In this newest installment in the Being in the World series, Japanese collaborators Konagaya and Saito offer a lovely account of a day in the life of a child at the beach.
Cover art depicts pudgy toes scrunching down into the sand, and the book opens to a first-person, stream-of-consciousness text detailing the child’s seaside experience. It’s never clear whether this child is a boy or a girl, but this doesn’t matter, as from page to page those feet from the cover art feel the heat of sun-baked sand, the coolness of the ocean waters and the hard pressure of a seashell underfoot. Succinct, moment-by-moment narration delivers the child’s experiences in brief snippets of text that exult in the sensuous experiences of the surroundings. Throughout, Saito’s pastel illustrations make the most of cool and warm shades to convey the juxtaposition of water and sand and sun, while spontaneous linework depicts the exuberance of the child’s movements and the ebb and flow of the sea. Together, words and pictures combine to create a slice-of-life picture book that is more about setting than character and less a story than it is a mood piece.
A quietly sublime depiction of a child at play by the sea. (Picture book. 2-6)