A maligned shark steals the show to explain just how wrong his fellow fish are about him in Dyckman and Magoon’s debut collaboration.
Sporting a stylish fedora atop his bell, Bob, a jellyfish TV host, is about to start his show when a great white shark interrupts. Bob begs Shark not to eat a fish on the air, and Shark, with a big smile to the audience, insists he had no intention of eating anyone and simply wanted to show off his new tooth. After all, “sharks can grow and lose 30,000 teeth in their lifetime”—never mind that they lose most of them by using their powerful jaws on their prey, a “fun fact” that Bob, perhaps sensibly, omits. Bob never does quite get control of his show back as Shark hauls off first to eat a baby seal (whom he really just wanted to return to her seal family) and then to chase down a source of blood (so he could offer a Band-Aid). Although she seems to gender all her characters male with the exception of two ungendered squid production assistants and the female baby seal, Dyckman otherwise gives ambiguity the narrative spotlight with well-honed tension prolonging readers’ indecision. Meanwhile, Magoon’s flair for underwater illustration also allows a shark’s redemption and his prey’s suspicion to both live on the page. Readers will need to decide for themselves if Shark is really as scary as he seems or if misunderstandings have colored our opinions.
Fun and playful…or so Shark would have us believe. (Picture book. 4-8)