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Reviewed by Rosie Malezer for Readers' Favorite
The Stalking Seagulls is a children's picture book written by Michelle Vattula and illustrated by T L Derby. While at the beach, Alec finds himself remembering the previous summer when seagulls had tried to steal his food. With his sandwich tucked carefully away from prying eyes, Alec puts the finishing touches on his monster-sized sandcastle before taking a much-needed break but is well aware that seagulls are hiding in the bushes nearby, waiting to strike. He lines up beach balls and pails in an attempt to fortify a secure eating area from the scavenging birds, but Alec is defeated by their willful determination and greed. Amusingly, when Alec is finally able to eat his sandwich, he loses his appetite.
Growing up on Australia's eastern coast, I was easily able to identify with the frustration behind Alec's battle against these determined flying bandits and was positively delighted by Michelle Vattula's well-written tale, The Stalking Seagulls. The anger felt by young Alec is right on point, just as the seagulls' never-ending need and drive to take the food seems insatiable. I loved the determination on Alec's face, depicted so beautifully by T L Derby, and I found myself reading the story twice more, each time with a smile. While trying to shoo seagulls away from delicious fresh food is, indeed, a frustrating chore, it helps to keep one's cool by reminding yourself that the birds are simply hungry and are ever-so-eager for a free feed in their own snatch and grab. I thoroughly enjoyed The Stalking Seagulls and recommend it to young readers aged 5-12 as they are sure to feel both the fun and frustration on the pages within.