Reviews provided by Syndetics
School Library Journal Review
K-Gr 2-- The pleasures of ordinary events turn into extraordinary adventures in this rhyming tale of a child's imaginative view of a beach vacation. With just the flip of a page, splashing waves tranform into wild, white horses to ride; a sandcastle becomes the scene of a princess's daring rescue of her brother from the clutches of a flame-spitting dragon; searching for driftwood : and shells leads to the discovery of a chest of glistening treasure. This Australian import features pastel watercolor illustrations of beachcombers with highly stylized faces. Each page is bordered by appropriate sea motifs taken from a detail within the main illustration. The real-life activities are depicted on page-and-a-half spreads while their imaginary counterparts are presented as rounded mind's-eye views. The illustrations both suit the mood and reinforce the verse. As with Peter Spier's Dreams (Doubleday, 1986), Magic Beach could serve well as an inspiration for creative writing and classroom drama, encouraging students to create fanciful stories from everyday ideas. A delightful addition to picture book collections. --Nancy Menaldi-Scanlan, Wheeler School, Providence, RI (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Ages 4-8. Lester alternates illustrations of a family's vacation at their favorite beach with the children's imagined adventures there. In glowing watercolors that cover most of a double-page spread, the children have a wonderful time rowing an anchored boat, building gigantic sand castles, surfing, fishing, searching for shells, and roasting marshmallows under the watchful eyes of their parents. Their imaginations have them catching smugglers, battling a shark, and more--each escapade captured in a circle as though viewed through a telescope. Pages are rimmed with a colorful border of items found elsewhere in the artwork. Lester's rhymed text reads aloud beautifully, making the book a good choice to use with a small group. Every child deserves a magic beach, if not in real life, certainly in Lester's lovely creation. ~--Chris Sherman
Horn Book Review
Real and imagined adventures take place at a beach in a story illustrated in gentle watercolors. From HORN BOOK 1992, (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Kirkus Book Review
A favorite Australian illustrator pairs realistic and imaginative experiences at the beach: first, an expansive watercolor depicts children absorbed with playing in the surf or tidal pools, or constructing a vast sandcastle, or roasting marshmallows in a cove by moonlight; a turn of the page reveals a related make-believe scene enclosed in a soft-edged circle (e.g., the beachcombing spread is followed by a picture of the same kids finding a fabulous treasure chest). The carefully crafted verse descriptions are pleasant enough, but the lucid, beautifully observed illustrations here are outstanding: a splendid evocation of summers past and summers still to come. (Picture book. 4-8)