Linda Ashman's new book, To the Beach, is a humorous story sure to resonate with anyone who's ever tried to get a family out the door for a big outing. For me, this delightful tale brought to mind a vivid childhood memory of the morning of a longed-for beach outing, when my father stood at the window and said calmly, We can't go. Someone's stolen the car. We were sure he was joking, but it had really happened. And although the car was recovered unharmed later that day, our beach outing was definitely ruined. Although their car isn't stolen, just about everything else goes wrong for the family in To the Beach. No sooner have parents and kids piled in the car for the beach than they begin remembering what's been forgotten: dog, ducky pail, beach umbrella, kite, ball and cooler and, whew, the list goes on! And, just when they're on the highway and headed for the sun . . . well, you'll have to read the book to find out what happens next. The liveliness of the text is perfectly matched by Nadine Bernard Westcott's vivacious artwork. Deborah Hopkinson's newest book for children is Who Was Charles Darwin? She lives in Corvallis, Oregon, where the beach is just an hour away.

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