A Beach Tail by Karen Lynn Williams, illustrated by Floyd Cooper
When Gregory drew a Sandy Lion in the sand on the beach, his father suggested that Sandy needs a tail. He also told Gregory not to go in the water and not to leave Sandy. Gregory drew a tail with his drawing stick. When he came to a jellyfish on shore, he draw a loop around it. He went up and over an old sandcastle. He zigzagged around a horseshoe crab. He swirled around the hole of a ghost crab. He wrote his name. Then he turned around and realized how far he was from his father! How could be find him on the huge beach? Gregory followed Sandy’s tail back to the beginning all on his own.
This is a story of a beautiful day at the beach combined with a boy’s imagination. The words use some repetition of the father’s instructions not to go into the water or leave Sandy. I also appreciate a book where a child moves some distance away from a parent with no fear and uses his own ingenuity to return safely.
It is the pastel illustrations by Cooper that really bring this book to life and raise it to another level. The entire book is done with the detail you see on the cover image above. Gregory’s face reflects his moods, his intentness, his creativity so clearly. The use of a fairly limited tan and brown palette really works here, uniting the boy and the beach without losing either one of them. The soft grainy illustrations capture the gritty feel of a sandy beach.
You will almost be able to smell the salt air with these illustrations. A vacation in a book, it is appropriate for ages 3-6.
Reviewed from library copy.