A review of Seals, Sea Gulls and other Sounds by Dolly K. Elligson

Reviewed by Molly Martin

Seals, Sea Gulls and other Sounds
by Dolly K Elligson
Illustrator: John Everds
Systems for Education
Paperback: 95 pages, ASIN: B0007FB0PM

Seals, Sea Gulls and other Sounds covers do not do justice to the original work. Sometimes the old books we have in Osage County First Grade are some of the most favored by the six year old set. Dolly K. Elligson’s marvelous work is as pertinent today as it was back in 1966 when it was printed.

The original cover features a zany seal lolling against a sand dune with his buddy, a sea gull wearing a captain’s head gear as the duo gaze out into the sea.

This is a read to book meant to be aloud by adult or student partner to young child; opening page asks the quest What is a sound and goes on to relate much of what we teach today. A sound is many things, you can hear it with your ear, it can wake you up, help you sleep, cause you to feel happy, and is everywhere.

Osage County First Grade listen raptly as I show the drawing of a head and explain how and where sounds are made as we speak. And that there are breath sounds and voiced sounds.

Using poems, short stories and child friendly graphics produced by an illustrator who obviously had young children nearby as he worked on the drawings for this book. Consonants, nasal sounds, blends, stop sounds, and long sounds onset and rime, last sounds and pairs are introduced. Because the sounds follow alphabetical order it is easy for teachers and parents to use the with any reading program. I do not start with page one and read to the end, I open the book to the particular sound, letter or phoneme we are studying this day or week.

Some of my personal favorites, are often chosen by students as their favorites too. These include Captain Young’s Yaks, with a duo of long haired yodeling yaks, Denty The Duck Who Didn’t Want To Do Things a morality tale in which a young duck learns the value of working with the group, listening to elders and learning that older members have learned what he needs to learn. Great Grandmother’s Garden is a sweet tale of a little boy and barefoot walks at dusk when stars are showing and magic of childhood is completed with grandma nearby. Larry Lee Lives in a Lighthouse introduces children here in landlocked mid-continent to some of the commonplace activities, sights, sounds, activities of a child who lives near the sea and how his life though different is also the same as is ours where we do not see the sea.

Mark Moose, and Mohini A Marvelous Mammal introduces sounds and many M words along with scientific notions regarding mammals, warm blooded living things in addition to the social concept that adults work and work may be mundane and may be something more.

A Seal And A Sea Gull is a meandering poem filled with s words, focused on the sea and many facts about the worlds oceans.

Osage County First Grade enjoys Seals, Sea Gulls and other Sounds beginning on the first day of school as I introduce the letter c and read Chair CH CH CH a breath sound. During the first week of school Chang Fu Was a Chinese Child, introduces a junk, vendor, chestnuts, fortune cookies, egg rolls, allows us to search our maps for China and piques our interest for the sounds, words, worlds and learning we will enjoy throughout the term.

I use the book every week, nearly every day, and should I not have used the book by rug time signifying the close of our day, children are quick to point out the lack and hope we will use it tomorrow. Seals, Sea Gulls and other Sounds is carried home each day to be shared with parents and siblings as Little Learners show off their learning.

Osage County First Grade and I like Seals, Sea Gulls and other Sounds very much despite the fact that it is not new, glitzy filled with slick or bright or showy graphics. I find the work as significant for use in Early Childhood Education classroom today as it was when I began my teaching career three+ decades ago.

Happy to use and recommend any copy you can find Seals, Sea Gulls and other Sounds for use in the classroom, home school environment or as an adjunct to online learning.

Reviewed by: molly martin