If You Ever Want to Bring a Piano to the Beach, Don't!

Book review by
Jan Carr, Common Sense Media
If You Ever Want to Bring a Piano to the Beach, Don't! Book Poster Image
Silliness reigns when determined girl drags piano to beach.

Parents say

No reviews yetAdd your rating

Kids say

No reviews yetAdd your rating

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Information about what kids can do at the beach. Seagulls at beach pictured building nests. Sheet music pictured with musical notation. Text looks hand-lettered, resembling the print kids will learn. Magnet letters of the alphabet are pictured on fridge, as is a piece of artwork referencing the first book starring Magnolia, If You Ever Want to Bring an Alligator to School, Don't! 

Positive Messages

Even if things are difficult, you can try to do them. If your initial plan doesn't work out, maybe something else might work out. Natural objects such as shells are fun to play with and can be put to different uses. Kids in families can be different races.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Though the story's couched in silliness, Magnolia is a model for a can-do, determined girl. She rises to challenges, and when her initial plan goes awry, she accepts and sees the beauty in Plan B. The family, composed of kids of different races, happily models diversity.

Violence & Scariness
Language

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Elise Parsley's If You Ever Want to Bring a Piano to the Beach, Don't!, a sequel to her popular If You Ever Want to Bring an Alligator to School, Don't!, features the same demonically determined narrator, Magnolia, and revels in the same slaphappy silliness. Magnolia, the oldest of three siblings, decides to bring her piano on a family trip to the beach, with predictably ridiculous results -- the piano ends up sodden and floating out to sea. Kids will enjoy being in on the preposterousness, and Magnolia is a refreshingly strong-willed female character. The art pictures a comfortably inclusive family, with siblings of different races.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

What's the story?

IF YOU EVER WANT TO BRING A PIANO TO THE BEACH, DON'T! addresses the reader directly, letting "you" know what might happen if you decide to bring a piano the beach. It's narrated by Magnolia, who says, "If your mom says to get ready to play at the beach, she means with a boat, or a Frisbee, or a shovel. She is not talking about the piano." But while mom and siblings are gathering beach balls and slathering on sunscreen, Magnolia decides to take it anyway. She drags it to the sand, sits atop it for her picnic lunch, gets attacked by nest-building seagulls, pushes the piano into the water for "bath time," then borrows her siblings' fishing rod to try to reel it back. With it she snags a small scallop shell, which ends up making a very good "boat, or a Frisbee, or a shovel" -- perfect for the beach!

Is it any good?

Silliness abounds when a determined young girl decides to take her piano to the beach despite her mother's warning, "You'd better not lose it," and though it's hard to lose a piano, lose it she does. Kids will laugh at the absurdity in the text and the very funny art and at Magnolia's faces, which are wildly expressive. Magnolia is the epitome of a single-minded, can-do girl who's not daunted by the challenges of piano moving.

Magnolia narrates the book as instruction to "you" the reader, a form that will be familiar to readers of any of the If You Give a Mouse a Cookie books. As in those, the story circles back to the way it began, providing a satisfying ending. The beach setting adds to the fun in this breezy summer read.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about things people usually bring to the beach. What would be some silly things to bring? Make a list, and make up a story about what would happen if you brought one of those things.

  • Magnolia is extremely determined when she gets an idea. What creative ideas have you had lately? Have you figured out how to carry them out? What would the consequences be?

  • Magnolia's face is very expressive. Can you make faces like that? What do you think she's feeling in different pictures?

Book details

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

For kids who love picture books and funny stories

Our editors recommend

Top advice and articles

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality and learning potential.

Learn how we rate