Monday, September 24, 2018

The Ultimate Book of Sharks by Brian Skerry with Elizabeth Carney and Sarah Wassner Flynn; Face to Face with Sharks by David Doubilet and Jennifer Hayes

Yes, I am aware it is no longer Shark Week or anywhere in the vicinity thereof. But really, shouldn't we celebrate sharks all the time? Yes, yes, we should (although I personally am more of a hyena fan).

What could be better for young shark fans than National Geographic shark books, full of exciting pictures, interesting facts, and real-life shark encounters? Not much! The Ultimate Book of Sharks was created primarily with the photographs of Brian Skerry and the text is scattered with his own experiences, encounters, and quotes regarding sharks. The bulk of the book is divided up into the facts that National Geographic does so well. There are chapters on the unique anatomy of sharks, well-known sharks like the great white and the hammerhead and lesser-known, smaller sharks, and more prolific sharks. A chapter on shark myths addresses the dreaded shark attack, another covers the fascinating world of prehistoric sharks and their fossils. The last two chapters address the superlatives - the biggest, fastest, smallest, deepest, and more and the plight of sharks in the world today and how kids can be involved in helping them. Back matter includes an index, credits, and acknowledgements.

I also received a paperback copy of Face to Face with sharks. The Face to Face with... series was originally published several years ago but is being republished in paperback. To the best of my knowledge, this is just a new printing; the books are not being updated. However, they are aimed at a slightly younger audience, with larger, simpler text and as such include few things like dates or specific current research that would become outdated.

This series covers the basic facts about sharks' anatomy and behavior and their conservation. There is no table of contents, but there is a glossary, questions, find out more and a few other back matter elements.

Verdict: For all your shark fans, The Ultimate Book of Sharks is a must-have. It's full of interesting facts and photos, personal encounters, and is sure to interest kids whether they read straight through or dip in and browse. I really like the Face to Face series, but I rarely purchase popular nonfiction, like animals, in paperback so this probably isn't one I'd use on the shelf. However, if you purchase paperback nonfiction it's a great opportunity to get new copies of this popular series.

The Ultimate Book of Sharks
ISBN: 9781426330711; Published May 2018
Face to face with sharks
ISBN: 9781426332593; This edition published April 2018

Titles published by National Geographic; Review copies provided by publisher; Donated to the library (previously purchased an additional copy of both titles)

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