Thursday, August 23, 2007

Surf City, Here We Come: A Beach Book Bundle

Today's storytime was about beaches. It's a cool and rainy day here in Warrenton, so we had fun imagining ourselves in a warm and sunny place! Here are some beach reads for the younger set:

Bats at the Beach isn't your typical "let's go to the beach" book! While humans enjoy their beach fun during the day, the bats in this story have their fun at night. We see the bats getting ready for the beach, older bats enjoying the moonshine, bats sitting around a campfire (eating "bug-mallows"), and packing up when daylight threatens.

This is a great and unusual addition to a beach-themed storytime or unit. The bats are illustrated with great detail, but are not scary for most younger listeners. Younger children will enjoy the storyline, while older children and adults will enjoy the puns sprinkled throughout the story. This also opens up a great opportunity for a simple discussion on nocturnal animals.

All You Need for a Beach is another terrific read aloud for a beach storytime. This is another great one to share with a group; the text size and spacing is manageable for the reader and the illustrations are expansive. As we journey through the book, we see the various things that make up a beach (sand, waves, fun beach toys, etc). The book packs in a tiny math lesson (one grain of sand is needed to start a beach, but you really need millions, no trillions, of grains for a "sandy shore."). Each page ends with a comment or question that invites discussion on other items that are needed at the beach.

The Happy Hippopotami will certainly get your group giggling (it certainly made mine laugh!). This group of hippos is gearing up for a crazy-fun day at the beach. Lots of fun wordplay here (be sure to practice so your tongue doesn't trip you up!).

Bill Martin Jr's book was published in 1970. You may note that there are some stereotypical behavior of the hippotasons (who "squirt the foe/like a cowboy picture show" with their "trusty water guns), the hippopotamamas fix snacks, and the hippopotapoppas walk around and give the hippo kiddies money for treats. The hippootadaughters splash in the waves, which is cool. It all depends on your comfort level-this book is such a silly and fun read that it would be a shame to dismiss it just on those small characteristics. There are even some hippy hippopotamisters (even though one of the group is a girl) rocking out with their steel guitars. My group thought that the groovy hippos ("with hippy hair and hippy whiskers) were pretty far out.

Are you squeezing in one last trip to the beach before school starts?

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