Shawn Loves Sharks

Shawn is a major fan of sharks. He loves their big, wide mouths full of sharp teeth and their "dark, blank eyes." And he so loves "how everything got out of the way of a shark" that he mimics shark behavior at recess when he chases the girls: "CHOMP! CHOMP! CHOMP! CHOMP!" His favorite prey is Stacy, naturally, because she "screamed the loudest." So when it's Predator Day at school, Shawn is thrilled. What could be better than learning about his favorite predator for credit? Unfortunately, when he pulls the name of "his" predator from the bowl, it's not a Great White, but a leopard seal! And, because justice is nothing if not poetic, it's Stacy who pulls the shark name from the bowl. In spite of his pleading and negotiating, Stacy won't trade--and soon, much to Shawn's chagrin, she gets a taste of the shark power Shawn has been wielding--and likes the flavor.

In their sweetly relatable Shawn Loves Sharks, Curtis Manley (The Summer Nick Taught His Cats to Read) and Tracy Subisak (Cy Makes a Friend) use a ferocious medium to gently explore childhood obsessions and bullying. Readers sense all along that Shawn's shark-like behavior is a passing thing--deep down, he's no cool-skinned predator of the deep. And as he diverts some of his passion to leopard seals, surprise! He finds a fellow predator devotee in Stacy. Subisak's appealing and dynamic artwork, in particular the expressive faces of the characters, pops on a clean white background, perfectly suited--visually and plot-wise--to Manley's economical and funny text. Readers will chomp-chomp this one up. --Emilie Coulter, freelance writer and editor

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