Interrupting his walk on a sandy beach, a child runs after gulls playing catch with a starfish, intercepts their victim, and places it gently back into the water.
In previous titles in this series, young people have encountered birds first On Bird Hill (2016) and then On Duck Pond (2017). Here, readers visit a New England beach where a shorts-and–T-shirt–clad child with dark hair and sand-colored skin has been collecting “sticks and stones, / …shells and bleached small ends of bones.” The story is told in deftly constructed rhyming couplets whose pace seems to quicken with the chase, becoming transformed at the end. Veteran nature illustrator Marstall sets the story in Cape Cod (according to the cover copy), with accurate birds and believable scenery gently portrayed in watercolor. No reader will have difficulty recognizing herring gulls in real life; he shows them from every angle. The backmatter provides further description of other beach inhabitants seen in the illustrations: sanderlings and willets; sea stars; horseshoe crabs; hermit, Jonah, and fiddler crabs. There are also a few suggestions for protecting beaches by reducing the use of plastic, saving energy, and not letting dogs run after birds who might be nesting there.
An excellent addition to the nature shelf. (Informational picture book. 4-7)