August 31, 2023

So Long, Stress!

Written by Helaine Becker
Illustrated by Joanna Sevilla
Scholastic Canada
152 pp.
Ages 9-13
August 2023
Self-help sections of bookstores are laden with books to help adults cope with everyday stress and debilitating anxiety. But, too often, we expect children to just manage with the same strategies that we might utilize. Just as there is no single solution for coping for us, applying adult strategies to children is problematic. By helping children understand stress and providing them with an array of strategies, they have an opportunity to say, "So Long, Stress!"
From So Long, Stress!, written by Helaine Becker, illus. by Joanna Sevilla
So Long, Stress! is so well-organized, and I wouldn't expect anything less from Helaine Becker who excels at non-fiction texts, making it easy for young readers to follow advice while giving them choices to help them help themselves. The book is divided into 5 parts with an additional section on resources as well as an extensive index. Part 1 deals with the physiology of stress, its purpose in aiding in survival, its symptoms, and how to identify one's own triggers.
From So Long, Stress!, written by Helaine Becker, illus. by Joanna Sevilla
Part 2, the largest section, focuses onto how to prevent and manage stress, from getting organized, developing a mindset to see challenges differently, relaxing through breathing, mindfulness, and exercise, and developing healthy habits for food and sleep.

Emotions are at the heart of Part 3 of So Long, Stress!, and since most of us associate stress with emotional distress, this section is key to helping young readers become familiar with their feelings. Becoming familiar includes acknowledging those emotions, expressing them, and reacting to them, as well as learning how to make meaningful connections with others, and finding creative outlets to help with self-care.
From So Long, Stress!, written by Helaine Becker, illus. by Joanna Sevilla
Inevitably, life will be filled with stresses and Part 4 considers how to deal with overwhelming challenges, including managing conflict.

Finally, Helaine Becker ends her comprehensive book with finding and asking for help, and provides resources that include websites, apps, and more.

So Long, Stress! includes everything, absolutely everything, a young person might use to help them find healthy habits to prevent stress, the means to face those inevitable challenges, and direction when those strategies might need extra support. Helaine Becker keeps her tone upbeat and hopeful that young people can manage, and she's given them a variety of angles from which to approach life's challenges. As an adult, I've had my share of stress and anxiety, and even I gleaned new tactics to help manage and endure. With her light but informative approach, coupled with Joanna Sevilla's colourful illustrations, Helaine Becker gets to the heart of stress and makes sure that young people have the means to deal with it successfully.

August 29, 2023

Because I Already Loved You

Written by Andrée-Anne Cyr
Illustrated by Bérengère Delaporte
Groundwood Books
32 pp.
Ages 3-6
August 2023
Reviewed from uncorrected proofs
There is often so much anticipation for the birth of a new baby. There are the parents, of course, whose lives will be significantly altered in love and lifestyle, but also for other family members, including young children. But what happens when things do not go to plan and there is no baby to join the family?
From Because I Already Loved You, written by Andrée-Anne Cyr, illus. by Bérengère Delaporte
The young child in Because I Already Loved You knows that a baby is coming, and he is excited. He can touch his mother's belly and feel the baby move. And everyone is preparing for the baby's arrival, from his dad who is painting the room next to his, and his grandmother retrieving stored baby toys and his uncle teaching the child to do magic tricks for his new sibling. The child gets in on all the preparations, drawing his own pictures, and choosing a toy to give to the baby, and practising entertaining tricks.
From Because I Already Loved You, written by Andrée-Anne Cyr, illus. by Bérengère Delaporte
Then Mommy and Daddy announce that the baby is on the way. But when they return, the child doesn't understand why the baby isn't with them. When he is told the baby died, he doesn't understand that the baby will not be coming back. He watches as his family deals in the aftermath of the stillbirth and tries to find a way to remember and cope with his own sadness "because I already loved you!"
From Because I Already Loved You, written by Andrée-Anne Cyr, illus. by Bérengère Delaporte
There are many stories about children anticipating the birth of a new sibling and there are quite a few about death and grief, primarily related to grandparents and pets. But never have I read a story that addresses a family's heartache upon a stillbirth, particularly from the perspective of a young child. Quebec author Andrée-Anne Cyr gives us the full range of emotions for this family, first so filled with longing and hope for a new child, and then the overwhelming sorrow and disorientation when that joyous event turns to one of loss. The child gets caught up in all of it, from the excitement of preparations and expectancy for a sibling to love and teach and play with, to the sadness of missing someone they'd already fallen in love with and of witnessing the pain of his parents and other family members. And though there is healing with time, that absentee baby will never be forgotten because, as the little boy tells it, "I've saved you a place in my heart." While Andrée-Anne Cyr keeps the text simple, conveying ideas and feelings spoken from a young child's point of view, it is also profound in depth of feeling. There is an intensity and authenticity in the child's words and thoughts, from the pleasure of anticipating a sibling to the grief because of their loss, and I'm saddened for anyone who has experienced such a bereavement. 
French artist Bérengère Delaporte conveys that full range of emotion in her illustrations, whether it's the joy and wonder of children or the gravitas of weighty circumstances as grief. With sensitivity and  acumen, Bérengère Delaporte ensures that the family remains the same at their core but changes the atmosphere around them. Their sorrow is seen as a pall, a dark cloud that hangs over the family, something that can, with time, dissipate.
From Because I Already Loved You, written by Andrée-Anne Cyr, illus. by Bérengère Delaporte
I've learned that stillbirths are not as uncommon as I'd thought, occurring about once in every two hundred births, depending on location and other circumstances. As such, a lovely picture book like Because I Already Loved You will be a valuable bibliotherapeutic resource for helping young children comprehend never meeting a sibling whose arrival they'd been expecting. And they can be assured that the love for that baby will not disappear, just be held forever in memory and in heart.

