A tribute to the courage and indomitable will of the renowned ichthyologist.
This eloquent profile follows Clark from a childhood visit to an aquarium through her demonstration that sharks can actually be trained and so are not “mindless killers” as widely supposed. Throughout, Keating highlights the stubborn tenacity with which she shrugged off the pressure to “Be a secretary! Be a housewife!” and followed a dream “as big as a whale shark.” Over the course of her career, she discovered several new species of fish (the Red Sea sand diver, the barred xenia pipefish, and the volcano triplefin) and proved that sharks “deserved to be studied,…protected,…and loved.” Keating focuses so closely on presenting her subject as a woman successfully overcoming gender obstacles that there are no references to Clark’s family, her death in 2015, or the fact that her mother was “of Japanese descent” and her father “American” (presumably white) until the timeline at the end—and the prejudice she encountered as a result of her mixed-race heritage goes unmentioned. In Miguéns’ neatly drawn illustrations, Clark and her mother display slightly East Asian facial features, and figures in crowd and classroom scenes are often people of color. The author appends a section of shark facts, along with a note detailing some of Clark’s other discoveries and accomplishments.
Inspiring, if agenda driven, and serviceable as a companion or alternative to Heather Lang’s Swimming with Sharks, illustrated by Jordi Solano (2016). (bibliography) (Picture book/biography. 4-8)