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
- Read our very cool cover reveal and an author/illustrator interview with Mr. Schu!
- 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.
On the Road
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
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