Sandcastle by Einat Tsarfati

Sandcastle by Einat Tsarfati
Review Copy from Candlewick Press

Last year I gleefully read and reviewed Einat Tsarfati's debut author illustrated picture book, The Neighbors. The curious, imaginative red headed narrator (and her pet hamster) are back - this time at the beach. Tsarfati has created yet another intricately detailed, humorous adventure that readers will pore over again and again, discovering new aspects of the story with each reading. And, as an extra treat, Tsarfati has given readers two tiny creatures to search for on each page - the narrator's pet AND a hermit crab. Sandcastle begins with a wordless, two page spread that finds the narrator, shovel and pail in hand, staring out at the waves, a crowd of beach goers behind her. I don't want to give too much away, but readers who spend time with this illustration will be treated to an igloo, a mummy, and a circle of witches, among other silly sights. A page turn finds the narrator, her fuzzy pet catching rays, sunglasses safely on, telling readers, "I love building castles in the sand. So I build a sandcastle." This sounds so reasonable, until you see what she has created. (Or has she? As with The Neighbors, part of the fun of Sandcastle is trying to decide if the events of the stories are really happening or if the narrator is taking us on a journey of the imagination . . . )
Her sandcastle is a "real castle, with domes and turrets and a crocodile in the moat." Readers are treated to a tour of the castle, so regal that it attracts "kings and queens from all over the world," each one expressing wonder and amazement at what the narrator has built from one hundred percent sand." A grand party in the ballroom includes "dollops of ice cream," served all night long. However, by breakfast the next day, the glow has worn off and guests are beginning to complain about the sand in the "royal almond strudel," and between "royal toes." The narrator addresses her angry guests by making a sand ball and starting a battle - all in good fun - until . . .  "In came the sea and washed everything away." The narrator's response? Build a(nother) sandcastle!

The narrator is white. Beachgoers and the kings and queens from all over the world are white and POC.

The Neighbors

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