Monday, 24 March 2014

CRUNCH The Small White Shark

CRUNCH The Small White Shark by Charlie Olsson, illustrated by Ryan Jones (Little Steps Publishing)
PB RRP $16.95
ISBN – 9781921928635
Reviewed by Emma Cameron

Though life for a small shark in a huge ocean may seem simple to us, it isn’t all too safe. This book uses facts to introduce Crunch, a very young great white shark, and show what a day in his life can be like. Varied vividly illustrated scenes show the environment, dangers and habits relevant to this species and a simple world map in one spread highlights where the species is found.

Each double page spread includes white text across the top to tell readers specifically about Crunch, as well as a ’Shark Bite’ – a yellow rectangle with a shark bite in the corner. The bites, packed with interesting information about the species, are sure to enthrall young readers. While these bites suit the targeted readership of 8-12 years perfectly the text in white will be easily understood by younger readers, giving the book wide appeal and great longevity.

The white text tells how Crunch lives his day, keeping out of reach of threatening creatures while himself snatching life from others so he can eat. Using humour to tell readers that sharks don’t learn by going to school, it then places perspective on the fact by showing how the ocean is the classroom. A bloody feeding frenzy where a hammerhead is chomped brings home this reality most powerfully.

There’s lots in both the information and illustrations that is sure to get kids thinking about many aspects of sea life and will, no doubt, encourage conversations, sharing of knowledge and perhaps even questions that may lead to further investigation. All in all this book works on many levels and is sure to be a hit, especially with young nature lovers.

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