Interview with a Shark is a book filled with facts but presented in a way that children will find entertaining and fun. It features ten extraordinary ocean creatures and covers everything from their habits and behaviour to their favourite foods.
Andy Seed has written numerous information books for children, including The Silly Book of Side-Splitting Stuff, which won the 2015 Blue Peter Best Book with Facts Award, and he has proved that he knows how to engage young readers with facts presented in a slightly different way. In this second title in the Interview With series he introduces children to his ‘tranimalator’ which enables him to talk to the animals. A useful skill! Each creature is interviewed in a Q&A format that frequently involves jokes and wisecracks from both the animals and the interviewer. The different creatures also have quite distinct personalities too which adds to the fun.
The format enables the information to be presented in bite sized chunks of text ensuring that this does not look overwhelming for both less confident and slightly reluctant readers. The appealing and colourful illustrations by Nick East also help to encourage children and are inviting but with sufficient detail for readers to be able to visualise the creatures’ appearance.
Among the sea animals and fish ‘interviewed’ in addition to the bull shark, are the giant squid, the octopus, the blue whale, the manta ray and several more. Andy Seed also incorporates the theme of conservation with a section titled, “How you can help.” that encourages children to visit the seaside, look after our beaches, help prevent pollution and learn more about the lives of these special animals. Finally there is a quiz for children to check their knowledge after finishing the book.
This is an information book for browsing, for sharing and for reading aloud. It would probably work as a paired reading activity in the classroom too. Pitched at a target audience aged 6-9 I think this would be popular in the primary school library, it’s the sort of book that children enjoy discovering together.
I should like to thank Laura Smythe and Welbeck Publishing for my review copy. Interview with a Shark was published in May 2021 and can be purchased at your local independent bookshop or online.
If this book prompts young readers to try to find out more I would suggest a couple of excellent titles from Flying Eye Books, Professor Astro Cat’s Deep Sea Voyage by Dr Dominic Walliman and Ben Newman and Obsessive About Octopuses by Owen Davey which you can read about here