The Sandcastle Contest
Reviewed: November 22, 2005
By: Robert Munsch / art by Michael Martchenko
Publisher: Scholastic Books
32 pages, $6.99
When Matthew goes on a camping trip with his family he ends up on a beach
where there is a sandcastle contest going on. He learns this from a girl who
has even sculpted a sand dog. Matthew blows everyone away with a sand house
that it so good the judges sit around inside it arguing with him that it canít
possibly be made of sand. He has to kick it down around their heads in order
to prove it.
In addition to winning the contest, Matthew also makes his own very special
sand dog, finally getting around his parentsí refusal to get him a pet.
This story has most of Munschís hallmarks: vivid fantasy, silliness and a
triumphant ending. What is different is that there is less of his trademark
repetition, a technique born of his oral testing of all his stories before
he gets them into final form. The result here is that this feels like a story
for slightly older kids than Munschís usual audience. Thatís not a criticism.
Iím sure kids will enjoy this as much as the others.
Martchenko is Munschís best artist/partner when heís telling this kind of
story, and his fantastic sand structures really enhance the tale as you read