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Rick Book
Illustrated by Mary Stewart
Waterloo (Ont.), Penumbra Press, 1992. 30pp, paper, $8.95, ISBN 0-921254-40-7
Distributed by University of Toronto Press.

Grades 1 to 3/Ages 6 to 8

Reviewed by Pearl Herscovitch.

Volume 21 Number 4
1993 September

A glance at the wooden seagull sus­pended from the ceiling in Christopher's bedroom provides his father with the inspiration for a bedtime story. The lonely seagull lives far from the nearest land on the Atlantic Ocean. Brave as the seagull is, he misses the company of other gulls and is in constant search of a companion.

When he spots a cruise ship with a little boy at the stern, he flies close and plays with him, diving to catch chunks of bread as the boy throws them. Tired and full at the end of the day, the gull watches the ship move on. Weeks pass before the seagull discovers a glittering bottle floating on the water. The curious seagull picks the bottle up in his talons and drops it on a rock to find out what is inside. Blue smoke clears to reveal a genie, who grants him a wish in gratitude for her freedom. Wishing to spend the rest of his days with a boy just like the one he played with, the seagull find himself transformed into the wooden seagull in Christopher's room.

This is a lengthy, overwritten story with an ending that may prove disconcerting to its audience. Becoming a wooden toy after wishing for lifelong companionship hardly seems just. The story itself has potential and may come alive in the hands of a good story­teller. The dark blue-and-white water-colours are stiff and add little to the story.

Pearl Herscovitch is Instructional Services Librarian at Mount Royal College in Calgary, Alberta.
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