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  • Where the Board Books Are

Good Night Beach. Good Night Ocean

Good Night Beach & Good Night Ocean by Adam Gamble & illustrations by Mark Jasper

A rainy weekend spent by the beach meant a lot of indoor board book reading. I don't usually pay close attention to self published board books but the Good Night Books series has become very popular in bookstores and therefore more noticeable.

Good Night Beach and Good Night Ocean are similar in that they both have illustrations of the ocean, fish, hermit crabs, boats, and sand but Good Night Beach focuses on what's on the beach and Good Night Ocean focuses on what's in the water. In my opinion these books could have been made into one book but that's neither here nor there.

I really wanted to like Good Night Beach -- from illustrations of beach goers enjoying the sun, to scuba divers, hermit crabs, boats, fisherman, sand castles, a lifeguard, volleyball players, surfing, a sunset, and a campfire, the beach-topic was appealing. But despite my initial excitement the book fell short of my expectations. The type-face is hard to read and is made worse by the alternating black or white letters on each page or every other page depending on the page's background color. The book also misses opportunities to be more descriptive (or less descriptive at times) no doubt due to the fact that the books have never thoroughly been edited by a publisher. For instance, "Ah the water feels cool" could easily have read "Ah the salt water feels cool." And the number of times "hello" or "it's so nice" is used to start a sentence seems incredibly repetitive and artificial.

My thoughts regarding Good Night Ocean are much the same. And while the cover illustrations seem cute, the inside illustrations appear very computerized or cartoonish -- think The Magic School Bus.

Good Night Beach

At the end of a rainy weekend though, the board books did their job. If we couldn't see fish up close we could see them in Good Night Ocean. If we couldn't search for crabs then we could point to them in Good Night Beach. And if we couldn't enjoy the sun this time, the sunshine in the illustrations gave us hope for next time.

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