Is there anything better than mud? OK, when you were a kid, was there anything better than mud? If you're still not convinced, here are some titles that may remind you of the real "dirt" on mud.
"Dirt on My Shirt," by Jeff Foxworthy with illustrations by Steve Bjorkman
"There's dirt on my shirt and leaves in my hair. There's mud on my boots, but I don't really care." Thus begins Mr. Foxworthy's examination of the elements of a great childhood. Through his poems, he expresses the joy of being young and free of the self-imposed burdens that adults too often succumb to. A book to remind moms and dads to be like the young ones occasionally and don't sweat the small stuff. And don't worry about getting a little dirty.
"Dirt Boy," written by Erik Jon Slangerup with illustrations by John Manders
Can one ever be too dirty? Heck yes! Fister Farnello has gotten so dirty, his own mother doesn't recognize him. But, hey, with a little of Mom's love (and 23 bars of soap, 16 bottles of shampoo, 179 gallons of bathwater, 44 million bubbles and 11 tubes of toothpaste), it will all come out in the wash.
"I'm Dirty," written by Kate McMullan with illustrations by Jim McMullan
Imagine handling dirt for a living. That's what the backhoe in this story does. When he wants to play, he doesn't let cleanliness get in his way. He not only handles dirt and mud but trash. This sequel to "I Stink" is a countdown to good, but slightly soiled fun.
"Dirty Gert," written with illustrations by Tedd Arnold
You are what you eat. So what if you eat dirt? Gert does. She loves dirt so much that mud pies are actually an edible treat to her. But then she begins to have some unique digestive problems. Can her parents save her from a rather peculiar transformation? And if they can't, can they still love her? Or at least remember to water her occasionally?!?
"Mud," by Mary Lyn Ray with illustrations by Lauren Stringer
Mud, good old plain dirty, muddy mud. The kind that mashes between your toes and collects under your finger nails. Mud. This tribute to the simplest of elements is also a rather sneaky way of teaching the seasons to young readers.
"Dirty Cowboy," by Amy Timberlake with illustrations by Adam Rex
Of course, once you get dirty, you do eventually want to come clean again. That's the idea this cowboy had when he told his dog to watch his clothes while he went to the swimming hole to get clean. He got clean but he needed a better watch dog, cause by the time he finds his clothes, it's going to be time for another bath. A story that's not only relevant to this summer's theme but to bath times in general.
Summer is almost here. Time for playing in the mud. Time for going to the beach. Time for summer reading.
This year the summer reading program is all about mud and dirt. The theme for children is "Dig Into Reading," for teens "Beneath the Surface" and for adults "Groundbreaking Reads." The library not only has plenty of books on these themes but great programs to go with them. For the first time, registration can be done in the library or online beginning June 3.
For more information, please call or visit the children's desk in your local library branch. Check out our website www.beaufortcountylibrary.org for summer reading updates.
Scott Strawn is youth services coordinator for the Beaufort County library system.