September 16, 2011
by Faith Flaherty
Cathy Mazur, illustrated by Colleen Gedrich is the latest children’s book I’ve read. As you can see the colors are eye catching and fun. I think everyone will love the illustrations. As for the story itself, well that also is fun. There’s so much to it. Tribute Publishers has done it again. There are many themes: the environment, food and nutrition, trash/landfills/use, bird life, etc.. But I’m choosing to write on morality. Yup! You read that correctly. I’d like to emphasize a theme of morality, in Stanley Seagull.
The story is about Stanley who loves his home by the ocean. He dives and catches his own fish; he has many friends; he loves the sun, salt air, beach, and the ocean. The gulls though, mostly lived off the “left behinds” that beach goers dropped.
And one time, Stanley’s cousin swooped down and stole a hot dog, hot off some people’s grill. Ah, this is where I honed in. Ask anyone who has lived near the ocean and they will have a similar seagull story to relate. I have my own story of a gull swooping down to steal a sandwich right out of my hand, when I was a child. This was at a state park in Rye, NH. I was appalled. As a child, the shock left me with a derogatory opinion of sea gulls. I always thought of them as ocean vultures.
But I’ve grown up now. I realize that birds are birds. They don’t have the mental abilities that human beings have. In fact, it is our job, as humans to take care of our world. The environment is another moral issue. We need to keep our oceans clean. We need to take care of our trash. And of course we have to take care of the animals and birds that inhabit our world. The care of our world is our responsibility.
When Stanley got trapped in a garbage truck, my childhood fear of getting lost made my heart drop to my stomach. Do we all feel that way? Imagine what Stanley felt. I think all children would love to tell their feelings and worries, about getting lost.
But Stanley Seagull has a happy ending, so children will leave this story happy. I was happy. I know you’ll be happy, too, after reading this book. They’re so much to it for everyone, on so many levels. It’s a keeper.