cover image A Day for Sandcastles

A Day for Sandcastles

JonArno Lawson, illus. by Qin Leng. Candlewick, $17.99 (48p) ISBN 978-1-5362-0842-9

The team behind Over the Shop offers a wordless story about a long, wonderful day at the seashore. A pink-skinned family of five, first seen aboard a sleek bus, tumble off at a beach stop and hurry toward the water. While the adults pitch an umbrella farther up the beach, the children find some sand mounds near the ocean’s edge and begin building. Ignoring one of the adults’ advice to move back from the waves, Leng shows the three reinforcing their castle with an ocean-side berm. But the tide is inexorable, and after a windblown hat takes out a turret, a big wave flattens the rest. After lunch, the children begin again, more inland, patiently building until a toddling child, then the creeping tide, topple their creation. They’ve got the routine down now, though, and by day’s end, they’ve built one that just might last. Leng’s long views of the beach toggle between the sweep of sea and sky and an ever-changing community of friendly beachgoers (sharp-eyed readers may spot some friends from Over the Shop), while Lawson creates a portrait of the best kind of childhood learning curve—slow, cooperative, independent, and made with little more than sand and water. Ages 4–8. (May)