Rita and Whatsit At the Beach

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Rita and Whatsit are off to the beach! Rita is looking forward to flying her kite, building a sand castle, and sneaking up on Whatsit. Whatsit is looking forward to chasing crabs, eating sugary things, and lying in the sun. The day doesn't go quite like thatit's much more fun!

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Overview

Rita and Whatsit are off to the beach! Rita is looking forward to flying her kite, building a sand castle, and sneaking up on Whatsit. Whatsit is looking forward to chasing crabs, eating sugary things, and lying in the sun. The day doesn't go quite like thatit's much more fun!

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  • Rita and Whatsit
    Rita and Whatsit  

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Phyllis Kennemer
Rita and her dog Whatsit spend a day at the beach. Rita is exuberant in the beginning. She has a new swimsuit and lots of plans. She wants to fly a kite, go for a pedal boat ride, build a sand castle, and pretend she is Princess Bikini. Whatsit is not interested in any of those activities. His plans include chasing crabs, eating sugary things, and lying on the beach flat as a pancake. Then Whatsit disappears. Rita is worried. She looks around and spots a submarine coming through the water toward her sand castle. A battle between Rita and Captain Whatsit of the submarine ensues. The Captain wins and Rita must do his bidding, which includes providing him with a three-scoop ice cream cone and a donut with sugar. By day's end their roles have reversed. Whatsit leaves the beach happily and Rita is grumpy. Simple line drawings with splashes of orange color appear on white backgrounds. Originally published in French, the story will have universal appeal. Reviewer: Phyllis Kennemer, Ph.D.
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 1—Despite moments of inspired writing and appealing pictures, these two titles fail to make a smooth transition into English. In the first title, Rita is in a bad mood, despite it being her birthday. However, when one of her presents runs away, she discovers a talking dog that she names Whatsit and they have a good time. In the second book, Rita and Whatsit go to the beach with very different ideas of fun. After some creative play, there is a role reversal and a cleverly humorous ending. The illustrations are done in black and white with red accents. Rita is a round-headed, shaggy-haired, dot-eyed waif, and Whatsit is distinctly Snoopy-esque, with his large head, long black ears, and small body. The artwork is cartoonish and simple, with expansively white backgrounds containing little more than an umbrella, or a line representing the horizon. These books clearly owe a nod to Ian Falconer's opinionated pig, but something seems to have been lost in translation. The texts lack cohesiveness and have a habit of abruptly changing tense. While lines such as "Rita loves the beach./Whatsit the dog doesn't like it quite so much," matched with a picture of the pup lugging all of the beach gear, show true potential, these derivative titles ultimately miss the mark. The second is better than the first, so perhaps later titles will be worthwhile, but for now, pass on them.—Amy Lilien-Harper, The Ferguson Library, Stamford, CT
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780811865517
  • Publisher: Chronicle Books LLC
  • Publication date: 4/1/2009
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.30 (w) x 8.10 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Jean-Philippe Arrou-Vignod was born in Bordeaux, France. He is a teacher, editor, and the author of many books for children and adults. He lives in the suburbs of Paris.

Olivier Tallec has illustrated many books for children. He lives in Paris.

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