Tag Archive: beaches


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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