Gibbons uses the herring gull as an example of the 43 species of gulls. Learning about gulls teaches the reader much about birds in general. The text covers communication, sleeping habits, feeding, parenting, etc. Ink and watercolor illustrations fill each page, with text appearing below. Unfortunately, the quality of the illustrations varies, with some appearing "washed out." At the end, several other gull species are depicted, but the illustrations are so simple that the distinguishing field marks are not presented and many species appear identical.
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 3An overview of the world of gulls. Although introductory pages briefly give general information about the species, the main body of the book focuses on the herring gull, once nearly extinct and now found in numerous locations in North America. As in Gibbons's other nonfiction titles, both illustration and text provide basic, easy-to-understand facts. Habitat, physical characteristics, and behaviors are discussed with just the right amount of detail for young readersinforming without overwhelming. The format is attractive with framed, simply drawn watercolor illustrations showing the birds in the foreground against bright colorful seashore or seascape backgrounds of dominant blues and greens. Appendixes include illustrations of other gulls native to North America labeled with their names and range area and a page of additional facts. Add this title to the author's other offerings about seashore habitats: Beacons of Light (Morrow, 1990), The Puffins Are Back (HarperCollins, 1991), and Surrounded by Sea (Little, Brown, 1991; o.p.).Diane Nunn, Richard E. Byrd Elementary School, Glen Rock, NJ
The irrepressible Gibbons (The Honey Makers, p. 141, etc.) returns for a look at a bird that, along with pigeons and sparrows, may be so ubiquitous to some readers that they won't have given gulls much thought. In her brisk, straightforward text, Gibbons covers the herring gulls' markings, habitats, effects on the environment, and nest-building, as well as the hatching and growth of fledglings. The illustrations are all water and sky, showing preening gulls in various seasons; the back matter includes additional facts, plus a round-up of other gulls and where they live. If the last line of the main text, "It is fun to watch gulls exploring their world," sounds a little dull, it's only because readers of this book will be those who have already spent time watching gulls, and have turned to Gibbons's solid introduction for the facts.