Issue: April 15, 2010
A Beach Tail.
Williams, Karen Lynn (Author) , Cooper, Floyd (Illustrator)
Feb 2010. 32 p. Boyds Mills, hardcover, $17.95. (9781590787120).
The titular tail refers here to a lion drawn in the sand by Gregory, an intrepid boy who, in extending the tail
with a stick, winds up exploring a broad length of beach without quite disobeying his dad’s directive to not
wander way. As the boy goes further and further, he comes across such common seaside sights as a
jellyfish, a crumbling sand castle, a horseshoe crab, and a ghost crab. Finally realizing the distance he has
traveled, he traces his tail, with its swirls and zigzags, back past the objects he has found. Williams, who
always takes readers on a worthwhile journey, accentuates her straightforward telling with the repetitive
sounds of the shore (“Swish-swoosh”), which also punctuate Gregory’s embellishments of the long tail.
Cooper’s warm, peachy-brown palette splendidly evokes the seaside setting, and his talent for expressive
faces and texture (he won the 2009 Coretta Scott King Award for The Blacker the Berry) works to draw in
viewers. A lovely collaboration suited for every collection.
— Karen Cruze