The powerful ocean is no match for a small girl and her posse of seagulls, especially when the girl has mastered an understanding of how waves work. At first she’s frightened by the water coming at her when she’s on the beach, but once she understands that the waves will pull back again and again, she becomes all powerful. She stands just outside their reach and commands them with her small body—angry, scary, and taunting. Each time a wave recedes, it appears to be responding to her actions. The ocean finally appears to win the game when a big wave comes far into shore, completely washing over the child. But when it deposits all sorts of shells and starfish in its wake, the little girl is the final victor. She leaves the beach happily with her mother, waving goodbye to the ocean over her shoulder. The completely wordless book cleverly uses the gutter of the double-page spreads as the shoreline. Two distinct art styles and media also heighten the dramatic contrasts: the child and gulls are realistically drawn with black charcoal, while the ocean is abstractly rendered in bright blue acrylic paint. (Ages 3–6)
CCBC Choices 2009. © Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2009. Used with permission.