More summer reading for kids: Three unique books with unique twists

There's still plenty of time for summer reading fun. Not long ago, I shared summer-themed picture books for little ones. Here are three fun ones for older kids, those who have a hankering for something beyond the picture books.

Each of the following three books — which I recently received free for review — have a unique twist kids (and adults) will appreciate. Take a look:

The Big Bad Wolf Goes on Vacation by Delphine Perret (ages 4 and up, Sterling Publishing, $12.95 hardcover). First up is the perfect story for summer time, especially for kids who get a kick out of comic-style books. Louis and his grandpa enjoy annual vacations at the sea, just the two of them. This year, though, Bernard — a cookie-munching and kooky wolf made famous in Perret's 2006 The Big Bad Wolf and Me — wants to join his pal Louis on the adventure. Silliness ensues as the road trip takes the trio on a memorable trek to the beach. The humorous text and drawings will keep not only the kids giggling at Bernard's antics, but any adults who share the story with their favorite kids, too.

The Remarkable Ronald Reagan: Cowboy and Commander in Chief by Susan Allen, illustrated by Leslie Harrington (for guided reading level P — third and fourth grades, Regnery Publishing, $16.95 hardcover). When my girls were young, I had a set of books called Value Tales, which told the stories of famous folks and enlightened kids of all ages on the values that led the subjects to success and celebrity. This book feels much like those old books (which I so wish I had kept), only with much more heart, soul and solid information. Our 40th president is the subject here, and Allen — who once met "Dutch" in person — shares the story of Ronald Reagan's life, from his humble beginnings as a lifeguard and sportscaster, on up to his years as an actor, then governor, then revered president of the United States. Highlights of the book include the colorful illustrations and solid story line, plus the extensive information (important dates and quotes and more) shared in the back pages. Beyond kiddos, this is a book any history/presidential/Reagan buff will want to add to his or her library.

Bedtime Math: A Fun Excuse To Stay Up Late by Laura Overdeck, illustrated by Jim Paillot (ages 3-8, Feiwel and Friends — an imprint of Macmillan, $14.99). I used the word unique in the intro above, and this book is truly the most unique of all. So much so, in fact, that in order to do it justice, this book with a mission to make math a fun part of kids' every day life (including bedtime), I'd like to share with you the trailer for the book instead of trying to explain it in mere words:

One point I'd like to make is that although the age range for Bedtime Math, per the publisher, begins at 3, I believe — as the grandmother to a two-year-old and a five-year-old — that the math problems noted for "wee ones" may be too challenging for wee ones of 3; age 4 or 5 might be a better place to start. That said, though, the ability to tailor the book to a child's age is one of the great things about it. Another is the opportunity to attend Pajama Party events featuring Bedtime Math at various libraries and bookstores across the country. Check the Bedtime Math website to see if there's a pajama party near you.

Disclosure: I received the above books free for review. Opinions are my own.