Monday, December 16, 2013

Seashore Stories

Sand and tide and the lull of the surf. Seaweed swaying and creatures of the deep. 

Perhaps because I was a children's librarian for so many years, I always like a theme, whether singing water-y songs when the kids are in the bath, travel songs when we're in the car, or picking books around different themes. When we went down to the beach last week I packed light (for me) and only tucked ten books in the bags. Of course, I picked up a further three at the op-shop, but I started out with ten. Five Christmas themed books and five beach themed books.

Trying to keep my seashore stories down to five was hard, but the ones I ended up with were well loved favourites.

Magic Beach - by Alison Lester. Alison Lester is one of my favourite Australian Authors and we read and re-read many of her books. There's always so much to look at in the illustrations and the text never jars and always flows. I love how she shows children's imagination and the colour and whimsy of her works. Magic Beach is one of my very favourites, with the rhythm of the text reminiscent of the sound of the sea. Everything in her story is so very familiar, and it's such a lovely book to read in a bed full of sand, when you can hear the sea, with a little one tucked on either side.

The Hidden Forest - by Jeannie Baker. Another amazing Australian author/illustrator. Jeannie Baker's illustrations never fail to blow me away. The detail of her collages is just stunning. As a child I remember listening to her talk about how she makes the collages and looking at some of the collages in the flesh. I was (and still am) completely entranced by the little world she creates so laboriously and with such love. This story, that touches on themes of conservation and wonder, is one I never tire of reading. Each page is a true work of art and almost heart stopping in its beauty.

Marina - by Jan Harper, ill Judith Crabtree. I had this as a little girl and it's about a mermaid who comes to land looking for a kiss from a true friend which will give her land-people legs. (I read it before The Little Mermaid came out.) She meets false friends who want to trap her, but finally meets a true friend. I was perhaps overly influenced by this as there's a novel sitting on my hard-drive I wrote as a teenager with a mermaid protagonist with a very similar name.

Stella, Star of the Sea - by Marie Louise Gay. Bright and sparkling and cheerful this is such a happy book it can't help but make you smile.

Big Blue Whale - by Nicola Davies, ill. Nick Maland. I've always thought it important to make sure boys in particular get  to read lots of non-fiction. My Sprocket isn't as interested in fiction but he'll read non-fiction again and again and I'm constantly reminding myself to read more of it. Space, spiders, snakes, the weather. You name it, he's fascinated. Fiction? Not nearly as much. This non-fiction picture book is lovely, with charming illustrations and straightforward text as it details the life of a Big Blue.

(please excuse dodgy, blurred photos and lack of links!)

Do you have a favourite beach book? One you read again and again? Any recommendations?

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