cover image Stringbean's Trip to the Shining Sea

Stringbean's Trip to the Shining Sea

Vera B. Williams. Greenwillow Books, $18.99 (48pp) ISBN 978-0-688-07161-5

Stringbean Coe and his older brother Fred take a long trip from their home in Jeloway, Kans., to the Pacific Ocean, riding in Fred's ancient truck, which has a little house built on the back. And like most travelers, they take pictures and send postcards home to their parents. In an unusual scrapbook format, the Williamses integrate the Coes' memorabilia into a portrayal of their trip across the country. The first postcard, depicting Mr. Moe Junkologist of 100 Acres of Automotive Junk, includes the information that the boys didn't leave on time: they stopped to buy a hat and a spare tire. Next come photos Stringbean has taken and more postcards, all highlighting the trip: a visit to a mining town where their grandfather grew up, a circus packing up camp and, ultimately, the ocean. The choice of format, the illustrations full of winning details (the stamps alone invite closer inspection) and the convincingly childlike letters blend together and create an absorbing travelogue. All ages. (April)