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Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Shawn Loves Sharks, written by Curtis Manley with pictures by Tracy Subisak. Roaring Brook Press, Macmillan. Raincoast. 2017. $24.99 ages 5 and up

"On Monday, Ms. Mitchell told the class they would each learn about a different predator. Shawn leaped out of his chair and yelled,

I  get the shark! I get the shark!"

Shawn is obsessed with sharks. All you have to do is look at the title page: he is wearing a shark suit, he is reading a lengthy tome concerning sharks, his bed is piled high with research books to add to his store of knowledge, his lamp shade is covered in shark images, his clock has the shape of a shark, and there is a SHARKS RULE! poster on the wall. He loves everything about them.

At school, he impersonates a shark at recess and scares as many people as he can with his loud 'chomping' sounds. So, when a research report is announced concerning predators, the only subject Shawn wants is ... you guessed it - SHARKS! Imagine his aversion to learning about a Leopard Seal, when that is the predator name he draws. Stacy, the most frightened victim of his playground shark attacks gets the shark.

No matter the enticement, Stacy is adamant the shark is her report to do. Shawn worries Stacy will learn too much about a shark's preferred prey - and she does. Stacy does her best to intimidate the seal researcher. Shawn is undeterred as he learns all that he can learn about seals.

"The more Shawn read about seals, the more he loved them. He loved their streamlined shape and the patterns on their smooth fur. He loved their big brown eyes. He loved their sharp little teeth ... "

Stacy, for her part, is doing the same thing, and adds chasing Shawn to her list of daily duties. He chastises her for not being able to catch a seal, and watches her reaction to his insult. Before long, he does a turnabout and offers the hand of friendship.

Engaging and entertaining artwork adds to the fun. This book would be perfect as an introduction to research projects in a classroom where they are a goal for students.

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