♦ The wonders of a winter walk.
This charming outing delights in many ways. First, the entire story is told with s-words, adjectives, verbs, and nouns: scruffy, slosh, and, best of all, standstill, as the two beachgoers, an adult and a child, encounter something special. Read more closely, it’s a poem with a pleasing rhythm and repetitions and a balanced, grammatical structure (explained further in an afterword). The text sits directly on full-bleed illustrations with just one or two lines to a spread, sometimes only a word. Pacing is also indicated with ellipses and page turns. “Slow steps—shuffle, straddle, saunter…sand” take the pair to the beach. Later there’s a “Steady step, solid step, shaky step…stumble,” and finally “Swift steps—scamper, scuttle, scurry…shower” before bedtime. Lechuga’s illustrations, done in an appropriately wintry, bleached-out palette, add depth and detail. The two have pale skin and straight light and darker brown hair for child and adult respectively. They dress appropriately for a cold winter walk. The adult’s A-shaped figure suggests possible pregnancy. The child carries a doll, which also wears a knitted cap. The beach they visit is full of wonders. Most astonishing are the crabs—who return, in this well-rounded tale, in a shared bedtime story. The winter landscape and changing sky are carefully depicted with added watercolor textures. One striking scene is a spread full of seabirds taking off as the girl approaches. “Super!”
Splendid for storytimes or snuggles.
—Kirkus Reviews, starred review
♦There’s snow on the ground and a chill in the air, so it’s obviously a perfect day for—the beach? Any season can be spent seaside with an adventurous spirit and the right clothing, so a white mother and her daughter bundle up and wander down to the windswept water’s edge. The child takes a similarly bundled doll on the adventure, and the beach is empty of humans but full of other fun: shells and seaweed, terns and tidal pools. A sudden slip and splash see the child and doll soaked in seawater, but a cozy tub and story time await at the end of the marvelous, chilly day. Trevino tells the entire story in spare, poetic text, with every carefully selected word beginning with the letter S. It’s a wonderful conceit, and the sibilant goodness manages to tell a full tale by way of clever punctuation and a limited vocabulary: “slow steps—shuffle, straddle, saunter . . . sand,” it reads as the pair heads to the beach, “Slip . . . splash . . . sink . . . soaked!” as the doll falls into the water. LeChuga’s captivating illustrations, a splendid mix of digital drawings and watercolor textures, evoke both the vast emptiness of a beach in winter and the activities to be found there upon closer inspection; a teeming tidepool is particularly striking. It’s just the thing for a wonderful, wintery read-aloud.
—Booklist, starred review
An ode to the joys of a walk on a winter beach, told entirely in words beginning with the letter s. Pictures in a mix of digital and traditional mediums show a parent and child, doll in tow, bundling up before heading out for their walk and then reveling in the wintry seaside experience, with its sand, snow, seaweed, and surf. The child examines shells, runs after a flock of seagulls, and explores a tide pool with unlooked-for consequences, as the doll falls in (“Slip. . . splash. . . soaked!”) and must be rescued (“Stretch. . . snatch. . . squeeze. . . saved!”). The text is a nice mix of propulsive word chains full of action and description, and moments of welcome pauses (“Standstill”). Scenes inside their cottage after day is done are cozy (“Sweatshirt, slippers, supper. . . story”) and in thoughtful harmony with the setting, with the sleepy child being read a book called The Brave Crab and beach-themed pictures hanging on the walls. Full of incident and sensory experience, this is a satisfying and rewarding small adventure. A note on the use and arrangement of the words used in the text, and the beginnings of a list of things one might find on a beach in winter, complete the book.
—The Horn Book