Day 15 of My Favorite Things: Downtown Bookworks
I think I was a fish in a previous life. Perhaps a Gish Fish. I have always been the type of person who needs to be near water. I was not really a beach person growing up – per se – but I love the ocean. Some of my favorite things are walking on the boardwalk, eating waterside, and sitting and watching the waves. I like any type of water and when we pass one in the car I yell “water!” without fail. It’s kind of a family joke. One of my favorite vacations was a cruise where every night my husband and I would walk laps around the boat listening to the sea. Ocean sounds calm me. The water is my peace. I’m like Daddy Warbucks‘ character in Big Fish.
January 11, 2004
Now that we live on Long Island one of my favorite places to go is Tobay Beach. Tobay is a private beach for my town’s residents. It is the most spectacular place. There is a large water park for the kids and it has two seaside restaurants. It offers both the South Oyster Bay side, where – 100 feet out – the water is still only a few inches deep, and the Atlantic Ocean side. For me – a non-athletic kid who continuously got pulled into the undertow, and is now – as a result – an adult scared of swimming in the ocean – having the Bay has reformed me into a beach person. I could spend the entire day there. It is absolute heaven. Add in the tiny schools of fish and the little crabs walking about in the shallow water and it is like a fairy tale. I love playing with my daughter there and walking all the way out. I look forward to it every weekend. It is so special. After moving to the suburbs I wanted to find the most fun beach stuff for kids. I got the requisite bucket shaped like a castle, the different types of shovels, and the sifters. I was so excited that after four years in the city my daughter would finally have a beach to play at regularly. I wanted to make my kids beach people. Having a very curious little girl who loves to learn, I was so excited when I found the “Into the Field Guide: A Walk on the Beach (Treasure Box)” from one of my favorite companies, Downtown Bookworks.
This “treasure box” has a small yellow mesh bag for collecting beach specimens, a magnifying glass to inspect them – which also doubles as the cover to a little beach specimen cup – and the field guide “A Walk on the Beach”. It is an illustrated guide with tons of photos, clear labels and clear factoids about the birds, shells, and other sights one wants to know about at the seashore. My daughter was SO into it. She sat before we went to the water and planned what to “investigate”. The field guide was very easy for her to navigate because there are so many pictures. She quickly identified our “find” as crabs by pointing to the pictures.
With a little help from me, we caught a few tiny crabs and held them up to eye level to investigate. I gotta say – this little clear plastic cup was so cool! In fact, a few of the kids collecting crabs in their sand buckets came over to us like we were crab pied pipers. We were mesmerized! I’ve never watched crabs up close like this before. Then the coolest thing I’ve ever seen happened. I saw one crab pull himself out of his shell, pull a carcass out of the another shell and then took up residency there. Amazing! I learned from our field guide this is “molting”. Seriously, the coolest thing – five inches in front of my eyes.
We let our new friends go and picked up some seaweed and shells to examine next. My daughter loved the magnifying glass top of her little cup so she could see her “treasures” in greater detail. Picking up new specimens, examining them held her interest for a good two hours. My daughter ran over to show her friends. They were all so excited that a spontaneous game of “the crab goes round & round” even broke out. Please don’t tell PETA. I promise none of the crabs were hurt and I returned them back to their homes unfazed. On the way home, after a wonderful, sun soaked day, I asked my daughter what she thought of her new “treasure box”. She said simply, it was “so cool”. There are a few good days of summer left. I highly recommend picking the Into the Field Guide: A Walk on the Beach (Treasure Box) up. It is both a great “toy” as in the kids will love playing with it, but it is also educational and the kids will love to learn all about what’s at the beach. I hope you get to see some crabs molt too. SO COOL!
*GIVEAWAY* Downtown Bookworks has offered to give away Into the Field Guide: A Walk on the Beach (Treasure Box) to one lucky reader!
To win – please post in the comment section below:
What is your favorite thing to collect at the beach?
Winner will be chosen Saturday, August 23rd.
Here is a little more on Downtown Bookworks because as you know – I LOVE learning about the heritage of brands:
Downtown Bookworks President, Julie Merberg’s experience as a mother of 4 boys compelled her to start a children’s publishing company with the mission of raising a new generation of book lovers. The list reflects her passions—science and nature, crafts, the arts (and her husband’s passion—super heroes). Her in-house focus group helps to insure that every book has major kid appeal and does double-duty—educating while entertaining. Julie lives in Tribeca with her husband and their boys, and spends her weekdays running around downtown between home, work, and the kids’ schools.