• • • • • • •

The original story is a French-language edition titled Je t'aimais déjà (Les 400 coups, 2021).

• • • • • • •

August 25, 2023

We Love You As Much As the Fox Loves Its Tail

 Written by Masiana Kelly
Illustrated by Tamara Campeau
Inhabit Media
28 pp.
Ages 3-5
July 2023
This is a picture book about love. It's about how much love there is for a child, before its birth and after and even in the future, and it's the love that is seen in a northern environment of foxes, narwhals and muskoxen.  As such, We Love You As Much As the Fox Loves Its Tail is a lullaby to a newborn.

From We Love You As Much As the Fox Loves Its Tail, written by Masiana Kelly, illus. by Tamara Campeau
Speaking to their new baby, a family recalls how much they longed for the baby and how they celebrated its arrival. How do you express anticipation and adoration? They look to the familiar in their lives for demonstrations of love. There's the polar bear who loves to sleep and the caribou who love to run. In a northern environment, both green and flowered in the summer and crystal blue in the winter, and often vividly dynamic with the aurora borealis, there is much available to which the family can compare their love, both as it is and as it will be given.
From We Love You As Much As the Fox Loves Its Tail, written by Masiana Kelly, illus. by Tamara Campeau
Masiana Kelly's text suggests a familiarity with those northern environs and, as an Inuk and Dene writer from Nunavut and the Northwest Territories and as a mother, she obviously draws on her background. Her words speak of love and appreciation for her home of people and place. And that joy comes through with brilliance in Tamara Campeau's artwork. Oh, the colours and the life of those waters and skies, animals and land! These digital illustrations are filled with life, but then Tamara Campeau has always excelled at bringing the spirit of the north into her artwork and to the stories of others, like Grandfather Bowhead, Tell Me a Story and In the Sky at Nighttime.

From We Love You As Much As the Fox Loves Its Tail, written by Masiana Kelly, illus. by Tamara Campeau
If you know anyone having a baby or just having had a baby, We Love You As Much As the Fox Loves Its Tail would be a lovely gift to the family. It evokes the abundance of love and the closeness of family, and, no matter if the family lives in an urban landscape, in a prairie rural community, or a far northern region, We Love You As Much As the Fox Loves Its Tail will evince the joy of a new babe from its pages.

August 23, 2023

Everyone is Welcome

Written by Phuong Truong
Illustrated by Christine Wei
Second Story Press
24 pp.
Ages 6-8
September 2023

