Monday, July 24, 2006


BEACH by Elisha Cooper (Orchard)
"Away to the beach! Away to sand and salt water, to rolling dunes and pounding waves. Away to swimsuits and sunscreen, to lying on towels and listening to the sound of the ocean. As the day begins, the beach is empty waiting to be filled." So this wonderful book welcomes us, and we feel the white, waiting blank page behind every quick-sketch watercolor, a sketchbook lovingly, urgently filled in, trying to capture every small shell and crab claw, every splash and cloud, the bend of every sunbather's knee and wrap of towel. Fast, faceless but form-filled studies against vast white backgrounds create focus, and this illustration style is a great tool for art teachers to teach children (and aspiring illustrators) how to look, really look at something. I enjoyed Cooper's droll ode to a lazy cat, MAGIC THINKS BIG (Greenwillow) published in 2004, but this latest offering really kicks it up a notch. This book was so hot it made me want to put on sunscreen. I hope it will not be overlooked for Caldecott consideration. (5 and up)

Also of interest:
With a heat wave sweeping across the country, I think it's time we hit the beach
(bikinis optional, thank goodness)! All week long we're going to get wet and wild in bibliophile-style via recommendations and crafts suitable to the season. For those of us lucky to live close to an ocean or lake, reading can be held along the shoreline, but folks without such a luxury can still enjoy reading without the harmful UV rays! Break out the beach blankets, big umbrellas and sunglasses to create a big splash, even if it's just spread out across the living room floor or alongside a wading pool in a backyard.
Remember, if you do take books to the beach, you may want to put them in gallon-size ziplock bags to keep them in good condition.

Here are a few titles to tuck in your beach tote:

THE GREAT WHITE MAN-EATING SHARK: A CAUTIONARY TALE by Margaret Mahy, illustrated by Jonathan Allen (Penguin) (5 and up)

HOW WILL WE GET TO THE BEACH? by Brigitte Luciani, Eve Tharlet (NorthSouth)(3 and up)

MAISY GOES SWIMMING by Lucy Cousins (Candlewick)(3 and up)

FROGGY LEARNS TO SWIM by Jonathan London, illustrated by Frank Remkiewicz (Penguin)(4 and up)

DOWN TO THE SEA WITH MR. MAGEE by the retro-fabulous Chris Van Dusen (Chronicle)(5 and up)

THE OWL AND THE PUSSYCAT by Edward Lear, illustrated by Jan Brett (Penguin)(some gorgeous Carribean beach artwork!)(4 and up)

And another new one, a New York Times bestseller offering up what happens on the sand after the sun goes down: BATS AT THE BEACH by Brian Lies (Houghton Mifflin)(5 and up)

Hold on to your hats and visors, there's more to come!

Links are provided for informational use. Don't forget to support your local bookseller.


Anonymous said...

One thing I love about How Will We Get to the Beach?: The kidlet has a pacifier that isn't remarked upon--even though the kidlet is, maybe, just a bit old for a binky. Surely there are some 2-year-old readers who appreciate the book for that detail alone.

Anonymous said...

I'm making a list for our elementary school library. You are so right reading is power. I've spent the summer reading kids books. I have a beach one for you. It's called, "Owen & Mzee" Owen is a baby hippo and Mzee is a 130 year old tortoise. They met after the tsunami of 2005.


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