Coates, Paul. Tim and the Iceberg. Illus. by Ian P. Benfold Haywood. Star Bright, 2011.
Splashes of humor sparkle in this sweet, whimsical story about a boy and his grandfather at the beach. While Tim makes sand castles, Grandpa regales him with a tall tale about having been to places “so cold that the words froze as I spoke, making icicles grow in my beard.” Inspired, Tim decides to go fetch an iceberg. Next, we see his toy boat has magically grown, and Tim is sailing to the North Pole. In time, he reaches “a great shimmering white cliff of ice! It towered over his little sailboat.” Tim ties one end of a rope to the boat and the other to the side of the iceberg. What fun it will be to surprise Grandpa! Of course, as he sails south, the air warms … and warms … and you know what happened to that iceberg. The lump in Tim’s hand is just enough to chill the cups of lemonade Grandpa has bought for the two of them. This imaginative story, complemented by cheerful watercolor paintings, makes for a pleasant beach read for a caring adult and a child ages 3 to 6. Note: The publisher provided me with a review copy, for which I am grateful. As always, I have offered my honest views of the book.
For another gentle (but realistic) summer book, see A Beach Tail by Karen Lynn Williams. If, however, you’re looking for a rowdy read-aloud seaside story, pick up Melinda Long’s How I Became a Pirate.
And for older children …
Shepard, Aaron. The Sea King’s Daughter A Russian Legend (15th Anniversary Edition). Illus. by Gennady Spirin. Skyhook, 2011. Shepard’s eloquent retelling of a beloved Russian folktale is accompanied by wondrous paintings dripping with details and atmosphere. Sadko is a poor musician who loved his Russian city, yet the rich young women who danced to his music had no interest in such a lowly suitor. One night, though, he is playing his gusli by the river, when the Sea King emerges to invite him to play at his underwater palace. If he travels there, though, will he want to come home again and leave the Sea King’s lovely daughter behind? Shepard’s award-winning version is a magical tale to read aloud to ages 8-12.