post written by Emma Filbrun
Author: Holling Clancy Holling
Major Themes: Sailing, Boats, Whaling, Oceans, Carving, Transportation, Historical Fiction, Realistic Science Fiction, 19th Century History
Synopsis: After a boy carves a seagull out of ivory, it stays with him and his descendants for generations as they work on whalers, clippers, and other ships.
I have loved Holling Clancy Holling’s books for many years! They describe the life cycle of a particular animal, or a geographic feature, or a particular facet of history, in an engrossing manner. We just finished reading Seabird, and I really enjoyed, again, the way this author tells a story. Every chapter has a story on one page and a full-color painting on the opposite page.
At the beginning of the story, young Ezra was in the crow’s nest of the whaling ship on which he served as Ship’s Boy. An Ivory Gull flying past him in the mist saved the ship from an iceberg, and he went on to carve a gull out of walrus ivory. This carving, which he named Seabird, stayed with him and inspired him as he worked on the whaler and eventually captained a clipper. Then, it hung above his son Nate’s cradle.
Nate sailed around the world with Ezra in the clipper and saw many exotic things. Eventually, his son Jim inherited Seabird—and Jim took her to sea in his luxury liner! The carving had seen many changes, and so had Ezra.
Seabird is a great way to learn the history of boats and transportation from the early 1800s to the early 1900s. It also has a great description of whaling. I like the family relationships that are woven throughout the story, too! Not only is this a delightful story, the pictures are gorgeous. This is a book that should be on every child’s shelf.
Read Aloud—Ages 5 – 8
Reading Independently— 8 – 12
Links to buy this book:
Keywords: Sailing, Boats, Whaling, Oceans, Carving, Transportation, Historical Fiction, Realistic Science Fiction, 19th Century History