To celebrate his fifth birthday, James and his mother spend a long weekend at the beach. Each day, James plays in the sand, building roads, farmhouses and castles. Unfortunately, the luxuriously idle beach play that is so absorbing in real life makes for tedious reading: ``He sat down and began to build in the sand. First he built two long, thin hills, and in the valley between them he built a town. He put his fire engine in the fire station . . . '' James's sandscapes grow increasingly imaginative--unicorns and knights in shining armor arrive on the scene--but the story lacks momentum and purpose, leaving vague dissatisfaction in its wake. Pale, emotionally detached watercolors further sink this rather ordinary trip to the beach. Ages 2-6. (May)
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2-Three whole days at the beach with his mother sounds better than a picnic with friends or a ride on a camel to Michael, so for his fifth birthday he chooses The Long Weekend. Each day, he creates a new world in the sand, and each evening the tide erases it. From town, to farm, to castle, the boy constructs with increasing diligence and ingenuity while basking in the comfortable companionship of a ``Mommy'' who can share the gentle pleasure of his whimsical play. Harrison's text is deeply satisfying as well-crafted sentences flow forth, forming a fantasy as splendid as Michael's sand worlds. Foreman's mixed-medium illustrations have the watercolor wetness of sea spray, the warm sandy texture of pastels, and the precision detailing of pencil. Perfect for bedtime, nap time, or quiet sharing, this is truly a celebration of the imagination.-Jody McCoy, Casady School, Oklahoma City
Mother offers five-year-old James three choices for his birthdaya picnic with friends, a trip to the zoo, or a long weekend at the beach. He opts for the third choice, and the two set off for three lovely days by the sea. One day he builds a roadway for his cars and trucks in the sand; another day he creates a farm complete with a pond; and on the last day he constructs a castle and a moat full of pirate ships. Although the tide destroys his handiwork each evening, James does not mind, for his imagination is as boundless as his mother's reassuring approval. Harrison portrays a very healthy parent-child relationship; Mother never hovers or interferes with James' fantasies, but she's always close by, offering love and support. Foreman's soft watercolor paintings, which contrast the cool blue water with the warm yellow sand on this deserted stretch of Cornwall beach, complement the idyllic tone of the text. A gentle reminder that summer fun does not require crowds of people or great sums of money.