The illustration of the mischievous smirk from the little boy’s lips on the front cover of Land Shark by Beth Ferry instantly made me grin! Children are always plotting ways to get their parents to buy them what they want versus the boring needs of everyday life. Bobby has a “frightful, bite-ful, delightful plan!” All he has to do is convince his parents that he needs a pet land shark!
I loved the upside down, sideways and straight on views from the illustrator, Ben Mantle. The angles of pictures, with text woven throughout, created a funny “tail” of how the dreams of a pet shark can become a reality for a little boy. Through the direct conversations and helpful hints from Bobby, he gets a pet for his birthday. Unfortunately, it is what his parents feel is the better selection for our shark obsessed character and not what he wanted. Bobby has to learn to be gracious and accept this gift despite his disappointment.
In the Classroom:
Little people LOVE to tell you about what they want to get for their birthdays and Christmas. The birthday gift wish list starts a month prior to the birthday (If you aren’t so lucky, it starts sooner than that!) and Christmas wish lists start the minute Thanksgiving dinner concludes. Bobby is no different! He loves sharks. Any and all kinds of sharks. He doesn’t care what kind he gets, he just wants a pet land shark.
One of the Common Core State Standards for Kindergarten is to use conversational skills to respond to text (CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.K.6.) Land Shark opens up a dialogue which is familiar to them: birthday wish lists. Read this aloud and have them share what Bobby gets verse what he had hoped to receive. They can also learn to write the one gift they would like to receive practicing their upper and lower case letter writing skills (CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.K.1.A.)
Land Shark by Beth Ferry, illustrated by Ben Mantle (Chronicle Books | 9781452124582 | August 4, 2015)