* Prices may differ from that shown
The Best Sandcastle is a stage 2 Snapdragons book from the Oxford Reading Tree series. It's available as part of a series of 6 books, with this one being intended for reading about half way through. The Book People often sell these sets, or you can you an individual copy from Amazon for £3.75.
The book is a small paperback of around A5 size and has 16 pages. It's just the right size for a young reader to get to grips with in one sitting. There's a glossy front cover with a fun illustration on it to appeal to the age group it's aimed at. Ideally, children of 4 to 6 years of age will be reading this book.
The story is basically that of a brother and sister at the seaside both trying to build the best sandcastle. Each page sees them trying to outdo one another by building their castle bigger and better than their sibling's. The penultimate page shows the little boy declaring "mine is the best!" and clearly it is. Until we turn the page and see the sea washing it away, accompanied by his sister exclaiming "Mine is the best now!" It's a funny little ending, and it's nice to see that not all books are totally PC-mad these days - there is actually a winner!
The sentences in this book are a little longer than in some of the others from this stage, with the average page containing around 10 words. There are a couple of unusual words in here like 'seaweed' as well, although the picture can help a young reader to work the word out.
The pictures are particularly nice in this book, and great for youngsters who love building, playing at the seaside, or just trying to outdo their siblings. There's a strong sense of anticipation and competition in this book, and I think that's what will make it appeal to boys slightly more than girls. It's suitable for both sexes though of course, especially as it's the girl who wins!
This is a nice little book from the Snapdragons range, and a good one to help a new reader gain confidence and start to make noticeable progress. It's a bit pricy at £3.75 if bought alone, but if you look out for it second hand or as part of a set it's well worth buying.