cover image Beach Play

Beach Play

Marsha Hayles. Henry Holt & Company, $14.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-8050-4271-9

In this cheerful book, a debut for both author and artist, a dexterous poem about a family's day at the beach provides a staccato, rhymed accompaniment to the gently prankish humor and skewed perspectives of energetic acrylic illustrations. The round-faced heroine and her spotted dog (not mentioned in the text) dig holes in the sand (""Smacking/ Packing/ Sandy/ Stacking""), they have lunch (""Blanket spreading/ Picnic lunching/ Sandwiches made for/ Beachy munching""), and after a long day in the sun they fall sound asleep in the back seat of the family car (""Backseat nesting/ Ocean gleaming/ Seaside resting/ Beach day dreaming""). Although the slim plot alone might not sustain a wiggly reader's interest, Takahashi embellishes the text with plenty of wave-drenched action, and Hayles briskly propels the narrative with infectious rhythms and unpredictable language. Young readers will especially enjoy the endearing spotted dog, who not only borrows a red Frisbee from a napping canine but earnestly enters into every activity. A choice summertime read. Ages 3-7. (May)