Cover image for The boy on the beach
The boy on the beach
Daly, Niki.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Margaret K. McElderry Books, [1999]

Physical Description:
32 unnumbered pages : color illustrations ; 27 x 28 cm
Reluctant to let the surf crash over him, Joe runs down the beach and has an adventure with an old boat.
Reading Level:
AD 450 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 2.7 0.5 46149.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PIC. BK Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
PIC.BK. Juvenile Fiction Childrens Area-Picture Books
PIC. BK Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
PIC. BK Juvenile Fiction Picture Books

On Order



"It's hot, hot, hot." A small boy and his parents are at the beach where there are crowds of surfers and sailboarders and sunbathers.

The boy doesn't much like the big waves. He holds hands with his parents for only one big one. Then he runs off to find some fun. He zips through the crowd, heading toward the lifeguard station high on a dune. Just below it is an old, abandoned boat, waiting for the boy to be its brave captain. And brave he is, fending off sharks and storms. But all of a sudden, with the dunes rising like big waves around him, he realizes he is lost and all alone. "Mommy! Daddy!" he cries. With the help of a lifeguard who comes to his rescue, all ends well.

Full of gentle humor and illustrated with exuberant watercolor paintings, this is a reassuring story Niki Daly, the creator of "Not So Fast, Songololo" and "Papa Lucky's Shadow," has here conjured up all the pleasures of a summer day at the beach that no one, young or old, will be able to resist.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Ages 2^-4. With dancing sunlit watercolor pictures and joyful words, Daly expresses the physicalness of a small child's fun in the sand and waves. There's a very simple story: after playing on the beach, Joe wanders away and gets lost behind a sand dune. A friendly blond lifeguard, "as cool as a coke," finds Joe and carries the kid piggyback to smiling Mom and Dad, who buy him a king-size ice-cream cone. The boy and his family are black and middle-class; that they feel at home with the whites on the beach is taken for granted. Children will see a relaxed multiracial scene. Older readers who know that this is the new South Africa will be moved by the pictures of easy integration, where just a few years ago this child would have been forbidden entry by the apartheid law. The playful story is set against the beauty of the Cape sea and sky and mountain. --Hazel Rochman

Publisher's Weekly Review

Daly (Jamela's Dress, reviewed below) summons the sights and sounds of a summertime outing through sun-washed watercolors and keenly tuned language. A boy and his parents arrive at the shore, where it's "hot as sun-melted tar in the beach parking lot," and soon little Joe is frolicking happily in the sand and water. Venturing beyond the high dunes, he loses sight of his parents and panics, but a lifeguard finds him and carries him piggyback to the Lost and Found, where his mother and father await. The prose is packed with descriptions that appeal to the senses, from a lifeguard "cool as a coke and copper-tanned" to sand dunes that "rise like monster waves," and slips easily into casual rhyme (e.g., "Sandy toes... sun-cream nose... camera smileÄclick! And off he goes..."; "castle bashing, sea-pool splashing, surf crashingÄwet, wet, wet..."). The spreads sprawl like a beach towel, with generous white space that mimics the bright sunshine of a peak summer day. Daly maintains a rigorous visual pace by varying broad vistas of busy seashore activity with close-ups, such as Joe "kangaroo jumping" down the shore. He perfectly represents the sheer glee that blossoms at the prospect of a fun-filled day of sun, sand and surf. Ages 3-7. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

PreS-KWhen a young black child exhibits fear and hesitation at the seashore, his parents hold his hands and take him into the water to feel the waves. The boy then runs off on his own across the crowded beach until he finds an old boat nestled among the dunes. In it, he has an imaginary adventure, begins to feel lost and alone, is rescued by a lifeguard, and is returned safely to his mom and dad. Dalys watercolor illustrations are cheerfully energetic in depicting the vibrant colors of the busy beach, the sprightliness of little Joe (whose name is revealed only on the last page when he writes it in the sand), and his parents carefree enjoyment of the day. Text and varied page design work together, as double-page spreads with unrhymed narrative are interspersed with spreads containing individual images and brief staccato rhyming text. Combined, they reinforce the mood and vary the pace. It seems worth noting, in this otherwise ebullient tale of a family outing, that adults in many beach communities may not be as sanguine about a preschooler who runs off into a crowd and is rewarded with a smile and an ice cream.Kate McClelland, Perrot Memorial Library, Greenwich, CT (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.