Swashby lives next to the sea, likes his solitude, and probably is a cranky fellow. He looks like a sea captain with a bushy white beard. When a cheerful young girl and her granny come to stay next door, he's NOT happy. He rejects their invitations and writes gruff messages in the sand telling them to go away, but the sea washes up and erases certain letters making them into more inviting messages. And so he finds, against his wishes, that he begins teaching the girl some of the ways of the sea, like the best sand and shells to build with, and how to wish on a starfish. And he ends up rescuing her when she gets swept out by a wave. Of course...they become friends. This is a charming way to show the value of new friends and to learn to love the seashore. The artist exemplifies the highest standards of a picture book. The pictures are large, warm, expressive, and friendly. Once your little ones learn the story, they'll be using the pictures to read it to you. An excellent collaboration between writer and illustrator and one of the best books I've read in awhile.