Make a splash: 8 summer picture books take you to the water

CHOICES Written and illustrated by Roozeboos Dutch artist Anne Roos Kleiss, who uses her childhood nickname professionally to remember ...


CHOICES
Written and illustrated by Roozeboos

Dutch artist Anne Roos Kleiss, who uses her childhood nickname professionally to remember approaching her work with the new eyes of a child, says she came up with the concept for this debut album – created on colored paper using pencils, markers, colored pencil and ink – while drawing outside a public swimming pool: “I saw a little boy who kept palpating the water to see if he could jump in. The book’s delightfully curious heroine plunges her toe into a whirlwind of little choices before feeling good to follow her heart on a big one: stepping off the diving board of life.

32 pages. Child’s play. $ 17.99. (5 to 7 years old)

SAVING THE AMERICAN BEACH
The biography of African-American environmentalist MaVynee Betsch
Written by Heidi Tyline King
Illustrated by Ekua Holmes

When Betsch left her career as an internationally renowned opera singer to devote her life to saving the Florida beach that her great-grandfather bought in the 1930s for African Americans, she painted her lips and nails in orange to recall the cord that separated blacks from whites. on the beaches of the Jim Crow era. When he died, hundreds of orange butterflies were released. Medalist Caldecott Holmes celebrates this champion of color with a wonderful multi-motif collage.

40 pages. Putnam. $ 17.99. (4 to 8 years old)

THE BOY AND THE SEA
Written by Camille Andros
Illustrated by Amy Bates

Listening to the voice within you is the theme of this emotionally daring and poetic work. Reflecting the cycle of life, it opens with a young boy holding a seashell to his ear under the gaze of his grandfather (“the sea was old and wise”) and ends many years later when the boy himself is a grandfather (“the boy was old and wise”). What he feels in between is sometimes “dark and dangerous”, sometimes “quiet and tender” and sometimes “the attraction of something more”: to dream, to love, to be. Bates’ moving and majestic art – rendered in gouache, watercolor and colored pencil – matches and raises these issues, showing not only joy but angst.

32 pages. Abrams. $ 17.99. (4 to 8 years old)

HIDDEN TREASURE
Written and illustrated by Elly MacKay

The medium fits perfectly with the message of this one-of-a-kind book on the search for a girl in search of wave-washed treasures: “a bubble wand, a rusty key, a marble too, all lost at sea”. Inspired by paper theaters, stereoscopes and Victorian tunnel books, MacKay creates her illustrations from layered cut papers set up in three dimensions. Some scenes seem from another world; she shines a table lamp behind the paper to make it shine, uses cellophane for the water, mixes ink and salt for the sand.

32 pages. Press in progress. $ 16.99. (4 to 8 years old)

NAVIGATE
Written and illustrated by Dorien Brouwers

Despite its title, this metaphorical tale, breathtakingly told using textured watercolor and single print, deals with transformative opportunities to drift or fall into it: “A mighty wisdom lies in the depths. The bottom is where you will find treasures to keep. The book’s palette gradually changes from still, washed-out pastel blues as the sailboat skims the surface, to dark charcoal shadows, against which a sprawling red octopus wields brushstrokes.

40 pages. Small, Brown. $ 17.99. (4 to 8 years old)

BREAKING THE WAVES
Winslow Homer paints the sea
Written by Robert Burleigh
Illustrated by Wendell Minor

Burleigh’s living tale, starting and ending in winter, and set in Prouts Neck, Maine – where Homer lived most of his life on a bluff overlooking the Atlantic Ocean – captures the painter’s fascination with the “struggle wild “sea against land, land against sea. The watercolor and gouache illustrations let us feel the splashes and spray, both of the crashing surf and the swooshing of the paint:” white waves scatter over the canvas, coarse and rapid brushstrokes, until at last the sea and the paint merge.

40 pages. Neal Porter / Vacation Home. $ 18.99. (4 to 8 years old)

SEAL OF NOAH
Written and illustrated by Layn Marlow

This quiet, beautifully crafted gem of a book follows a boy who sits down and waits “by the great wild sea” – “as he did yesterday and the day before yesterday” – for his Nana to repair his little boat. He wanted to see a seal. To pass the time, he digs with a shovel, throwing sand aimlessly over his shoulder, until … “When Noah turns around he gasps”: A “big wet mound” awaits. him, waiting to be smoothed into shape like his friend. But the story does not end there. What happens when a storm arises and Noah has to leave his seal is amazing to see. “When Nana turns around, she gasps.”

32 pages. Candlewick. $ 17.99. (3 to 7 years old)

SAND BETWEEN MY ORTETS
Written by Caroline Cross
Illustrated by Jenny Duke

As grainy as the sand itself, this cheerful take on the ordinary pleasures of a family trip to the shore is, plain and simple, a day at the beach. From his first sight of the sparkling water at sunset, the middle child (and only daughter) of three siblings takes it. “The seagulls cry, the dog walks by.” “The toes are wiggling. I laugh. Duke’s bright visuals combine painting and printmaking, and range from panoramas to close-ups of nail polish and tattoos.

32 pages. Child’s play. $ 17.99. (5 to 7 years old)

Jennifer Krauss is the editor of children’s books for the Book Review.

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