Reviews of children's and young adult books old and new

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Ballyhoo Bay


Ballyhoo Bay by Judy Sierra, Illustrated by Derek Anderson

Ballyhoo Bay is a new picture book from Simon & Schuster published in May 2009. Written in rhyme, it tells the story of Mira Bell, an artist and art teacher who conducts her classes on the beach at Ballyhoo Bay. She teaches humans and animals to paint, sketch, sculpt, and decorate. Mira Bell is planning a big art show for the first of June with contests and races. When she shows up at the beach the day before to set up for the art show, she finds barbed wire and a plan to construct apartments and a casino. She gets all of her students together to make a plan to stop this from happening on their beach. They attend the town meeting that night and are able to save the beach and keep it free for everyone to use. Mira Bell and her students are able to have their art show the next day and it is a great success.

This is a very fun story. The rhyming is great for a reading aloud and the story matches the rhyme's fun feeling. The illustrations are wonderful, very colorful, and a lot to look at on every page without being too busy. There is a lot on every page to stop and point out to young listeners. All of the animals look like what they are supposed to be so it is easy to identify the wildlife in the story. The colors are very warm and give you the feeling of being on the beach in the summertime. I am impressed that they story is kept lighthearted while dealing with some very real content. It gives a chance for parents or educators to begin the conversation of conservation in a way that four and five year-olds would understand. I highly recommend this book. Whether in a classroom or for a read aloud at home, this is a very colorful and fun book to read that teaches kids about saving our natural resources in an age appropriate way.

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