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Once Upon a Tide    by Tony Mitton & Selina Young order for
Once Upon a Tide
by Tony Mitton
Order:  USA  Can
David Fickling Books, 2006 (2006)
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Did you play let's pretend games as a child with friend or siblings? We did often, and Once Upon a Tide brought them to my mind.

Tony Mitton tells the story in verse of two children's journey into the imagination, beginning 'Down by the seashore / Bess and I / stood on the sand / and looked at the sky.' Selina Young's watercolor illustrations convey the ambience - the pulse of the ocean, a salty tang in the air, and echoing cries of seagulls.

The children (boy and girl) build a boat, stitch a red sail, take a tea break, and buy compass and chart from Captain Bart ... 'We launched our boat / as the tide went out. / We both gave a wave / and Bart gave a shout.' Then they 'sailed to the place / where sea meets sky'. They befriended a whale, dug up treasure on a small island, escaped pirates (the whale helped), and sailed home.

It's great fun, and easy to imagine these two kids having such fun 'telling stories / side by side, "Down by the seashore / once upon a tide ..."'. Read this one together with children on your next seaside vacation.

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