Are you a fan of sharks? Shark week has become practically a national holiday it seems. The Sharknado movies are now a franchise. Even if you haven’t seen Jaws, you know the theme song. (I actually taught my daughter to sing the Jaws theme when asked what a shark says). What is it that fascinates us about sharks? Today’s book explores the idea of having a shark as a pet, and how they may not be all that different from the pets we already have!
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Land Shark was written by Beth Ferry and illustrated by Ben Mantle. This brightly colored book tells the story of Bobby, a little boy who wants nothing but a shark for his birthday. When his parents surprise him with a puppy instead, Bobby is disappointed because he says shark lovers can never be dog lovers. As the puppy starts to destroy the house and cause lots of mayhem, Bobby starts to warm up to him, but still wants a shark. This hilarious story of how a little boy learns to love the pet that he already has, is full of funny comparisons between dogs and sharks. With clever text and illustrations, parents and kids alike will both find themselves chuckling.
There are so many fun ways to bring this book to life and have some learning fun with sharks and dogs alike.
Reinforcing Skills with Shark Fun
Feed the Shark – This is a fun game that you can adapt for any age or skill level. To create our shark, I cut a mouth shape into one side of a paper plate. I painted the remaining plate blue, and glued construction paper teeth, fins and eyes to it. I then attached my shark to the front of an empty tissue box. You can also attach him to a plastic bag or a small basket. I also cut several small fish shapes out of different colors of construction paper.
Depending on the skill you are working on with your child, you can add letters, numbers, math equations, sight words, or anything else to the fish. Since my daughter is younger, I used different colors and drew different shapes onto the fish. As I called out colors or shapes to her, she had to run around and collect them up to feed to the shark. You could make this more of a challenge by spreading the fish out over a larger area or hiding them around a room. We had a lot of fun playing this game, and she kept asking me to take the fish out so she could play again.
Shark Teeth – This is a great activity for practicing shapes or counting with kids. I created this easy printable with 4 shark heads with open mouths and a shape label on each. Each shark has 10 teeth in matching shapes. You can use this printable to review shapes by having kids match the shape teeth to the correct shark. You can also use this to reinforce counting or number recognition by having kids add a certain number of teeth to the shark, by either giving them a number out loud or writing a number down.
Talking about Sharks
Sharks & Dogs – This book points out some funny similarities between puppies and sharks. This gives you an opportunity to talk to your kids about similarities and differences. Create a list of traits that dogs and sharks both have, as well as traits they don’t share. Print out this Venn Diagram and have kids fill in the circles with the traits. You could also turn this into a game by having kids act out the exercise on an oversized Venn diagram. Create a large Venn diagram in chalk or masking tape and label each circle as either sharks or puppies. As you call out the traits on your list, have kids run to the circle for the animal that has that trait, or run to the center if it is a trait they share.
Creative Writing – This book provides a great opportunity to let your child’s imagination run wild thinking about their dream pet. Encourage kids to think about what type of pet they would want if they could have any pet in the world. Have older kids write about their pet, explaining why they would want it and what life would be like if they got one. For younger kids, ask them questions about their pet and encourage them to talk about what they would do with it. Challenge them to come up with answers to the top problems of keeping their pet. Where would you keep a dinosaur? What would you feed a unicorn? This exercise not only encourages them to use their imagination, but helps them to think deeper about responsibility and consequences.
This book about a little boy and his quest to get a pet shark not only gives kids a chance to imagine, but also provides lots of opportunities to take the learning off the page!
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I received this book as part of the Bookroo August book box. Bookroo is a curated children’s book subscription service that delivers quality board books and picture books right to your doorstep! If you are interested in receiving the book box containing this book, sign up before September 4th. For more information on their subscriptions, check out their website.