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Review: ‘Sally Goes to the Beach’ by Stephen Huneck

With temperatures predicted to reach the mid 90s in New York today, I think Sally has the right idea.

Screen from 'Sally Goes to the Beach' (Huneck) Abrams/Trajectory, Inc.

Title: Sally Goes to the Beach
Author: Stephen Huneck
Stephen Huneck
Published by:
Abrams, 2000
Developed by:
Trajectory, Inc.
iOS, requires 4.0 or later; Nook; Android, 2.2 and up
iOS, 1.0.4; Android 1.0.6
Price: $.99

PreS-Gr 1-The black Labrador retriever, whose adventures have provided entertainment for legions of youngsters, can now be viewed in a digital format. In Beach (Abrams, 2000), Sally and her owner take an island vacation. Traveling to her destination on a ferry, the canine witnesses an array of sights, including a whale. On the island, she delights in the fresh air, revels in ocean swimming with friends, gets acquainted with a crab, and soon finds her element—and endless digging opportunities—in the sand.

The text, which features simple sentences, can listened to or read. In the well-paced “Autoplay” mode children will listen to a clear narration and have plenty of time to examine the illustrations. If they choose, they can pause the story by tapping on the screen. However, once the app is restarted, the pause button takes a while to disappear, which may be distracting to children reading along with the narration. For those who need instructions, an animated guide on operating the app is available from an information icon. To note: a button at the end of the book, labeled “Bonus Content,” is somewhat misleading as it takes viewers to external links, most of which are e-commerce.

Huneck’s vibrant woodblock illustrations, rendered in a palette of deep blues, vivid greens, and splashes of orange evoke a carefree whimsy that’s sure to appeal to young readers. However, with no interactive elements, this is essentially an ebook experience.—Lalitha Nataraj, Escondido Public Library, Escondido, CA