This book is a father-son team effort that builds on the artistic talents of Charles Pilkey and the textual expertise of both Orrin and Charles. The book is dedicated to Orrin's wife, Sharlene Pilkey, who passed away last year. Clearly designed and presented for the average beachgoer, professional coastal specialists will enjoy the book equally well. The book is profusely illustrated with color photos and drawings on nearly every page. The depth of coverage is insightful and rewarding to the reader who will experience the coast in many new ways.
Lessons from the Sand is divided into nine chapters that logically subdivide a complex subject into separate but integrated topical areas. The chapters are as follows: Chapter 1: Waves, Chapter 2: Moving Beaches, Chapter 3: Sand, Chapter 4: Beach Features, Chapter 5: Shells, Chapter 6: Life at the Beach, Chapter 7: The Environment, Chapter 8: Rainy Day Activities, and Chapter 9: Seeing the Unseen. Although the focus of the book is on beaches of North and South Carolina, the activities described apply to beaches worldwide. Numerous questions, some for thought and some for experimentation or action, accompany the various chapter activities. These are not only good for kids, but some are also thought provoking for specialists.
There are 41 activities in the book, and these should be enough to keep even the most active kids busy for quite some time. I like the way the activities are laid out: observation, experiment, thought experiment, and research. This is a good approach and teaches people a proper and useful approach to interacting with nature in a meaningful and informative way. The book contains a glossary, a geologic time scale, and a list of shoreline conservation groups in the Carolinas. Although there are thousands of books about beaches, the authors have provided a short list of a half dozen books that might add to the enjoyment of completing the activities in this book.
This is a useful book, and I heartily recommend it to both young and old and virtually all beachgoers who have more interest in beaches than just lying in the sun. After reading this book and engaging in the suggested activities, one will not look at beaches in quite the same manner again as they will have moved on from ignorance to informed observation and appreciation of these unique environments. The book is prepared in such a way that it will appeal not only to Carolinians and those who visit Carolina beaches, but to all people who have occasion to walk the world's shorelines. Obviously, I am enthusiastic about the book and compassionately suggest that it would be a worthwhile acquisition for novices and specialists who visit coasts and beach systems in particular. This is a family-friendly book that will engage everyone from youngsters to grandparents. Happy trails to those who love beaches and to those who will learn to love beaches.