Misunderstood Shark (Ame Dyckman)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Misunderstood Shark, written by Ame Dyckman and illustrated by Scott Magoon, a delightfully silly look at shark facts.

Jellyfish Bob is ready to start his “fun facts” show about sea creatures, not realizing that a shark is stalking up out of the shadows to eat him… or is he? The shark claims that he really just wanted to show off all his teeth (which, as Bob helpfully informs the audience, sharks can lose and grow 30,000 of in their lifetime). So follow a series of “misunderstandings” – the shark wasn’t going to eat that baby seal; he only wanted to return her to her parents (earning the seals’ admiration). Sniffing a bit of blood, the shark swirls into a frenzy… but only to give the terrified humans a BandAid for their scratch. All the while, Bob helpfully spouts off shark facts to his audience and increasingly dubious crew. Perhaps sharks aren’t as dangerous as they seem… but perhaps not.

Silly yet educational fun. Dyckman has done something sneaky and brilliant here, using comedy to introduce a very real aspect of popular opinion on sharks: they are both very dangerous yet also very much not. While it’s true that sharks can be dangerous up close, they pose very little threat overall, and are important parts of their ecosystems. What’s more, we’re still learning much about them, which make Bob’s true fun-facts just as welcome. And while the ending does involve Bob becoming lunch, his survival in Shark’s tummy keeps things from getting too dark. Magoon’s broad characters, with expressive features and toothy grins, are a perfect compliment to the light tone of the story. The length was great, and JJ and I had a lot of fun with this one. A wonderful story that reminds us that sharks are amazing – just not to be trifled with. Baby Bookworm approved!

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