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The charmingly painted illustrations, and the clever concept, of this appealing book help explain how, “If you spot a shell, you could imagine most anything.” A series of examples are offered, with photos of real shells being collaged into the paintings, as different sizes and shapes of shells are transformed into bicycle wheels, curving slides, rocket ships, submarines, and much more. Each two-page spread colorfully shows what a delight the shells — and imaginative play — can be. Our summer vacation will bring us to the beach, and we think this is a wonderful book to inspire our kids to look for shells, and to play with them there, and when the summer is just a memory.


This poetic tale offers an introduction to the joyful magic of a summer campfire. If your family is going to be going camping, this is a great introduction for children to think about what the camping experience, and a centerpiece campfire, offers. The text is poetic, switching between narration and dialog, as the campers are joined by others, to share their food and talents around the campfire. The illustrations match the poetic tone of the book remarkably well. I especially like the section which shows how flames flicker into shapes like a fox or phoenix. They’re lovely. My little one likes to find the ant included on each two-page spread.

In this detailed story, a whale shark and her remora sidekick travel across the sea to visit the goddess of the sea, Huixtocihuatl, and ask why the night is so dark. Along the way, the shark, Maren, shares one of her bright spots on her back to help them see, so that each fish (and even the sea itself) becomes luminescent. By the time she arrives to visit the goddess, she has no more spots of her own. Yet, her new friends follow her and share their light with the night. In appreciation, the goddess wraps the shark in with the starlit sky. The story helps remind us how friends can help us get through the darkest of times.