"At the beach is a delightful introduction to the natural history of the New Zealand seashore. The stage is set with beautiful, factually correct illustrations (including detailed cross-sections) of three familiar habitats - the sandy beach, rock pools and mudflats. Many of the plants and animals that play a part in these rich ecosystems are shown in situ, and readers are directed from there to pages dedicated to detailed coverage of:
- Sea stars, Kina and Sea Anemones
- Seaweeds, Sponges and Sandhoppers
- Fish, Jellyfish and Shrimps
The book covers not only the sandy seashore, or "the beach" as my children call it, but also "mudflats", which is great for us as we live (like lots of New Zealanders) close to some. We often walk the little trail that weaves it's way around the edge of the inlet, yet other than a bit of bird spotting we haven't really "explored" it at all.
The bird pages where especially helpful (many of the birds were a mixture of black, white and grey) and there was some lively debate over what birds we had spotted! The book comes with a removable, waterproof, quick reference guide which unfortunately we didn't have because our copy is borrowed from our local library, but I imagine that would have been really helpful to have on our walk and perhaps even handier if we were exploring a "sandy beach". The children were excited to pour over the pages, spotting lots of things they wanted to see and find, a trip to a "sandy beach" was suggested, no surprises there! I particularly loved the cross section illustrations, showing a sneak peek into the daily lives of our local sea creatures.
I love that inside the front cover there is a little blurb about "staying safe at the beach" and also "look after the beach and it's creatures". Very important stuff to teach our children and remind ourselves too!
Click on the logo above to take you to the awards page to see what other great books are nominated, maybe like me you could find some in your local library or bookshop to take on a wee adventure of your own.