Books About Vacations
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"Greetings From Sandy Beach"
Written by Bob Graham
Illustrated by Bob Graham
(Lothian, 1990)

A fairly convoluted story, written in the form of a postcard home from a holiday at the beach. The main joke of the book is that when the narrator's family -- mom, dad, little girl, baby brother -- get to Sandy Beach, a bunch of bikers are already there, and the parents are a little freaked out by their shaggy, leathered neighbors. But despite the gang's rough image, they are all teddybear sweethearts inside -- they help the hapless family put up their tents, come by at night to play guitar and sing songs, and share their popsicles with the kids. It's a cute premise, but there is a lot of other information and various visual gags floating around in this thin book... In short, it's a bit cluttered and lacks the streamlined charm of Graham's better work. It's still charming and daft, though, and has plenty of his trademark sense of humor. Worth a spin, but maybe not his best. (B-)

"Emma's Vacation"
Written by David McPhail
Illustrated by David McPhail
(Penguin/Scholastic, 1987)

Emma the bear goes on vacation with her folks... They pack the days in with trips to amusement parks and fast-food restaurants... it's all very fun and exciting, until one day Emma asks them just to stay at the cabin and hang out there. What can we do here? her parents grumble, and Emma shows them, leading them on nature walks and mellow outdoorsy activities... Cute! (B)

"Lulu's Holiday"
Written by Caroline Uff
Illustrated by Caroline Uff
(Walker Books, 2004)

Lulu goes to the beach, puts on sunscreen (or, "suncream," as they call it in the UK...) and plays in the waves and the sand. Another short, emphemeral offering in the "Lulu" series. (A)

"Miko Goes On Vacation"
Written by Brigitte Weninger
Illustrated by Stephanie Roehe
(Penguin-Miniedition, 2004)

Miko and his Mom (still no dad!) go to the ocean -- with Mimiki, too, of course! But when they get to the beach, Miko gets worried that he can't leave Mimiki alone, and doesn't want to go into the water. Finally he comes up with a solution: he finds a little girl who also has a stuffed animal and asks her if she'll watch his toy for him while he goes into the water. Later the two family sit together, and the kids build a big sandcastle. Maybe not very realistic, but a sweet story nonetheless. Plus, nice artwork, and no underlying negative message... Worth checking out. (A-)

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