There are many different kinds of families, but this is the story of one of the strangest and most wonderful ones I’ve ever met!

“Ahhh, vacation... There’s nothing like it,” Zorba thinks to himself, as he stands at the window overlooking the port of Hamburg, watching the boy and his family drive away. “Four weeks, all to myself. Four weeks to be lord and master of the apartment, to lie in the sun, to do exactly as I please. Life is good.”

At least that what the big, black, fat cat thinks his vacation will be like, but that’s only because he doesn’t have any idea of what is really going to happen to him and his friends.

He’s lying in the sun on the balcony when he hears the sound of a flying object approaching very quickly, and jumps to his feet just in time to avoid being hit by a very dirty seagull, her feathers covered with a dark, sticky, smelly substance. She was caught in an oil slick and used the very last of her energy to fly as far as Zorba’s balcony. Now near death, she begs Zorba to promise her three things before he goes to find someone to help her. First, he must not eat the egg she’s about to lay. Second, he must look after it until the chick hatches. And third, he must teach the chick to fly. Zorba’s sure that she’s delirious, but promises anyway, and runs off to find his best friends, Secretario, the Colonel, and Einstein, who he hopes will help him save the gull. But when they return to the balcony, they discover that they’re too late. The gull is dead, but she’s left behind a small, round, blue and white speckled egg, just as she’d said she would. That’s when Zorba realizes that the gull hadn’t been delirious at all, and that he did indeed give his word to her, and the word of one cat of the port is the word of all cats of the port. He must care for the egg and teach the chick to fly. The others will help him.

But taking care of an egg, keeping it warm and safe, is one thing, and it’s something else entirely to raise a chick and teach it to fly! Besides, how will he feed it? Birds don’t eat cat food! And cats don’t fly. How can Zorba teach the chick to do something he can’t do himself? What is a bachelor cat going to do with a tiny seagull chick who takes one look at him and says, “Hello, Mommy! I’m hungry!”

This booktalk was written by librarian and booktalking expert Joni R. Bodart.