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At the Beach

At the Beach

by Elizabeth Spurr, Manelle Oliphant (Illustrator)

During a day at the beach, a young boy digs in the sand and makes a sand birthday cake, then loses it to the waves. His mother distracts him with a picnic and he falls asleep at the end of a full and happy day.


During a day at the beach, a young boy digs in the sand and makes a sand birthday cake, then loses it to the waves. His mother distracts him with a picnic and he falls asleep at the end of a full and happy day.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Spurr and Oliphant wrap up a board book trilogy that began with In the Garden and In the Woods. Like its predecessors, this book is built around succinct phrases; in this case, they follow a boy’s day at the shore. “Dig/ Fill/ Pat/ Bake/ Boy makes.../ a birthday cake,” writes Spurr as Oliphant uses gentle textures to suggest the rippling ocean and sandy beach. Although the boy’s sand creation proves temporary, it’s clear that his mother’s love is anything but. Ages 1�3. Agent: Natalie Fischer Lakosil, Bradford Literary. (May)
Children's Literature - Marilyn Courtot
How wonderful—a day at the beach. The young boy depicted in these penciled illustrations seems to be the only one playing on this beautiful stretch of sand. He has a pail and shovel along with a dump truck. He uses the pail to "bake" a cake and decorate it with shells and sticks. What he did not count on was the tide and the waves coming closer to his creation. "Splash! Crash! It is gone and he starts to cry. In the meantime, his mother has opened the picnic basket and set out a lunch. He enjoys his snack and then it is time for a nap. He dreams about his day at the seashore and the book ends with words similar to those that opened it. The two words per page do an excellent job of describing what is happening. Likewise the illustrations carry the story and set the scene. The boy's expressions reflect what is happening at any given moment. My only negative comment is that the boy's head seems to be out of proportion in relation to his body. It was a bit of a put off for this reviewer. Reviewer: Marilyn Courtot
School Library Journal
PreS—Using succinct rhymes, this sturdy board book details a boy's day at the seaside. Situated on the water's edge, he intently digs in the sand with his spade to fill a bucket. Carefully, he pats and overturns his bucket to "bake" a cake. He adds sticks in place of candles and a ring of shells at the base to fashion a pretend birthday cake. Soon after, the tide comes in and devours it. Tears are quickly wiped away when Mom calls him for lunch, a nap, and dreams of the beach. The gentle scenes are depicted in watercolor and pencil, with one or two words per page, e.g., "Dig," "Fill," "Pat," Bake." This simple story will resonate with parents and children.—Laura Hunter, Mount Laurel Library, NJ
Kirkus Reviews
As in In the Garden and In the Woods (both 2012), a young boy enjoys life in the great outdoors. Here, he delights in a day at the beach. One, two or three words on each page make up the rhyming text: "Sun Sky / Shore Boy // Sand Pail / Spade Toy." The youngster makes a sand birthday cake with his shovel and pail, but an inevitable wave destroys it. His mother, nearby, comforts him with a picnic lunch and a "Lap Nap" as he dreams of the sea. Oliphant's soft drawings, which look to be a mix of watercolor and colored pencil, capture the flow of sand and water well, though beach-going children will wonder at the pair's solitude on this apparently perfect summer day. While the youngster was pleasingly more self-reliant and self-assured in previous offerings, his play and his interactions with the natural world continue to ring true. (Board book. 18 mos.-3)

Product Details

Peachtree Publishers, Ltd.
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.80(w) x 6.50(h) x 0.60(d)
Age Range:
2 - 4 Years

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