Tag Archives: Donna McDine

Book Review: A Sandy Grave

18 Apr

A Sandy Grave coverThe anticipation of summer vacation can put anyone in a great mood with the excitement of adventures to be had–especially at the beach. But what is a group of friends to do when they discover mysterious men poaching whale teeth at the beach?



The lifeguards had their arms extended and attempted to move the crowd back. The tallest lifeguard said, “People, please stay back. The authorities will arrive to examine the whale to determine the cause of death within the hour. The whale must have died at sea and washed ashore.”





Donna McDine HeadshotDonna McDine is an award-winning children’s author, Honorable Mention in the 77th and two Honorable Mentions in the 78th Annual Writer’s Digest Writing Competitions, Literary Classics Silver Award & Seal of Approval Recipient Picture Book Early Reader, Readers Favorite 2012 International Book Awards Honorable Mention, Global eBook Awards Finalist Children’s Picture Book Fiction, and Preditors & Editors Readers Poll 2010 Top Ten Children’s Books ~ The Golden Pathway. Her stories, articles, and book reviews have been published in over 100 print and online publications. Her interest in American History resulted in writing and publishing The Golden Pathway. Donna’s 2013 releases of Powder Monkey and Hockey Agony and the 2014 release of A Sandy Grave will be joined by an additional book to be published by Guardian Angel Publishing, Dee and Deb, Off They Go. She writes, moms and is a personal assistant from her home in the historical hamlet Tappan, NY. McDine is a member of the SCBWI, Children’s Literature Network, and Family Reading Partnership.  Visit Donna online at http://www.donnamcdine.com or her blog at http://www.donna-mcdine.blogspot.com.


My Impressions:

Looking for a way to keep your tweenager (ages 8 – 12) reading this summer? Then try A Sandy Grave by author Donna McDine and illustrated by Julie Hammond. Filled with interesting facts and a little bit of a mystery, this book has a beach setting that is perfect for vacation reading.

Leah is on vacation with her family at the beach. She and her friends are eager to enjoy the sun and sand, but are surprised to find a crowd surrounding a large whale that has been beached. The attentive Leah also notices suspicious goings-on and follows her grandmother’s advice to trust her instincts. A mystery is solved and Leah and her friends are heroes.

I can easily see this book leading to further reading and discussion, with the new words and concepts presented — a plus while trying to keep readers engaged over the summer months. Kids interested in wildlife or the ocean will enjoy the setting and the facts surrounding whales and the threat of poachers. And while Leah takes things into her own hands to solve the mystery, the book can foster a discussion of the best time to talk to parents and authorities to avoid dangerous situations.

All in all, a quick read that is well-researched and written for middle readers.


(Thanks to the author and Pump Up Your Book for a review copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

To purchase this book, click on the image below.