Clark the Shark written by Bruce Hale and illustrated by Guy Francis (2013)
It’s back to school time for Clark the Shark, and he’s super excited. Clark LOVES school. In his own words, ‘SCHOOL IS AWESOME!’ ‘LUNCHTIME IS SWEEEET!’ and ‘RECESS ROCKS!’ The problem is that Clark loves everything way too much. He’s too loud, too wild, and just too much for the other fish to handle. Luckily for him, Clark’s teacher, Mrs. Inkydink is there to help him remember the rules. Clark gets a big idea… ‘Maybe if I make a rhyme, I’ll remember every time!’ So Clark reminds himself with his own rhymes, ‘When teacher’s talking, don’t go walking.’ ‘Only munch your own lunch’ and ‘Easy does it, that’s the way. Then my friends will let me play.’ Clark has learned how to get along with everyone and still have fun. Now it’s time to teach the new kid, Sid the Squid, how to get along.
Bruce Hale has written a series of Clark the Shark books in addition to his other works. He gets into the heart of a young child with loud and sometimes rude antics of a fun-loving fish who just happens to be over-the-top, but who really just wants to be accepted.
Guy Francis takes is deep into the waters of Clark’s world with details of the ocean incorporated into the human-like settings of Clark’s home and school. Reader can immediately identify with the underwater playground, the submarine school bus, the kale salad, and the sea slug ice cream.
My favorite character has to be Mrs. Inkydink. Bruce and Guy must have known that teachers must have eight arms to educate, protect, and handle all their students. I love how Mrs. Inkydink can grade papers, write on the board, and hug her students all at the same time!
In the second book in the series, Clark the Shark Dares to Share, Bruce Hale and Guy Francis take their readers on another learning adventure for Clark. It’s Show and Share day at school, but Clark doesn’t get the concept of sharing. Sharing is complicated, but Clark finally understands and shares a ‘home-baked krill cake and a great big shark apology’ with his friends.
The next installment in the series is due at the end of this year. Look for Clark the Shark Takes Heart in December, 2014.