Tag Archive: beaches


Feet Go to Sleep by Barbara Bottner

Feet Go to Sleep by Barbara Bottner, illustrated by Maggie Smith

In a house on the beach, Fiona doesn’t want to go to sleep. She’s had such an amazing day that she doesn’t want it to end! But she is just a little tired after all that they’ve done. As she climbs into bed, she starts with her toes, telling them to go to sleep. She tells her feet next, remembering how they loved stomping in the waves. Then come her knees that had held her strong on the sand as she build a castle. Her legs are the next to go to sleep, after spending the day running. Her tummy ate lots of berries during the day and goes to sleep too. Fiona works her way all the way up to her ears, eyes and mouth, until finally her mind is quiet enough to sleep.

With a proven technique, Bottner demonstrates a way that children can calm themselves at bedtime by both taking control of their body and mind but also celebrating the day that they have had. The book shows the technique clearly rather that teaching it to the adult separately. This approach to bedtime is simple and calming, creating moments where child and parent can share what they found joy in during their busy day. Fiona’s mother stays with her for most of the process, but leaves as Fiona finishes on her own, shutting her ears and eyes to the activity around her and drifting gracefully off to sleep.

Smith’s illustrations use an inset image to show in the large portion of the picture the grand and sunny day that Fiona has experienced and then in a smaller and darker image Fiona putting a body part to sleep that matches the activity of the larger picture. The book shines with the joy of a beach vacation captured in all of its wild colors and sun. Yet at the same time it is an immensely soothing book with its focus on quiet and calm.

A bedtime book that just might result in actual sleep! This picture book shows a different way for parents to approach bedtime wiggles. Appropriate for ages 3-5.

Reviewed from digital copy received from Edelweiss and Knopf Books for Young Readers.

lulu and the dog from the sea

Lulu and the Dog from the Sea by Hilary McKay

Released on March 1, 2013.

This second book in the Lulu series continues the story of Lulu, a seven-year-old girl who loves all kinds of animals.  In this story, Lulu goes on vacation by the seaside with her parents, her dog,  and her cousin, Mellie, who is also seven.  At the seaside, they stay at a small cottage and Lulu quickly finds out about a stray dog who has been living off of garbage along the beach.  Lulu sets out to make friends with the dog, but no one else is enthusiastic.  Mellie just wants to build her kite, Lulu’s mother just wants to read the stack of books she brought along, and her dad wants to work on his running.  But Lulu knows that this stray is actually a very special dog, she just has to convince the rest of them.

McKay has a knack for creating characters and experiences that read as vibrantly true and honest.  In her books, there are lost kite bits, sand tracked into the house, trashed garbage cans, and too many shopping trips for forgotten items.  At the same time, there is also the love of a dog, a family that truly spends time with one another, and the success of plans coming together in the end, perhaps not exactly as planned.  As with her previous books, I have always wanted to live in a McKay novel in the midst of the loving mess.

I must also mention that this is an early reader series featuring a modern family of color.  Nothing is made of this fact in the stories.  It is just there, not a plot point, just a fact.  It’s handled with a matter-of-fact nature that I wish we saw more of in books for children.

A great addition to this growing series, the second Lulu book is sure to please fans of the first and bring new fans to the series too.  Appropriate for ages 6-8.

Reviewed from digital copy received from Albert Whitman & Company.

beach feet

Beach Feet by Kiyomi Konagaya, illustrated by Masamitsu Saito

Released June 12, 2012.

This picture book is a trip to the beach along with a very exuberant little boy.  There are salty breezes, hot sand, cool water, and plenty of sun.  The little boy races to get to the water, surprised by the heat captured in the hot sand.  That quickly turns to relief upon reaching the cool, wet sand.  Then the waves come in, cold and big, tickling around toes as the water recedes again.  It leaves behind a revealed shell, something for the boy’s toes to find.  Then there are more waves, floating in the ocean, and even more sun. 

Konagaya’s very short text is a delight.  The translation from the Japanese is successful, keeping the quiet yet excited mood of exploring a beach.  It offers just enough context to share the pleasures of the ocean without getting in the way at all, making it ideal for very young listeners.

The illustrations by Saito are rich and deep.  They move from playful exuberance to quieter moments.  The bright yellow of the sunshine, the cool grey of wet sand, the blue of the waves.  This art captures the beach perfectly.  It has a wonderful fluidity to it, captured most effectively in the skin of the child that flows from oranges and pinks. 

A successful look at a day at the beach that is perfect to share with toddlers, this book should come along with a shovel and pail.  Appropriate for ages 2-4.

Reviewed from copy received from Enchanted Lion Books.

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