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A Beach Tail  

Gregory and his father are spending a day at the beach. When Greg finds a stick and draws a lion in the sand, they name him Sandy Lion. "Don't go in the water, and don't leave Sandy," Dad says. Greg follows his father's advice. But he still manages to travel down the beach quite a way before he realizes he can no longer see the blue umbrella where Dad has settled on the dolphin towel.

Swish Swoosh! Greg's journey takes him past such landmarks as a jellyfish, a sandcastle, a ghost crab hole and more. How will he find his way back to Dad? Fortunately, he has his stick and Sandy's tail with him the whole way.

This rhythmic text is paired with Floyd Cooper's brilliant illustrations, revealing the trip down the beach entirely from a child's point of view. The art and text show a gentle father-son bond and reassures young readers even as they share Greg's moment of worry.

Karen on the Beach

Behind the Story

I love the beach and had wanted to use this setting in a story for a long time. When I am near the ocean, life is always open to possibilities and the creatures there fascinate me. I had been playing around with a simple story of a child who gets lost and uses his sense of place and interest in nature to find his way back. I grew up in New England and beaches there are my favorite. But I had the opportunity, recently to go to the beach and write on St. Simons Island in Georgia. Finally it hit me that this story about finding your way should be a beach story.

I remembered when my son Peter once wandered down the beach as my husband and I watched from the blanket under the umbrella and we could see the moment he looked up and panicked when he realized he could not see us. Peter did not have a stick or Sandy’s tail so my husband ran after him and guided him back to our blanket but the memory came back to me as inspiration for this story.

As a child I spent many weekends and vacations on the beaches of Rhode Island and Cape Cod where my dad taught me about jellyfish and sandcastles and how to body surf. He was always nearby when a wave knocked me over.


Publisher: Boyds Mills Press

Buy the book: Amazon


Download the Teacher's Guide for this book. [1.5 MB PDF]


© 2013 Karen Lynn Williams