It's a good day for a sketching trip,"" Brady begins, and her full-page illustrations are seen as pages ripped from a spiral-bound sketch pad. Mostly what she sees on a lonely California beach are elephant seals, though there are some nice quick sketches of gliding gulls and other shore life. Her brief text is in the present tense, as if recording her immediate reactions: one seal strikes her as dead at first because it seems to stop breathing; another puzzles her with its habit of flipping sand onto its body. Notes on the sketch pages call attention to flippers, cracked skin, etc., and Brady shows calves nursing, a bull rearing up and roaring, another one stretching (it looked like a ""satisfying stretch"") in a series of three drawings, and, again in sequence, a cow seal's inchworm-like progress to the sea. Brady's informal sketchbook format is matched by the style of the drawings, which are attractively composed, pleasantly softened with gray or sand-colored washes, and engaging in their depiction of the seals' actions and expressions. Like the author's Wild Mouse (1976), personable.