On Gull Beach – Perfect Picture Book Friday

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Title: On Gull Beach (On Bird Hill and Beyond #3)

Author: Jane Yolen

Illustrator: Bob Marstall

 Publisher: The CornellLab Publishing Group, 2018

Ages: 4-7

Themes: starfish, beach life, seagulls, predators, Cape Cod, shoreline habitat, ecology, wildlife, New England


 As I was walking on Gull Beach,
I saw a starfish within reach.

Set down my pail of sticks and stones,
Of shells and bleached small ends of bones.


On Gull Beach brings us to an idyllic shoreline in Cape Cod, where gulls hover, dive, and chase with pitched acrobatics in pursuit of a starfish. In pristine rhyme, Yolen takes the reader on another journey with the boy and his dog and the perilous situation of a little starfish in the beaks of those hungry gulls.

Why I like this book:

Yolen’s poetry creates a tremendous amount of tension as the little boy races down the beach concerned for the fate of this starfish. The contrast of blue spreads focused on the war in the skies and the pages with sea, sand and sky add to the pursuit as well as entrenching the story so clearly in its familiar Cape Cod shoreline. This is a thrill for nature lovers and a terrific fit for any elementary unit studying various habitats (as well as a unit with a New England focus, of course!)


As with all Cornell Lab Publishing Group books, 35% 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.

4 packed pages of back matter explore life on a New England Beach, and how young readers can help our beaches and wildlife.

Visit AllAboutBirds.Org

I highly recommend reading all three books of this Yolen/Marshall On Bird Hill and Beyond series with your children. On Bird Hill, the boy and his dog witness the miracle of a chick emerging from an egg. On Duck Pond, on a visit to a serene pond, the duo meets birds, frogs, and turtles.

Each week a group of bloggers reviews picture books we feel would make great educational reads. To help teachers, caregivers and parents, we have included resources and/or activities with each of our reviews. A complete list of the thousands of books we have reviewed can be found sorted alphabetically and by topics, here on Susanna Leonard Hill’s website.


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6 Responses to On Gull Beach – Perfect Picture Book Friday

  1. I was immediately won over by the opening lines and quickly hopped over to my library’s website to place this book, and the other two in this series, on hold. I love reading stories about people who care for wildlife and try desperately to save it. I have a feeling after reading “On Gull Beach,” I will want my own copy. Thank you for sharing.

  2. You must be longing for a trip up the coast. I know how you enjoy observing nature in their natural habitat, as will children. I love Jane Yolen’s books and this series sounds like a perfect way to help kids realize that they can make a difference. Lovely that proceeds of the book go to educational programs.

  3. Don’t see too many gulls around here! Might be a good edition for a storytime theme for us!

  4. Patricia Nozell says:

    I love Jane’s books and this looks like a beautiful new one. I’m thrilled, too, that the Cornell Lab of Ornithology now has a publishing arm.

  5. Andrea says:

    These sound lovely! I will be looking for all three of them.

  6. Jilanne Hoffmann says:

    To me, Jane is synonymous with all things poetic and natural. Love it!

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