Books not to miss before summer ends

DINOSAURS ROAR, BUTTERFLIES SOAR!, by Bob Barner, Chronicle, $16.99; ages 4-8.

Dinosaurs were roaming the earth millions of years ago. Butterflies also were there. When the dinosaurs became extinct, the insects survived because they didn’t need as much food to survive. After a trip to the zoo, this story will help to answer questions from the very young dinosaur enthusiast.

DINOTRUX, written and illustrated by Chris Gall, Little, Brown, $16.99; ages 4-6.

Most children enjoy watching trucks as they do their jobs. How would trucks appear if they had dinosaur features? Children can listen as the author explains the idea for this book online at While he was sitting on the highway one day, being delayed by road construction, he pictured the road equipment as dinosaurs. He also explains how he works on his illustrations. Dreamworks has purchased the movie rights for this book in 3-D.

IMAGINE THAT!, written by Arlis Ander and Stephanie Potter, illustrated by Arlis Ander, designed by Edward Herbeck, Art Book Bindery, $9.99; ages 4-9.

“What do you want to be when you grow up”? Children are asked this question endlessly. Each page shows youngsters acting out their future plans—a girl reading to her toys, a boy playing in the yard with the hose and another dressed up as mom or dad going to work. The co-authors are former school teachers in Downers Grove and the book is available at Anderson’s Bookshop in Downers Grove and The Magic Tree in Oak Park as well as the Web site,

SUMMER WONDERS, by Bob Raczka, illustrated by Judy Stead, Albert Whitman, $16.99; ages 3-5.

Each two-page spread contains a rhyme depicting activities for the summer. The pages show children having fun at the beach or a picnic, watching a parade and fireworks, jumping rope, writing on the sidewalk with chalk and enjoying a good book in a hammock. The last page gives instructions for making ice pops.

SUBWAY RIDE, by Heather Lynn Miller, illustrated by Sue Ramá, Charlesbridge, $15.95; ages 4-8.

Chicago is depicted as one of the 10 city examples using the subway system. Five children are illustrated as they step down the stairs to take their ride on the subway. The pictures include the many people on the ride, traveling through the tunnels and looking out the window to the park as one does on Chicago’s El. The last pages explain something about each of the cities included along the journey.

THE NEW JUMBO BOOK OF EASY CRAFTS, by Judy Ann Sadler, illustrated by Caroline Price, $18.95; ages 4-10.

This is a handy book for a rainy day. Most ideas are made from items found at home using paper, glue, scissors and crayons. Old catalogs and magazines are good for pictures and letter recognition as well as memory card games. An old odd sock or a paper lunch bag are good to decorate and use as a puppet. Use an empty tissue box to create a small doll bed or several for a doll house. Decorate a flower pot to hold pencils. Decorate or make a frame to display the class picture. Children may even look forward to another rainy day for more projects or gather some items for future craft times.

CHORE BOARD: A HELPING-AROUND-THE-HOUSE GAME, by Sarah Malarkey, illustrated by J. Otto Seibold, Chronicle, $14.99, ages 5 and up.

A rainy day is a good time to get chores done around the house. Why not make a game of the project with the help of this book? The magnetic game board is placed on the refrigerator with a list of chores to be accomplished. Children pick the ones they want to do and move their game piece around the board as they finish.

Judy Belanger is Chicago Parent’s children’s book reviewer and a retired elementary learning resource center teacher with four grandchildren. She continues to substitute in grades K-6.

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