Hale and Francis continue their popular series about the boisterous shark named Clark with a story about a Secret Santa gift exchange in his classroom.
The Christmas holiday is celebrated at Theodore Roosterfish Elementary, and all the sea-creature students are to draw names for their gift exchange. The teacher, a pink octopus named Mrs. Inkydink, explains the rules of the Secret Santa plan, and Clark draws the name of Benny Blowfish. Clark’s focus over the next weeks is on his own forthcoming gift and who his Secret Santa might be rather than on what present he’ll give to Benny. By the time of the gift exchange, unprepared Clark gives Benny his own Captain Suckermouth comic book as a last-minute gift, feeling bad about his lack of preparation. In a neatly satisfying twist, Benny is also Clark’s Secret Santa and gives Clark the very same comic book for his gift. Clark’s exuberant character and basically good heart shine through his bluster, and he even learns a little lesson about the spirit of holiday giving. The comical illustrations painted with acrylics have a fresh, contemporary feel with lots of bright patterns, white or pale gray backgrounds, and Clark’s boldly striped shirt. Clever touches in the illustrations include a starfish on top of the green coral Christmas tree and several athletic socks for Sid the Squid’s Secret Santa present.
An amusing holiday outing for Clark the Shark fans. (Picture book. 4-8)