For all you parents out there looking for books on sharks for you sharking loving children This is a guest post from Lucy Atkinson mom of four year old sharing some children's books on sharks.
What is it with children and sharks? They love them! My little one has memorised about 50 separate shark species and hasn’t even started school yet! We felt fairly challenged when the theme first came about but after nearly 2 years of parenting a shark-mad child, I have a fairly impressive Shark themed library. Here are my favourites:
The Shark in the Dark By Peter Bently
I want to start off by saying that I simply adore this book, as does my little one, we first discovered it in the local library but have since invested in a copy and many a night ends with the big hungry shark in the dark.
The length is what I would call a perfect bedtime story for a little one, sometimes he picks books shorter than this one and I feel as if I have cheated him out of story time and press him to pick another but the Shark in the Dark is the right length for an efficient bedtime routine whilst leaving room for the ‘just one more book?’ routine that often happens in our house. It’s a rhymer, which I also love, it gives bedtime a rhythm and if you’re an amateur ventriloquist or impersonator, there are loads of opportunities for showing off your skills with funny voices.
The story follows the scary hungry shark who emerges from the dark to find his lunch, but instead is met by something which appears to be much scarier with the moral of ‘together we are stronger’ and the ending is nice and uplifting and positive. I think we first enjoyed the Shark in the Dark when my little one was two, but I would say the book could be perfect reading for shark lovers up to 10 for a bedtime story. It’s also a nice early readers book, with plenty of interesting words which will provide a challenge whilst expanding read vocabulary nicely.
There’s a Shark in the Park!By Nick Sharratt
There’s a Shark in the Park is a great book for younger children, following a pattern with just a few changed factors and the same verse between on each page. The book follows Timothy Pope as he tries out his new telescope in the park and sees various things close up which appear to be a sharks dorsal fin. All the little ones in our family are familiar with the story now and when the book comes out the children recite the verse off along with me, and often without me, all eager to be the first to shout ‘There’s a shark in the park!’
The story is one of those shorter, cheated-out-of-story-time books that you’ll want to follow on with a second book if you’re anything like me, however, I don’t mind it being a bedtime favourite as I like the pronunciation practise the little ones get from the verses. I do also recall one of the pre-school teachers harping on about how good repetition is for early years development.
The pages have a telescope hole to allow the reader to see why Timothy thought he had seen a shark which is a nice introduction into perspective and the idea that things are not always what they seem. Timothy eventually leaves the park with his telescope having found no sharks, turning his back on something that is almost definitely a shark which the children absolutely love, this book is a must have for all your shark loving little people!
What’s More Scary than a Scary Shark By Paul Bright Another one of our golden oldies, we acquired this book in a set of Little Tiger Books a friend bought as a Christening gift for little one and it has truly been a gift that has kept on giving. The set itself was brilliant although unfortunately, I have discovered that it is no longer in stock anywhere, so you might just have to take my word for it. However, being an owner of 20+ Little Tiger Press books has made me a fan! This book might receive a bit of a mixed reception based on some of the language and terms used, I shall elaborate onto the why shortly.
The story follows Scary Shark talking to Lobster, who tolerates Shark as he is too tough to be eaten, Shark spots a new female shark in town and asks Lobster for help seducing the newcomer. Shark goes through trying various things to impress Sadie but fails each time, leading to him demanding Lobster think of something better. The banter between Shark and Lobster is sharp with Shark being called a ‘great toothy gob’ at one point amongst other things, hence slightly controversial. I personally found that it worked in the context and I wasn’t too worried about the little one naming his peers ‘toothy gobs’ as it felt rather shark specific.
In the end, Shark and Sadie swim off together after Sharks singing (backed by a choir of angelfish) serenades Sadie who is just as taken with Shark as she seems to be with him. It’s a bizarre story really without many good morale examples so if you’re conscientious about the effects of what your children read it’s maybe one to skip. I’ve included it because all morals aside, we love it, like when we read Tabby McTat, we have made up our own little tune and we sing along with Shark in the book. I give him a bit of a classical feel which always brings out the giggles and really, I suppose sharks aren’t meant to be the most moral or kind of creatures, so maybe it’s just realistic.
There’s a Shark in the Bath By Sarah McIntyre This book is our most recent addition to the shark library and is one that has received a very good reception, in fact, I have read it twice just this week! The story follows Darcie as she finds a shark fin in the bath that Dad forgot to let out. She lets Dad know who doesn’t take her seriously, suggesting that Darcie go fish it out, which she does. Out pop Papa, Mama and Baby Shark who are quite eager to make Darcie into their next meal. Darcie thinks on her feet and distracts the sharks by creating games out of brushing teeth, washing their hair and wrapping themselves up in toilet roll.
The end result is great, it keeps the little ones giggling as the sharks play along and enjoy Darcie’s games and I like that Darcie is a bold and brave character who seems totally unphased by the three hungry sharks who keep suggesting it is dinner time. The book ends with Darcie’s Dad coming to see what is taking so long, threatening trouble if there is any mess, which spooks the sharks. Darcie promises to let them go if they help her clean up, which they do and hop back down the plug hole just in time for Dad to come in to the ‘spick and spanny’ (when you know – you’ll know) bathroom to collect Darcie for breakfast.
The book is nicely illustrated which gives the book a lot of its character, it’s probably not the easiest book for young readers to practise with as the structure is a little mad and the fonts jump a little all over the place. That said, for a bedtime book it’s a nice light hearted giggler with plenty of opportunity for the silly voices that kids love. There’s a little twist at the end of the book too, I won’t give it away, but I’ll say it is understood better by older children who will no doubt roll their eyes and
Hi, I'm Marcie Kenny, the women behind this blog. I am not a mother, but I am number seven in a family of nine. I worked in childcare for many years before retiring; now I enjoy blogging about all that I have learned along the way.