The rise in hate messaging on social media and around the world, particularly against Asian community members during the pandemic, has been concerning and disheartening. Racism and prejudice against those who are seen as different–aren't we all different and unique?–is reprehensible and sadly growing. Phuong Truong and Christine Wei's picture book Everyone is Welcome speaks specifically to anti-Asian violence and how a child might be impacted by it. 
From Everyone is Welcome, written by Phuong Truong, illus. by Christine Wei
The eight-year-old narrator of Everyone is Welcome loves going to the Asian market with her family though she wishes that she were old enough to go alone to the corner store like her mother did when she was younger. Though it was a different time, when children could play on the street and go to the local store without supervision, her mother recalls being taunted for her Asian heritage with ethnic slurs and offensive gestures. Now the child hears of her grandmother's friend Mrs. Lee being pushed into the street and her brother tells her that some kids don't feel safe walking to school without support because of being targeted for being Asian. 
From Everyone is Welcome, written by Phuong Truong, illus. by Christine Wei
And then the child learns that a classmate is no longer allowed to play with her.
His dad told him that everything bad that's happened in the world is my fault. Mine and everyone who looks like me.
While there are no quick solutions, understanding and compassion from her mother and the opportunity to take a small step in helping go a long way.
From Everyone is Welcome, written by Phuong Truong, illus. by Christine Wei
All racism is abhorrent. Why are there those who target communities who may be different in their appearance, language, food and more and deem them less? It is hate, and it speaks more to ignorance than anything else. I'm sad to think that Toronto writer Phuong Truong and Vancouver illustrator Christine Wei and their families may have experienced such cruelties and felt unsafe. The message of Everyone is Welcome may be a simple one that we all belong. Period. It doesn't matter what we look like or where we come from or what languages we speak. The homes we make and the multiple communities to which we belong are ours and no less for being different than another. I know that much hatred percolates from fears and, for children, from familial directives but those offer no excuses. Christine Wei's dedication reminds us that there is still much work to do.
To that day we can all rewrite our fears of differences and celebrate them. – C.W.
While the premise of Everyone is Welcome–increasing violence against Asian communities–is a dark and sobering one, Phuong Truong and Christine Wei bring out the vibrancy of the child's communities at home, neighbourhood and school in their words and art. With her words, Phuong Truong shows us that there will always be compassion that will override the nastiness, and, with her art, Christine Wei brings us to the vivacity of that goodness of people.

For lessons in empathy, especially when needed to combat anti-Asian hate, Everyone is Welcome brings us to a place of both reality and promise. Hate has always been around, often just changing targets, but awareness and grace are universal, and they have and will overcome the worst when everyone is made to feel welcome.

August 21, 2023

Burt the Beetle Lives Here!

Written and illustrated by Ashley Spires
Kids Can Press
64 pp.
Ages 5-8
June 2023

Author-illustrator Ashley Spires introduced her readers to Burt the ten-lined June beetle (also known as a watermelon beetle) in Burt the Beetle Doesn't Bite! (Kids Can Press, 2021) and charmed us with his story as well as educating us on the natural habits of a variety of other insects. This time, Ashley Spires takes us into insect real estate to look at the nests and habitats of Burt and his insect friends as they seek shelter for short stints and longer periods.
From Burt the Beetle Lives Here! by Ashley Spires
Burt likes to spend short periods of time "snug as a bug" under a leaf. But when he realizes that it would be nice to have a place to call home, he looks at the homes of other insects. He considers the chrysalis of the monarch butterfly, the foam of the spittlebugs, and the silk web nests of tent caterpillars, but each doesn't work for him. So, he considers what materials he might use to build his own, taking his cues from wasps, bees, and weaver ants. Again, none work for him. 

Though he's ready to give up on finding a home within sight of his beloved porch light, Burt realizes soon enough that he needs shelter from weather and predators, and finds that protection, and even camaraderie, in a most familiar location. 
From Burt the Beetle Lives Here! by Ashley Spires
Kids love learning about science and living things, but it must be taught in a way that entertains through the inquiry process. As in all her Burt books, Ashley Spires has given young students, and their teachers, an easy source of relevant scientific information, here about insects and their habitats using Burt as an insightful guide. Through his very small eyes, readers are shown a bug's-eye view of a variety of different insect nests, with explanations for how the animals live in them or create them. And with her trademark humour, Ashley Spires will make kids chuckle at Burt's antics, as the adults in their lives will laugh at the analogies to human home-buying with places with stunning views, lots of potential, open floor plans and advertised as architectural masterpieces and those that are perfect for entertaining or impeccably renovated.
From Burt the Beetle Lives Here! by Ashley Spires
Ashley Spires, creator of Binky the Space Cat, consistently uses a clean illustrative style that is digitally rendered, never cluttering her illustrations with superfluous details that, while accurate, may detract from the key information about where the insects live and why. Because of the organic nature of the story, Ashley Spires's palette is primarily one of greens and browns, but she gives us enough shades and tints and tones to make it appear rich and varied, much like nature itself.

