The Children’s Book Review | July 23, 2016
Celebrate Shark Week with These Kids Books About Sharks
Got a young marine biologist or, more specifically, an ichthyologist (a biologist that studies species of fish, sharks, or rays) in your house? It’s time to dive right into these incredible kids books about sharks.
What to expect: Sharks, undersea creatures, facts, science, STEM
Nothing captures the imagination of children quite like sharks. Those teeth, those eyes, that flash of fins! This beautiful encyclopedia covers every shark you’ve ever heard of, plus quite a few other sharks (and sea-dwelling creatures) you haven’t.
First and foremost, this is an encyclopedia, and it is full of facts. For children who adore memorizing weights and eating habits of creatures big and small, this book has you covered. But for children who are more visual, this encyclopedia really delivers. Lush, beautiful full-color pictures of each animal spread across oversize pages to immerse young readers and adults into the world of these beautiful and misunderstood creatures.
And it’s not just basic facts we learn about the sharks – it’s the fun, off the wall (and the better to impress their little friends) facts, too! Did you know that the Thresher Shark whips its tail so fast that the water actually boils at the tail’s tip? Or that a powerful Bull Shark head-butt’s its prey before chomping down?
But sharks are more than Hollywood eating machines. This encyclopedia shows the more tender side, too. Lemon Sharks return to the same lagoon every two years to give birth in the same place where they themselves were born. Who knew sharks were so sentimental? Or maybe that’s just instinct.
Teeth aside, sharks are wondrous creatures, and this terrific encyclopedia will fascinate children already in love with sea creatures, and perhaps spark the interest of budding marine biologists. The photography is beautiful and highly engaging, and the facts are simple and intriguing. Many an afternoon can be whiled away flipping through the colorful pages of this excellent book. Highly recommended.
Ages 5+ | Publisher: DK Childrens | 2015 | ISBN-13: 978-1465435842
Written by Curtis Manley
Illustrated by Tracy Subisak
What to expect: Sharks, friendship
Shawn Loves Sharks. I mean, loves them. He chomps like one. He dresses like one. And he chases other kids around the playground pretending to chomp at their heels like one.
One day his teacher assigns every child a predator animal to learn about. “I get the shark! I get the shark!” Shawn cries. Alas, it is not to be. Instead he picks – The seal.
Not only is a seal most definitely not a shark, but seals are what sharks eat. And Stacy gets the Great White Shark. It isn’t fair.
But the more that Shawn reads about seals, the cooler he realizes they are. They’re sleek, fast and can dodge a shark like Stacy’s Great White. Stacy, learning all the cool things about sharks, starts to chase Shawn around the playground the way he used to chase others. And Shawn doesn’t really like it. They get in to a tiff on who is the cooler animal: shark or seal? In the end, though, Shawn realizes maybe sharks and seals can be friends after all. He and Stacy learn that there is more than one kind of way to be friends.
This is an absolutely adorable book about a little boy who loves sharks almost as much as life itself. We’ve all known the child in the midst of obsession. Between themed clothing/books/playtime, a child can really get caught up in their own passion for something exciting. But when it means we can’t be friends with others, it’s time to take a step back like Shawn does. Besides, we don’t always get exactly what we want, and Shawn learns that lesson perfectly. In fact, he grows through his disappointment and finds that seals can be just as exciting.
The illustrations are bright and draw children in to the familiar world of the playground. The text strikes a great balance and doesn’t get too wordy. The characters are wonderfully diverse, and the way the children make up in the end is a perfect lesson without being too preachy. Highly recommended.
Ages 4+ | Publisher: Roaring Brook Press | 2017 | ISBN-13: 9781626721340
Written and Illustrated by Lily Williams
What to expect: Sharks, Ecology, Marine Biology
IF SHARKS DISAPPEARED is an enlightening book about the critical role of sharks in our oceans.
The ocean is home to many things – come cute and squishy, and some scary! Children might find sharks frightening, but author Lily Williams invites us to learn more about the shark and how they affect the environment on a grand scale. If there were no sharks to prey on the weak animals, there would be a shortage of fish. And if that happened, plankton would turn the oceans to a red soupy mess! The book goes on to show how eventually it would affect the whole world, including us. Using the concept of Trophic Cascade, Williams demonstrates how the world is much better with sharks in it. And sharks are beautiful and wild and free in their own way, and deserve our respect, not our fear.
This is a big, but important, topic for children. Understanding that everything in the world has meaning, even the sometimes scary shark, helps them visualize how what they do matters. If we don’t take steps to help protect sharks, many of which are at risk for extinction, the world would miss them. At the end of the book there are steps that children can take to help sharks, which is very exciting and keeping with the tone of the book. What a fun class project any one of the steps could be: becoming involved with shark advocacy programs, creating shark artwork, and writing letters to lawmakers to urge them to pass shark-protecting laws.The illustrations are beautiful, showing the wonder of the ocean in dazzlingly deep paint strokes. Williams’ terrific pairing of eye-catching illustrations and hard facts will keep even younger readers glued to the page. I also appreciated the diverse cast in humans.
A fantastic addition to the library of any classroom. Highly recommended.
Ages 4-10 | Publisher: Roaring Brook Press | May 16, 2017 | ISBN-13: 978-1626724136
*Header image illustration from Shawn Loves Sharks, written by Curtis Manley and llustrated by Tracy Subisak (Roaring Book Press 2017)
3 Kids Books About Sharks Perfect for Young Marine Biologists were reviewed by Denise Mealy. Discover more books like If Sharks Disappeared, Shawn Loves Sharks, and Super Shark Encyclopedia by following along with our reviews and articles tagged with Biology and Sharks.