Book review: Think Like a Scientist at the Beach, by Dana Meachen Rau

Rau, Dana Meachen. Think like a Scientist at the Beach. (Science Explorer Junior series). Cherry Lake Publishing, 2011. 32 pgs. $28.50. ISBN 9781610801683. Ages 6-9. P7Q7

This is part of a series Science Explorer Junior. Each chapter takes a question such as, “Where does the water go?” and guides readers through the scientific process. Ask a question, talk about the science of it, such as evaporation, and create an experiment. Then it asks about the results the young scientist found. I found this to be a simple yet effective way to introduce how scientists attempt to figure things out, and invites us in to participate. The vocabulary also teaches by using scientific language, and the graphics are simple yet colorful. I enjoyed the five beach explorations, and thought it was a welcoming introduction to beaches and the scientific method for this age.

VERDICT: Juvenile readers will be drawn into the subject and method of this book, and I enjoyed the book’s layout.  It would also be good for homeschoolers to create their own beach experiments.

February 2019 review by Lynne Wright.

Book review: Day at The Beach, by Tom Booth

Booth, Tom. Day at The Beach. Aladdin, 2018. $17.99. ISBN 9781534411050. Unpaged. Ages 4-8. P6 Q7

Every summer Gideon and his sister, Audrey make a sandcastle together. This year, Gideon plans to make a sandcastle by himself. His first castle gets squished by a ball, the next castle is smashed by a kite, the third castle is swept away by the tide, the fourth is a casualty of a passing shower, the fifth flies away with a strong breeze, and the sixth castle? His dog! Looking for a new place where nothing can interrupt him, he finally builds a beautiful castle that everyone loves. It is then that he notices his family building a castle together and he feels lonely. He joins his family and helps them finish their not perfect castle. Beach themed story of relationships being more important than perfection. The illustrations are colorful and match the text. The scenarios depicted in the story are realistic and could easily happen at the beach. Children who have tried to make a sandcastle and have been had various catastrophes can relate to this story. Children want to pull away from their families and make something that is great and their own, but in doing so, they may miss out on working together with others.

Verdict: A warmhearted story that emphasizes the importance of family and that things do not have to be perfect. I recommend this book for libraries serving young children.

June 2018 review by Tami Harris.

Book review: There Might Be Lobsters, by Carolyn Crimi, illustrated by Laurel Molk

Crimi, Carolyn. There Might Be Lobsters. illus. Laurel Molk. Candlewick Press, 2017. unp. $16.99. ISBN: 978-0-7636-7542-4. Gr. K+. P8 Q8

Sukie is a young puppy who really does not want to go to the beach. There are many things on the beach that frighten Sukie.  Eleanor, Sukie’s owner, finally carries her down the stairs and deposits her on the beach. Still afraid, Sukie cannot play no matter how much Eleanor tries to engage her. When Chunka Munka, Sukie’s rag monkey, is carried out into the ocean it is Sukie who finds the courage to rescue it. Molk’s illustrations are done in watercolor, acrylic, and pen ink, depicting a warm day on the beach. I loved Sukie’s forlorn face  when she looks at the beach. You can tell she does not want to be there.

Verdict: If you are planning an excursion to the beach, this book could be read aloud to a class. Beach safety and what to expect while on the beach are discussions that could arise after you read it.

July 2018 review by Carol Bernardi.