Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Rita and Whatsit At the Beach

Rita and Whatsit At the Beach

Jean-Philippe Arrou-Vignod
Illustrator:  Olivier Tallec 
Picture Book  Series
For ages 5 to 8
Chronicle Books, 2009   ISBN: 978-0811865517

Rita and her dog Whatsit are at the beach, and Rita is having a great time. Whatsit doesn’t like the beach “quite so much” and he is looking rather grumpy. Today Rita wants to fly a kite, build a sand castle, and pretend to be Princess Bikini. What Whatsit likes to do when he goes to the beach is to chase crabs, eat “sugary things until he is sticky,” and lie in the sun.

For a while, Rita cannot find Whatsit and she gets a little worried. Then she spies him in the water and he is wearing a mask and snorkle. Whatsit is “a submarine” and he is going to attack Princess Bikini’s castle!

What follows is a delightful romp as Captain Whatsit, “chief henchman for Queen Catastrophe, the most dangerous dog in the galaxy,” and Princess Bikini battle for supremacy.

This laugh-out-loud funny picture book looks at the kinds of adventures children have when they go to the beach. There is always a winner and a loser, but the loser always knows that on another day the tables will be turned.

With minimal red, white, and black illustrations and deliciously expressive characters, this picture book will appeal to children and adults alike.