I take swimming in the sea somewhat for granted – I’ve done it every summer since I was born, thanks to my grandparents’ beachside holiday house. My parents take great delight in recalling my visit the year I began to talk – arriving on the beach and catching sight of the water I yelled “Big bath!”. However, not all children have the opportunity to be regular sea swimmers and for those visiting a beach for the first time, the big expanse of water can be a little scary.
A Swim in the Sea, written by Sue Whiting and illustrated by Meredith Thomas, is a lovely introduction to the beach for young children. The story focuses on a little boy named Bruno, who is terribly excited about his first swim in the sea. However, his enthusiasm is quashed when he sees the waves pounding the sand. Suddenly the sea seemed frightening and Bruno didn’t like it at all. Can Bruno’s parents and his sister convince him that the beach is a wonderful place to be?
This is sweet, gentle story that explores the theme of fears and overcoming those fears. While it’s a terrific choice for reluctant swimmers, it is also a great pick for young kids who are looking forward to their first summer on the beach.
Special mention must be made of Thomas’s superb illustrations (a mix of watercolour and pencil) – she has captured the movement of water to perfection.
A Swim in the Sea is suitable for children aged three years and over. Find it online at Fishpond or in all good bookstores.