It's a Seashell Day

by Dianne Ochiltree , illustrated by Elliot Kreloff




Sunny-as-a-summer-sky rhymes chronicle a mother and son sharing a day of sand digging, seashell collecting, and seashore exploring. Kids will learn about a variety of shells and count along with the boy as he totals up his collection, puts his shells away, and then drifts off into a well-earned bedtime. A spread of seashell facts caps off the story.

Editorial Review

Kirkus Reviews

A cute, curly-headed boy and his young mother, both Caucasian, head to the beach for a day of collecting seashells. Over the dune they run, and the treasure hunt ensues, expressed in simple rhyming couplets: "With pail and shovel in my hand, / my toes squish in cool, wet sand." Boy and mother together discover the beauty and variety of shells on a wide, rolling, sandy beach. The boy is entranced by the sound of the sea when he presses a giant whelk to his ear. Counting and natural science are both featured, and the collection the boy displays when he gets home serves to identify 10 shells by their popular names: whelk, limpet, conch, oyster, scallop, cone snail, mussel, moon snail, razor and clam. The straightforward text is considerably enhanced by the beautifully rendered illustrations, which use cut-paper and collage techniques to create bright, attractive beach scenes. Illustrator Kreloff employs photographed textures, torn and cut papers, airbrushing and paint washes to bring to life the magic of the day. The closing spreads are visually exquisite, with long shadows and touches of pink and deep yellow added to convey colors of a classic summer sunset. A charming beach-day book to share with a young child beginning to show interest in the natural world.

School Library Journal

A young boy walks clown to the seashore with his mother to search and dig for seashells. He discovers shells in many shapes and sizes, and even a couple objects that are not shells. He excitedly counts his treasures and upon returning home creates a display. Each shell is labeled, and the final page offers an array of fun facts about shells and shell-dwelling creatures. This book's illustrations are truly gorgeous, done in a highly detailed cut-paper collage. Bright, joyful colors and sand that appears to have a true "sandy" texture also contribute to the visual appeal. The rhyming text in this book is simple, though a couple of rhymes feel a tad forced: "I count other shells- five, six, seven, eight. My shells are curvy-never straight." The boy's mother provides her son and curious, beachcombing readers with some valuable insight. 'This shell is a home," she explains as she holds up a snail. "Let's put it back to live in the sea." Discov­ering the purpose of shells for small marine animals may inspire some young readers to learn more, as might the beautiful of shells the boy displays at the end. VERDICT: A delightful purchase, perfect for sharing in the summertime and piquing little ones' cu­riosity.

About The Author/Artist

Dianne Ochiltree: Dianne Ochiltree grew up in a family that loved nature, animals, and books. She teaches writing in schools and has authored several math-orientated picture books. Take a look at her great-for-kids-parents-teachers-and-retailers website at

Elliot Kreloff: Elliot Kreloff has lent his dazzling talents as author and illustrator to many acclaimed children's books. He is also Blue Apple Books' Associate Publisher and Creative Director.



USA 12.99 | Canada 16.5

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