This book falls into one of my favorite new styles for read-aloud nonfiction, double text (I just named it that). There's a basic story in big, bold letters and simple text. In this case, it starts with the seal dragging himself across the sand and into the sea to look for food, takes him through a long search, escaping from predators, and finally back to the beach where he relaxes.
The second part of the book's text is in small, inset paragraphs and adds facts about gray seals from how they swim to how they can open their mouths underwater to catch fish without drowning.
The book starts with a brief note about wild seals and ends with a simple index (which would make a great introduction to indices for very young children) and a couple websites kids can go to for more information about seals.
The endpapers show the eighteen different kinds of true seals, draw on a cream-colored background in shades of brown. The illustrations in the book look like adapted photographs. The seal's huge, liquid black eyes and sharp details of his whiskers and some of his surroundings are shown, but they're softened and given an underwater look with swirls and a shifting overlay of colors.
Verdict: When I'd finished this book I knew a lot more about seals and they were a lot more interesting! Although they could never live up to sea lions, I'll definitely take a longer look next time I'm at the zoo. This would make a perfect storytime book, as well as a great introduction to both seals and nonfiction for young children. Highly recommended.