Beach Toys vs. School Supplies

Farrar. Jun. 2021. 40p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780374314040.
K-Gr 2–When Shovel and Ruler challenge each other to a sandcastle-building contest, it’s a showdown between the fun-loving beach toys and the hardworking school supplies. The beach toys know what to do and how to enjoy doing it, and when time’s up, they review their entry with cheerful optimism...until they spot the magnificent “castle of classrooms” Ruler and his pals have constructed. But the school supplies’ overconfidence has led them to neglect Rule #1: Don’t build too close to the water. As the tide rolls in, the beach toys make a difficult decision: they give their rivals some pro tips, and everyone works together to save the sand school. Bright, primary- and secondary-colored characters with heavy outlines feel exactly right in this tale of putting aside differences in order to get more done and have fun. The illustrations are as humorous as the pun-filled text, and readers will giggle at the specifics of how each object is personified. For example, a tipped-over wheeled backpack with its front panel rolled back is the vehicle in which the school supplies arrive. Ciccotello cleverly emphasizes the beach toys’ play-all-day natures by setting some of their scenes against the distant silhouette of an amusement park. Lightly couched as summer fun versus school-year industriousness, the ending suggests that something in between the two is best.
VERDICT This book is loads of fun in the “x versus y” genre and a great selection for back-to-school displays.

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