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Gilbert, star of a number of perennial bestsellers, enjoys a fun-filled day at the beach.
As his family heads to the beach, Gilbert the possum knows he's forgotten something important. After perusing a book on sharks and jellyfish, his younger sister declares that she will not be swimming. When Mother reminds Lola about her brand-new swimsuit, Gilbert remembers exactly what he's forgotten. Of course, the cool "Surfer Dude" swim trunks that he finds at the beachfront shop are too large for him, but he's determined to have them. He's flattened by one wave and then, after one brief exhilarating ride on his boogie board, loses his trunks to another. He then joins Lola in the little pool that they dug in the sand and-impossibly-is filled with water. Like his oversize swim trunks, Gilbert's ambitions to become Surfer Dude are a bit too big to fit just yet. His adventures might also be a bit too small for a three-chapter beginning reader. Illustrated with average cartoon artwork, this dull title has little child appeal. Dori Chaconas's "Cork and Fuzz" books (Viking) make a bigger splash. Consider Surfer Dude if Gilbert has a following.-Neala Arnold, St. Francis Elementary School, MN