Samantha Seagull's Sandals, by Gordon Winch & Tony Oliver

 long time ago
there lived a young, silver gull
who wanted to be different.
Her name was Samantha.

Samantha wants to be different and although she is advised that in time she would be different, she just can’t wait. She decides that shoes will be what makes her different. So she tries high heels, gumboots and more, but each has limitations for a seagoing gull. When her shoes fail, her fiend Simon is there to tell her that she is beautiful just as she is. Not that Samantha believes it. And with each failure she has to endure ridicule from the other gulls (except Simon). The ridicule causes her to blush, red feet, red eyes and beak. Finally, she thinks she has found the perfect shoes to make her different. Illustrations are pencil and watercolour and realistic in style, although the hermit crab has a few extra features! His eyebrows are fabulous.

Many children are in a hurry to grow up, to find their way, their own special place. And because they are impatient, they can’t hear the advice they’re given, nor can they see some of the consequences of their actions. Samantha is keen to be different, but doesn’t realise – or perhaps doesn’t value – the unconditional friendship offered by Simon. Simon on the other hand is patient, uncritical and supportive. The crowd? Well they’re a crowd and act as one with no heed for the impact. This is a 25th birthday for Samantha Seagull’s Sandals , a tremendous achievement for a picture story book. In a post script, there is information about silver gulls. It’s true, their legs, eyes, beaks do really change colour as they become adults. Recommended for early primary readers.

Samantha Seagull’s Sandals , Gordon Winch, ill Tony Oliver
New Frontier Publishing 2010
ISBN: 9781921042591

review by Claire Saxby, Children’s Author

This book can be purchased in good bookstores, or online fromFishpond.