Sunday, July 2, 2017

The Seashore Book - 25th Anniversary

The Seashore Book
written by Charlotte Zolotow; illustrated by Wendell Minor
2017 (Charlesbridge)
Source: Review copy provided by the publisher

We sit at the edge of the water and build a castle of wet sand until the waves wash up and suck it back to the sea. The cold water makes your skin feel like peppermint, and you are tired.

It would take me about three hours to drive to the Atlantic Ocean. My family and I have taken many trips over the years. The proximity of the Atlantic Ocean is something that I take for granted. Talk to a classroom of children in my area and I bet you will find several who have never seen the ocean. For any child that has not experienced the wonders of a day at the beach, The Seashore Book should be shared with them. In the book, a young boy, a mountain dweller, has never seen the sea. His mother takes it upon herself to describe the experience. Early in the morning, the mist changes colors several times before the sun comes shining through. When you dip your hands into the water, you will find shells and maybe a small animal like a clam.
Building sand castles and watching gulls overhead are part of the adventure. As you lay down on a towel early afternoon, the sound of the waves puts you to sleep and sandpipers race by you. Later in the afternoon, you parry with small crabs and see a small airplane fly low overhead. The wind starts feeling cooler and the sun begins to set. 

The writing in The Seashore Book is like a master class in how to describe a place:

The wind is getting cooler. Long purple streaks of clouds are forming in the sky. The fishing pier we pass is white as a snowfall with hundreds of crying seagulls waiting for the fishing boats to come in when the sun sets.

I recommend using it to talk about setting and how good writing can create visuals for a reader. A mini-lesson on similes (claw prints like pencil lines in the sand) can also be taught from this book. I also really like the illustrations with detailed animal drawings and beautiful landscapes. Transported by gorgeous writing and artwork, The Seashore Book is a delightful day at the beach. 

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