A Boy, His Dog, and the Sea

Candlewick. Jul. 2024. 32p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781536234138.
K-Gr 2–In what is at once a rousing episode of doggy heroism and an exercise in pareidolia, restless young Danny sets out for what he expects will be just another boring walk along the beach with his shaggy pet Scruff. But a casual game of fetch with a stick takes an astonishing turn when he sends Scruff out toward a distant, waving swimmer—and the dog paddles back with Danny’s big brother Mick, hobbled by a cramp, in tow! Before that climactic rescue, a rock Danny picks up with markings that look like a face prompts him to take closer looks at his surroundings—and viewers cued to do the same will find that in his tranquil seaside scenes Browne, ever the master of surreal transformations, has hidden more faces, plus animals, foods, and other items to discover in the multicolored, naturalistically rendered pebbles piled on the sand as well as out on the water, up in the sky, and even in the local bungalows and the figures of other beach walkers. See if that happens in the real world, the episode challenges children to discover.
VERDICT An insight worth taking to heart—that just an extra bit of vigilance can turn ordinary sights and moments extraordinary.

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