The voice of experience (about alligators at school) this time deals with her inability to leave her beloved piano at home while visiting the beach.
Using her gift of hindsight, Magnolia clarifies for readers that “if your mom says to get ready to play at the beach, she means with a boat, or a Frisbee, or a shovel. / She is not talking about the piano.” Nonetheless, her mom doesn’t forbid it; she just tells her not to lose it. Once the piano is at the beach (a feat in and of itself) and it’s been tested to make sure it still works, Magnolia’s account quickly become reminiscent of If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, one thing leading to another. Her lunch break attracts some gulls, the gulls poop, and therefore it’s time for a bath. (!) And the scallop shell she comes home with? It makes a great boat, a solid Frisbee, and a nifty shovel, but it ain’t a piano. Magnolia’s voice is wonderfully childlike, describing how “your legs will get draggy” while pushing the piano to the beach, but her facial expressions top all, perfectly capturing both her exuberance and her mood swings. In the digital illustrations, Magnolia could be Asian (or maybe Latina); her mother and little brother are white, and she has a black baby sister.
A delightful demonstration of just one of many things not to take to the beach; the brainstorming possibilities are endless. (Picture book. 4-8)