It’s a perfect beach day for four kids on an outing.
The sky and ocean are the bluest of blues, and the sand is golden. Following application of sunscreen, the children play in the waves, float on inflated beach toys, and search for “pebbles, seaweed. / Shells to grab” before scooping up a crab. They lick ice cream treats and build an elaborate sand castle complete with moats and boats before taking a rest and exchanging smiles. All is harmonious, and even the toppling of a scoop of ice cream has a happy ending when one child generously shares theirs with the other whose treat is in the sand. Each spread contains one or two lines of a rhyming couplet, often with alliteration, sounds, and action words (“Floating left and bobbing right— / SPLISH! SPLASH! JUMP! Hold on tight!”), but inconsistencies in stress pattern and number of syllables per line make reading aloud awkward. Two adults, a black woman and a white man, chaperone the children, but their relationship to the multiracial group of children and to each other is unclear; they could be as easily interpreted as a nuclear family or a group of friends and neighbors. Most of the cartoon-style illustrations show the children facing readers, with the children’s eyes cut sharply to the left or right, awkwardly indicating interaction among the children.
An active beach day without the usual rhythm and sparkle of the waves. (Picture book. 3-6)