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“A good book is the best of friends, the same today and forever.”
Summary: Shelby, a lemon shark, spends her day cowering in a knotty old tree. From her safe place she could see what was happening, and though she wanted to warn the other fish, she felt paralyzed to do anything. When she hears the Eel and dolphin talking about her, will she be able to help? This is a picture book with a lesson about judging others and having confidence in one's self.
Type of Reading: bedtime story, playtime reading, read aloud book
Recommended Age: read together: 3 to 8; read yourself: 7 to 9
Interest Level: 3 to 8
Reading Level: 2.3
Age of Child: Started reading with a child 4 years old.
Young Reader Reaction: This book was an instant hit. The cover caught our preschooler's attention, and the story clearly made an impression, because s/he asked for it several mornings in succession…first thing, before pancakes!
Adult Reader Reaction: This is a sweet story, and the author artfully avoids some of the trite alliteration that often affects picture books with animal protagonists. You won't ever say "Shelby the shark."
Pros: The illustrations are bright and colorful and the rhyming is sophisticated, adding to a young reader/listener's vocabulary. The story, albeit about fish being captured, is neither graphic nor frightening.
Borrow or Buy: Buy. The book is creative, colorful, and will have a great shelf-life. It will readily transition from being a book you read to a book elementary students use to read to themselves.
Educational Themes: The book has layers that will be valuable for reading to kids of multiple ages. Topics are as simple as fear and shyness and as sophisticated as the threat of overfishing our oceans.
Notes: The author donated an advance review copy of this book for review.