Published by Greenwillow Books
Summary: Alix and her older sister Jools head off with their parents before dawn one morning. They drive all day before finally arriving at the seashore. Their house faces the beach. The family rents the downstairs from Lila, the woman living upstairs. Lila’s granddaughter Nessa often visits, and she and Alix become friends. There are new adventures every day of the week: a long walk on the beach, a trip to the raptor center, a search for sea glass, the exploration of a lighthouse. Things don’t always go according to plan (an attack by a giant June bug; the destruction of a sand castle by two careless boys), but everyone remains positive, and it’s a happy vacation that brings about bonding moments for each member of the family and sees the beginning of new friendships. Even three flat tires on the drive home can’t diminish the joy of the trip, and Alix falls asleep in her own bed dreaming of her new friends and anticipating the rest of the summer. Includes instructions for making a sea glass necklace. 240 pages; grades 3-6.
Pros: A quiet book that perfectly captures the highs and lows of a family vacation. The characters are realistically portrayed, just quirky enough to make them likeable and believable. The writing provides a feast for the senses that will make you want to go to the beach, and the illustrations enhance this. An ideal summer read-aloud.
Cons: Read this book in the summer; it might be too depressing to read it surrounded by snow and cold.