Aug 17, 2011
Beach by Elisha Cooper
I love the ocean. I've been infatuated with it since I was a little girl and for a while I've looked for a picture book that could capture the smells, sights, and sounds of the beach. I have found it. Beach by Elisha Cooper has that and much more.
The book begins with a double spread of an empty beach. "As the day begins, the beach is empty, waiting to be filled." Turn the page, and we see three different images of that same beach, slowly filling up with people; all kinds of people, doing all kids of things. Cooper's watercolor illustrations are beautiful and I love the way he showed all the different things we might see at the beach and illustrated each one of them: "a woman changes in to her swimsuit under her towel," "a couple of boys drip a sand castle," "the wind is not helping a man put up his umbrella," "a boy and a girl ride their parents in a crab race," the only person in pants is flying a kite high overhead," and (my favorite) "a woman lathers on sunscreen and reaches for the spot that cannot be reached." We learn about the different types of waves, beach activities, beach creatures, and clouds. As the day at the beach ends, there's sand everywhere and inside "is the motion of the waves, the knowledge of a day well spent, a day to remember when the beach is far away."
Beach is a book I'll read over and over again, especially on a cold winter day when I miss the beach the most. It captures the magic of a day at the beach. It's a great example to use in the classroom of writers being observers and using their senses to add details to their writing.