CASTLES IN THE SAND by Crockett Johnson


Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW one of those elusive storylines. Two children write simple words in the beach sand. Each time, a wave rolls in and leaves behind what they've written -- bread, milk and jam. They get ambitious. They write "KING." With the king thus produced, they discuss the nature of their gift with plays on the word "spell" and on the idea of the magic in words. They spell out and obtain for the king a kingdom and a horse. He rides off into his domain commanding them not to follow. They discuss his right to do this..It's his kingdom but it's their story. Before they can write a request for transportation in the sand, a wave wipes everything out and they're left with only a shell in which to listen to the sea. This symbolic, subtle presentation of the wizardry in words, the nature of fiction and an author's tenuous control when a powerful story takes over, etc. is a difficult concept to get across in any case. It is not clear here. Some of the illustrations are effective in their use of line and color. About a half dozen showing the children's faces are done in a style that suggests Coloring Book Modern. To complete the symbol hunt -- what do you suppose that final wave is? Reviewers splashing cold water?
Pub Date: March 4th, 1965
Publisher: Holt Rinehart & Winston
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1st, 1965


ChildrenHAROLD AND THE PURPLE CRAYON by Crockett Johnson
by Crockett Johnson
ChildrenMAGIC BEACH by Crockett Johnson
by Crockett Johnson