Still summer: Children's books for fun-filled dog days

The calendar shows several weeks of summer remain, which means there's still time for outdoor and travel fun. These three books from Candlewick Press — which I recently received free for review — offer up plenty to enjoy during those final sun-filled summer days.

children's books for summer

Where's Waldo?Where's Waldo: The Totally Essential Travel Collection by Martin Handford (ages 5-9, Candlewick Press, $14.99 flexi-book) Waldo first hit the road way way back in 1987 and we've been searching for him ever since. This collection of all seven of the classic books in one is a must-have for anyone who spent hours poring over pictures highlighting the hijinks and adventures of the goofy guy donning glasses and a red-and-white striped sweater. From the original Where's Waldo on up through Where's Waldo: The Incredible Paper Chase, Waldo still beckons kids of all ages to search for him as he rambles on his merry and colorful way. Featuring several fold-out pages listing objects and people to find, plus an attached elastic band to mark one's spot in the book, readers will never lose their way in this entertaining book that's a perfect accompaniment on final summer travels by plane, train or automobile.

Look Up!Look Up!: Bird-Watching in Your Own Backyard by Annette LeBlanc Cate (ages 8 years and up, Candlewick Press, $15.99 hardcover) No need to travel when adventure awaits in your backyard, and author-illustrator LeBlanc Cate (she of The Magic Rabbit) shows bird-watchers — and bird-watcher wannabes — exactly how to find it. Every single page, including the front and back cover spreads, are filled to the brim with humorous but informative tips and tricks for finding feathered friends. It's a quirky and endlessly entertaining introduction to bird-watching via illustrations portraying various birds chatting about their distinctive characteristics, including color, shape, plumage, and beak and foot types. No need to read this fun guide from front to back — simply open to any page and you'll be smiling and seeking out wrens, woodpeckers, purple gallinules and more. Fun, fun, fun.

Go Out and Play!Go Out and Play!: Favorite outdoor Games from KaBoom! by KaBoom (ages 5 years and up, Candlewick Press, $11.99 paperback). Speaking of fun, fun, fun in one's backyard, this collection encourages kids to, well, go out and play. KaBoom!, a non-profit "dedicated to saving play for America's children," provides all kids and grownups need to know for getting the ball rolling: how to play, number of players, ages, place space and equipment for each game. The seventy-one games include old favorites like Ghost in the Graveyard, Wall Ball, Capture the Flag, Red Rover and more, plus new ones I had never heard of, such as Snail, Lose the Bacon, and Don't Get Caught with the Cookie. Games are broken into category chapters (Tag Games, Team Games, Sidewalk Games and so forth) plus tips for facilitating play and ways to encourage safe — and fun — play spaces in the community. This book is a must for every Grandma Bag, for sure.

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