SHARK DETECTIVE! by Jessica Olien


by ; illustrated by
Age Range: 4 - 8
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The moral of this story is: dreams can come true.

People often wonder whether animals dream. Shark keeps dreaming about becoming a detective. The phrase “My hero!” shows up in his dreams often enough that, when he’s wide awake, he dons a deerstalker, grabs a magnifying glass, and starts searching for a missing kitten. The flaw in his plan becomes obvious the first time he says, “Excuse me, sir! Have you seen this kitty?” No one trusts a shark. This may be a parable for the human condition. Or maybe Olien just likes drawing a shark in a deerstalker. Her illustrations are spare but delightful. In one picture, the shark is wearing a nightcap and snacking on potato chips. A hotel sign is only partly visible through the window, so it just says “HOT.” It’s hard to explain quite why that’s funny, but it is. And the story is strangely inspirational: if a shark and a kitten can get along, maybe there’s hope for the rest of us. The book occasionally seems slight, but slight isn’t always a bad thing; it has exactly as much story as it needs.

Many readers will demand further adventures—or imagine them for themselves. The last page will get them started. Spoiler alert: the cat’s name is Watson. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2015
ISBN: 978-0-06-235714-4
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1st, 2015


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