cover image The Boy on the Beach

The Boy on the Beach

Niki Daly. Margaret K. McElderry Books, $16 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-689-82175-2

Daly (Jamela's Dress, reviewed below) summons the sights and sounds of a summertime outing through sun-washed watercolors and keenly tuned language. A boy and his parents arrive at the shore, where it's ""hot as sun-melted tar in the beach parking lot,"" and soon little Joe is frolicking happily in the sand and water. Venturing beyond the high dunes, he loses sight of his parents and panics, but a lifeguard finds him and carries him piggyback to the Lost and Found, where his mother and father await. The prose is packed with descriptions that appeal to the senses, from a lifeguard ""cool as a coke and copper-tanned"" to sand dunes that ""rise like monster waves,"" and slips easily into casual rhyme (e.g., ""Sandy toes... sun-cream nose... camera smile--click! And off he goes...""; ""castle bashing, sea-pool splashing, surf crashing--wet, wet, wet...""). The spreads sprawl like a beach towel, with generous white space that mimics the bright sunshine of a peak summer day. Daly maintains a rigorous visual pace by varying broad vistas of busy seashore activity with close-ups, such as Joe ""kangaroo jumping"" down the shore. He perfectly represents the sheer glee that blossoms at the prospect of a fun-filled day of sun, sand and surf. Ages 3-7. (May)