(A 300-words-or-less review)
Something between a picture book and a novel, Seabird makes for a pleasant summer afternoon’s reading or a periodic before-bed-time story with something there to spark the imagination of both the adult and the child too young to read it on his own. I loved the imagery and word pictures. The book reminded me constantly of Moby Dick. Sometimes it took only a word to bring back the salty sea breeze and the zing of the whale lines, taut with the chase.
Seabird follows four generations of men, each son playing a part in the history of sea voyaging. The great-grandfather sailed on a whaling boat, the grandfather on a steamboat. The third generation introduced oil and replaced coal in ships and it was the great-grandson who flew planes across the ocean his great-grandfather once sailed. The ivory seagull that the great-grandfather carved, represented the ocean and that way of life. Just as the ivory seabird was passed from one generation to the next, so the love of the sea was passed from father to son. It looked different in every generation but to invent a sail-less ship was not a rejection of the old whaleboat but a greater fulfillment of it.
From whaleboat to airplane the seabird still flew over the sea.