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.
There must be some misunderwaterstanding.
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.
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
The Today Show picked Shark as a best gift for a 4-year-old in 2018. Check it out.
The Texas Library Association picked Shark for their 2019 2x2 Reading List! A list of books that encourage independent reading.
Nominated for a 2020 North Carolina Children’s Book Award. More here.
Nominated for a Red Clover Book Award in Vermont!
Selected as one of the 10 great read-alouds for the 2019 Cypress-Fairbanks ISD Leaping Lizard List!
Author Ame Dyckman was featured on the Sharks 4 Kids blog. Float on over here.
Scientific Inquirer inquired about all things Shark in this in-depth interview with me and author Ame Dyckman.
Read our very cool cover reveal and an author/illustrator interview with Mr. Schu!
We've got a brief Q&A on Scholastic's OOM blog. Here it is.
Visit Scholastic's MISUNDERSTOOD SHARK page—its got our trailer, activities and more. Dive in here.
Librarian Quest has—as ever—a thoughtful and complete review here on her blog.
InfoDad's got an in depth review! Check it out here.
Here's an interview with my pal & SHARK author (and blue-haired force of nature) Ame Dyckman over at Read, Learn Repeat.
Becky's Book Reviews took a look at Shark and was a fan of the fin!
YA & KIds Books Central blog gave Shark 4 Stars! Read their review here.
Librarian Tru Blue stayed true to our blue Shark in their review 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
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Good times @bkbookfest yesterday! Look who Ame Dyckman and I met—It’s @cordell_matthew at the Brooklyn Book Fest. His book WOLF IN THE SNOW is this years Caldecott medal winning book and I’ve been a fan of his stuff for ages. Great to meet you Matt; thanks for saying Hello, hello! 😀
At Scholastic with Author Ame Dyckman
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
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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 thebabybookwormblog.wordpress.com 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
Today's book of the day is Misunderstood Shark by @AmeDyckman, illustrated by @smagoon. Eva said, "The book is silly, and I learned some cool facts about sharks. They can lose 30,000 teeth - what?!" #LoweryPROUD @LibraryLowery pic.twitter.com/LVrqSVwCRP— Karen Armstrong (@karmstrong62114) April 3, 2019
#bookbattle finals- Misunderstood Shark by @AmeDyckman vs. That is Not a Good Idea by @MoWillems Students will be voting this next week! Two amazing books and two amazing authors! #leanderisdlib #jpepride pic.twitter.com/1UFx9mWE7E— JPE Library (@JPElibrary) March 28, 2019
Happy #KidLit Halloween everybody! Here is my Mr. Shark and Bob costume based on @AmeDyckman & @smagoon hilarious, fact-filled new book Misunderstood Shark. My Mr. Shark hasn’t finished his fin mom tattoo yet,but he’s almost done! #CannadayES #misdlibraries @scholastic @ozsaidso pic.twitter.com/Y28H9TGJXN— Ro Menendez (@romenendez14) October 31, 2018
In honor of #SharkWeek, we sat down with @AmeDyckman and @smagoon — the duo behind the hilarious picture book Misunderstood Shark — and asked them some SHARKtastic questions! https://t.co/QgYVXCc1m9 #MisunderstoodSharkWeek pic.twitter.com/uwCQJf9czn— Scholastic (@Scholastic) July 24, 2018
Misunderstood Shark Week
For a week in July I posted a Shark-related image each day during Shark Week. I think people understood?
Reading & drawing MISUNDERSTOOD SHARK 🦈 by @AmeDyckman & me @carlemuseum Bobbie’s Meadow🌱🌾 yesterday—a place dedicated to Eric Carle’s late wife. What a lovely place 2 share a book! Thanks 2 Carle Museum & everyone who came to spend time with me. ❤️ @scholasticinc @ozsaidso pic.twitter.com/Sz8tOzlT2D— Scott Magoon (@smagoon) July 14, 2018
Our #classroombookaday was written by @AmeDyckman & illustrated by @smagoon . Students loved the storyline, illustrations, and how the end pages were part of the story. They also loved their 🦈 swag! Thanks to Ame & Scott! pic.twitter.com/FZ7iPfdWOg— Katie Reilley (@KReilley5) April 25, 2018
@AmeDyckman signing #MisunderstoodShark illustrated by @smagoon from @Scholastic @txla!!! Shark splashes into bookstores 4/24!! @ScholasticClub #picturebooks #kidlit #txla #librarians #teachers #scholasticfairs pic.twitter.com/fnyPDcBXP3— orli zuravicky (@ozsaidso) April 5, 2018