Review of A Day for Sandcastles

A Day for Sandcastles A Day for Sandcastles
by JonArno Lawson; illus. by Qin Leng
Preschool, Primary    Candlewick    48 pp.    g
5/22    978-1-5362-0842-9    $17.99

Two adults and three children take the bus to the beach and spend the day building and rebuilding sandcastles in this wordless picture book conceived by Lawson and brought to life by Leng (the team behind Over the Shop, rev. 3/20). Leng renders the beach in sunny watercolors and delicate, wispy ink lines that capture the movement of dune grass, waves, and sand in the wind. The pacing moves like waves, too, with panoramic double-page spreads alternating with pages of panels that zoom in on the action. Leng offers details that create an authentic setting and narrative while leaving room for child viewers to interpret the characters’ relationships to one another as they will. There’s a corresponding generosity in the rich array of people who surround the children, each involved in their own activities—­sunbathing, picnicking, running, playing. The narrative focus is on the three children and their sandcastles as, throughout the day, ocean waves, an errant hat, and a wandering toddler force reconstruction, each iteration growing ever more elaborate (and higher up the shoreline). The joy here is in the process and in the warmth of a happy day, and readers will enjoy being part of it until the evening tide forces the crew to pack up and take the bus home.

From the May/June 2022 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Adrienne L. Pettinelli

Adrienne L. Pettinelli is the director of the Henrietta (NY) Public Library. She has served on several book award committees, including the 2015 Caldecott Committee, and is the author of Helping Homeschoolers in the Library (2008).

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