Whether you're a teacher of younger students who need to understand local habitats or how communities create nests, or you're a school librarian who loves providing quality creative non-fiction for the many children who prefer non-fiction or fiction, or a reader to appreciates fabulously illustrated books with a side helping of humour, Burt the Beetle Lives Here! has got you covered, perhaps even better than Burt's leaf!
🐛 🐞 🐜 🐝 🐛 🐞 🐜 🐝 🐛
Burt the Beetle Lives Here! (2023)

August 15, 2023

Julie and the Mango Tree

Written by Sadé Smith
Illustrated by Sayada Ramdial
Feiwel and Friends
32 pp.
Ages 3-6
August 2023
Fresh fruits off the tree are a favourite all around the world. In August, many children in Canada will be craving peaches and cherries, while other parts of the world may be awaiting a crop of jackfruit or pineapples. Depending on the time of year and the location, there will be much anticipation for the first of favourite fruits to become available. For Julie in Jamaica, the time for her beloved mangoes can't come soon enough.
From Julie and the Mango Tree, written by Sadé Smith, illus. by Sayada Ramdial
Julie loved the way mangoes smelled and the way they looked and, of course, the way they tasted. But waiting for the mangoes to drop from the giant tree in her front yard was agony. Occasionally her father would climb up on a ladder to retrieve ripe ones from the top before they fell but, on one hot day when he was gone to town, Julie would have to wait for the tree to give up just one to her. But waiting was hard. When no mangoes were forthcoming, she tried to barter with the tree, plums for mangoes. Then she wrote a song pleading with the tree to give up a mango to her. Finally, she hugged the tree, all to no avail.
From Julie and the Mango Tree, written by Sadé Smith, illus. by Sayada Ramdial
But, when a rainstorm comes the next day, Julie finds the ground littered with her delicious mangoes. Finally, Julie could indulge in her mangoes, until she realizes she has a new problem.
From Julie and the Mango Tree, written by Sadé Smith, illus. by Sayada Ramdial
Though most of Julie and the Mango Tree is Julie waiting and hoping and anticipating the joy of biting into those juicy mangoes, Sadé Smith ensures that the child's experience with the fruit is paramount. For children, waiting can be so hard, whether it's for a birthday, a special treat, or the year's mango harvest. Julie's longing is honest but, like many, she will do whatever she can to dispel the delay, strategizing with good will, particularly for the tree. Not surprising that when she finds herself sated with mangoes, she looks outward to others and considers how she might share their fruity wealth. Author Sadé Smith, herself of Jamaican descent–her debut picture book Granny's Kitchen is also set in Jamaica–shows a child who is passionate about her mangoes but never selfish about the pleasure she derives from them.
Originally from Trinidad and Tobago, now of the United States, illustrator Sayada Ramdial gives us a Jamaica of colours, warmth, life, and, of course, mangoes. It's as if everything, from the mangoes and the leaves in the trees, to Julie and her neighbours, are touched with the sun and given a vivacity of place. I'll bet even Julie's mangoes are far tastier than any we've ever imagined.

The joy of picking fruit from a tree is a rare one for many but, in Julie and the Mango Tree, Sadé Smith lets us experience what Julie does and allows us to imagine what wishes fulfilled with a bounty of sunshine and sweetness could be like.

