Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey. Written and illustrated by the author of another beloved classic, Make Way for Ducklings, this is the story of a young girl who goes blueberry picking with her mom and the mix-up that occurs when they meet up with a mother bear and her cub. Too busy eating as many blueberries as her little hands can pick, Sal mistakenly ends up following the mother bear up Blueberry Hill. The same goes for the bear cub. The looks on the mothers’ faces when they turn around and discover an unexpected little one is hilarious. Not to worry. All ends well in this sweet tale. The offspring, human and animal, end up with their rightful mothers and come home with their tummies and pails full of berries.
The Grey Lady and the Strawberry Snatcher by Molly Bang. This wordless, offbeat book tells the story of a mysterious old woman (The Grey Lady—interestingly, she is literally all gray except for her face and hands), who is followed by an extremely odd-looking blue-skinned creature that is intent on snatching her strawberries. Sinister and stubborn, the creature follows her into a swamp and then a forest, where she tries to lose him by blending into the gray background. There is a suspenseful chase, but eventually she eludes him and makes it home with her strawberries. As for the Strawberry Snatcher, he discovers a bush full of blackberries and is soon happily occupied tasting the juicy morsels of fruit. This is the type of book that invites countless “readings.” Every time children look at the illustrations, they’re likely to discover strange new details. And because there are no words, readers are free to make up their own explanations.
Jamberry by Bruce Degen. If you can’t decide which berry is your favorite, this is the book for you. A boy meets a bear in a forest, and his new friend takes him on a fantastical berry-picking adventure. They fill a canoe with blueberries and ride over a dam. They dance merrily with strawberry-hued ponies and lambs. Led by a duck conductor, they ride on a train filled to the brim with blackberries. Their destination: Berryland, which is populated by raspberry rabbits and elephants skating on raspberry jam. The illustrations are filled with images of luscious berries of all kinds and tucked here and there are details that young children will delight in discovering (marshmallows grow by the river like reeds, round crackers float on the water like lily pads, toast bloom on trees). The nonsensical text is just as delightful. Full of repetition and rhyme, it’s great fun to read out loud (“Quickberry! Quackberry! Pick me a blackberry!”). If your pint-size berry-lovers are anything like mine, they’ll soon be reciting the verses back to you in no time.
Can you think of other books that feature summer fruit? What’s your favorite?
Want to keep up with my reviews, and all of Barnes & Noble’s exclusive reviews, author interviews, videos, promotions, and more? Please follow us on Twitter: @BNBuzz!
You must be a registered user to add a comment here. If you've already registered, please log in. If you haven't registered yet, please register and log in.