On Sand Island

On Sand Island is an uninspiring Naturalist children's book.

As a boy, Carl Dahl built a boat trading the skills he did have with those who could do the work he could not.

Full Review

This story is similar, in its Naturalist handling of ideas, to The Lamp, The Ice and a Boat Called Fish, also by J. B. Martin.  It differs in both characterization & illustration.

On Sand Island is an improvement since it presents some elements of responsibility and industriousness to Carl’s character. The fact that it treats Carl as an individual of some importance, greatly improves the interest value of this work to young readers.

The Sand Island illustrations, though rather Impressionistic (i.e. with an embedded sense that the world is fuzzy and unreal), are not as purposely primitive and denying of proportion and depth, as in The Lamp. Still, they neither offend nor inspire.

The same fundamental flaws undermine both Sand Island and The Lamp, denying them any exemplary status here.  A much better book, by Briggs Martin, is Snowflake Bentley.

For those interested in this book, more can be seen on the jacquelinebriggsmartin website.  The island is now a lighthouse base with camping areas and Carl’s original home.  There was no community but Carl’s family and the Lighthouse keeper (Mr. Torvald?)

Sand Island Lighthouse:

View of Sand Island Lighthouse for children's book "On Sand Island".