The Ultimate Book of Sharks
Author: Brian Skerry, with Elizabeth Carney and Sarah Wassner Flynn
Publisher: National Geographic Partners LLC, 2018
What’s the first thing you think of when someone mentions sharks? Maybe Jaws? Or maybe you think of some other shark attack?
Skerry’s new book, The Ultimate Book of Sharks, goes into great depth about sharks. Are they really the fierce predators portrayed in movies? (Yup, kind of – although there are some that are not.) Does wearing yellow in the water make you more vulnerable to shark attack? (I am afraid that is true, too.) Will sharks really attack a boat? (Well, they will bump a boat and take a nibble. That’s just to see if it is edible. Fortunately, they don’t eat wood or plastic and aren’t vengeful, no matter what the movies portray)
Although you may know a little about sharks – again, thanks to movies – the reality is that there is tons of information most people don’t know. “Sharks, you’ll find out, come in a dazzling variety of shapes, colors, and sizes” (pg. 9). There are about 500 species of shark, with more being discovered all the time! Chapter 1 gives a list of the different shark orders and a sampling of the sharks found in each order.
Sharks are found all over the world and even in the deepest, darkest depths of the oceans. In fact, there are glow-in-the-dark sharks! All sharks have extraordinary abilities. Check out Chapter 2 to learn just how amazing their senses are. “Imagine being able to hear your friend whisper ‘hello’ from the other side of your school” (pg. 43). Or how would you like to have such a strong sense of smell that you can sniff a drop of blood in the water half a mile away? It certainly makes sharks seem even more impressive and fearsome.
Does this book make sharks scarier? No, it helps us gain an understanding of these amazing creatures. (It helps that it clarifies that humans really aren’t on a shark’s diet; usually it is a case of mistaken identity.) It explains the importance of sharks to our ocean and lastly lists ways in which we can help protect sharks.
As always with National Geographic books, the photographs are truly impressive. Skerry’s anecdotes of up-close-and-personal experiences with sharks makes the book seem so much more real that you may forget all about movie version sharks. Well, maybe not entirely, but at least when you are watching you can say, “Hey, that isn’t true!”
*Note: I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.