The Beach by Sol Undurraga

The Beach by Sol Undurraga. Translation by Kit Maude. Tapioca Stories, 2022. 9781734783940

Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 5

Format: Hardcover picture book

Genre:  Fantasy

What did you like about the book? People and animals, both realistic and imaginary, enjoy the beach throughout a long day in summer. From the early morning crew going out to fish, to sunbathers and swimmers in the bright of day, to the late night denizens, this undulating shoreline is the setting for many activities that are a delight to explore. Brief text on each double page spread indicates the time of day, but the fun is in examining the pink, yellow and brown people and animals and their joyful use of the beach. People are mostly faceless, with funny blobs of hair. Some animals are clothed and other are not, but they seem to have equal footing with humans in this world. I was pleased to see a variety of body types and couple pairings.

The striking palette of matte blue, yellow, red and brown/gray evokes a summer/nautical vibe. Readers will enjoy examining the activities of the pinheaded, blobby haired people – there’s a supernaturally tall guy with extraordinarily long legs sunning himself in his BVDs, an animal water skier pulled by a boat with people in it, a guy peeing on a buoy, as well as a hairy monster among the sunbathers and a dog walking a crocodile on a leash. What fun to enter the singular world of this whimsical beach and its denizens!

Anything you didn’t like about it? No

To whom would you recommend this book? For ages 3 and up, who enjoy a whimsical read with lots of visual treats.

Who should buy this book? Public libraries

Where would you shelve it ? Picture books

Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Near the top

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City and State: Stephanie Tournas, Robbins Library, Arlington, MA

Date of review: March 20, 2022

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