Do you know what cures summer boredom? Summer meltdowns? Summer slide? Summer insert-anything-else-deemed-negative-here? BOOKS! Grab your 3-6 year old and a few of the summer books for preschoolers mentioned below, and enjoy the blissful summer you desire.
I tell you, friend, there is nothing a good book can’t accomplish. This summer book list for preschoolers accompanies Summer Camp at Home perfectly. Summer Camp at Home is my program for 3-6 year olds and includes 6 mini unit studies (one per week). If you are interested, it’s not too late to grab your own copy of Summer Camp at Home right here!
The six themes are butterflies, stars and constellations, frogs, butterflies, flowers, and birds. Below you will find books on each of those topics.
Pop on out to your local library first to snag them, but I have also included my amazon affiliate links below for your convenience. Ready? Let’s get started with the big list of 30 Must-Read Summer Books for Preschoolers!
Books about Butterflies for Preschoolers
From egg to caterpillar to chrysalis to butterfly, there is nothing more magical than a butterflies life cycle! But the life cycle isn’t the only cool thing about butterflies. Did you know that their tongues are actually like straws? Dive into learning all about butterflies with these fun books:
Caterpillar to Butterfly, National Geographic. Butterflies are all around us. It’s hard to believe these majestic insects with impressive wingspans and beautifully colored and patterned wings were once creepy crawly caterpillars. How in the world does this transformation happen? This Level 1 Reader gives kids an up-close look at exactly how a caterpillar becomes a butterfly.
A Butterfly is Patient, Dianna Aston. An incredible variety of butterflies are celebrated here in all of their beauty and wonder, from the tiny Arian Small Blue to the grand Queen Alexandra’s Birdwing.
My, Oh My – A Butterfly, Tish Rabe. With a little help from the Cat in the Hat, Sally and Dick observe a small miracle in their own backyard—the metamorphosis of an egg into a caterpillar into a chrysalis into a bright new butterfly! Along the way, beginning readers will find out how butterflies see thousands of images at once, drink nectar from flowers, avoid predators, and can be identified by size, shape, and color.
Are You A Butterfly? Judy Allen. Caterpillar, chrysalis, butterfly; follow the metamorphosis of this familiar backyard creature as it evolves into a delicate flying insect.
Waiting for Wings, Lois Ehlert. Every spring, butterflies emerge and dazzle the world with their vibrant beauty. But where do butterflies come from? How are they born? What do they eat–and how? With a simple, rhyming text and glorious color-drenched collage, Lois provides clear answers to these and other questions as she follows the life cycle of four common butterflies, from their beginnings as tiny hidden eggs and hungry caterpillars to their transformation into full-grown butterflies
Books about Stars and Constellations
Nothing makes us feel tinier than looking up at night and staring into that huge night sky. All of those twinkling lights, what are they? Can you find pictures in the stars? Want to hear a few stories about those pictures? Check out these amazing books about stars and constellations:
Zoo in the Sky, Jacqueline Mitton. Take an illuminating ride through the starry night sky with National Geographic’s Zoo in the Sky! Little Bear and the Great Bear in the Northern Sky; the scaly dragon winding his long tail; the Great Dog chasing the Hare in the Southern Sky; all are beautifully rendered in Christina Balit’s vibrant art, studded with shiny stars, which perfectly illustrates Jacqueline Mitton’s rich text.
Glow-in-the-Dark Constellations, C.E. Thompson. From Andromeda to Pegasus, Orion to the Big Dipper, this super informative guide covers it all with dazzling glow-in-the-dark illustrations of the constellations, eight sky maps, and fascinating retellings of the legends behind the constellations.
Rylee The Young Rocketeer, JoAnn M. Dickinson. Rylee, The Young Rocketeer is a colorful and fun, rhyming picture book teaching children to dream big, reach for the stars, to become anything they are hoping to become. Your child will fall in love with Rylee’s exhilarating, positive and colorful personality as she shares her adventures traveling throughout outer space, meeting new friends, with her best friend, Cosmo by her side.
