Allison's Book Bag

It’s a Seashell Day by Dianne Ochiltree

Posted on: September 1, 2015

It’s a Seashell Day by Dianne Ochiltree will sweep you into the warm and cheerful world of sandy beaches. If you read aloud the simple rhyming couplets, and gaze at the bright exquisite illustrations, you’ll feel as if right there with main character and his mom while they collect seashells. This charming picture book also has educational value, teaching about numbers and about nature.

The straightforward narrative rings true to that of a young boy full of eagerness and curiosity. He rushes down the path, ahead of his mom. “We’ll be there soon!” he exclaims. He picks up an object to show his mom. “Is this a seashell?” he asks. Discovering that the object is instead a rock, he starts to dig with pail and shovel. As waves roll in, he orders them, “Go away!” His mind is set on finding shells. And soon he does! Lots of them!

The uncomplicated sensory descriptions also ring to that of a young boy. The sun peeks over the bay. A salty breeze blows. His toes squish in cool wet sand. I especially enjoyed how the young boy categorized his seashell finds. There are “bumpy lumpy shells” and “spiny shiny shells”. Accompanying him, and adding to his finds, are his mom and his dog. His mom is the one who tells him that the shell she finds has a secret.


Cut-paper and collage techniques create an equally playful feel to this easy-to-read text. Artist Elliot Kreloff also  employs photographed textures, along with airbrushing and paint washes, to bring to life the magic of a day at the beach. A mix of soft and vivid colors add a nice touch too. Over all, the illustrations greatly enhance what otherwise might feel like an ordinary story.

Incorporated into this unpretentious story is a lot of educational value. As he finds them, the young narrator counts his shells. At the end of his outing, he also sets up a display of them, with each labeled by their proper name. The back pages also include a slew of interesting facts. For example, did you know that seashells refer to the covering of soft-bodied animals and that there are more than 100,000 species of mollusks?

Beaches are one of my favorite places. Whenever my husband and I have opportunity to explore them, we always end up with a handful of shells. It’s a Seashell Day brought back special memories, as well as educated me about our own collections. I guarantee it will please you too!

My rating? Read it: Borrow from your library or a friend. It’s worth your time.

How would you rate this book?

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