cover image Benny Shark Goes to Friend School

Benny Shark Goes to Friend School

Lynn Rowe Reed, illus. by Rhode Montijo. Two Lions, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-4778-2803-8

Benny Shark, a snarling bull shark, is all but friendless, thanks to his aggressive, bullying tendencies. So Janice Jellyfish urges him to join her at Friend School, where teacher Ollie Octopus shares six rules for making friends. But Benny has trouble getting it quite right. “You are an ugly jellyfish,” he tells Janice in an attempt to follow rule #2, “A friend always tells the truth.” He also misses the boat on sharing (“Ten for me and one half for each of you”), but an opportunity to save Janice lets Benny redeem himself and better understand what it means to have (and be) a good friend. Readers who come on strong like Benny may take Reed’s (Fireman Fred) light friendship lessons to heart, but it’s the shark’s bad behavior, captured in Montijo’s (the Gum Girl series) bold and thickly outlined cartoons, that makes the biggest impact. Ages 3–7. (July)