Review: Land Shark by Beth Ferry, illus. Ben Mantle
Source: Hardcopy courtesy of Raincoast Books. Thank you!
Expected publication: August 4, 2015 by Chronicle Books
Verdict: Very Good/Excellent
The only thing Bobby wants for his birthday is a pet shark. So you can imagine his disappointment when his parents get him…a puppy. Everyone knows shark lovers can never become dog lovers. Or can they? Full of humor and heart, this book explores the idea that sometimes, getting exactly what you don’t want turns out to be exactly what you need.
We often hear about kids wanting puppies, kittens, bunnies…maybe even snakes or tarantulas as pets. But what about sharks? Have you ever met a kid who was genuinely, seriously, hopelessly in love with sharks? So much so that that is all they dream about and hope to get as a pet? Well, get ready to meet Bobby, the adorably tufty-haired and determined protagonist of Beth Ferry and Ben Mantle’s picture book Land Shark…
Bobby has a pretty simple two-step plan in place- a “frightful, bite-ful, delightful plan”: first, he needs to convince his parents to get a shark; second, he will get a shark. But what Bobby doesn’t anticipate is that his parents, despite all his efforts and not-so-subtle hints, get him a puppy for his birthday instead. As you can imagine, Bobby is devastated. He is utterly convinced that his shark-loving heart will never, ever be swayed…until the cute little puppy surprises him with a daring, biting move.
Overall, this is a witty, charming and delightful picture book, with some great visual gags and a few moments of zaniness. With such dynamic full-page illustrations, and exciting and appealing visuals, I really appreciate that the text is kept simple and effortless so as not to overcrowd the story. The ending of the story leaves room for imagination to run free and an opening for a follow-up- which I really hope transpires!
Land Shark would make for a great addition to an ocean or sea-creatures inspired storytime for preschoolers and up. Readers who enjoy such picture books as Me Want Pet, I’m a Shark, I’m the Biggest Thing In the Ocean, Nugget & Fang, Clark the Shark, The Whale in My Swimming Pool, or What Pet to Get? or young readers who are simply fascinated by sharks (or even puppies!), will surely be enamored of this terrific picture book.
I received a copy of this book from Raincoast Books in exchange for an honest review.