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A Beach Tail Hardcover – February 1, 2010

5.0 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Starred Review. PreSchool-Grade 2—A charming tale of creativity and discovery. When Gregory draws a lion in the sand, his father suggests that it needs a tail and a name. As the child begins making a tail with a stick, Dad reminds him, "Don't go into the water, and don't leave Sandy." Although Gregory does not go into the water, his interpretation of not leaving Sandy is highly suspect. As he continues to draw the tail, it leads him a long way down the beach. Gregory winds it around a purple jellyfish, a sandcastle, a horseshoe crab, and more, until he reaches a jetty. He turns around and has lost sight of Dad, but fortunately is clever enough to follow the tail back past his landmarks, until he finds part of Sandy, whose body has been washed away. Gregory is happy and relieved to see his father sitting under the blue umbrella on the dolphin towel. The pastel illustrations use a soft, muted palette and have a grainy, beachlike feel to them. Cooper does an outstanding job of using perspective to underscore the immensity of the beach and sea. Gregory's facial expressions are full of wonder and curiosity as he finds small discoveries during his adventure. A wonderful summer tale to share one-on-one or with a group.—Anne Beier, Hendrick Hudson Free Library, Montrose, NY
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From Booklist

The titular tail refers here to a lion drawn in the sand by Gregory, an intrepid boy who, in extending the tail with a stick, winds up exploring a broad length of beach without quite disobeying his dad's directive to not wander away. As the boy goes further and further, he comes across such common seaside sights as a jellyfish, a crumbling sand castle, a horseshoe crab, and a ghost crab. Finally realizing the distance he has traveled, he traces his tail, with its swirls and zigzags, back past the objects he has found. Williams, who always takes readers on a worthwhile journey, accentuates her straightforward telling with the repetitive sounds of the shore (“Swish-swoosh”), which also punctuate Gregory's embellishments of the long tail. Cooper's warm, peachy-brown palette splendidly evokes the seaside setting, and his talent for expressive faces and texture (he won the 2009 Coretta Scott King Award for The Blacker the Berry) works to draw in viewers. A lovely collaboration suited for every collection. Preschool-Grade 2. --Karen Cruze
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 3 - 7 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 2
  • Lexile Measure: 470L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Boyds Mills Press (February 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590787129
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590787120
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 9.5 x 12.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #520,394 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

By Deb HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 24, 2010
Format: Hardcover
The ocean waves lapped the shore as Gregory stood with his father looking down at the lion he had just drawn in the sand. His father had asked if it was a "Sea Lion," but Gregory told him it was a "Sandy Lion," a lion without a tail. His Dad gave him specific instructions not to leave Sandy or go into the water while he "sat down on the dolphin towel under the blue umbrella." Gregory drew a tail on Sandy with his drawing stick and kept moving it along in the sand until he came to a dead purple jellyfish. He hadn't left Sandy because his tail was with him and he hadn't stepped foot in the ocean. "Swish-swoosh," the waves kept coming in and going out as he worked.

Gregory kept moving along the edge of the water. He dragged his body through an old sand castle, but was still attached to Sandy as he moved his drawing stick through the sand. His brown skin was becoming speckled with bits of damp sand. His adventure continued as he moved his stick this way and that around a horseshoe crab and then again around a little ghost crab. His eyes were wide with adventure and soon he wrote his nickname, "G-R-E-G," in the sand. He hadn't left Sandy, but "suddenly a wave snuck up onto the sand" and doused his toes. "Swish-swoosh," he had kept his promise, but after a while he couldn't see his Dad. What was Gregory going to do?

This nostalgic, gentle tale of a beach adventure will bring back memories and make the reader smile. Everyone can remember their own little "adventures" when they were children whether they were on a beach, traversing a field, or exploring a wooded area. I loved watching Gregory move along the beach and even though it seemed like he was traveling a long distance, his father was probably eying his movements during the little journey.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought this book for my grandsons (2 & 3 1/2) when we spent the week at a lake with a beach. The 3 1/2 year old especially liked it and had all the adults reading it to him probably 10 times a day. It is a very sweet story, helps kids think imaginatively, increases vocabulary, stay within limits, and solve a problem that might be fearful. So much learning in such a simple book. Plus I like that the illustrations are an African-American family, as I want my (white) grandchildren to identify with children of all ethnicities.
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My son and I enjoy reading this story about a little boy who visits the beach with his father. He has a great time using his imagination and exploring all of the sites on the beach. The illustrations are very cute and I just love that this is a father/son story.
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Good read before a beach trip!
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