Cover image for The story of the seagull and the cat who taught her to fly
The story of the seagull and the cat who taught her to fly
Sepúlveda, Luis, 1949-
Personal Author:
Uniform Title:
Historia de una gaviota y del gato que le enseñó a volar. English
First American edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Arthur A. Levine Books, 2003.
Physical Description:
126 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
A seagull, dying from the effects of an oil spill, entrusts her egg to Zorba the cat, who promises to care for it until her chick hatches, then teach the chick to fly.
Reading Level:
880 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR MG 5.5 3.0 71759.

Reading Counts RC 3-5 5.3 6 Quiz: 33934 Guided reading level: R.

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
X Juvenile Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



Published in 20 countries, sold over 1 million copies, and the subject of a feature film, THE STORY OF A SEAGULL AND THE CAT WHO TAUGHT HER TO FLY has finally come to the U.S.!

It's migration time and as a mother gull dives into the water to catch a herring she's caught in an oil slick! Thinking of the egg she is about to lay she manages to extract herself and fly to the nearest port.
Exhausted, she lands on a balcony where Zorba the cat is sunning himself. Zorba wants to get help, but the gull knows it's too late and she extracts three promises from him: 1) That he won't eat the egg, 2) that he'll take care of the chick until it hatches, and 3) that he'll teach it to fly.
Well the first two are hard enough, but the third one is surely impossible. Isn't it?

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 3-6. Zorba, a fat black cat, anticipates lazing around while his owner vacations, but his life abruptly changes when a dying, oil-covered seagull lands on his balcony and makes Zorba promise to protect the egg she leaves behind, raise the chick, and teach it to fly. With the help of several quirky feline friends and a human, Zorba accomplishes each task--and discovers the joys of caring for someone other than himself. This graceful balance of humor and heart is an irresistible read. Characters are distinctively drawn and diverse: Lucky the chick who embraces her gifts and her unusual feline family; Einstein the cat who worships the encyclopedia; and, of course, Zorba, courageous and tender. Simple language sensitively conveys the characters and events; and themes embracing respect for the environment, family diversity, and compassion are effectively conveyed both through dramatic episodes and character-driven comedy. Black-and-white illustrations expressively portray the characters and settings, adding another element to an entertaining, thought-provoking story that can sit comfortably alongside books by Dicking-Smith. --Shelle Rosenfeld Copyright 2003 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

A cat promises to watch over a seagull's newly laid egg. In a starred review, PW called this "a charming tale of devotion, courage and the importance of keeping one's word." Ages 9-12. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 3-6-Zorba is a noble, big, black cat from the port of Hamburg who keeps his vow to a dying seagull who was tragically caught in an oil slick. He promises to watch over her egg, not to eat the chick when it hatches, and to teach the baby gull to fly. With the aid of four loyal feline friends, he hatches the egg and the young female that emerges immediately calls him "Mommy." Having fulfilled two of the promises, Zorba and his mates must not only teach her to fly, but also give her the strength to leave those she loves to realize her true nature. Zorba breaks the taboo and speaks to a human poet, who carries the young gull and her beloved foster father to a church tower where Lucky naturally, gracefully takes flight. This intelligent, eloquently translated work examines loyalty, trust, and acceptance of differences. It truthfully displays environmental destruction caused by humans and the animals note that, "Humans, unfortunately, are unpredictable. Often it is with the best intentions that they cause the greatest damage." Zorba's Hamburg is populated with fascinating felines, several of whom have foreign accents and mannerisms. Sheban's soft-focus, black-and-white illustrations capture the action of the text and portray a world where animals must make important, life-changing decisions. Complete with humor and whimsy, this is a book with heart and soul. It will make readers' spirits soar.-Shawn Brommer, South Central Library System, Madison, WI (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.