As the warm summer days draw to a close and teachers start preparing classrooms, I couldn’t help focusing on one more summer-filled picture book, choosing a Perfect Picture Book about a fun day at the beach. Enjoy!
Title: Sand Sister
Written By: Amanda White
Illustrated By: Yuyi Morales
Publisher/Date: Barefoot Books/2004
Suitable for Ages: 3-7
Themes/Topics: sisters; beach; imagination
One hot, bright summer day Paloma’s Mom and Dad told her, “We are going to a very special beach.”
Sure enough, when they got there Paloma thought it was the most beautiful place in the whole wide world.
Brief Synopsis: A young girl wishes for a sister to play with at the beach, and thanks to the magic of Old Daddy Rock, her wish is realized, but just for the day.
Links to Resources:
- Imagine a perfect day at the beach. Who would be with you? What would you do?
- Create sand art;
- Can’t travel to the beach? Grab a swim suit, towel and picnic, and head to a local pool, a backyard pool or sprinkler, or even your tub!
Why I Like this Book:
In Sand Sister, White combines imagination, art and magic in the form of Old Daddy Rock to create a sister, Sandy, for an only child, Paloma, visiting a beach with her parents. The two enjoyed a variety of beach pursuits, but, like real sisters, they also “became silly”, “started pushing each other”, and “went their separate ways”. Realizing that Sandy would disappear when the tide came back in, Paloma finds Sandy, apologizes, and the two part as friends. And while Sandy does, indeed, disappear with the incoming tide, Paloma learns that playing with and resolving disputes with her sand sister may be good practice for getting along with a real sibling.
I think that whether they are only children or have several siblings, kids will relate to Paloma’s desire for a sister and recognize the scenes of playfulness and anger. I think they also will enjoy the bits of magic that permeate the “special beach” where Paloma’s adventures occur.
Morales’ soft, acrylic paintings capture the movement of the waves upon the beach and the love reflected in the sisters’ eyes.
A Note about Craft:
The first line of Sand Sister had me hooked – I knew something special, something magical was about to take place when I read that this was a “very special beach.” While leaving the particulars of how the scene looked to the illustrator, White put the reader on notice that this was going to be a special day for Paloma, somehow. I was eager to learn more.
When I read Sand Sister and met Old Daddy Rock, I couldn’t help thinking of the magical beings in so many fairy tales, like the fairy godmother in Cinderella. As in a fairy tale, Old Daddy Rock is a magical being who grant wishes. His name conjures up images of ancient wisdom – seemingly as old as the rocks. But while Old Daddy Rock conjures Sandy into being for the day, it’s Paloma who first draws the image of a sister in the sand, thus showing the power of art & imagination in helping her dreams come true.
Visit Morales’ website to see more of her illustrations and books.
This Perfect Picture Book entry is being added to Susanna Hill’s Perfect Picture Books list. Check out the other great picture books featured there!