There are three things I know for sure about my five-year-old neighbour, Isaac: he enjoys visiting his grandparents’ cottage on Pigeon Lake, Alta., about an hour southwest of Edmonton, where we live; he’s an enthusiastic participant when I read picture books aloud; he has great conversational skills and likes to come to my house to talk. So, when I discovered some picture books for kids at our local library about going to the lake, I knew I had the ingredients for a summer activity he’d enjoy.
Sitting together on my back deck, we found out that not all cottage-themed picture books are appealing to a five-year-old kid. Some had stories that went on too long. Some had illustrations that weren’t that visually attractive. The books that Isaac liked best had delightful plots and characters, a kids’-eye view of the world, interesting language, and pictures that held a few surprises.