A swim in the sea by Sue Whiting and Meredith Thomas

cover image

Walker Books, Australia, 2013. ISBN 9781921150494.
(Age: 4+) Recommended. Picture book. Sea. Fear. Family. Bruno is eager to get to the sea with his family and see it for the first time. They pack the car, drive there and see the sea peeping over the horizon. Bruno is ecstatic. He and his dog run along the sand, jumping and splashing in the water's edge, until a big wave comes rolling in, pounding the beach and following closely behind as he runs away from the water's edge. He is terrified. His day at the beach ruined, so he sits under his beach towel and refuses all attempts to entice him out.
Little by little his family encourage him to appear. They build a castle near by with a moat, encouraging him to be part of the activity. They build a wall around the castle, filling it with seaweed and shells, and he takes a tentative step inside and sees it is not much different from his wading pool at home, and so feels safe. All ends happily.
A charming story of feeling safe, or overcoming a fear of the sea, this will have wide appeal to young children, particularly when going to the beach. The overcoming of fears, the strength of the family unit, the family on holiday, are all themes which could be explored using this book with illustrations that immediately appeal with their strong colours and flowing images of the sea.
Fran Knight