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Comment: This book has already been well loved by someone else and that love shows. It MIGHT have highlighting, underlining, be missing a dust jacket, or SLIGHT water damage, but over-all itâ?TMs still a good book at a great price! (if it is supposed to contain a CD or access code, that may be missing)
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Magic Beach Hardcover – October 1, 2005


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Frequently Bought Together

Magic Beach + Harold's Fairy Tale (Further Adventures of with the Purple Crayon) + Harold's Trip to the Sky
Price for all three: $29.29

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 and up
  • Grade Level: Preschool and up
  • Lexile Measure: 430L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 64 pages
  • Publisher: Front Street; First Edition edition (October 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1932425276
  • ISBN-13: 978-1932425277
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 7.4 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #632,688 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. The publication of Johnson's (Harold and the Purple Crayon) deceptively simple story marks the debut appearance of this work in precisely the way Johnson conceived of it. (A version was published in 1965 as Castles in the Sand with illustrations by Betty Fraser.) Nel discovered the original dummy while researching a biography of the author. The ingenious book design plays up the feel of an artist's sketchbook, and the spare pencil sketches (with even the artist's erasures in evidence) on a beige background give readers the feeling of peering over the artist's shoulder. The drawings introduce young Ann and Ben, outlined in the expressive line that Harold fans will recognize immediately. The children have only to write a word in the sand and the item appears before them, making an intriguing play on the notion of spelling and spells. Musing that such things only happen in "stories about magical kingdoms," the pair proceeds to create just that, conjuring up a king, farms, castles and a horse, on which the monarch rides off to his kingdom, just as the tide rushes in. Maurice Sendak, a close friend of Johnson and his wife, Ruth Krauss, contributes an insightful "appreciation," and the afterword quotes a letter from Johnson describing the tale's debt to the Fisher King. Like all great stories, this one stretches well beyond the pages. All ages. (Nov.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From School Library Journal

PreSchool-Grade 2–First published in 1965 as Castles in the Sand with illustrations by Betty Fraser, Johnson's manuscript resurfaces here, accompanied by his original sketches. Two children, bored on a summer day, wander down to the beach and begin to write in the sand, only to find that the waves wash away their words and replace them with the objects they describe. They continue writing until they have created a magical kingdom complete with forest, castles, and a sad king. With strong allusions to the Fisher King myth, this is a sly reflection on the power of words and the line between real and imaginary worlds. Though the story was enthusiastically turned down by many publishers in Johnson's day as too oblique for young audiences, the characters' realizations (e.g., The king is still there, in the story….Hoping to get to his throne) are presented in a child-friendly way. The sketchy dummy illustrations, complete with erasure marks, lend a deep realism of their own. Though this package, complete with a foreword by Maurice Sendak and an afterword by Philip Nel, will mostly appeal to children's book aficionados, the deceptively simple story has undeniable child appeal as well.–Kathleen Kelly MacMillan, Carroll County Public Library, MD
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

More About the Author

Crockett Johnson (1906-1975) was the writer and/or illustrator of over 20 books for children, including his beloved classic HAROLD AND THE PURPLE CRAYON (Harper, 1955), as well as seven subsequent adventures starring Harold, and THE CARROT SEED, written by his wife, Ruth Krauss (Harper, 1945). He was also the creator of "Barnaby," one of the most popular comic-strips of the Twentieth Century. (A Barnaby selection appears in LITTLE LIT: STRANGE STORIES FOR STRANGE KIDS, Harper, 2001.)

Mr. Johnson received his art training at New York University and Cooper Union, and in his later years exhibited a series of geometric paintings, which were well-received by both the mathematical and artistic communities.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By E. R. Bird HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on February 13, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I've made a terrible mistake. Can there be such a thing as doing too much research on a children's book? It seems ridiculous, really. Especially since I write reviews for Amazon.com and not some high-falutin' literary journal like "Children's Literature In Education" or "The Lion and the Unicorn". When it came to the recent publication of Crockett Johnson's ridiculous and fascinating, "Magic Beach", however, I felt ill-prepared to review the puppy without a little background information on my side. Fortunately, this is one book with a pedigree that is easy to follow. From its famous (and long-dead) author to its Forward by Maurice Sendak to finally an Afterword by Crockett scholar Philip Nel, the story of how the book came to its present form is just as interesting as the tale it tells. The only problem now is that I almost feel I know too much about the title. With some difficulty I will try to parse what I know from what I think and hope it all comes out relatively coherant. This is by no means a book meant for children and one might wonder whether its existence as a purely historical document justifies such vast publication at all, but it certainly is an interesting little thing and a fairly nice read to boot.

Ann and Ben, two children, walk along a seashore from their cottage. Ann complains of boredom but Ben points out that stories are far more interesting when you go out and make them rather than stay inside and read them. In the course of their somewhat philosophical squabbling Ben happens to write the word "JAM" in the sand. A breaking wave floods the word and suddenly a silver dish full of jam appears by magic. Further experiments with "BREAD", "MILK", and "TREE" yield similar results.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Christine See on December 20, 2005
Format: Hardcover
i stumbled upon this book in the bookstore as i was shopping for a present and fell in love with it. it is a simple story about being a part of a story versus just reading a story, and can reach a large spectrum of readers. i would recommend this book for children above first grade though, the illustrations are beautiful but may not catch the attention of the younger readers.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By motlalekhotso on February 5, 2013
Format: Hardcover
My boy of four years and girl of six LOVED this book. She read it herself once, and then I read it to the two of them. I agree with the previous comprehensive reviewer that the drawings are sparse, but these sketches allow the reader to fill in the gaps with imagination and creativity. My kids kept interrupting me to point out what they guessed the author to intend. This sort of creativity and thoughtfulness pleased me to no end.

As far as the suggestion that this is NOT for children, I must respectfully disagree. Yes, adults can enjoy it on many levels that kids simply won't comprehend. Nevertheless, the open-mindedness that young children possess allows them to think of things that most adults never conjure up.

I'm simply shocked that this book is not more popular. We searched for it at the library one day, hoping to find something else by the author of Purple Crayon, one of their favorites. We were excited when we found it and thrilled now, after reading it many, many times.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By ThriftySpr on July 7, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Not a light read for little children, more recommended for higher-grade elementary schoolers. I had a hard time trying to keep my preschooler's interest during this read.
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By Maja P. Chapman on April 29, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My family just can't get enough of this book. My daughter reads this book to my son. It is easy for children to relate to this book.
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