cover image Sharks and Whales

Sharks and Whales

Burton Albert. Grosset & Dunlap, $7.95 (44pp) ISBN 978-0-448-09077-1

While this book discusses sharks, whales, dolphins and porpoises, the emphasis is firmly on sharks; factual errors follow hyperbolic scare tactics guaranteed to keep readers out of the water. ``Great White Shark--a loner. Man-eater. The White Death. The most dangerous creature alive.'' A description of the Porbeagle includes ``man-eating monster''; for Tiger Shark, these words: ``among the most feared of the man-eating sharks''; also, ``Many people believe that blue sharks have also devoured victims of downed planes and disabled ships.'' Obvious errors include naming ``sleeping shark'' as a species rather than phenomenon, placing bull sharks 3000 miles up the Amazon and stating that makos swim at an incredible 60 mph. After incorrectly nicknaming the whale shark ``checkerboard shark,'' the section on whales et al. begins without a reasonable clarifying transition. Condescending, speculative paragraphs again mingle with hyperbole for less threatening, but equally misleading, results. There are several illustrative errors and more than a few excesses; composition is generally questionable, if not poor. Ages 7-10. (May)