Sly as ever (remember Troll Country?), Marshall has three kids on a beach entertain each other with stories between lunch and swim time. Lolly's story, from her reader, is judged dull--it's a bullseye parody consisting mostly of changes on the sentence ""The rat saw the cat and the dog."" Sam takes his turn with one about a rat who buys a cat for a friend, unaware of what cats like to eat--but readers will be more surprised than the rat by the ending. Spider, still scornful, scares the others with his story--about a monster from the sea that creeps up on three kids. For kids fed up with sweet easy-reading pap, a tangy alternative.