JULES VS. THE OCEAN, by Jessie Sima, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, June 16, 2020, Hardcover, $17.99 (ages 4-8)
A trip to the ocean is an adventure and learning experience all tied into one in Jessie Sima’s Jules vs the Ocean.
Jules, her mom and sister are spending the day at the beach, and Jules has a plan: She’s going to build the biggest, the fanciest, most excellent sandcastle. Her sister will be so impressed. Jules thinks even the ocean might help.
But the ocean has other plans.
No matter how hard she tries, no matter how big or fancy she builds, Jules can’t keep the waves from smashing her sandcastles to bits.
And then, to add insult to injury, the ocean takes her bucket, too.
All hope is lost until Jules’ sister comes to the rescue. Maybe together they can build the biggest, fanciest, sandcastle ever.
Or maybe not…
Jules vs. the Ocean is a lighthearted story about determination and finding joy in failure. Its tongue-in-cheek nature makes it a fun read-aloud book. The bright, energetic illustrations are a true compliment to the tale. This would especially be a fun read prior to a beach trip.
The publisher’s suggested age range for Jules vs. the Ocean is 4-8, but despite some nuanced humor that feels a bit old to me. My 6-year-old enjoyed it, but didn’t find it compelling enough to come back to on a regular basis. Its simplistic nature is better suited for 2-6-year-olds, or an older sibling paralleling the sister in the story and reading it to someone younger.