On Our Way to the Beach, by Sofie Laguna & Andrew McLean

I have never seen the beach before.
“What does it look like?” I keep asking.
“It’s wet,” says Mum.
“And sandy,” says Uncle Daniel.
“And sometimes it’s wavy,” says Dad.

Trying to imagine what the beach is like without having ever seen it is hard for a young child. But this little girl has plenty of delightful experiences on the trip to the beach which influence what she imagines the beach will look like.

This is much less a book about the beach than it is about travelling and dreaming. The adults in the story ensure that the trip to the beach – over several days – is full of experiences and special moments. Together the family picks strawberries, buys treasures in an op shop, presents family concerts and just revels in the delight of ‘being’. Each new day of experiences influences how the child imagines the beach will be when they finally arrive, although nothing prepares her for what she eventually sees when they do arrive.

On Our Way to the Beach is a delightfully crafted book, with both the story and the illustrations full of whimsy. It is a peaceful bedtime story and an excellent classrom sharing book, especially for chidlren in inland parts of Australia who will relate to the expectation and excitement about a trip to the beach.

On Our Way to the Beach, by Sofie Laguna and Andrew McLean
Scholastic, 2004