Sandcastle – Einat Tsarfati – Candlewick Press – Published 5 May 2020




A young girl loves building sandcastles. But not just any sandcastles. She builds one so big and grand and lovely that all the royals of the world come to visit. There are banquets and balls and tournaments, a greenhouse for cacti, a staircase for skateboarding, and ice cream around the clock. Everyone seems to be having fun, until they discover sand in the royal almond strudel . . . and the fig milk bath . . . and everywhere! With a keen eye for the absurd, author-illustrator Einat Tsarfati invites readers beyond the crocodile moat to explore the intricately detailed, increasingly wild festivities that echo the arc of a day at the beach, from euphoria to gritty discomfort. The diverse cast of regal guests, from a Rapunzel-esque princess in pj’s and unicorn slippers to a pair of knights playing badminton, is just as inspired.

My thoughts

Sandcastle is a feast for the imagination. Our main character is a young girl, who while at the beach, builds a sandcastle. But it is not just any sandcastle. Her sandcastle is a castle, with hundreds of rooms and a kitchen that serves ice cream all the time. Kings and queens from around the world come to visit. But there are some problems with living in a castle made of sand, as the guests soon discover.

I love the cover of this book. Bright and colourful, the sandcastle has a rough texture that stands out from the rest of the smooth cover. It will be a shame to cover this library book.

There are a diverse range of characters, with royalty from all over the world visiting, and many cultures represented. There are also a few surprises hidden in the illustrations: someone that looks like Michael Jackson and fairytale-looking royalty.

This book is the ultimate imagination feast and would be the perfect activity starter for designing your own sandcastle castle, planning all the different rooms you would include in a castle and problem solving some of the challenges that arise when living in a castle made of sand.

The ending has a nice loop that brings us back to the start of the story and the bright yellow that is repeated (with everything made of sand that is to be expected) is a feature of the story.

More information

Category: Children’s fiction

Themes: Sandcastles, beach, castles, design, problems, royalty.

Reading age guide: Ages 4 and up

Published: May 2020 by Candlewick Press

Format: Hardcover. 48 pages.

ISBN: 9780525515746

Find it on Goodreads