Friday, 23 May 2008

Lottie's New Beach Towell

Lottie’s New beach Towel
Written & Illustrated by Petra Mathers
ISBN # 0-689-81606-5

Do you like chickens, the beach, picnic lunches, boat rides, weddings and beach towels? If so, then this is a book for you. Lottie’s New Beach Towel is a rectangular book that is bright red and yellow and has 20 pages. Each page has only one or two sentences along with some really cute pictures.

The illustrations are done in watercolor and are bright and lively to look at. Ummmm, they are not glossy bright, but are done in realistic colors that catch your attention.

The two main characters in this book are Lottie the chicken and Herbie the duck. These two good friends have a wonderful adventure while trying to have a nice quiet picnic. So on with the story….Oh and I tell you the whole story so do not read if you want to keep the ending a secret.

PAGES 1 & 2:
Lottie is shown making a picnic lunch. She is wearing a blue striped apron and squeezing lemons. On the table is bread spread with strawberry jam and topped with bananas. You can just make out the second slice of bread with what looks like peanut butter. A large clock on the wall shows the time to be 10:38 and looking out the window you see the postman walking away and a large package sticking out of the mailbox.

The one sentence says;
Lottie was squeezing lemons when a package arrived. It’s short, sweet and to the point. Page two shows Lottie, still in her apron, pulling out a large red beach towel with white polka dots. There are actually two pictures on this page. Each is shown in a square box, kinda like a comic book. The second square show her packing her picnic lunch up in a cooler with the beach towel on the back of a chair. A note came with the package and is shown against the first picture square. The writing is large enough to read, Dear Lottie, This might come in handy this summer. Love, Aunt Mattie

This is a good time to ask your little one what the beach towel might come in handy for. See if you get the usual answer; to dry off with. I know Brennah has come up with a few good ideas, like wearing it for a wig, or wrap it around her middle for a skirt. What can I say, my little one likes clothes and hair. She’s a princess ya know! (Giggle)

PAGES 3 & 4:
Lottie takes off to meet Herbie at the beach. Again the writing is simple and direct. It was a beautiful summer day. The sun was high and the sand was hot. Soon Lottie’s feet were on fire. Uh Oh! I think anyone who has ever been on the beach in the summer can relate to this. That darn sand can get pretty warm! Lottie is in a pickle, her feet are hot and she is stuck on the beach. The picture on page four always gets a giggle from Bren. Lottie is shown standing on her cooler amongst the sand dunes with a very large hot sun beating down. OUCH!

This is a good place to ask your little one what Lottie could do to help herself get to the water.

PAGES 5 & 6:
These show how Lottie figured out how to keep her feet from getting hot. Can you guess? I think I’ll keep this a secret; you’ll have to buy the book to find out.

PAGEs 7 & 8:
Lottie has made it to the water! Hooray! There are four squares, two on each page. Square # 1 shows Lottie wading into the sea, # 2 shows her being swamped by a wave, # 3 shows her being tumbled over and over and last #4 shows a dripping wet Lottie sitting on the beach. Again, very simple text; “Here I am, come and get me!” Lottie yells to the waves and we see from the picture that she teased the sea and lost!

Herbie finally arrives in a boat to pick Lottie up for the picnic. They head out to sea and the motor quits. Herbie is shown with a face bright pink from embarrassment. Silly Herbie, now what do they do? They are stuck with no motor and no land in sight. Ask your little one to come up with a solution. Lottie comes up with using her beach towel as a sail. Wow, and it works.

PAGES 9 & 10:
They finally make it to the picnic site and eat their lunch. ”I’m so hungry I don’t care if there is sand on my sandwich. Get it, Lottie? Brennah thinks this pun is hilarious. I feel kinda dumb; it took me longer to get it than Bren.

PAGES 11 & 12:
As they sit eating their lunch, they hear voices and then see a wedding party chasing a veil that got away from the bride. The bride is lovely gray mouse in a white dress and the groom a brown mouse in a bow tie. We also some of the other mice but the one that stands out is the flower girl. A tiny little mouse in a purple dress with a basket of spilled flower petals. You read “Gone,” cried the bride. “But darling, we can still get married,” said the groom. Very melodramatic and my favorite part!

PAGES 13 & 14:
What is a bride to do? How can she get married with no veil? It’s tragic, until Lottie offers her polka dot beach towel to the bride. Yup, you got it, the bride loves the idea and the wedding is on! WHOHOO! The picture shows Lottie handing the towel to the bride and groom. The wedding party is all smiles! After the wedding they all pig out on cake. I’d like a piece, darn it. It looks mighty tasty, pink icing with hearts and flowers decorating it.

PAGES 15 & 16:
Herbie has a tummy ache! ”Oh Lottie, my stomach feels tight. Will my feathers pop off? He asked. “Time to go home,” said Lottie. This picture is too, cute! All you see is Herbie’s big belly as he is laying flat on the beach. He ate a bit too much wedding cake! Lottie is in the background holding the cooler. I think she is smirking, but I could be wrong. It’s getting dark and the pictures are getting a bit dusky. The boat reached Lottie’s dune by moonlight.

PAGES 17 & 18:
Herbie drops Lottie off and she walks up the dunes to her home. The actual sentence is; She walked up the dune. The cool sand squeaked between her toes. I didn’t know sand squeaked, did you?

Lottie is shown on page 18 sitting at her typewriter. She is writing to her Aunt Mattie, thanking her for the beach towel. We can read the paper in the typewriter. It says Dear Aunt Mattie,
Thank you so much for my new beach towel. Without it I might be in the hospital with burnt feet or lost at sea with Herbie. There might not even have been a wedding. But let me start at the beginning. Nice touch, to let little ones know it’s always polite to write thank you notes for gifts. I did have to explain what a typewriter is to Brennah. She thought part of Lottie’s computer was gone. My baby is a techie nerd!

PAGES 19 & 20:
These two pages are only pictures. Page 19 shows Lottie’s house and you can see her through the window at her typewriter. Lots of stars are in the sky and the polka dot beach towel is draped over the clothes line. A nice quiet ending to a very cute story!

If you look at the pictures the beach towel is used in a few other ways also. I love the illustrations and the story, both are simple and sweet. The story also gets your child thinking about practical solutions to some problems they might or might not have. Regardless, it makes them think and that is always good.

I bought this book from Children's Book of the Month Club and can't remember exactly how much I paid for it, but I think it's around $7.99.

Thanks and Smiles, Charotte

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