Curious George Discovers The Stars, H. A. Rey. George loves summer nights in the country—that’s where he does his best stargazing. When his friend Bill says that nobody knows how many stars there are, George is determined to count! But how will he keep track? Come along as George learns all about stars, constellations, and the night sky
There Is No Place Like Space, Tish Rabe. Learn about the solar system, planets, the constellations, and astronauts, and explore the wonders of space with the help of everyone’ favorite Cat in the Hat! Perfect for aspiring astronauts, or any kid who loves learning and science.
Books about Frogs
Summer just would not be the same without frogs! Catching frogs is one of the classic childhood activities needed for summertime. While your little frog catchers are done at the local pond, share some of these stories to deeper their understanding of these amazing creatures, and to get them giggling too!
And The Bullfrogs Sing: A lifecycle begins, David L. Harrison. Eggs hatch and become tadpoles. The tadpoles nibble plants. They grow legs and start to breathe. Now they are little bullfrogs. They eat flies, fish, and spiders. In the winter they hibernate. And after three years, they are adult bullfrogs. Rumm . . . rumm . . . rumm.
It’s Mine! Leo Lionin. Three selfish frogs live together on an island in the middle of Rainbow Pond. All day long they bicker: It’s mine! It’s mine! It’s mine! But a bad storm and a big brown toad help them realize that sharing is much more fun. With characteristic clarity, simplicity and exuberance, Leo Lionni makes it possible for kids to see themselves through the antics of others who share our world.
The Wide-Mouthed Frog, Keith Faulkner. This is a hilarious pop-up book! From the Okefenokee Swamp comes a frog with a wide mouth that he just loves to use. He’s particularly interested in the eating habits of other creatures found in the great outdoors, from the blue-feathere bird to a furry brown mouse. Until one day, he meets a big green animal with lots of teeth who finds wide-mouthed frogs simply delicious.
I Don’t Want to Be a Frog, Dev Petty. Frog wants to be anything but a slimy, wet frog. A cat, perhaps. Or a rabbit. An owl? But when a hungry wolf arrives—a wolf who HATES eating frogs—our hero decides that being himself isn’t so bad after all. In this very silly story with a sly message, told in hilarious dialogue between a feisty young frog and his heard-it-all-before father, young readers will identify with little Frog’s desire to be something different, while laughing along at his stubborn yet endearing schemes to prove himself right.
Tadpole to Frog, National Geographic Kids, Shira Evans. Learn all about how animals grow and change in this leveled Co-reader, perfect for parents and kids to read together. Through vibrant, adorable images and expert-vetted text, you’ll glimpse some of the most amazing metamorphoses in the natural world.
Books about Butterflies
Not only are bumblebees adorable and incredibly important pollinators here in our world, they also dance! Do you know about the bumblebee waggle dance? Dive into these books about bumblebees and you will never look at these insects the same way:
The honeybee, Kirsten Hall. With zooming, vibrant verse by Kirsten Hall and buzzy, beautiful illustrations by Isabelle Arsenault, this celebration of the critically important honeybee is a honey-sweet treasure of a picture book.
I Am a Bee, Rebecca McDonald. A sure sign of Spring is when we see bees flying flower to flower, buzzing and humming, busy with work. “I Am a Bee” takes children, preschool, kindergarten, and first-grade, on a journey of learning the importance of bees in the world we live. Watching a bee for a few seconds, it’s easy to see where the term ‘busy bee’ comes from. They work nonstop building and taking care of their colony.
Willbee the Bumblebee, Craig Smith and Maureen Thomson. Willbee the bumblebee is so embarrassed when he realizes that his black-and-yellow jacket has caught on a rose thorn and completely unraveled, showing his bare bum! With help from Monica the butterfly and Steve the spider, Willbee recovers his jacket and is back to buzzing around the garden in no time.
Bees, National Geographic Kids, Laura Marsh. What’s that buzzing around? It’s a busy bee! With beautiful, engaging, and authentic photos, and accessible text, kids will learn all about these incredible insects in this level 2 reader.
Buzz, Bee! National Geographic Kids, Jennifer Szymanski. Bzzz! Learn all about honey bees in the next pre-reader from National Geographic Kids! Through text features such as a vocabulary tree and a wrap-up activity, kids will be introduced to new words and concepts — helping them expand their understanding of the world.
