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Sunday, October 22, 2017

If Sharks Disappeared, written and illustrated by Lily Williams. Roaring Brook Press, Macmillan. Raincoast. 2017. $24.99 ages 5 and up

"Sharks have helped keep our oceans balanced for about 450 million years. Over that time, they evolved into the more than 400 different species that exist today. Sharks are apex predators ... "

While we may scorn their presence in waters where many vacation, it is very interesting to note that sharks account for less than ten human deaths each year. Try telling that to a friend who doesn't even want to take a cruise ship through shark-infested waters!

I would guess that many of us know little, and have thought less, about the place of sharks in the health of an ocean ecosystem. The little girl who narrates this book has much to teach us. Through engaging conversation and a love for sharks, she examines what might happen IF we didn't have sharks in our world.

She lets us know that without them the ocean would become a very unhealthy place. They have an important role to play and have a major impact on everything within the oceanic world. She speaks scientifically, in a clear explanation for interested readers. She allows readers to see what might happen if sharks were not there to play this much needed role.

" ... the population of seals, sea lions, and other pinnipeds would potentially explode. At higher populations, they would eat more and more fish, and eventually, once there weren’t any fish left ... "

Nearly impossible to imagine the end results of a food chain gone awry!

In her first book, Ms. Williams allows readers to see the beauty of the ocean while also letting them know that many shark species are approaching extinction - in general, the fault of humans. We are on a slippery slope if we don't start doing more to protect them. There is lots here for ALL readers to think on as they share her beautifully illustrated book.

Back matter is welcome, explanatory and includes a note from the author herself.

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