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Sandy Toes: A Summer Adventure

by Shauntay Grant and Candice Bradley (ill.)

l to r: Shauntay Grant (Credit: Steve Farmer) and Candice Bradley

In this well-crafted picture book, a little Black boy and his sister enjoy a perfect day at the beach with their parents. They splash in the surf, play in the sand, chase after a kite, and generally live it up. The fun finally comes to a close at sunset when the little boy falls asleep beside his mother on the beach. The story itself is framed at the beginning with an illustration of a sea turtle leaving a clutch of eggs on the beach, and at the end with an author’s note about sea turtles and their hatchlings. Curious eyes and investigative minds will notice with delight that if you look carefully, tiny baby sea turtles can be found on almost every page.

At first glance, it appears that each page is dotted with a few alliterative words highlighting various aspects of the story. As the words flow from page to page, however, readers will realize that they form a poem with a satisfying rhyme and rhythm. Shauntay Grant’s restrained use of language is effective, allowing room for young readers to engage with the person reading to them as they fill in the story together. For children who are becoming familiar with the sounds of the alphabet, limited text and repetitive sounds offer an opportunity to reinforce phonetic connections.

Candice Bradley paints an idyllic day filled with golden sand and piercing blue sky and water with dazzling pastels. You can practically feel the hot sun on your skin and the cool relief of water, shade, and Popsicles. Each scene is thoughtfully and beautifully rendered – delicate shells beneath the water, an inflatable pink flamingo, the sway of braids in the breeze. Through her illustrations, Bradley infuses this story with the comforting presence of loving and attentive parents. Readers are left with a warm feeling of sunshine and family.

This is an enchanting book: not only is there something to discuss on each page, but there is also something magical about searching for and finding those tiny turtles as they make their way, slowly but surely, to open water.


Reviewer: Ildiko Sumegi

Publisher: Abrams Appleseed


Price: $21.99

Page Count: 32 pp

Format: Cloth

ISBN: 978-1-41976-307-6

Released: April

Issue Date: May 2023

Categories: Kids’ Books, Picture Books

Age Range: 3–5