about the transformative opportunities to stray or fall off course, dramatically told in textured watercolor and single-print art: “Powerful wisdom resides deep inside. The bottom is where you’ll find the Treasure to hide.” The book’s palette slowly changes from calm, pale pastel blues to dark charcoal shades as a sprawling red octopus swings its keys as the sailboat glides across the surface.

40 s. Small, Brown. $17.99. (4-8 years old)

Winslow Homer Paints the Sea
Written by Robert Burleigh.
Illustrated by Wendell Minor

Burleigh’s vivid account set in Prouts Neck, Maine, where winter begins and ends, and Homer lived most of his life on a cliff overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, captures the painter’s fascination with the “wild struggle between sea and land.” sea ​​against land.” The watercolor and gouache illustrations allow us to feel the splash and spray of both the undulating wave and the swooshing paint: “White drops scattering on the canvas. Rough and quick brushstrokes.” Until the sea and the painting become one.

40 s. Neal Porter/Holiday House. $18.99. (4-8 years old)

Written and illustrated by Layn Marlow

This quiet, beautifully crafted gem of a book describes a boy sitting “by the wild sea” waiting for his Nana to fix his little boat, “as he did yesterday and the day before.” He’s dying to see a seal. He digs with a shovel to pass the time, aimlessly throwing sand over his shoulder, until… “When Noah returns, he gasps: “A big damp mound” awaits. He, waiting to be formed as a friend. But the story doesn’t end there. What happens when a storm breaks and Noah has to leave his seal is astounding. “When Nana turns around, she gasps.”

32 p. Candlewick $17.99. (3-7 years old)

Written by Caroline Cross.
Drawn by Jenny Duke

As grainy as the sand itself, this jolly look at the mundane pleasures of a family trip to the shore is pure and simple, a day at the beach. The middle child (and only daughter) of three siblings takes her inside from the first time she sees the shimmering water until sunset. “The seagulls cry, the dog runs.” “Toes wiggling. I’m laughing.” Duke’s brilliant visuals combine paint and printmaking and range from panoramas to close-ups of nail polish and tattoos.

32 p. Kid game. $17.99. (5-7 years old)

Jennifer Krauss is Book Review’s editor of children’s books.


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