The Legend of the Sand Dollar by Chris Auer, Illustrated by Richard Cowdrey

Looking for a beautiful book to read each Easter as a family?

This would made a wonderful addition to this year's bunny basket or the perfect take-along for a family trip to the beach!

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I received a free copy of this product as a member of Zondervan's Z Blog Squad in exchange for writing a review.  All opinions are my own.

There are books that are fun, everyday stories that you don't mind having tattered copies of, as long as you can still read them.

Then there are those special books that really merit sitting on your shelf in hard-bound form.

This is one of those books:

A young girl is spending time at the beach with her cousin, who introduces her to a nearby island where they can collect sand dollars.

Off they go, for a day of fun!

She'd never seen a sand dollar before, so her cousin begins to explain what makes these treasures so special.

The Easter lily and Christmas Star connect to Jesus!

Almost every aspect of the creature is shown to be symbolic: an Easter lily with the Christmas star in the center on one side, the holes "made" by the nails and spear and the doves that burst forth from the center of the shell when it's broken open remind us all of the good news.

Holes for all the nails and the sword that pierced His side.

This story is mainly conveyed along one edge of each two-page spread, leaving the majority of the space for the sumptuous illustrations.

These pictures are truly works of art!

This book was originally published over a decade ago, but has been revised to include new, vibrant illustrations - illustrations that I feel make this book truly special.

I actually found myself quite distracted for several portions of the story - enough so that I would not want to read this book again, if it weren't for the wonderful artwork inside.

The little girl is distraught at the opening of the book because her parents can't come with her to the beach. 

Why? We're never told, but we do revisit this conflict when the girl and her sister wait for their parents to arrive at the end of the book.

Once the cousin begins to explain the symbolism of the sand dollar, however, I completely forgot about the confusion about the parents that the book opened with.

The cousin's descriptions of the symbols are where this book's text begins to shine and it continues through several pages until what I consider an abrupt comparison to the moon, the tide, the girl's parents, and God.

This part of the story was just awkward to me; it was abrupt and had no real connection to the rest of the story.

The final page of this book explains a bit more about the sand dollar and includes a traditional poem describing the sand dollar's symbolism, which I appreciated.

Despite my issues with the storyline, I am still quite happy that we've added this title to our library.

The illustrations alone make this book worth its shelf space and I did really enjoy the meat of the book, where the sand dollar's symbolism is explained. 

Although I'd originally planned to stick this book in Gv's Easter basket, after I read through it for this review, I decided to go ahead and share it with her so I could see what she thought about it.

She really liked it and when I asked her what she liked about it, she said, "I really liked the part about the sand money and how it has Jesus - because I like Jesus."

How can you argue with that?

So consider adding this book to your collection - I feel it would be great for a seasonal Easter book that you pull out to read each spring - or the perfect book to bring along on a family trip to the beach, where your children can make an immediate connection to the story by going out to search for their own sand dollars.

I feel that even the tiniest tots would enjoy the beautiful artwork and that the sand dollar's symbolism means this book has no upper age limit.

It reminds me of the books sharing the symbolism of the candy cane or the 12 Days of Christmas song, so if your family enjoys those every year, you'll probably want to get your hands on this one.

You can grab a copy of the book here to help introduce your family to the wonders of the sand dollar - and if you do, I'd love to hear whether the portions of the story I had issues with were a factor for you or not!

Have you been looking for great books to add to your home library that focus on faith for your little ones?  I'd love to hear!  Either leave a comment below or email me at lisahealy (at) outlook (dot) com.

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