Review: Neighborhood Sharks by Katherine Roy
Neighborhood Sharks: Hunting with the Great Whites of California’s Farallon Islands
By Katherine Roy
David Macaulay Studio – Roaring Brook Press (Macmillan)
Kids are swimming in a sea of generic shark books. While a topic in constant demand, titles that truly stand out are fairly rare. Enter Neighborhood Sharks to make things interesting. Released under the David Macaulay Studio imprint, Katherine Roy shows how sharks work. With powerful illustrations and insightful research, this is an impressive collision of interest and information.
Every September the great white sharks return San Francisco. Their Hunting Grounds, the Farallon Islands, are just 30 miles from the city.
Why do these ferocious hunters return each year? Elephant seals, a.k.a. nature’s most perfect shark food. After a splashy introduction featuring a successful kill, Neighborhood Sharks moves on to cover the biology, behavior, habitat, and life cycle of the predators.
The text is straightforward, always giving a clear picture of these often misunderstood animals. Back matter includes an author’s note, selected sources, and further reading and viewing recommendations.
The pencil and watercolor illustrations are dramatic and informative. Roy’s meticulous artwork is well suited to nonfiction. It also fits in well with the David Macaulay aesthetic – using cut-aways, close-ups, and diagrams to get the information across.
A shark book that puts others to shame. Add this to your collection and watch it go.
Review copy from the publisher.
Watch a time-lapse video of Katherine Roy creating final artwork for Neighborhood Sharks:
About Travis Jonker
Travis Jonker is an elementary school librarian in Michigan. He writes reviews (and the occasional article or two) for School Library Journal and is a member of the 2014 Caldecott committee. You can email Travis at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow him on Twitter: @100scopenotes.
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