Children like to be outdoors in the summer, especially in the yard or at the beach. But what about the rainy days? Or the long hours in the car getting to one of those utopias?
Maybe the craving for soil or sand could be satisfied with a good book.
Once Upon a Tide (David Fickling/Random House, $16.95, ages 4-6) by Tony Mitton and illustrated by Selina Young.
A brother and sister build their own boat and go on an adventure using a map provided by sturdy and salty sea captain Bart that takes them by a whale who waves with his tail and to a private island. They find a treasure chest gleaming with gold, which unfortunately attracts some unsavory characters.
Who saves the day? That friendly whale.
In the Garden: Whos Been Here? (Greenwillow/HarperCollins, $16.99, ages 4 and up) by Lindsay Barrett George.
Another brother and sister duo head into the garden to pick some vegetables for mom. But someone or something got there first. As Christina and Jeremy work their way through the plants, they meet some of the other creatures that live there.
Encyclopedia Prehistorica: Sharks and Other Sea Monsters (Candlewick, $27.99, ages 5 and up) by Robert Sabuda and Matthew Reinhart.
The creatures in this book come to life thanks to page after page of incredibly detailed pop-up pictures. Theres also a lot to be learned through encyclopedia-style entries for critters ranging from the liopleurodon, which relies on smell to hunt its prey, to the mosasaur, a reptile that attacked anything in its path.
Abigale the Happy Whale (Megan Tingley/Little, Brown, $15.99, ages 3-6) by Peter Farrelly and illustrated by Jamie Rama.
At first, ignorance is bliss for Abigale, the humpback whale. She doesnt realize that all the pollution in the ocean is on the verge of destroying her home.
When it does dawn on her that something is amiss, she doesnt take it like a beached whale. Abigale persuades her sea-dwelling pals to help her return the trash to all the people on the beach. That sparks a clean-the-beach drive.
Farrelly, the writer and director behind the films Dumb and Dumber, Something About Mary and Fever Pitch, is donating 50 percent of the proceeds from the book to Heal the Bay, an organization dedicated to cleaning up the coastal waters in southern California.
Stanley Goes Fishing (Chronicle, $15.95, ages 4-8) by Craig Frazier.
Big Stanley has his mind set on catching a really big fish. He makes sure he has everything he needs and finds the perfect place to cast his line.
But things dont end up quite the way he planned it never does for Stanley but he learns that a little creativity and ingenuity can produce even better results.
Shark and Lobsters Amazing Undersea Adventures (Candlewick, $15.99, ages 3-6) by Viviane Schwarz and colored by Joel Stewart.
This is a cartoon-style book about friendship, specifically what friends will do for one another when theyre scared.
Turns out these guys, rather formidable forces when you consider the oceans pecking order, are afraid of tigers. That is, theyre scared of tigers until they realize together theyve got their own teeth and stripes.
Hare and the Big Green Lawn (Rising Moon, $15.95, ages 4-8) by Katharine Crawford Robey and illustrated by Larry MacDougal.
Hare moves to a spiffy little house with a big green yard. But it still isnt home.
The grass is too green and short, so he sets out to fix it much to the dismay of his neighbors. But when his lawn becomes a meadow, he becomes the envy of all the local gardeners.
Elmos Garden (Publications International, $7.99, ages 18 months and up) by Susan Rich Brooke and illustrated by Tom Brannon.
Elmo walks young readers through the process of setting up a garden. He tills his soil, plants his seeds and waits for the sun and rain to do their thing.
This is a sound book; the sound of the sun rising sounds like a magical bell and the earthworm sounds like a happy little crawler.
Beach (Orchard/Scholastic, $16.99, ages 4-8) by Elisha Cooper.
As the day begins, the beach is empty, waiting to be filled, reads the first page of this book.
But this beach not only becomes full, it becomes alive as some people jump into the water and others wade in an inch at a time. There also are the waves, the clouds and the porpoises. Plus, there are the memories being made.
The beach is a place for so many different types of people and different types of things, and theyre almost all here in a sophisticated fine-art format.
The Butterfly Garden (Chronicle, $15.95, ages 4-8) by Sue Harris and illustrated by Stephanie Boey.
A tabby cat searches for butterflies in this lift-the-flap book. Of course she meets some of natures other lovely creatures along the way, but its the magic of butterflies emerging right before her eyes that leaves her mesmerized.
I Saw It in the Garden (Mitten Press, $17.95, ages 4-8) by Martin Brennan and illustrated by Michael Glenn Monroe.
Grandpa guides a young girl as she prepare a garden at the beginning of the spring. Shell need a sturdy shovel, proper boots and gloves. He also reminds her to plant her seeds with love.
Fast-forward to the end of August. She has more corn and beans than she knows what to do with, but she also knows she and her grandfather accomplished a lot and they did it together. They deserve the two quarts of lemonade they celebrate with before just before they take a nap.
One White Wishing Stone (National Geographic, $16.95, ages 4-8) by Doris K. Gayzagian and illustrated by Kristina Swarner.
With so many sights, sounds and sensations at the beach, where is a young girl to start? With one white wishing stone, and then counting up to 10 tiny sandpipers.
The other stuff she picks up along the way makes for a fabulous sand castle.
Pig Little (Henry Holt, $16.95, ages 4-8) by Mike Thaler and illustrated by Paige Miglio.
This is a series of poems that doesnt take itself too seriously. A little pig prepares for a day at the beach, which, of course, involves sand castles, a few pouffy clouds and little treasures.
Unfortunately, though, it also means his peanut-butter-and-jelly lunch tastes a lot more like sand than sandwich.
Bumpety Bump! (Greenwillow/HarperCollins, $15.99, ages 3 and up) by Pat Hutchins.
Grandpa pushes a young boy on a wheelbarrow through the garden, making dutiful pitstops at the tomato, potato, lettuce and cucumber plants. All the while, theyre followed by a red hen.
But when the red hen stops trailing the wheelbarrow, grandpa and the boy move into reverse and follow the hen instead.