I would hazard a guess that sharks are the most feared ocean creature in the world. They are often seen as vicious human killing predators. For people of my generation, that perception is likely to have been reinforced a thousand times over by the movie “Jaws”.
The truth is that sharks very rarely kill humans and it is believed that when they do attack, it is because they have mistaken them for a sea creature such as a seal.
Meanwhile, certain shark species have become endangered because of degradation of their habitats through over fishing and through deliberate hunting. Unlike whales, sharks don’t engender the level of affection really required for a vocal call to halt their decline. But, as with any animal, sharks have their place within the ocean and are a necessary part of the overall ocean eco-system.
How to Survive as a Shark is clever and funny and it helps adults and children to understand that sharks are just another animal fighting for survival in this world. The illustrations are beautiful, I love the colours and the humour contained in them but more importantly so do Ethan and Lily.
Ethan is 3½ and Lily is 7 but they both enjoy this book. It prompts some great discussion about predators and survival for animals in the wild and also lead into a discussion about conservation and pollution (we often get off track when reading).
What I love about this book is that it is narrated by an older shark who is ostensibly teaching baby sharks about the dangers that they face once they have been born. It makes the book feel much less like a dry non-fiction book than an adventure story but it is every bit as educational.
Reading this book with children will help them to understand the life cycles of sharks from an egg right through to death, which can occur in a number of ways, including being eaten by a hungry sibling or larger shark!
I would definitely recommend adding this book to the shelves of young children as part of a non-fiction collection about the world around them.
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