Smart about Sharks by Owen Davey
I love Flying Eye books, the illustrations are clever and stunning and the books are gift-worthy – something special to keep and reread again and again. This title is no exception and the information it provides about sharks really is ‘smart’. The facts are fascinating and the use of illustration to show the parts of a shark, types of shark, food sources and of course risks to shark populations work exceptionally well. I like surprising facts like an orca can flip a shark onto its back and hold it in place until it suffocates. Or cookiecutter sharks latch onto larger animals such as whales and great whites and bite circular chunks from their flesh leaving round ‘cookie’ scars.
Owen Davey offers advice about how to keep the oceans healthy with the last bit of advice about clearing up beaches being something everyone can do.
If You Were a Shark by Clare Hibbert
There are glaring omissions in this book and it is so disappointing: there is no information on the importance of sharks in the eco-system nor on threats to the species through overfishing and pollution. To me, it ‘dumbs down’ the information and it doesn’t fulfil the subtitle ‘How sharks think, feel, and experience the world’. There is no information on shark fin soup and the barbarity that sharks face from humans. I think about all the ‘shark-mad’ children out there who we need to help us understand and protect this valuable species. Hopefully, they will take a look at the further reading section and some of the websites noted in the back of the book.
I went to the recommended www.sharktrust.org and found out lots of information about sharks and how children can help them. There are opportunities for citizen science through projects like The Great Eggcase Hunt. It looks like it could be a lot of fun: finding, identifying and reporting eggcases (tough leathery pouches that contained the embryo of a shark, skate or ray), helps the trust identify and protect nursing grounds.
Eggcase Hunting in Devon
Smallspotted Catshark Eggcase by sghaywood photography