A day at the beach turns into something extra special for Paloma, the charming little girl at the center of this imaginative book.
When her mother and father take her to the beach, Paloma sees the other children playing with their siblings and wishes she could have a sister of her own. Left by herself to play, she draws a little girl in the sand, “like her but with curly hair.” With the help of magical Old Daddy Rock (a stone formation on the beach that hears her wish), Paloma’s dream comes true. Along comes Sandy, a very special sister that only Paloma can see. Old Daddy Rock warns her that once the tide comes in, Sandy will disappear.
The girls spend the day having one adventure after another, from chasing seagulls to hunting for treasure. At one point, the playing gets a little rough, and Paloma and Sandy get into an argument. But when the tide begins to come in, Paloma realizes that soon Sandy will disappear, and the girls quickly reconcile and promise to remember each other forever. Feeling sad at the loss of her sand sister, Paloma is comforted by her parents, who have a surprise for her—they tell her that soon, she will have a real brother or sister to play with at the beach.
The author has previously written poetry for adults, including a collection called Stepping on the Cracks; she is also the author of Rip and Rap, a children’s book about twin puppies with different ambitions, also published by Barefoot Books.
The illustrations are the highlight of this volume. Each picture has earthy, natural tones that leave the reader practically feeling the sand between the toes and smelling the ocean air. Morales also illustrated Harvesting Hope: The Story of Cesar Chavez, which was named a Junior Literary Guild selection, and wrote and illustrated Just a Minute: A Trickster Tale and Counting Book.
Both White and Morales have graced their audience with a beautiful way to break the news of an impending arrival to a future big sibling, and they provide a welcome celebration of the special relationship that sisters share.