Philip Bunting is an author/illustrator based in Queensland and has reproduced the beauty of Australian beaches and sunsets in this book.
Sandcastle is a pretty picture book that has a deeper meaning for when young ones are ready to discuss it. It is, on the surface, a nice day-at-the-beach-with-Grandpa story. The illustrations in pastel colours are very appealing and, whilst not terribly detailed, give a warmth to the tale and provide added meaning to the text on the page. This story highlights the special relationship between a grandfather and his grandson as they spend time together building not one, but two sandcastles that are “magnificent.”
The text is simple and, with some assistance, will be read by those with limited reading experience using descriptive terminology that is accurate for use with any castle.
It is a shame that Grandpa is not wearing a hat as this is a wasted opportunity for a sun safety message.
Bunting has asked the questions that all children ask once a sandcastle has been built and the tide starts coming in but he provides a comforting and deeper answer than one would expect in a picture book. The final page of the book explains the answer in detail as it states, “You, me, this book, your breakfast … we’re all made from tiny particles, stuff that has been around since the beginning of time. We’re only borrowing these particles from the enormous universe that made them. Once we’re done with them, the bits that make us will go on to lead many new existences on Earth, and beyond.” This is a conversation that, as a parent or adult reader, you may wish to prepare for before reading this story with little people.
This is a lovely book that I would recommend for young ones from four to nine years old, unless the reader is beginning to explore the science of atomic structure in life at which point the reading age becomes much broader.
Reviewed by: Leanne Caune
Rating out of 10: 7
Distributed by: Allen & Unwin
Released: February 2018
RRP: $24.99 hardcover