cover image The Long Weekend

The Long Weekend

Troon Harrison, Michael Foreman. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt P, $14.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-15-248842-0

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)