Fascinated with sharks from childhood, Eugenie Clark spent a lifetime researching these “magnificent and misunderstood” creatures.
At a time when women were discouraged from even entering professional fields, Eugenie Clark (1922-2015) pioneered shark research in and out of the water. She swam with sharks of all sorts. She opened the Cape Haze Marine Laboratory (now Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium) in Florida and proved that they could be trained. She dove into caves to see fearsome requiem sharks quietly being cleaned by tiny remora fish. Lang’s welcome picture-book biography introduces a trailblazing female scientist to very young readers and listeners. She demonstrates young Genie’s early passion by describing her weekly visits to the New York Aquarium, her childhood apartment full of fish and reptiles, and her habit of taking notes. She goes on to summarize a long, productive career with a few well-chosen examples. Her story is nicely rounded in text and illustrations with scenes showing Clark with her nose against the glass in the New York Aquarium as a child and from a submersible as an adult. Solano’s illustrations, mostly double-page spreads, emphasize the darkness and mystery of the underwater world; occasionally they include faux notebook pages with simple facts about the species. The prejudice Clark experienced as a Japanese-American is revealed only in the author’s note, however.
A clear, well-organized presentation likely to make readers and listeners want to know more about the “Shark Lady” and her favorite creatures. (more about sharks, selected sources) (Picture book/biography. 4-8)