2015 BookPage Summer Reads
Nothing says summer like a trip to the beach. Getting there is a breeze thanks to the trio of picture books featured below. Each of these seaside stories offers easy escape—just crack the covers and dive right in. No travel necessary!
AN UNEXPECTED VACATION GUEST
Duck’s Vacation by Gilad Soffer features a curmudgeonly main character in need of some R&R. Duck hits the sand, ready to relax (beach chair: check; tropical bev: check), but soon discovers he’s in the presence of an unwanted guest—the reader! Feathers ruffled, Duck grumpily instructs his audience to quit flipping pages and leave him in peace.
But Duck’s out of luck. The reader can’t resist the impulse to continue the tale, and as the story progresses, so do the disruptions to Duck’s day. There are boys playing ball, a gamboling dog and—uh-oh—accumulating clouds. “It can’t possibly get worse,” says Duck. But more surprises are in store, making this a holiday he won’t forget. Soffer’s pencil drawings are at turns vivid and bright, soft and impressionistic. This bird may have a prickly personality, but readers will love him anyway.
DIP WITH DINOS
Cordelia, her little brother and their prehistoric pals return in Molly Idle’s delightful Sea Rex. This time around, the hijinks are set beachside, where Cordelia sports a classy hat and chic shades and her brother is in full-on pirate gear. Their dino buddies serve as more than sufficient lifeguards—hovering, attentive and HUGE.
As usual, T. Rex manages to steal every scene. After a nap beneath an inadequate umbrella (with little brother snoozing on his belly), he creates supersize waves in the ocean. Idle’s dinosaurs—lumbering, bumbling and full of good intentions—are indisputably adorable. Her colored-pencil drawings feature clean, pure colors and display an ingenious use of proportion and scale. T. Rex roars on!
VERY BLUE WHALE
Cale Atkinson’s To the Sea is an appealing tale of friendship between two unlikely chums. Tim feels invisible—he’s a solitary lad in a dreary, rain-filled world. One day, he comes across Sam, an enormous whale who’s trapped on land, out of his element and all alone. Tim befriends the blue behemoth and vows (pinkie-swears!) to get him back to the ocean. Tim hatches various plans to help Sam until finally finding an idea that works. With persistence and courage, boy and whale make it to the beach, where life is decidedly brighter.
Atkinson’s inventive illustrations include cool typefaces and collage-like spreads that feature Tim in a citrus-orange rain slicker. This ultimately sunny story about loyalty and the importance of keeping promises is (almost) as good as a day at the beach.