July 27 – Dog Days of Summer

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About the Holiday

So here we are in the hottest days of the summer – the dog days. Despite how it sounds, though, this period between July 3 and August 11 is not focused on those poor pooches panting on porches. Instead, it comes from the Romans and relates to the star Sirius—the dog star—which rises with the sun during midsummer. Sirius is the brightest star in the night sky, and the Romans believed that the hot, humid days were caused by Sirius combining its heat with that of the sun. No matter what the meaning or circumstance, the Dog Days give us another holiday to celebrate!

And Then Comes Summer

Written by Tom Brenner | Illustrated by Jaime Kim

 

Summer days are like no other days during the year. Full of light and the kind of weather that entices you to stay outdoors, the months of June, July, and August hold promises of beauty and fun. Every day and every place welcome summer in their own way and invite new adventures. “When the days stretch out like a slow yawn, and leaves and grasses sparkle with dew, and the cheerful faces of Johnny-jump-ups jump up…THEN throw on flip-flops and breathe the sweet air.”

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Copyright Jaime Kim, 2017, courtesy of jaimekim.com

In those flip-flops you’ll run past buzzing bumblebees, flying warblers, and Dad mowing the lawn to your bike. Pump up the tires, raise the seat, put on your helmet, and take off! When the sun stays up past bedtime “and crickets crick-crick in the evening air, and bugs as big as thumbs bang against windows…” then it’s time to play games until night falls.

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Copyright Jaime Kim, 2017, courtesy of jaimekim.com

When every day is a play day and you’re out running and jumping or at the beach, and you hear that “familiar jingle,” you know the ice-cream truck is on its way. Then race your friends “to be the first in line” to choose your favorite icy-cold treat. “When the dog days of summer roll around, and it’s so hot you’re practically panting, and not even the sprinklers provide relief…THEN it’s time to head to the lake.” On the way, watch the world go by through your open window. Feel the breeze and enjoy the smells, sounds, and sights of the trip.

As you approach the familiar vacation spot where “the silver lake winks through the trees, and old friends run to greet you…” then it’s time for swimming and tents and roasted marshmallows while you tell stories and “plan tomorrow’s adventures.”

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Image opyright Jaime Kim, 2017, text copyright Tom Brenner, 2017. Courtesy of Candlewick Press.

Tom Brenner’s tribute to the wonders of summer reflects that free and easy feeling that vacation months bring to kids. The little moments that become favorite memories are all here, recorded in Brenner’s lyrical and evocative pages. The rhythm and repetition play out like the best summer days—some, nuggets of individual joy and others, building to the excitement of eagerly anticipated vacations.

Jaime Kim transports kids to backyards, main streets, lemonade stands, and finally a shimmering lake in her sun-drenched illustrations of kids enjoying the freedom of summer. Readers can almost hear the shouts, sprinkler spray, running feet, fireworks, and crackling campfire as they turn the pages to join Kim’s enthusiastic kids in their summertime romps.

And Then Comes Summer is a joyous book to share with kids during summer or any time of the year.

Ages 4 – 8

Candlewick Press, 2017 | ISBN 978-0763660710

Discover a portfolio of illustration work by Jaime Kim on her website!

Dog Days of Summer Activity

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Flip-Flop Flower Pots

 

Have you outgrown your flip-flops from last year? You can turn them into fun plant holders with just a few buttons and mounting squares! Paint the pots with your own designs to make your hangings even more unique!

Supplies 

  • Small flip-flops with elastic heel backings
  • Decorative buttons
  • Glue or needle and thread
  • Small plastic flower pots
  • Paint for decorating the pot (optional)
  • Flower or plant
  • Dirt
  • Mounting Squares

Directions

  1. Plant the flower or plant in the flower pot 
  2. Decorate the straps of the flip-flops with the buttons. You can glue them on or sew them on with a needle and thread
  3. Place the flower pot into the flip-flop, letting it rest on the toe separator and securing it with the elastic backing
  4. Attach mounting squares to the back of the flip-flop to hang.

Picture Book Review

June 17 – Flip-Flop Day

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About the Holiday

Nothing says “casual” like a pair of flip-flops! These open-toe, open-back, open-side (you can hardly call them shoes!) shoes have been trending since 4000 BC with no limits in sight! Flip-Flop Day was initiated by Tropical Smoothie Café. Customers wearing flip-flops receive a free smoothie and the Café also uses the day to raise money for Camp Sunshine, which offers respite and support to children with life-threatening illnesses and their families. Today if the weather’s warm slip on a pair of flip-flops and head out for a casual day at the beach or on the town!

At the Beach

Written by Anne Rockwell | Illustrated by Harlow Rockwell

 

A little girl with a yellow pail and red swimsuit and her mom who’s carrying a tote and umbrella head out for a day at the beach. They find a spot to lay their striped and polka-dot towels and plant their blue-striped umbrella. Waiting in the tote is their lunch—two foil-wrapped sandwiches, two peaches, and a thermos of lemonade.

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After the little girl is covered in nice-smelling sunscreen, she follows a line of sandpipers, adding her footprints to theirs in the wet sand. For her bucket she finds different types of seaweed and a variety of shells. She joins a group of kids playing among the dunes. “I build a castle with my shovel and pail. The boy next to me digs a channel where his boat can float,” the little girl says. The girl ventures out into the shallow water where “a little crab tweaks my toe” and “little silver fishes swim past me.”

The girl likes to “walk past the lifeguard station to the big brown rocks” to look for barnacles, snails, and muscles. She and her mom then swim in the waves near a drifting seagull. Back on land, the girl lies on her towel and lets the sunshine dry her off “until it is time for lunch.”

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Like the best laid-back days, Anne Rockwell’s classic At the Beach takes a tranquil, unhurried look at a mother-and-child seaside outing. For young children the straightforward, but lyrical text will evoke happy memories of their own beach experiences; for children who don’t live by the ocean the story will pique their interest in the shoreline environment.  This book, anchored in universal details yet inviting imagination, will soon become a favorite.

Harlow Rockwell’s sweet drawings of the little girl enjoying all a busy beach has to offer will captive young children. Scenes of a diverse group of children playing in the sand, a stalwart sea gull afloat on the current, a parade of scurrying sandpipers, and even the up- close look at scavenger hunt finds and the always welcome lunch engage all of a child’s senses. The clean lines and soft colors of the sand, sea, and sky contribute to a book as lovely as a sun-drenched beach.

Beach Day Scavenger Hunt Idea: At the Beach would be a wonderful take-along on any beach outing. Take a stroll along the shore and see if you and your child can find the shells, seaweed, sea creatures, and other seaside sights in the book.

Ages Birth – 8

Aladdin reissue edition, Simon & Schuster, 2016 | ISBN 978-1481411349

Flip-Flop Day Activity

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Flip-Flop Plant Holder

 

Flip-flops don’t only have to be for your feet! With this easy craft you can make a sandal-ightful way to hang succulents and other light plants on walls or even windows!

Supplies

  • Child’s flip-flops with elastic heel straps
  • Buttons or charms
  • Small plastic, terra cotta, or ceramic solid-bottom pot
  • Small plant
  • Dirt
  • Hot glue gun
  • Heavy duty mounting strips
  • Small shovel or spoon

Directions

  1. Place the flip-flop toe down on your work surface. With the hot glue gun, attach the buttons to the plastic toe straps of the flip-flops.
  2. Add dirt to the pot
  3. Add plant to the pot
  4. Slip the pot into the elastic strap and gently push down so it is also supported by the plastic toe straps
  5. To hang, use appropriate weight mountable strips.
  6. To make an interesting and attractive arrangement, use various sizes of flip-flops