On Gull Beach
Written by Jane Yolen and illustrated by Bob Marstall
The Cornell Lab Publishing Group, Apex, N.C., 2018
“On Gull Beach” tells a story of a boy discovering a starfish on a beach, and then watching as a group of gulls play with it, tossing it from one to the other. Finally, they drop the starfish and the boy gently returns it to the ocean.
The story is told slowly in rhyming couplets and picks up momentum as the boy chases after the gulls.
As I was walking on Gull Beach,
I saw a starfish within reach.
But as I bent by wave and spray,
A gull flew down, snatched star away.
As the tale picks up, the boy watches as the gulls pass the star from bill to bill. He chases them.
I raced more swiftly, running after,
Following their gullish laugher.
Ran by rocks and smooth sea glass.
Stumbled over dunes and grass.
Finally, he sees a gull drop the starfish, and he reaches up to catch it.
My fingers touched her rays, and caught her!
Saved her from that gullish slaughter.
The story concludes as the boy returns the starfish to the ocean.
There she sank down in the sea.
Hurrah for starfish! Huzzah for me!
As I walked home from Gull Beach.
Bob Marstall illustrates the story with beautiful full-page watercolor paintings. He shows the excited looks of the gulls and the worried face of the boy. And he adds small details: shells, crabs, colored stones, grasses in the sand, and sanderling shore birds.
The author, Jane Yolen, is an award-winning poet and author and has been called a modern-day Hans Christian Anderson.
At the back of the book, information is included about several sea birds and crabs. Children also learn what they can do to help preserve beaches and wildlife.
“On Gull Beach” is the third and last in the On Bird Hill and Beyond series for The Cornell Lab of Ornithology, an environmental organization at Cornell University dedicated to the study and conservation of birds.
Thirty-five percent of net proceeds from the sale of this title goes directly to the Cornell Lab to support projects such as children's educational and community programs.
About the Author
Jane Yolen was born and raised in New York City, and now lives in Hatfield, MA. She attended Smith College and received her master's degree in education from the University of Massachusetts. The distinguished author of more than 170 books, Jane Yolen has earned many awards over the years: the Regina Medal, the Kerlan Award, the World Fantasy Award, the Society of Children's Book Writers Award, the Mythopoetic Society's Aslan Award, the Christopher Medal, the Boy's Club Jr. Book Award, the Garden State Children's Book Award, the Daedalus Award, several Parents' Choice Magazine Awards, and many more. Her books and stories have been translated into Japanese, French, Spanish, Chinese, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Afrikaans, Xhosa, Portuguese, and Braille.
About the Illustrator
Bob Marstall is a nature illustrator and landscape painter. He has illustrated many children’s picture books and enjoys visiting schools. He used to be a classroom teacher. He lives in Easthampton, MA.