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Saturday, January 26, 2019

Misunderstood Shark: Friends Don't Eat Friends, written by Ame Dyckman and illustrated by Scott Magoon. Orchard, Scholastic, 2019. $ 23.99 ages 5 and up

"You ATE me, Shark!
In our last episode,
I defended you to the people,
and you ATE ME!"

The PEOPLE are watching? 

Not according to our 

Reading Ame Dyckman's much anticipated sequel to Misunderstood Shark (Orchard, 2018) this morning unleashed many memories and thoughts. I have a dear friend who swears she will never go on a cruise, as she is sure there is a shark out there in the ocean just waiting for her to look over the side of the cruise ship. Nothing can convince her that said shark has not been waiting until that very moment for an 'old lady lunch'. HA! Her daughter-in-law just swam with the sharks last week ... her second time in Hawaii! It is not a story she wants to hear told.

In the summer when my granddaughters were visiting, I read the initial tale numerous times in a day; it was a whole lot of fun, and had us giggling every time. They will be delighted to know that Shark has coughed Bob up and is somehow surprised to see him.

You look different. 
Where ya been?" 

"You know perfectly well
where I've been!"

Not the most auspicious start to a new episode of Underwater World with Bob. Bob is ticked and he thinks that Shark should understand why. Shark, as he has done before, tries to help Bob understand that he simply misunderstood his intention. He thought he was just giving Bob a tour of a shark's inner structure. Giggle worthy? You bet.

Ms. Dyckman has good reason for wanting to share these stories about sharks.

"Like a lot of grown-ups, I was afraid of sharks. But a lot of kids think sharks are AWESOME. The more I looked into why, the more I saw sharks really ARE awesome—they just get a bum rap. Not to say sharks WON’T eat when they’re hungry or when they think something smells good, but in almost all interactions with people, sharks really aren’t trying to eat us. Thought it was time to share that."

By reading her stories, she hopes that children will not grow up with the same fears she has always felt toward sharks. She tackles the subjects of friendship and anger with amusement and some hilarious back-and-forth between the two, while also injecting factual information about the much maligned ocean dweller. Scott Magoon ups the comedy with his cartoon-like renderings of the ocean and its many creatures, the film staff, and the compulsive action that is taking place every moment. This is terrific fun. I can't wait to share it with kids!

Here's some food for thought!
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