August 12, 2023

A Tale of Two Kitties

Written and illustrated by Judith Graves
Acorn Press
32 pp.
Ages 2-4
August 2023

It may have been National Cat Day on August 8th but for some of us every day is National Cat Day.
From A Tale of Two Kitties by Judith Graves
Mittens and Boots are two cats who look amazingly similar except for the distinct white markings that define them. Though they are treated the same in terms of their food and their sleeping preferences–their own chairs on opposite sides of a fireplace–they differ in their interests–singing vs. painting–and like to be kept separated. Then the chairs are gone, and a loveseat takes their stead. 
Mittens and Boots are not happy, convinced this is payback for all the things cats do, like hacking up in unusual places, enthusiastic use of their litter boxes, and late-night yowling. But, when sleep times comes, the two are forced to share the loveseat, albeit with some annoyance. Still, it seems the loveseat has a mind of its own and determined to bring the two felines together, maybe even with a new friend.
From A Tale of Two Kitties by Judith Graves
Anyone who has ever had multiple cats in a home knows that they can be best buddies or warily tolerant. Sometimes their humans are successful in bringing them together and sometimes less so. Obviously author-illustrator Judith Graves–whose YA novel Exposed is the only book I've reviewed here–knows about cats and living with them. Their personalities are so distinct and yet they share commonalities that make us wonder why they aren't better friends or at least companionable. But, cats will be cats and forcing them together, even as a loveseat did, doesn't always work. But, when options are limited, they can be compelled to accept and even endure the other, overriding their innate territorial instincts.
From A Tale of Two Kitties by Judith Graves
A Tale of Two Kitties
is Judith Graves's debut picture book as the author and the illustrator, and as an artist (see her website at or her etsy shop at with designs in acrylic as well as watercolour, I hoping we'll be seeing more of her work in children's book illustration. The story of Boots and Mittens is sweet and familiar, and we might be able to anticipate the next story with the arrival of Snowball (!). But it's Judith Graves's art of expressive cats, colourful wallpapers, and homey furnishings that brings life to her story. I love the colours, primarily teal and orange, and the warmth of that palette because, let's face it, with cats in the home, there's always a softness of spirit. 

Embedded in Judith Graves's art and story is an endearing cheekiness. "Purrhaps" it's her use of feline-inspired puns or the playfulness of her art, but regardless A Tale of Two Kitties is a whole package of sweet fun, lively art and feline reality.

August 07, 2023

Dear Elsa

Written by Marco Fraticelli
Red Deer Press
240 pp.
Ages 8-12
May/July 2023

looking out the window
in his new school
the sad student (pg. 32)
As part of a school assignment, 10-year-olds Elsa of Boston and Leo newly of Toronto must write emails to each other as pen pals. Neither is initially keen, and Leo is especially so when he learns his pen pal is a girl. But, through revealing messages from September through the following August, the two go from strangers to something deeper.

At the outset, the differences between the two middle-graders are pronounced. Leo, who has newly moved from Montreal to Toronto for his parents' jobs as teachers, complains about everything, from not having any friends, his teacher, following rules, sending emails to Elsa of at least 250 words, and schoolwork writing poetry. Elsa, on the other hand, loves rules, has divorced parents, and, though Leo suggests she must be one of the popular kids based on the advice she gives him, calls herself an in-between kid who has a few good friends and is relatively quiet. But as she allows him to vent while still offering him a different perspective, Leo discovers some things about himself, like that he really likes writing poetry, especially haiku, which he often shares with her. Elsa is slower to reveal herself, probably because Leo is so busy complaining, but she too begins to divulge what her life is like, rather than just giving Leo the opportunity to share. Readers, and Leo, learn of her parents' relationship, her trip to Cancun, her aspirations, her prowess as an archer, and eventually her wheelchair. While Leo broadcasts about everything, Elsa holds back much about her own situation, and is delighted to be treated like she isn't someone with a disability.

Dear Elsa may be author Marco Fraticelli's first children's book but his decades of experience as a Grade 5 teacher as well as an award-winning poet have given him a strong foundation for an irresistible story of two children exploring their differences and finding common ground to be the friend the other needs at that time. Their writing relationship may continue past their Grade 5 year–that is not revealed at the book's conclusion–but it's almost irrelevant as the two derived safety, perspective, opportunity, and solicitude from their relationship.

In 2015, I prepared a post titled, Dearest readers...: A Letters in youngCanLit book list, which provided a list of books that featured characters writing letters or emails or texts as the vehicle for the plot. I will definitely be adding Dear Elsa to that list now to ensure that middle-grade readers (and perhaps their teachers) have an opportunity to visit with Leo and Elsa and witness how a friendship can develop from afar and with seemingly different individuals. All it takes is opening oneself up the opportunity, as Leo learns both in emails and at school, and perhaps some heartfelt poetry.

August 03, 2023

Percy's Perfect Friend

Written by Lana Button
Illustrated by Peggy Collins
Pajama Press
32 pp.
Ages 3-6
April 2023
Many very young children will be trying to fit into new school situations next month as they start schools and daycares for the first time or perhaps attend a new school because of a move or recent immigration. Finding a way to fit in and make friends can be very difficult, especially if the other kids have already established friendships. This is the situation for Percy when he joins a new class, and finds an unusual but perfect friend to help him fit in.

