cover image I'm a Shark

I'm a Shark

Bob Shea, HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray, $16.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-06-199846-1

In the midst of bragging about his fierce reputation, a shark reveals his insecurities. "If there were a dinosaur here... you know what he would be? Scared," grins the shark. "What about a creepy spider...?" asks a red crab. The shark's toothy smile turns to an anxious frown. "Creepy spider! Yuck! Is it on me?" he shudders, until reassured that no spiders are near. The shark scoffs at fearsome things—the dark, a squid, a bear—yet quakes at the mere mention of spiders ("SPIDERS? Who said I was afraid of spiders?"). Shea styles the conversation as playground one-upmanship, with the shark in the neurotic kingpin role. The goggle-eyed sea creatures, painted in rough swaths of black ink on saturated backdrops, are associated with distinct typefaces to identify the speakers (bold white for the shark, black for the others). Suggestions of spiders aside, Shea's shark has the unbridled confidence of the hero of his Dinosaur vs. Bedtime. It's almost impossible not to imagine the shark facing off against the egotistical squid of Kevin Sherry's I'm the Biggest Thing in the Ocean for undersea supremacy. Now that's scary. Ages 3–6. (May)