cover image If Sharks Disappeared

If Sharks Disappeared

Lily Williams. Roaring Brook, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-62672-413-6

Williams defends sharks as not scary but essential in her children’s book debut, as a family’s boat outing frames a narrative that examines the role that these ancient, oft-misunderstood predators play in ocean ecosystems. The family’s daughter serves as a silent host as Williams’s spreads posit the dire consequences that could result if sharks disappear, such as the disappearance of fish and a subsequent surge of plankton growth that “could make the ocean a thick sludge.” While the scenario is alarming, Williams’s cartoons maintain a lighter note, featuring undersea creatures that often sport very human expressions. After taking readers to the hypothetical brink of disaster, Williams circles back and reassures with the message that sharks are still around and that “all species depend on one another to survive.” In the endnotes, readers learn about the biggest threats to sharks: appetites for shark fin soup, overfishing, and other harmful practices. A bibliography and a list of dos and don’ts wrap up a well-executed environmental primer that will leave readers considering the interconnectivity of the planet and its inhabitants. Ages 4–8. [em]Agent: Minju Chang, Bookstop Literary. (June) [/em]