Aside from the ubiquitous “NO!” few toddler phrases are more beloved than the expansively useful “Uh-oh!”
And with the exception of a single sea gull’s “Awwk!” this titular phrase is the only one to be found in this charming tale of sand and sun. A gleeful toddler twosome and their color-coordinated moms, all Caucasian, head for the seashore, buckets and blankets in hand. In nearly wordless double-page spreads, each minor disaster (wet sunglasses, a naughty sea gull, dropped and forgotten items, etc.) is met with an “Uh-oh” and then a happy turnabout. Eventually the two are accidentally drenched by a rogue wave, but instead of tears, there are their mothers, ready with warm, dry towels. The succession of pint-sized marvels and disasters is on such a small scale that only the most timid of hearts could find any real worry in the tale. Barton’s pencil sketches give the storytelling its heart, her two heroes perpetually wide-eyed, and the occasional jolt of realism (waterlogged diapers have a distinctive look all their own) is as bracing as the sea air.
Though there are as many “Uh-oh” books out there as there are fishies in the sea, this petite charmer is a fine addition to the beach-time shelf. (Picture book. 2-5)