Reviewed by Judy Kraus
Swimming in oceans for more than 400 million years, sharks and their predecessors, including the Stethacanthus and Megalodon, hunted and defended their territory. The fossils left behind reveal clues about these enormous creatures and provide a glimpse into the history of the shark.
This Kingfisher Reader details the structures, as well as the history, that define more than 450 different species of sharks. Strong jaws, teeth–like scales covering the body, gills, dorsal fin, pectoral fins, and a powerful tail, along with fantastic camouflage, provide the tools necessary for survival. Streamlined, flexible bodies enable the mako shark to swim fast and hunt efficiently while the flat bodies of the sawshark allow them to exist along the seafloor bottom. Shark sizes range from the fifteen meter long whale shark to the sixteen centimeter dwarf lantern shark! Sharks live in diverse bodies of water, from salty oceans to freshwater rivers. Some sharks migrate while others stay within a small area of water. Unlike most fish, the shark does not have a swim bladder rather it has a large liver filled with oil. Combined with their lightweight cartilage, that gives the shark shape and allows it to float. Additionally, the shark has excellent eyesight, smell, and hearing. Reproduction varies amongst the shark species; some give birth to live young, others lay eggs, and still other sharks develop from eggs that remain inside the mother until they are ready to hatch.
The composition of the book Sharks is as artistic as it is informative. Photographs of sharks and their features are available cover to cover. Mermaid’s purses, empty egg cases, and shark tags used for tracking are additional photographs that enhance the readers understanding of the intertwined world of shark and man. Inset text boxes highlight information ranging from the two eyelids found on the shark to the “spy hopping” behavior exhibited by the great white shark to check out the area. Graphics and text together paint the complete picture of this fierce predator.
Review posted on 10/11/2012