Now, I though that I had done a post about these four books together, but I was sadly wrong. I did write about each separately, but they should be seen one more time before summer totally ends. So that I can put up something quickly before I head to the beach again tomorrow, here are my four favorite beach books of last year. Enjoy.
If you are a beach lover, then you will find your comfort zone in Beach, by Elisha Cooper. In the softest watercolors, a day at the beach is laid out in little pictures on each page. It’s not a book about plot, but about mood, and it totally captures the laid-back, lazy days at the beach with a hundred things to see. People, clouds, seashells, waves, portrayed and celebrated in all their many variations. Pages filled with twenty different tiny pictures are followed by a full, wordless, two-page spread. Simply a beautiful summertime book.
For a funny take on the seashore, look to Bats at the Beach. It’s a cute book, but it’s more than just cute. There are the legs sticking out from the marshmallow to be toasted on a stick. There’s the image of the bats flying to the beach with their tote bags and umbrellas (for the moon, I guess) gripped in their feet. It’s the picture of the bat buried in the sand and the bat friends making a bird sculpture out of him. The text is cute, but the pictures are very, very clever. And very, very fun.
Always the king of the Weird-Ass Picture book, David Wiesner has done it again with the wordless picture book Flotsam. It starts off as a simple beach story, with a boy finding an old-fashioned camera in the waves. He takes the film to be developed and sees an amazing and surprising underwater world in the pictures. He also sees a picture of a boy holding a picture of a girl holding a picture of a boy... and so on. He realizes that he has to continue the tradition of the camera, takes his picture holding the picture, and throws the camera back to sea to continue its journey. Incredible illustrations made this the Caldecott Winner last year.
One White Wishing Stone, by Doris K. Gayzagian, is the story of that search for the perfect gifts from the sea. The little girl finds many treasures in her path that will be familiar to all beach goers. While the elusive starfish is found in a tidal pool, she is also impressed with the eight skate egg cases she finds on the sand. Having never seen skate egg cases represented in a picture book, despite having seen them all over the beach, I am impressed with the things that the author chose to highlight of the beach experience. One White Wishing Stone is a counting book with simple if lovely text. The illustrator, Kristine Swarner, brings you along on this lazy, lovely day on the beach. Look at the cover with the little girl beckoning you into the waves. Don’t you want to go now?
There may still be time to get yourself to the beach this summer though I am a strong advocate of hitting the Southern east coast in September for a more serene visit. If you can’t make it, or want to relive those pleasant days when the tide ruled your day, pick up one of these wonderful books.