In Pedicini’s debut picture book, a slow-witted sea gull loses his home when an iceberg melts; abandoned by his family, the gull heads off into the unknown to find a new resting place.
Nicknamed “Slow Moe,” the hapless creature with his misshapen head, gangly legs and ugly yellow beak, looks a bit like a white Tweety, the cartoon canary. At first, Slow Moe is not too clever. He mistakes a polar bear for an iceberg, and he can’t keep up with a flock of ivory gulls who push him off the dock and force him to lose his way. Alone in the world with only his shadow for company, he strays into a forest where he hears the cries of some distressed children and their puppy, Lullaby. Now it’s Slow Moe’s turn to come to the rescue, leading the frightened group through the stormy night, away from a chasing pack of hungry coyotes, whose eyes peep out like fiery sparks as the canines wait to pounce on the defenseless youngsters. Outwitting his pursuers with a clever decoy, Slow Moe lures them into a trap. The ending is satisfyingly reassuring, with both the children and their puppy reaching safety, while the sea gull also finds himself in the dependable arms of a uniformed patrol guard. Chatterje’s illustrations have a cartoonlike playfulness, while at the same time add atmosphere to the different landscapes—from the cold, white icebergs to the ominous greens and browns of the sinister forest, lit up with forks of white lightning and orange flames.
A quirky little picture book, which could be seen as a metaphor for those who lose their way and, after various trials and tribulations in a dangerous world, find themselves in safe surroundings again.