1, 2, 3 ... By the Sea is a nice little counting book written by Dianne Moritz and illustrated by Hazel Mitchell. The story is a bit more advanced than that of many counting books, making this more a book for preschoolers and kindergartners than for babies and toddlers.
A boy, his mother, and his dog bike to the beach for the day. As the day progresses, they count things. Like this:
"Big waves tumble onto shore...
We chase FOUR."
The "FOUR" is shown spelled out, but partially overlaid with a big number 4.
I also liked:
"Surfers surf and do surf tricks...
We watch SIX."
I like when books for young children use strong, descriptive verbs.
Mitchell's illustrations bring the oceanside setting to life. They remind me a bit of Marla Frazee's illustrations in All the World (and that is a huge compliment), with a similar color palette and level of detail (though without the poetry of Liz Garton Scanlon's text). Mitchell doesn't convey quite the same diversity in characters that Frazee does, but some of that is due to differences in subject matter.
The beach in 1, 2, 3 ... By the Sea evokes small-town, coastal Maine to me, with shingled homes nearby, and a crusty fisherman teasing the boy with a lobster. (Although you'd have to be on a pretty serious peninsula to get a perfect sunset over the water in Maine.)
If you have a child who loves beaches (and what child doesn't), and is learning to count, 1, 2, 3 ... By the Sea would be an excellent choice. If you can find it, anyway. It's available from the publisher, but otherwise not all that widely distributed. Which is too bad, because this slim paperback would slip quite easily into one's beach bag this summer.
Publisher: Kane/Miller Book Publishers
Publication Date: January 2013
Source of Book: Review copy from the publisher
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