Monday, July 13, 2015
Non-Fiction Monday: Neighborhood Sharks: hunting with the Great Whites of California's Farallon Islands by Katherine Roy
Neighborhood Sharks: hunting with the Great Whites of California's Farallon Islands by Katherine Roy. unpged. David Macaulay Studio/ Roaring Brook Press, September, 2014. 9781596438743. (Purchased)
Author/ illustrator, Katherine Roy tagged along with scientists who study the return of sharks to the Farallon Islands off the coast of California, near San Francisco. These apex predators feed on sea lions among other prey. The Farallon Islands are a sanctuary for sea lions and seals. When the sea lions return to the islands to mate and give birth, the sharks follow and feast.
This book is gorgeous from end-page to end-page. While the trend in informational books about animals for kids seems to veer towards photographic illustrations, the paintings and drawings in this book are so vivid and graphic that the sharks seem to float out of the pages. Roy provides easily understood sketches to illustrate what makes sharks such efficient killing machines. I enjoyed the combination of color paintings and anatomical sketches.
Additionally, the trend of dual narrative, a simpler story within or side-by-side with a more complex one, works well here. The language is as lush as the illustrations. This is a picture book, but perfectly suited for middle school research. The crammed back matter includes author's note, selected sources, suggestions for further reading, films, websites and map.
I'd been meaning to get to this ever since it won a Sibert Honor this past February. Waiting was serendipitous however, since I now own a signed copy that I'll be donating to my school's collection.