From Publishers Weekly
This rhyming picture book about the pleasures of a day at the beach gets off to a rocky start. "Hello, ocean,/ my old best friend./ I'm here,/ with the five of me, again!" read the opening lines, but only four figures appear on the page. It may take repeated readings for youngsters to understand that the "five of me" refers to the girl's five senses--despite the bold type for words like "hear" and "sounds" (though, curiously, in the first verse, "I see the ocean,/ gray, green, blue,..." the word "see" is not in bold). Ryan's (Amelia and Eleanor Go for a Ride; Esperanza Rising) descriptions of the seaside are strongest when she sticks to concrete examples of the child's experience: the look of "amber seaweed,/ speckled sand,/ bubbly waves that kiss the land" and the feel of "squishy,/ sandy,/ soggy ground,/ slippery seaweed that wraps around." Her metaphors, on the other hand, sometimes become abstract ("I hear the ocean,/ a lion's roar,/ crashing rumors/ toward the shore"). Astrella's (The Desert Alphabet Book) acrylics on airbrushed paper take on an almost photographic quality. His sun-washed shades vary in intensity from the subtly blended blues and greens of the surf to a range of beach-ball tones: the orange of a seagull's feet, the pinks and purples of a bathing suit and the fire-engine red of a picnic cooler. Ages 3-8.
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Ages 4-7. This picture book, a splendid celebration of the ocean, is a stunning combination of scientific fact, poetry, and artistic talent. Photographic clarity, brilliant colors, and detail born of familiarity with the ocean characterize Astrella's acrylic paintings, which build on the rhythms and energy of Ryan's expressive rhymes. A young girl relates her experiences at the beach to her five senses. Through her perspective, the briny milieu will become real--even to children who have never paid a visit to the sea: "I see the ocean, gray, green blue, a chameleon always changing hue. . . . I hear the ocean, a lion's roar, crashing rumors toward the shore. . . . I touch the ocean and the surf gives chase, then wraps me in a wet embrace. . . . Sandy grains in a salty drink are best for fish and whales, I think." The girl's stay at the beach comes to an end on the book's final page. Other little ones are more fortunate. They can flip back to the beginning of the book and experience the beauty and mystery of the ocean all over again. Ellen MandelCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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