Good night, good beach by Joy Cowley and Hilary Jean Tapper

cover image

All the happy memories of being at the beach for a holiday will be recalled as this lovely book is read. The enticing view from the bedroom window draws the five children to the beach to splash in the shallow waves and get sand between their toes. The moon is low in the sky, the sea just outside the shack as the waves slowly make their way to the shore. The children potter in the shallows, watch the birds, collect shells and pieces of smooth glass washed by countless waves. When the sun goes down they make their way back to the shack, donning their pyjamas, ready for the evening with their families and then to bed. They wrestle with a jigsaw puzzle, and as the darkness of night descends, leave the adults to go to bed.

In a choice few words, Joy Crowley brings together the joys of a beachside holiday where the days are filled with the sea, and countless hours are spent doing little, but always engaged.

The evocative illustrations are like memories - recalling past holidays at the beach with extended family and friends, doing little but talking and eating together, dawdling along the beach, watching the sky, playing games. Tapper brings those lazy days to the fore with great sweeps of colour, vistas of a never ending beach, views from windows, panoramas of the hills beyond, and then equally diverting and detailed views inside the shack. She sets the children against these happy times, reminiscent of family and togetherness. The detail which Tapper includes enriches the pages. I love the end papers with the Onkaparinga blanket image, again recalling beach holidays where the shack is full of decades old bedding and furniture no longer good enough to be used at home, but still serviceable.

Readers will love searching out the details in the illustrations, while absorbing the rhyming text, predicting what word may be used next to keep the rhyming pattern going.

Themes: Beach, Holidays, Family, Togetherness, Shacks.

Fran Knight