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VACATION by David L. Harrison


We’re Going to the Ocean

by David L. Harrison and illustrated by Rob Shepperson

Pub Date: May 1st, 2009
ISBN: 978-1-59078-568-3
Publisher: Wordsong/Boyds Mills

In this slim volume of rather bland poetry, Harrison introduces readers to a boy named Sam and takes them along on his family vacation. Written from Sam’s point of view, the poems cover a wide range of subjects—including getting lost, a stop at an art museum, a fast-food excursion, staying over at a relative’s house and camping—but the majority of them are devoted to the family’s visit to the beach. For instance, in one of the cleverer selections, “Sunburn,” Mommy warns the kids about getting burnt before taking matters into her own hands; she “lathers on / enough / lotion / to leave rings / around / the ocean.” The volume ends with a predictable final poem called “Home at Last!” and the less-than-memorable lines, “Home at last! I’m glad we’re here / but I can’t wait / until next year!” Shepperson’s cartoon-like illustrations add a bit of pizzazz to the collection but not enough to raise it above mediocre. Try Mike Thaler’s Pig Little (2006) for a wittier day at the poetic beach. (Poetry. 6-10)