Kirkus Reviews (03/01/2018):
As a little girl and her family settle down for the night, various objects remind the girl of their happy day at the beach. “In the twilight blue,” a brown girl with very curly hair runs toward what appears to be a vacation beach home along with her siblings, father, and dog, as her mother waves at them from the house. With each step of getting ready for bed (“Bare feet skipping. / Wet towels dripping”), the girl is reminded of an aspect of “the beach that day– / the sea so cool, the waves at play.” That last couplet becomes a repeated refrain, modulating slightly to adapt to each new scenario. Three siblings and two parents, all of various skin hues and hair textures, say goodnight, while the family dog falls asleep on the floor. The final spread shows the house with a view from the water: “Ocean breezes sigh / your favorite summer lullaby.” The text is simple and lyrical, recalling beach-centered vacations in a way that is accessible to the youngest of children. While the cartoonlike stylings of the characters are friendly and approachable, they come across as a surprising match for the poetic text; still, the palette of purples and yellows, with breaks of ocean blues, is soothing for a bedtime read. Readers familiar with beach vacations will close the book feeling nostalgic for their own ocean days. (Picture book. 4-8)
Preschool-G In the evening, four children and their father return home from a day at the seashore. Tossing beach toys into a basket and wet towels into a hamper, they race up the stairs. The younger girl plays with her dog before sharing a bubble bath with her older sister. Their parents stop by the kids’ bedroom for goodnight kisses before turning out the light. Written in rhymed couplets, the nicely phrased text gradually shifts from noisy activity in the early pages, with Buckets tumbling. / Shovels jumbling. / Bare feet skipping. / Wet towels dripping to a quieter, drowsier tone toward the end: A cricket strums. / Downstairs, Mama hums. / In the dusky evening light / a sleepy house says good night. Flashbacks occur three times during the story and focus on moments enjoyed at the beach that day. Created with gouache and digital elements, the illustrations focus mainly on the younger sister in this close-knit, biracial family. An inviting picture book celebrating summer, particularly when it involves a day at the beach.
School Library Journal (05/01/2018):
PreS–This sweet, lilting lullaby is a pleasant, if slight, love song to the beach, showcasing a cozy mixed-race family. Starting with the children and father arriving home after a day spent in the surf and the sun, the illustrations intercut scenes of the evening routine with images of the beach day they have just finished. The rhyming text is evocative yet concrete, describing sounds, smells, and feelings in a visceral way. The gouache and digitally rendered illustrations depict an idyllic family. The cartoon artwork is expressive, as all of the characters appear to be happy, absorbed in the joy of the beach and the familiar evening routine, complete with dinner, bath, and bedtime kisses. However, interspersing of the evening routine with the daytime activities at the beach is initially confusing. Valentine’s depiction of light is luminous, and the colors and images are inviting. VERDICT A pleasant seasonal addition for families preparing for vacation, but not an essential purchase where budgets are tight.–Amy Lilien-Harper, The Ferguson Library, Stamford, CT
Publishers Weekly (06/11/2018):
At twilight, a child and her family–all have simple, doll-like faces with rounded noses–return to their rural cottage home from a day at the beach: “A screen door sings/ a lullaby of summer things.” In quiet, rhyming text, Ziarnik describes the mixed-race family’s evening routine (the mother feeds the baby, the older children take a bubble bath). As bedtime approaches, the child also reflects on their seashore outing: “And you remember the/ beach that day–/ the sea so cool, / sails far away.” The child’s recollections play out in Valentine’s gouache spreads. Misty, cloudlike waves roll in as the girl and her family–friendly, white dog included–play in the water and sand. Though special days must end, Ziarnik suggests, warm memories are carried onward into the present. Ages 4-8. Author’s agent: Liza Voges, Eden Street. Illustrator’s agent: Rebecca Sherman, Writers House. (May)