Steven Seagull Action Hero by Elys Dolan

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Steven Seagull Action Hero by Elys Dolan

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Category: Emerging Readers
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Zoe Morris
Reviewed by Zoe Morris
Summary: Best suited for those starting to explore books by themselves, this is an unusual story with some fun characters
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 32 Date: April 2016
Publisher: OUP Oxford
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-0192738707

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Steven Seagull: Action Hero. I groaned and then…I smiled. See what they did there?

There are SO many picture books available these days, you'd think the market might be saturated by now, but no, more come out for sale every week. I read a fair few in this job, and repetition is often inevitable so when you get a story that seems new, fresh, never done before, my heart starts to beat a little faster.

Steven Seagull is a retired cop. He used to patrol Beach City but those days are over. He was fired, you see, so that retirement wasn't entirely voluntary. Fired for being a renegade (quite a fancy word). But a crime wave is underway and no one has been able to find the culprit. Can Steven be coaxed out of retirement to see if he can help?

The important thing with any mystery or crime is to work out who could be involved and rule out those who aren't. This is the approach Steven takes. Is it Harry, who runs the ice cream van? Apparently not. Or, as Steven ominously says Harry is innocent – this time. How about Lola the life guard? She too has an alibi. Lola is innocent – this time. One by one Steven and Mac work their way through the beach's inhabitants until voila! They think they know whodunit.

I enjoyed Steven's adventure but I think it's for a slightly older audience than some picture books, despite its appearance. Some of the vocabulary used is more advanced and you have to be able to differentiate the narrative of the story from the random comments the characters make across the pages as they talk to themselves, each other (and the reader). There's plenty of onomatopoeia too (Wham! Splish!) which is always a winner.

The pictures are great, though, full of pops of colour and details that show the author herself has actually been to a beach in their life (always helpful). Throw in some extra clouds to dull down the sun, add some litter, and you could be looking at the Lancashire coastline I grew up on.

I would recommend this one because it's something a little different. It's a little rougher and tougher than some books, and perfect for once they start school and try to read on their own, perhaps more suited for this stage than for a nursery class's pre-nap reading. I'd like to thank the publishers for sending us a copy to review.

For another beach story for that slightly younger audience, you can't do better than Kipper's Beach Ball by Mick Inkpen.

Buy Steven Seagull Action Hero by Elys Dolan at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Steven Seagull Action Hero by Elys Dolan at

Buy Steven Seagull Action Hero by Elys Dolan at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Steven Seagull Action Hero by Elys Dolan at


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