cover image Jules vs. the Ocean

Jules vs. the Ocean

Jessie Sima. Simon & Schuster, $17.99 (48p) ISBN 978-1-5344-4168-2

When Jules’s big sister bounds into the ocean, boogie board in tow, Jules makes plans to impress her via “the BIGGEST... FANCIEST... MOST EXCELLENT castle that has ever been built.” Believing that “Maybe the Ocean will help!” she starts building right at the water’s edge. But the sea seems determined to thwart her; its waves take not only her castles, but her green-handled bucket, too. Her sister assures her that the pathetic fallacy is all in her imagination (“This happens to everyone”), and together they collaborate on a giant, shell-studded free-form castle that meets all of Jules’s criteria. After the ocean sends what seems to be the biggest wave of all crashing into it, the sisters share a moment of devil-may-care elation, dramatically recounting the events to their mother. Sima (Spencer’s New Pet) fills her pages with humor: the waves that initially take out Jules’s castles look comically sinister, and when the girl loses her bucket, her prone, face-down expression of defeat is worthy of Charlie Brown. The forces of nature and impermanence may be beyond our control, but Sima finds the funny in it. Ages 4–8. [em]Agent: Thao Le, Sandra Dijkstra Literary. (June) [/em]