This week — ten gracefully-aging books celebrating summer at the beach.
a beloved Frank Asch favorite
Sand Cake, written and illustrated by Frank Asch originally published in 1978; this edition 2015 by Aladdin
One of my favorites from when my kids were small, this story shines with imagination and warmth.
Baby Bear and Papa Bear concoct one clever, make-believe Sand Cake, while Mama Bear provides a scrumptious alternative. Soooo imaginative and affectionate. A bunch of Frank Asch’s old titles are being republished. My advice: Scoop them up! Ages 2 and up.
a pleasant Swedish beach story
Will Goes to the Beach, by Olof and Lena Landström originally published in Sweden in 1992; English edition 1995 by R&S Books
Will and Mama are heading to the beach in this carefree, comfortable tale from the team giving us the Pim stories.
After a long bike ride, they finally arrive just in time for the rain to start. But does that stop Will and Mama? Not a bit! A briefly told, calm & happy story of seashores and swimming and picnics. Ages 2 and up.
heading down under for an Aussie holiday
Greetings from Sandy Beach, written and illustrated by Bob Graham published in Australia in 1990; first U.S. edition 1992 by Kane/Miller Book Publishers
Quintessential Bob Graham goodness here, with this marvelously-average family jaunting off to the beach for a couple of days.
Carsickness. A motorcycle gang. A busload of schoolkids. Difficulties with tent set-up. Graham excels at making the mundane feel as endearing as it truly is. Enjoy this sweet, funny glimpse of real family life, with ages 4 and up.
off to the Oregon coast with Grandma
Grandma Summer, written and illustrated by Harley Jessup published in 1999 by Viking
Young Ben is being whisked off to spend time with his grandma at her old cottage on the shore. Ben is not a fan of this plan.
It doesn’t take long, though, for the simplicity and beauty of this place, and the moxie and joy of his most excellent grandma, to capture Ben’s heart. A delightful, warm, and refreshing read for ages 4 and up.
British beach superheroes, up next
Traction Man and the Beach Odyssey, written and illustrated by Mini Grey published in the UK in 2011; first U.S. edition 2012 by Alfred A. Knopf
If you haven’t met Traction Man yet, you’ll want to make his acquaintance. He’s a small action figure whose best pal is his pet Scrubbing Brush. Together, these two have some mighty adventures.
This time it’s off for a holiday at the beach where they encounter underwater creatures, accidentally wash out to sea, and meet some dollies named Beach-Time Brenda! Funny and action-packed, with a bit of a Toy Story feel, for ages 5 and up.
a tender toddler tale from Helen Oxenbury
Tom and Pippo on the Beach, written and illustrated by Helen Oxenbury published in the UK in 1992; first U.S. edition 1993 by Candlewick Press
Tom and Pippo are some of Helen Oxenbury’s most enduring and endearing characters. If you have toddlers, you should seek out some of these little books; they’ll be loved to death.
In this episode, Tom and Pippo (his snuggly monkey) spend a day with Dad at the beach and have some interesting encounters with hats. Extremely simple and simply perfect, for ages 1 and up.
sheer craziness, along the coast of Maine
Down to the Sea with Mr. Magee, written and illustrated by Chris Van Dusen published in 2000 by Chronicle Books
Chris Van Dusen’s electric-bright illustrations, bursting with vigor, sunshine, and pandemonium will draw anyone into this wild tale.
Magee and his faithful dog Dee are heading out to sea for a pleasure ride when they run amok with a pod of whales and Whoa Nellie! — does the day ever turn out unexpectedly! A blast of crazy adventure and humor, for ages 4 and up.
one helpful chicken at the beach
Lottie’s New Beach Towel, written and illustrated by Petra Mathers first published 1998; this edition 2001 by Aladdin Paperbacks
Lottie the chicken receives a cheerful new beach towel — cherry red with white polka-dots — just in time for her beach picnic with her pal, Herbie.
And what a handy towel it turns out to be! Find out all its fortuitous uses including saving the day for a beach wedding, in this perky little story, for ages 2 and up.
town mouse and the country mouse — the beach sequel
Charlie and Tyler at the Seashore, written and illustrated by Helen Craig published in 1995 by Candlewick Press
From the illustrator of the darling Angelina Ballerina books comes this second episode in the lives of Charlie, the country mouse and his cousin, Tyler, the town mouse.
This time they’re off to the beach and what a lot of adventures await them! Far too many for Charlie’s tastes. Boat rides, toy theaters, and a peckish spell in a seagull nest! Home sweet home never felt so good. Ages 4 and up.
an epic adventure for some kittens, courtesy of John Goodall
The Surprise Picnic, a wordless book by John Goodall published in 1977 by Atheneum
No one does wordless quite like John Goodall. With his half-page turns that change the scene and advance the story, and his adorable small creatures in their charming English environs. Fantastic.
It’s a beautiful day and Mama Cat is taking her kittens on a picnic. Off they row across the bay to a secluded beach where they spread out the tea and tarts. That’s when the surprises begin however, as the most extraordinary sequence of adventures unfolds! Will this trio ever return to their comfy home? A treat for ages 2 and up.
More beach and summer titles are listed in the Subject Index under Seasons — Summer.
Why not beat the heat with some lemonade and a good book!