Tuesday, August 09, 2005


I know an awful lot about sharks.

This might seem odd as I am not a marine biologist, nor am I a zoologist, nor am I even a scientist at all. Up to two years ago I had never even thought about sharks. Well, maybe I did think about them once or twice when boogie-boarding, but I certainly didn't think about them once off the beach.

When my youngest turned two everything changed. Suddenly I began reading an endless number of books about sharks. And I'm still reading about sharks two and a half years on.

Here's to our favorite shark books in honor of the end of summer:

(P.S. I'm not counting the deadly boring ones that list each shark by genus and species, though my son loves those best of all. Readers still have rights.)


In the non-fiction category, DK Eyewitness's Shark written by Miranda McQuitty is very good, thorough, and entertaining. I also like the easy reader Hungry, Hungry Shark by the Joanna Cole (illustrated by Patricia Wynne). It's a bit more dramatic than Shark and features a bloody great white on the front cover, but overall a good read-aloud. Finally, Nicola Davies' Surprising Sharks covers all the territory (conveyor belt teeth, things found in sharks' stomachs, the biggest fish in the sea, humans more dangerous than sharks, etc.), but with the charming illustrations of James Lee Croft. A great introduction for the younger or more squeamish shark fans amongst us.


One of my very best Half-Price Books finds (we have a great Half-Price an hour away from Smalltown) was Sidney Shark's Seaside Shanties. Written by Giles Andreae and illustrated by David Wojtowycz, this delightful book is made up of several rockin' poems about deep sea life (including, of course, about Sidney) and accompanied by jazzy, colorful illustrations. A favorite of the preschool set.

And Smiley Shark by Ruth Galloway is a fun book as well. Young Smiley wants to make friends with his companions in the deep, but they (gasp!) are afraid of his teeth. After a few misunderstandings, Smiley proves his worth and becomes a valued member of the undersea community. Unrealistic, but cute. Galloway's illustrations are beautiful as well.