From a Star Knights tale to Two Dogs making mischief while their owner is away, EW recommends some recent children's books to keep your child occupied as summer starts to wind down.
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Ah to be a kid in late summer: last-minute trips to the beach, outdoor playdates and alllll the ice cream. But it's also a great time to fit in a few more summer reads. EW recommends 7 recent releases to keep young bookworms occupied during the last lazy days of the season.

Two Dogs by Ian Falconer
Credit: Michael di Capua Books

Two Dogs by Ian Falconer

After the best-selling success of the Olivia series, author Ian Falconer knows exactly how to get little ones giggling. He does it again with his charming new picture book, Two Dogs. Bored dachshund brothers, Perry and Augie, are trapped inside their house while their owner is away. But will they let something as simple as a locked door spoil their backyard fun? Of course not! While cautious Augie tries not to get them into too much mischief, the irrepressible Perry dives headfirst into it, whether that means going swimming in the pool or digging an enormous hole in the yard. Kids will no doubt laugh along with these raucous doggies' hijinks.

Pigeon and Cat by Edward Hemingway
Credit: Christy Ottaviano Books

Pigeon and Cat by Edward Hemingway

A heartwarming tale of a homeless cat whose unlikely friendship with a baby pigeon helps build a community where all are welcome, Pigeon and Cat is a gentle introduction into the complex issue of housing insecurity. Told in a way that is easy for children to understand by author and illustrator Edward Hemingway (grandson of Ernest), the story centers on Cat, who has been alone for as long as he can remember and is suspicious of anyone who comes near the cardboard box he lives in. But when he discovers little Pigeon, his world becomes a lot warmer and more colorful — and together they make a home for all the strays just like them.

Llama Rocks the Cradle of Chaos
Credit: Henry Holt and Co.

Llama Rocks the Cradle of Chaos by Jonathan Stutzman, Illustrated by Heather Fox

A little thing like eating a birthday donut at the wrong time unleashes timey-wimey trouble in the hilarious Llama Rocks the Cradle of Chaos. The third book in this delightful series follows Llama on another misadventure, this go-round involving a pair of time-travel pants, a delicious donut with extra sprinkles, and an irate Baby Llama that wants his birthday treat back after his adult self accidentally eats it. Llama eventually realizes his mistake and resets the donut timeline but not before he gets Baby Llama a whole new set of friends to grow up with. Both the colorful illustrations and the deadpan wit make this an adventure kids will want to relieve again and again. 

The More You Give by Marcy Campbell, Illustrated by Franccesca Sanna
Credit: Knopf Books for Young Readers

The More You Give by Marcy Campbell, Illustrated by Francesca Sanna

If you've ever read The Giving Tree and questioned the lessons it might be teaching, you might want to add The More You Give to your bookshelf. Marcy Campbell's picture book depicts how the nurturing spirit of a family turns their love for each other into a veritable forest over the generations. Accompanied by beautiful illustrations by Francesca Sanna, Campbell's moving and poetic prose encourages children to think not only about the love they receive from their families but the love they give them in return.

The Baby-Changing Station By Rhett Miller and Dan Santat
Credit: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

The Baby-Changing Station by Rhett Miller, Illustrated by Dan Santat

If your older child is having trouble adjusting to a baby sibling, The Baby-Changing Station might get them to see the family's addition in a new light. James is no fan of his baby brother Joe, who takes all his parents' attention and just stinks – sometimes literally. But when the baby-changing station at the local pizza joint gives him a magical opportunity to change his brother into something cooler like a pair of guitars or night-vision goggles, James realizes that being a big brother might be the better adventure in the long run. Miller's rhyme scheme and Santat's imaginative illustrations make The Baby-Changing Station an entertaining and surprisingly touching read. 

Mimi and the Cutie Catastrophe
Credit: Graphix

Mimi and the Cutie Catastrophe by Shauna J. Grant

This adorable graphic novel by Shauna J. Grant is perfect for any little cutie, especially if they live for glitter, rainbows, and adventures with their favorite stuffed animal. Though Mimi is as cute as a button, she's tired of being disregarded because of it. She wants to prove that she's also smart and strong. Her magical toy puppy Penelope tries to help by making Mimi a superhero, a teacher, and a cool kid, but Mimi realizes that none of these roles fit as well as being herself: getting messy, helping her neighbors, and proving her smarts. Her newfound self-confidence might be the cutest thing of all.

Star Knights by Kay Davault
Credit: Random House Graphic

Star Knights by Kay Davault

In Kay Davault's graphic novel, swamp-dwelling frog Tad dreams of being one of the mighty Star Knights but the other animals in the forest are suspicious of his amphibian nature. He finds a friend in another ostracized mud dweller, but when he finally becomes a Star Knight and meets the mysterious Star King, he's still too ashamed of his froggy past to realize the Star King's true identity. When the peace of the forest and the safety of his friend are threatened, he not only has to overcome everyone else's prejudice but his own in realizing that he can be a hero too. Plot twists will keep kids reading as they follow along with Tad's tale. and his struggles will help them question how their own internal prejudices might be holding them back.

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