This is it! This is the next generation of children’s book classics.
I am new to the world of Claude and his friend Sir Bobblysock (Oh how I love that name and character!), and I absolutely adored this book!
From the humorously original silliness (he wears suntan lotion and whipped cream at the beach) to the many adventures Claude and Sir Bobblysock are involved in (a sandcastle building contest; rescuing a swimmer from a shark; and an adventure with pirates), this book moves along nicely, entertains on every page, and is simply down-right fun.
We are charmed right from the start, when we learn that: “Claude lives in his house with two people who are too tall to fit on this page. They are called Mr. and Mrs. Shinyshoes…” and even the appearance of a shark and pirates, the book stays whimsical.
The art is perfectly cartoonish with a two-color art format that harkens back to the classics of Virginia Lee Burton (for its simple coloring, not its style).
Children will fall in love with Claude, and the only down side to that is that there will become a Claude marketing gimmick, inundating the toy shelves with Claude merchandise (this will be good for Alex T. Smith, but likely glut the market). Yes…this is that good that I’m surprised there isn’t a television series already in the works.
The story and art are perfectly adapted for children, but there is just enough sprinkling of humor that the adults will pick up on to keep it interesting for those parents who enjoy reading aloud to their children.
I’m sad I don’t have children of the appropriate age for this book, but I have plenty of nieces and nephews, and some day there will be grandchildren, who I can promise will know of Claude and Sir Bobblysock.
Looking for a good book? Claude at the Beach is currently my pick for children’s book of the year. It’s a guaranteed classic (along the lines of Curious George) that will entertain and teach children for generations to come.
* * * * * *
Claude at the Beach
author: Alex T. Smith
artist: Alex T. Smith
publisher: Peachtree Publishers
hardcover, 50 pages