September 18, 2011
REVIEW: Stanley Seagull by Cathy Mazur
by Grace Krispy
Stanley Seagull and his friend Seymour live near the ocean. It’s a good life that becomes even better when Stanley finally gets to sample the bounty in the big green truck. Naive in the ways of the world, Stanley doesn’t leave the feast in time and finds himself transported hundreds of miles to a dump. There, he meets Walter. Walter’s nice and all, but Stanley really misses his home, and he won’t give up until he finds his way back. But he’s so far away and it seems hopeless! Do any gulls ever make their way back?
Written by Cathy Mazur and illustrated by Colleen Gedrich, ”Stanley Seagull“ is written in simple, childlike prose with darling pictures. The pictures are actually my favorite part of this story, and I think they will appeal to young children as much as they’ll delight adults. The story itself can be used as a springboard to have any number of discussions with children. Stanley doesn’t understand why he’s given the direction he’s given, and in not following instructions, he ends up lost in a strange place and in need of help. This is a good story to begin discussions about greed, following directions, perseverance, and helping others, and any number of other things.
In my first reading of this book, I felt the writing was too simple and didn’t have enough voice. It did make for a nice read aloud, though I felt it was missing some key punctuation in the writing. When I considered it as a book for children my own kids’ ages (independent readers), it felt a bit flat to me. A week later, I read it again, but this time thinking of a much younger audience than I originally had. With a much younger audience in mind, I found I enjoyed the story more and was better able to see the ways it could be used. All alone, it makes for a pleasant read aloud, but when you consider some of the ways you can use the book, it becomes all the more interesting. I suspect this will be a book a child will want to hear over and over.
4 /5 stars