Noah’s Seal by Layn Marlow (9781536218510)
Noah is waiting on the beach, wondering when he and Nana can take a sail out to see the seals. Nana needs to fix the boat before they go, so Noah must amuse himself on the beach instead. He looks out to see to check for seals, but they don’t like to come in to shore. So Noah digs in the sand while thinking of seals. Suddenly, he notices the pile of sand behind him looks a lot like the body of a seal. Noah steadily works to make the sand look even more like a seal, giving it shape, speckles, whiskers, and eyes and mouth. The two lie on the beach together until Nana calls him because a storm is coming. The two take shelter in the boat under a tarp, but the sand seal is washed away. Nana tells him that the boat is fixed and they can head out to see the seals tomorrow, and that is when Noah sees his seal alive and near the beach. Surely they must take the boat out right now!
A delightful mix of wishful fantasy and the beauty of a day spent on the beach making something, this picture book is a summery joy. The relationship between Nana and Noah is evident right from the beginning, full of warmth and support, but also offering Noah plenty of space to amuse himself. The text is just right, offering a clear view of the setting while moving ahead as quickly as an ocean breeze.
The illustrations are just the right mix of sunshine colored sand and teal sea wave. Noah and his grandmother are Black characters. Noah’s seal is depicted in a way that makes sense for a child to have designed and built it. It’s simple and effective.
Perfect reading for a summery day, whether on the beach or not. Appropriate for ages 3-5.
Reviewed from copy provided by Candlewick Press.