Gretchen Over the Beach
by R. W. Alley

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More About Gretchen Over the Beach by R. W. Alley
  • ISBN-13: 9780547907086
  • ISBN-10: 0547907087
  • Publisher: Clarion Books
  • Publish Date: March 2016
  • Page Count: 32
  • Reading Level: Ages 4-7

Related Categories

Books > Juvenile Fiction > Imagination & Play
Books > Juvenile Fiction > Family - Siblings
Books > Juvenile Fiction > Concepts - Seasons

BookPage Reviews

Flights of imagination

Big adventures are in store for rising readers, as these three picture books celebrate the imagination and its limitless potential. These inspiring tales are all about discovery, exploration and letting your imagination take the lead. Anything is possible!

An independent little girl gets lost in an adventure of her own imagining in R.W. Alley’s Gretchen Over the Beach. With her spiffy new sunhat and toys, Gretchen is ready to spend a day at the seashore with her siblings. But she’s disappointed when they race to the ocean, leaving her alone on the beach. Gretchen plays in the sand until her hat is caught by a gust of wind. She snags it by the tail—a length of red ribbon—and is soon airborne. Flying along with her toys for company, Gretchen zips over the ocean. A ride on the back of a seagull makes her beach day complete. Alley uses ink, pencil and acrylics to create a swirling dreamscape of ocean and sky—the perfect backdrop for the story of Gretchen and her out-of-this-world imagination. 

Danny Parker’s Parachute is the uplifting story of a small boy who confronts a big challenge. Toby is never without his parachute. Folded away in an orange pack, it makes him feel less uneasy about descending from his bunk bed or swinging in the park. It becomes very necessary when Toby is forced to climb up to his treehouse to retrieve Henry, his cat. Using the parachute, Toby sends Henry safely to the ground. But now Toby is stranded. How will he get down? With the help of his imagination, of course! Artist Matt Ottley plays with perspective in ingenious pictures that deliver a sense of Toby’s vertiginous experience. His paint, pastel and pencil illustrations are filled with brilliant details (like the stuffed rabbit that’s strapped to Toby’s pack). This is a triumphant tale about defeating fear that readers of all ages will appreciate.

Flying bovines and a friendly dragon—there’s plenty to love about Gemma Merino’s The Cow Who Climbed a Tree. Tina the cow is often teased about her inquisitive mind by her sisters, a complacent trio whose thoughts rarely stray beyond their stomachs. In the woods one day, on a whim, Tina climbs a tree, where a surprise awaits her: a winged dragon! The two trade stories and become fast friends. At home, Tina tells her sisters about the dragon, but they don’t believe her. When she disappears the next day, they make their very first venture into the forest in hopes of finding her. The sisters soon learn that the woods are full of wonder, a place where their wildest dreams can take flight. Merino’s delightful illustrations feature simple lines and bold washes of color. Her story is sure to ignite the spirit of discovery in young readers.


This article was originally published in the March 2016 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

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