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INSIDE ACCESS by Stephen  Savage

INSIDE ACCESS

Sharks

By Stephen Savage

Age Range: 6 - 10

Pub Date: July 18th, 2007
ISBN: 978-0-7534-6064-1
Publisher: Kingfisher

Lift-the-flap factoids and a Ms. Frizzle wannabe form the gimmicks obviously designed to make this effort stand out from a crowded pack—with limited success. “Angel Finn” narrates this compendium of shark facts, beginning with a quick physical description and ending with the news that “many sharks are now endangered.” In between, readers are treated to discussions of prehistoric sharks, shark habitats, feeding habits and reproduction, in no discernible progression. The lift-the-flap elements pose questions that may or may not have occurred to readers (“Why do sharks bite metal cages?”) and reveal answers in a forced attempt to draw kids in—and they’re flimsy, to boot. Angel, a cartoony sketch with long blonde hair, appears placed against full-bleed photographs, some computer-generated (although no acknowledgement of this is made in the text). Most photographs feature gaping, toothy mouths. All in all, it’s a model of sensationalism in science books for kids, and lacking both the gravitas and the artistry of Nicola Davies’s Surprising Sharks (2003) or Jim Arnosky’s All About Sharks (2003). This offering is the very definition of “additional purchase.” (glossary, index) (Nonfiction. 6-10)