Robert Munsch is at his creative best in The Sandcastle Contest. It is one of those childrens books that children and adults will place among their very favorites. Thirty-two pages of sheer hilarity, it’s a great read aloud for the whole family again and again, especially as you prepare for a vacation to the beach or an outing to the sandbox.
Michael, the youngster in The Sandcastle Contest, and his family pack up an absurd amount of gear as they head off for a vacation at a beach-side cottage. Seems they’ve taken everything, including Michael’s imaginary dog (his parents won’t let him get one).When they arrive, Michael meets a young girl named Kalita who is busy sculpting away for a sandcastle building contest. Michael joins in, too. He sees that Kalita has built a very realistic-looking sand dog.
He builds and he builds and he builds until he has built the most magnificent castle ever! It has a sand refrigerator and sand food and sand chairs. Michael’s castle is marvelous. There’s only one problem. It’s disqualified! Michael has done such a great job that the judges think his castle is real!
Michael really wants to win first prize—a bathtub full of ice cream. So, he does his very best to convince the judges that his castle is only made of sand from the beach. In the end, all is well and Kalita gives Michael a dog of his very own.
The Sandcastle Contest has lots of fun built into the illustrations by Michael Martchenko. Youngsters will enjoy, among other things, searching for the hidden squirrels on every spread. The story is illustrative of some of Munsch’s best work, as it takes a cute premise but turns it into hilarity. Munsch has mentioned that this was originally two stories – one about a girl who built a castle everyone thought was real and one about his crazy neighbor children who desperately wanted a dog. It’s this level of intricate detail that makes every one of Munsch’s stories so good, and this one is little different. It’s a classic read you’ll enjoy again and again.