Title: The Sandcastle Contest
Author: Robert Munsch
Illustrator: Michael Martchenko
Publisher: Scholastic Canada Ltd.
Word Count: 716 (approximately)
Summary: Matthew decides to enter a sandcastle contest, but his creations are almost too good to be believed.
I chose to examine Beginnings and Endings in this book, partly because it has such a nice cyclical nature to it, and partly because I feel that talking about the ending doesn’t ruin the reading experience. Most of the humor in this book comes from the silly fun in the middle, and that’s the part I’m going to keep secret. If you want to find out what silliness Matthew gets up to in the contest, you’ll have to read it yourself.
Spread 1 shows Matthew’s family getting ready to go camping. Matthew’s dad is checking the list to make sure they have everything. Matthew says they forgot the dog.
“We don’t even own a dog!”
“I know,” said Matthew. “Now would be a good time to get a dog.”
Spread 2 shows the family driving away with their car and trailer packed full.
“No dog!” said his dad. “Now, do we have everything?”
“NO!” yelled Matthew. “We don’t have my sandbox.”
But his mom promises they’ll stop at a beach to play in the sand.
Spread 14 (last spread) shows the back of the car, pulling two (Well three, but I won’t give away that sight gag – but it’s in Spread 2 as well) trailers: the one packed full of camping gear, and the other is a sandbox on wheels, holding Matthew and his dog.
And so the story comes full circle. The family is packed up and going camping.
It’s a pretty silly story, but my kids love comparing the illustration in Spread 2 to the one in Spread 14. Martchenko is always amazing, filling his work with sight gags and references to other Munsch stories he’s illustrated. I just can’t say enough good things about the Munsch-Martchenko books.