A shark attends Mini Minnows Elementary with his best bud, a minnow, but his day is not a smooth one in this return for Nugget & Fang (2013).
Nugget and Fang are best friends, a relationship facilitated by the shark’s vegetarian diet. Though most other sea creatures panic and flee the extremely toothy Fang, the mini minnows are an exception; in their previous outing, Fang saved them from being a menu item. To thank him, they invite Fang to school. The shark is excited, but anxiety hits on the first day, and the giant shark is plagued by questions and what-ifs that his tiny friend just takes in stride. Nugget’s mantra is “You’ll be fine.” But Fang is decidedly not fine: He struggles in every subject and suffers through many mishaps. The final straw lands at the end of the day, when all the fish are expected to share something with the class. After flailing and flopping his way through the school day, Fang doesn’t want to present. When it’s finally his turn, his anxiety has his fins and his tongue tied in knots. But then he spies Nugget, his best friend, and he has no doubt about what is most important for everyone to know. The Photoshop illustrations are bright and colorful. Slack deftly portrays Fang’s every emotion, his toothy frowns and worried eyebrows complementing his slumped body and dorsal fin. Readers will no doubt feel empathetic.
Yes, Fang, you’ll be fine with your fishy friend by your side. (Picture book. 4-8)