From Percy's Perfect Friend, written by Lana Button, illus. by Peggy Collins
The kids in Percy's new class are definitely having fun at their dress-up and imaginative play but he feels very alone and apart from the group. When he spots a fluffy pink cat, he introduces himself and, as part of his own play, names her Miss Petticomb.
From Percy's Perfect Friend, written by Lana Button, illus. by Peggy Collins
Cuddling his new pink friend, he "hears" her whisper that she wants a friend to play with and accommodates her. All morning she rests in his arms, being the friend he needs. But, when he places Miss Petticomb down to do some art, she disappears. He discovers the other kids have taken Miss Petticomb to be a guest at their tea party. It's only when he attempts to rescue her that Percy realizes that the pink cat can be the friend that brings them all together if they use their imagination and show a little flexibility.
From Percy's Perfect Friend, written by Lana Button, illus. by Peggy Collins
As an early child educator, Lana Button has seen how children play and more importantly how they enter play and make connections with other children. Many adults assume that children will just organically know how to make friends and fit in. As a teacher, I too have seen parents who encourage their young children to "Just go and play with those kids" without realizing how big a step that is for many children, just as it is for the rest of us. In Percy's Perfect Friend, Lana Button models for children how to engage with new friends by scaffolding that interaction with a perfect pink friend, although any toy might work as nicely. She sees the kids as they are, some exuberant and extroverted and others reserved and perhaps even anxious. A toy, whether pink or blue, soft or hard, can be that catalyst for meaningful and playful interaction.
Peggy Collins, the author-illustrator of the Blue Spruce award-winning picture book Harley the Hero, brings her cheerful digital artwork into the play-based classroom or preschool of young children. Her young characters represent all children of different abilities and ethnicities, energies and interests, and places them in a room of colourful tables and chairs, costumes and toys, teapots and books. It's an invitation to look and play and see, perfect for any child trying to find what interests them.

If you have a little one heading to preschool or a new school this fall and who may be anxious about making friends, Lana Button and Peggy Collins will show them how Percy did it and how he probably made more than one perfect friend in doing so.

August 01, 2023

Sandy Toes: A Summer Adventure

Words by Shauntay Grant
Pictures by Candice Bradley
Abrams Appleseed
32 pp.
Ages 3-5
April 2023
Shauntay Grant's poetry has always shared the community and culture of African Canadians in Africville, The City Speaks in Drums and Up Home with great depth and heart. But, with Sandy Toes, she focuses on a child at play and new life beginning at the beach.
From Sandy Toes, words by Shauntay Grant, illus. by Candice Bradley
A family of four make their way to a sandy beach to enjoy the sun and the surf. There's wading into the water, sandcastle-building, kite-flying and ice cream, and getting wet. His older sister may have her own way of playing, but the toddler finds joy in running and splashing and floating. His fun comes from trying things out, both following his sister and being instructed by his dad.
From Sandy Toes, words by Shauntay Grant, illus. by Candice Bradley
But as the family enjoys the beach, sea turtle hatchlings are making their way from their birth locations to the ocean. A note Shauntay Grant appends to the story shares information about sea turtles and the nature of hatchlings to head for the ocean but also for the females to return when mature to lay their own eggs on the very beaches on which they'd hatched.

Whether a sea turtle hatchling making its way slowly to the sea or a young child joyously relishing a day in the sun and the water, the beach is a place of growth. That growth comes from a laborious trek or watching an elder sibling or parent but it's always a positive experience key to a turtle or child's development.
From Sandy Toes, words by Shauntay Grant, illus. by Candice Bradley
Shauntay Grant keeps her text simple but always alliterative and relevant to the young boy's experiences. The plainness of the text makes this book appropriate for those youngest children who are just learning to read, matching words with pictures and letter combinations. Though not really a concept book–after all, what concept would be being taught?–Sandy Toes will take children to the beach, to reflect on their own experiences there but also to imagine how others, both human and sea turtle, might enjoy it.

American Candice Bradley gives a brightness to Shauntay Grant's day at the beach. The warmth of the sand and water and sun are all there as is the affection of the family for each other. Her palette of blues and golds and roses might seem austere, but the variety of shades and tints increase her palette multifold and bring us to that beach to dig into that warm sand, cool off in the water, and rest on colourful towels.

Not all families are privileged enough to partake in a day at the beach with their children. But if they are, Sandy Toes shows us how it can involve delighting in their time together or in the play that is unique to a sandy shore or in the learning about sea turtles. It can truly be a summer adventure.