Books about Birds for Preschoolers
Head out on any nature walk and look up. No doubt you will see birds overhead, and quite likely a quiet nest or two as well! What if you could peek inside that nest? What might you see? Come on a journey to learn all about eggs, nests and birds, with these fun and sweet books:
The Little Book of Backyard Bird Songs, Andrea Pinnington. Being able to identify a bird’s song is a skill that brings joy and fosters an appreciation of nature. Learning how to differentiate between the songs of a house finch and a goldfinch, however, is not easy. That is where this enchanting book comes into its own. It features recordings of twelve bird songs from some of the best-known garden bird species seen and heard across North America.
When Spring Comes, Kevin Henkes. Before spring comes, the trees are dark sticks, the grass is brown, and the ground is covered in snow. But if you wait, leaves unfurl and flowers blossom, the grass turns green, and the mounds of snow shrink and shrink. Spring brings baby birds, sprouting seeds, rain and mud, and puddles. You can feel it and smell it and hear it—and you can read it!
Little Kids First Big Book of Birds, National Geographic Kids, Catherine Hughes. This adorable reference introduces young readers to birds of all kinds: big and small, flyers and swimmers, colorful and plain. They’ll find backyard favorites, such as robins and cardinals and be introduced to more unique species that inhabit rain forests and deserts around the world. Bird behaviors kids can relate to, including singing, dancing, building, swimming, and diving, reveal fascinating insights into the avian world.
Hello, World! Birds, Jill McDonald. Told in clear and easy terms (“Peck, peck, peck! This noisy woodpecker is looking for food inside a tree trunk”) and featuring bright, cheerful illustrations, Hello, World! makes learning fun for young children.
Fine Feathered Friends: All about birds, Trish Habe. Bee hummingbirds, ostriches, flycatchers, chickadees, and bald eagles! Dick and Sally find themselves on a bird-watching tour led by the Cat in the Hat. After a quick lesson on just exactly what a bird is, they go motoring around the world to observe our fine feathered friends in their natural habitats
Books about Seeds and Flowers for Preschoolers
Pop on out to the garden and let those little ones breathe in all of the amazing scents as they take in those beautiful sights! Then grab one of these books to help deepen their understanding of seeds, plants, and flowers:
I Can Grow a Flower: A lift-the-flap book, DK. Teach your child how a tiny seed grows into a flower in this fascinating lift-the-flap garden story. A pullout height chart ends the book–a great way for children to remember how a sunflower grows, and to measure how fast your child grows, too! Through illustrations, photography, and flaps, sixteen delightful board book pages reveal the wonder of how plants grow as you follow the story of a mystery seed
Zinnia’s Flower Garden, Monika Wellington. Springtime is here, and Zinnia can’t wait to plant her seeds and watch them grow. She carefully takes care of her garden, watering her plants, weeding, and waiting patiently for something to sprout. And soon enough, the first seedlings appear!
Seed to Plant, National Geographic Kids, Kristin Rattini. Kids see plants, flowers, and trees around them every day. In this lively and educational reader, they’ll learn how those plants grow. Kids will take this magical journey from seed pollination to plant growth, learning about what plants need to thrive and grow with the same careful text, brilliant photographs, and the fun approach National Geographic Readers are known for.
Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt, Kate Messner. Up in the garden, the world is full of green—leaves and sprouts, growing vegetables, ripening fruit. But down in the dirt there is a busy world of earthworms digging, snakes hunting, skunks burrowing, and all the other animals that make a garden their home
The Tiny Seed, Eric Carle. Eric Carle’s classic story of the life cycle of a flower is told through the adventures of a tiny seed. This mini-book includes a piece of detachable seed-embedded paper housed on the inside front cover. Readers can plant the entire piece of paper and watch as their very own tiny seeds grow into beautiful wildflowers.
And there you have your summer books for preschoolers. I hope you and yours enjoy learning all about the beautiful, natural world of ours this summer.
And don’t forget to grab your copy of Summer Camp at Home to make this the best summer yet.
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