A Beach Tail
written by Karen Lynn Williams and illustrated by Floyd Cooper
(Boyds Mill Press) 2010
Source: Mebane Public Library
Gregory and his dad are spending a day at the beach. Gregory has drawn a "sandy lion" and wants to put a tail on it by walking down the beach. His dad gives his o.k. with the following instructions, "Don't go in the water, and don't leave Sandy." As he walks down the beach drawing a tail, Gregory encounters several things associated with the beach including a jellyfish, a sand castle, a horseshoe crab, and a ghost crab. When he hears a loud "ROAR", Gregory looks up to notice that he is next to some rocks and he has lost sight of his father. By not leaving Sandy and retracing the tail he has drawn, Gregory finds his way back to Dad.
With A Beach Tail, you have the combination of an author building a rhythm without rhyming and illustrations that display several different viewpoints of an expressive Gregory's journey down the beach. The angle of each wonderful illustration is joined together nicely with what is happening in the text. This makes for a great inference lesson (Why did the illustrator choose to draw Gregory from this angle?). With younger students, you could do a circle map and ask what they know about the beach. Then you could read the book and see how many items were in the book.
For additional teaching ideas, click on this link to a PDF created by Karen Lynn Williams.