Bille and Bean at the Beach

Orca. Feb. 2023. 32p. Tr $21.95. ISBN 9781459834415.
PreS-Gr 2–Billie is at the beach with her mom and her dog Bean, but she really doesn’t want to be here. While Bean runs and splashes in the water, Billie just wants to sit in the shade. Mom encourages Billie to go for a swim, and she ventures into the water with the encouragement that Bean was brave enough to do it. But Billie is stung by a jellyfish, and “she wishes she hadn’t tried.” When Bean brings her a snorkel mask unearthed from the sand, Billie decides to give swimming one more try. Under the water, Billie discovers an exotic world of quiet and calm, and surfaces victorious in conquering her fear. This is a very realistic and relatable tale of childhood bravery. The text is succinct, detailing Billie’s emotions in a straightforward manner. The illustrations enhance the emotional resonance, with Billie’s body language excellently capturing her mental state, and Bean’s exuberance relayed through her near-constant movement. The dark colors used for the ocean first register as frightening, but on Billie’s second foray they depict the water as a mysterious respite from the noise and activity of the beach. The story models two supportive relationships for Billie: Bean, who inspires her, and her mom, who challenges and comforts her in equal measure. All of the bodies on the beach have gently rounded bellies and solid limbs, a refreshing portrayal of the human form within this particular setting.
VERDICT Well-suited to be read aloud, and for a group or class discussion on resilience and bravery, this accessible tale of courage is recommended for general purchase.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing