Beach Tail, A
How will Gregory find his way back to Dad? Swish-swoosh . . . Gregory draws a lion in the sand. “Don’t go in the water, and don’t leave Sandy,” warns Dad. But the sandy lion grows a tail that gets longer and longer—and soon Gregory is lost on the beach. This wonderful read-aloud book brings to life a summer experience that is all too familiar for young children. Karen Williams’s rhythmic text has been paired with Floyd Cooper’s brilliant illustrations, revealing the trip down the beach entirely from a child’s point of view. A gentle father-son bond is shown in both text and art, reassuring young readers even as they share in Greg’s moment of worry at finding himself lost and alone.
Kirkus Reviews awards Karen Lynn Williams' A Beach Tail with a starred review in its February 15, 2010 issue:"While Greg and his dad enjoy a beach day, Dad sets two rules: "Don't go in the water / and don't leave Sandy," a lion Greg has drawn in the sand. As the little boy continues drawing the lion's tail, he discovers myriad items along the shore. Williams's rhythmic, onomatopoeic Swish-swoosh of the waves and the clear, descriptive text transport readers into Greg's experiences, which range from spotting a "gooey purple jellyfish" to watching a "tiny ghost crab / scurry sideways into his dark, round hole." Cooper's mastery with pastels results in a grainy, sun-washed effect that conjures a hot seaside day. Most stunning are the endearing, intimate close-ups of Greg immersed in artistic play. Children will relate to his adventure, which pivots on the moment he realizes he has lost sight of his dad. But a winning combination of good memory and self-reliance lead to a most satisfactory ending. Scoop up this tale for its strength as a unique beach story and for its warm portrayal of an African-American son and father enjoying the outdoors."