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Misunderstood Shark

Every beachgoer knows that there's nothing more terrifying than a... SHARRRK! But this shark is just misunderstood, or is he? In a wholly original, side-splittingly funny story, New York Times bestselling author and illustrator team Ame Dyckman and Scott Magoon take this perennial theme and turn it on its (hammer)head with a brand-new cheeky character.

This shark is just misunderstood - or is he? New York Times bestselling author Ame Dyckman and illustrator Scott Magoon will have you laughing and learning all about Shark, who isn't as scary as he seems! Find out more at

There must be some misunderwaterstanding.

Misunderstood Shark
By Ame Dyckman

Every beachgoer knows that there's nothing more terrifying than a... SHARRRK! But this shark is just misunderstood, or is he? In a wholly original, side-splittingly funny story, New York Times bestselling author Ame Dyckman and I take this perennial theme and turn it on its (hammer)head with a brand-new cheeky character.

The filming of an underwater TV show goes awry when the crew gets interrupted by a... SHARRRK! Poor Shark, he wasn't trying to scare them, he's just misunderstood! Then he's accused of trying to eat a fish. Will Shark ever catch a break? After all, he wasn't going to eat the fish, he was just showing it his new tooth! Or was he? Explosively funny, clever, and even full of fun shark facts, this surprisingly endearing story gets to the heart of what it feels like to be misunderstood by the people around you. With a surprise twist ending, our Misunderstood Shark will have kids rolling with laughter! 

I had so much fun illustrating Shark and his crew—I know that your young readers will eat it up. 

Published by Orchard Books (an imprint of Scholastic), Misunderstood Shark is now available at your local library, bookshop or to order on Amazon, B&N and Indiebound!



The live TV show “Underwater World with Bob,” staffed entirely by aquatic creatures, is suddenly interrupted by a shark who is about to consume a little orange fish right on camera. Once Shark realizes that he has an audience, he changes his tune. “You misunderstood!” he demurs, still clutching the terrified fish. “I was just... showing him my new tooth!” The host tries to play along, offering shark facts as Shark—smitten with his new public persona—claims that he is also being misunderstood when it seems like he wants to eat a baby seal or some beach-going humans (“I brought Band-Aids!” he roars). Shark is so persuasive that the octopus holding the boom mike declares, “The ocean gets its saltiness from the tears of misunderstood sharks! I read that somewhere.” Magoon’s cartooning is both funny and visually striking as the toothy, scenery-chewing Shark plays to the camera and zips through the green-blue water, barely resisting his primal urges. And the playful typography used for Dyckman’s rapid-fire dialogue makes her blooper-reel humor even funnier. Ages 4–6. Author’s agent: Scott Treimel, Scott Treimel NY. Illustrator’s agent: Rebecca Sherman, Writers House. (Apr.) —Publisher's Weekly

Dyckman gives ambiguity the narrative spotlight with well-honed tension prolonging readers' indecision. Meanwhile, Magoon's flair for underwater illustration also allows a shark's redemption and his prey's suspicion to both live on the page. Readers will need to decide for themselves if Shark is really as scary as he seems or if misunderstandings have colored our opinions. Fun and playful…or so Shark would have us believe. (Picture book. 4-8) —Kirkus Reviews

Kids will like the wild, exclamatory text . . . As she does in her title Wolfie the Bunny and Boy + Bot, Dyckman hits the mark of both hilarious and sweet. Magoon’s illustrations (a pink jellyfish with a cowboy hat and glasses, a yellow squid working the boom mic, and a bright orange squid wearing his sunglasses on his forehead and working the clapper board) make up a fabulous cast that swim around in cool-colored waters, ranging from bright greens to deep indigos. VERDICT Make no mistake, this is a fun addition to any collection, best for reading close-up and one-on-one.–School Library Journal 

The over-the-top humor, comical asides from the TV crew, and Magoon’s boisterous, candycolored artwork, in thick lines and cartoonish shapes, will lure in many a reader. The sneaky shark facts will go down easy in this uproariously silly picture book. —Booklist


Misunderstood Shark

Sea-quel Alert!

If you loved Shark, Bob and the gang then be sure to check out MISUNDERSTOOD SHARK FRIENDS DON’T EAT FRIENDS. Learn more here.



For the past few years this school creates their own musical based on an author’s stories or a collection of children’s books with a similar theme. This year, the idea was to use a few of their favorite ocean animal stories and to create a musical called 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea! They used our Shark as part of the show! Thanks Steph & Nika!


On the Road

At the Brooklyn Book Festival 2018

At Scholastic with Author Ame Dyckman

Misunderstood Shark week fun! Author Ame Dyckman and I sat down with our hosts Scholastic recently to talk Misunderstood Shark—and for our Ocean Pun Off! We made waves—I think we set the record for most ocean puns told in New York City that day. See what you think!

At the Eric Carle Museum


Behind the Scenes

Here are some development sketches I created while working on Misunderstood Shark. Click on the thumbnails to expand and read more about each.

Sketch Time Lapse

The drawing was ultimately not used in the book but its fun to see how a concept for a spread can change over time.


On Social Media

View this post on Instagram

Hello, friends! Our book today is MISUNDERSTOOD SHARK, written by Ame Dyckman and illustrated by Scott Magoon, a delightfully silly look at shark facts. Jellyfish Bob is ready to start his “fun facts” show about sea creatures, not realizing that a shark is stalking up out of the shadows to eat him... or is he? The shark claims that he really just wanted to show off all his teeth (which, as Bob helpfully informs the audience, sharks can lose and grow 30,000 of in their lifetime). So follow a series of “misunderstandings” - the shark wasn’t going to eat that baby seal; he only wanted to return her to her parents (earning the seals’ admiration). Sniffing a bit of blood, the shark swirls into a frenzy... but only to give the terrified humans a BandAid for their scratch. All the while, Bob helpfully spouts off shark facts to his audience and increasingly dubious crew. Perhaps sharks aren’t as dangerous as they seem... but perhaps not. Silly yet educational fun. Dyckman has done something sneaky and brilliant here, using comedy to introduce a very real aspect of popular opinion on sharks: they are both very dangerous yet also very much not. While it’s true that sharks can be dangerous up close, they pose very little threat overall, and are important parts of their ecosystems. What’s more, we’re still learning much about them, which make Bob’s true fun-facts just as welcome. And while the ending does involve Bob becoming lunch, his survival in Shark’s tummy keeps things from getting too dark. Magoon’s broad characters, with expressive features and toothy grins, are a perfect compliment to the light tone of the story. The length was great, and JJ and I had a lot of fun with this one. A wonderful story that reminds us that sharks are amazing - just not to be trifled with. Baby Bookworm approved! Be sure to check out our website at for more reviews! See you tomorrow! #books #bookstagram #bookreview #bookrecommendation #childrensbooks #childrensbookreview #picturebooks #picturebookreview #kidlit #kidlitreview #babybookworm #bookworm #bookish #booklr #read #reading #misunderstoodshark #amedyckman #scottmagoon #shark

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Misunderstood Shark Week

For a week in July I posted a Shark-related image each day during Shark Week. I think people understood?

BookPage Interview

After years of reading and enjoying these illustrated and handwritten interviews on Book Page I finally got my chance to do one of my own for SHARK. Check it out!

In this video, super Shark editor Orli Zuravicky presents a little about Misunderstood Shark who just wants to show the world who he really is...