Tex, a captivating children’s book by Dorie McCullough Lawson, features a boy and his big imagination. With stunning photographs and simple words, Luke, who lives near the ocean, dreams of being a cowboy on a cattle ranch.

In Luke’s dream, he’s Tex, a little cowboy who works hard all day long. With his cowdog Sue, and his horse Thunder, Tex checks fences with Cowboy Jim. He irrigates the land, rounds up the cows, plows the fields, and takes a little rest at the end of the day.

The rich photographs make this story irresistible. Each page makes you feel what Tex feels while you experience his western adventure. You’ll want to ride the open range, sleep in the bunkhouse, and steer the tractor. On the last page, the story ends with a sweet good-night that shows it was all a dream. “It’s been a long day for a cowboy. So long, Tex.”

Would you ever guess that nonfiction can be so much fun?

Playful Early Learning:


  • Look at the picture on the cover
  • Talk about Tex, his clothes, rope, and boots
  • Find the cow in the distance


  • Read aloud slowly, and pause after each picture
  • Repeat some wonderful words such as ranch, bunkhouse, irrigates, fence, and herd


  • Look for details in the pictures, and name what you see
  • Find the day-to-day activities on a working ranch

While walking in the neighborhood with my daughter, we noticed a grandma pushing her granddaughter in a stroller. Birds swooped in and out of a large oak tree nearby. Baby was captivated. As she squealed and pointed to the birds, Grandma knelt beside the stroller, looked high, and named them all, including ravens.

“Oh, look, there’s a cardinal. Look, another cardinal. The red cardinal is the daddy. The orange cardinal is the mommy. There’s a blue jay, too. And the big, black birds are ravens. Look, there’s a raven flying to the pine tree.”

Grandma and baby were bird watching and loving it. My daughter and I joined in the fun. We couldn’t wait to see the next bird fly out of that old oak tree.

“There’s another blue jay! Oh no! Another raven. It’s black.”


picnicIn this new children’s picture book by renowned author and illustrator John Burningham, Boy and Girl go out for a picnic. Along the way they meet Sheep, Pig, and Duck.

“Come and have a picnic with us,” said Boy and Girl.
So they all went to find a place to have their picnic.

But soon they see Bull. And Bull started to chase them! Duck, Pig, Sheep, Boy, and Girl run to the woods to hide. They cleverly peek out from behind trees and Burningham invites the child reader to find them. “Can you find Boy, Girl, Pig, Sheep, and Duck?”

After Bull goes away, Boy, Girl, and the animals come out to have their picnic. They play in the sun until it’s time to head home and find their beds.

Burningham’s playful, bright paintings bring lovable characters to life. What’s more, Picnic is interactive. Children are encouraged to find objects easily hidden in the pictures. “Can you find Sheep’s hat? Can you find Pig’s ball? Duck’s bed?”

Perfect for reading aloud, this hunt-and-seek tale captures the outdoor fun that children love. Here’s a storybook that’s sure to become a favorite.

Playful Early Learning:

• Ask your child what she sees on the front and back covers. Be sure to find the three animal friends!
• Check out the inside cover. Name what you see.
• As you read aloud, point out the details in every picture.
• Discover the objects hidden in the pictures.
• Talk to your little one about picnics. Plan your own special lunch. Set a date. Plan the food. Pack a basket.