105 Ways to Give a Book

Last Chance Beach Book Round-Up

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.

BeachIf 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.

Bats at the BeachFor 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.

FlotsamAlways 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 StoneOne 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.


Susan said...

Love that Bats on the Beach, MR! I'm drawing out the summer as long as I can, too. We've still got marine books galore around here. I loved Eli Cooper's Beach book as well, but the offspring did not. Oh, well.

Are you beaching it this week? I need to get to the Atlantic to see some real waves--not that I'm complaining about our Long Island Sound waves, but still.

Kelly Fineman said...

Great roundup -- September is starting to loom large, isn't it?

MLight said...

I looked at Flotsam in the bookstore, and it's a wonderful book! I just have to figure how whom to give it to when I buy one...

Liz said...

I am so glad to see the National Geographic series get its due. We have a few of these titles and I always find the illustrations beautiful and detailed and the info appropriate for the young picture book set.