When participating in a storytime session, as I now do weekly, I like to choose picture books with bright images and related to nature, as the sessions are held in a children’s museum with a strong ecological emphasis. I chose Surprising Sharks by Nicola Davies for last week’s story, because here in Florida, we are quite familiar with sharks. But a reader is in for a – you-guessed-it! surprise with this book as it shares the wonders and intrigue of sharks in easy-to-read text and appealing pictures.
Written by Nicola Davies and illustrated by James Croft, the work is a science text, storybook and environmental lesson all-in-one. Davies doesn’t shy around the fact sharks are killers and humans are sometimes their prey but instead, turns this into a lesson about how we can educate ourselves about sharks. Any words too terrifying for little ones, such as “killer” or “bone-crunching” can easily be skipped.
The pages’ fonts vary in size, and the illustrations are bright and colorful, making it extremely attractive to children. The overall effect is fun and light, not scary. The facts contained within are interesting, with charts of shark anatomy and tidbits about not-so-common sharks, like the Wobbegong, whose mottled skin resembles a carpet on the sea floor. Also detailed is how sharks are born, their feeding habits, and humans use sharks in every day products.
Title: Surprising Sharks