All You Need for a Beach by Alice Schertle, illustrations by Barbara Lavallee (suggested ages 2 to 5). Cheerful rhyming text describes, one by one, all the things that make the beach special, ending with—“you!” The illustrations (warm and soft like the sand at the beach) depict families having a great time at the shore.
Bats at the Beach by Brian Lies (ages 4 to 8). Cute-looking bats do everything you’d do at the beach—except at night. Beautiful illustrations and clever rhyming text make this a fun read for both kids and adults. If you like this, you’ll also like Bats at the Library.
Beach by Elisha Cooper (ages 6 to 9). This handsome oversize book begins with a panoramic view of an empty beach in the morning light. Then we see the beach gradually fill with people. On many of the pages, you’ll see tiny scenes of people (faceless, abstract figures)—all enjoying the beach in their own way. Great for young beach lovers who love to pore over the details in illustrations.
Beach Day by Karen Roosa, illustrations by Maggie Smith (ages 3 to 6). Rollicking, rhyming text and lively illustrations highlight the sights, sounds, and tastes of a family outing at the beach. Preschoolers will enjoy looking at the action-packed illustrations (multi-racial families splashing in the water, digging in the sand, unpacking picnic lunches) and before long, they’ll have memorized the catchy rhymes.
Duck Dunks by Lynne Berry, illustrations by Hiroe Nakata (ages 3 to 6). In this beach-theme counting book, five little ducks spend an active day at the shore—riding the waves, flying a kite, playing games, and getting into mischief with a bright red crab.
Flotsam by David Wiesner (ages 5 to 8). This wordless Caldecott Award-winning book about a boy who finds a mysterious barnacle-encrusted camera at the beach is an intriguing story within a story. What secrets does the camera hold? Readers who follow Wiesner’s tantalizing visual clues are in for a treat.
Ladybug Girl at the Beach by David Soman, illustrations by Jacky Davis (ages 4 to 8). I especially like this book (part of the popular Ladybug Girl series) because it features a heroine who is at first scared of the big, noisy waves (an understandable and common reaction among young kids).
Lottie’s New Beach Towel by Petra Mathers (ages 4 to 8). Lottie, a plucky chicken, receives a gift in the mail from her Aunt Mattie—a bright beach towel, accompanied by the following note: “This might come in handy this summer.” Kids will delight in discovering just how right Aunt Mattie is. A charming, quirky tale for the picture book set.
Sally Goes to the Beach by Stephen Huneck (ages 3 to 7). An inquisitive black Labrador retriever narrates her first beach vacation. You don’t have to be a dog lover to appreciate Huneck’s signature woodcut prints (stunning!) and slyly humorous text.
Wave by Suzy Lee (ages 4 and up). In this enchanting wordless picture book, Lee uses charcoal lines and splashes of blue to portray a little girl’s playful encounter with the ocean. No words are necessary here. There is so much to “read” in the pictures, children (and adults) will want to study the pages over and over again. Magical!
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Do you have a favorite that didn’t make it to my list? Do share!