Review: Land Shark by Ben Mantle, Beth Ferry


Hardcover, 36 pages
Published: August 4th 2015 by Chronicle Books
Source: Raincoast Books

What is a boy to do when all he wants is a pet shark for his birthday and his parents get him a stinky, fuzzy puppy who is just slightly adorable but mostly annoying and more importantly not a shark?

Nothing, of course. All the boy needs to do is sit back and watch as the puppy causes havoc in his house, mangling slippers and chewing up dolls. And does the puppy stop there? Oh no, not when there are neighbours to terrorize with gardens that used to be immaculate and trash cans that used to stand vertical until the puppy got done with them.

Bobby, the shark-loving boy, is almost devastated when he gets a puppy for his birthday and not a shark as he had loudly hinted to his parents. He refuses to have anything to do with the puppy but slowly and reluctantly, he comes to appreciate the puppy’s voracious (and rather dim) nature and more importantly, his biting skills.

This picturebook will be a favourite among kids who like things that are just a tad beyond the norm. Beth Ferry’s prose is a delight to read and perfectly complements Ben Mantle’s wondrous illustrations. I recently read Mantle’s collaboration with Penny Parker Klostermann and like in The Dragon that Swallowed the Knight the art in Land Shark is bright, vivid, and colourful. The details in the art are captivating and add an appealing humour to the prose. For example, Bobby’s hair is styled in a fin resembling a shark’s fin and his room is accentuated by sharky details that add depth to the story. I must also mention how great Mantle is at drawing expressions on his characters’ faces. The pages have a lot to look at and enough detail to withstand several readings.

All in all, I reckon this picturebook is going to be massively successful among kids, gender notwithstanding. I can see parents being requested to read this one over and over again. Land Shark is a charming tale that will make the adults chuckle and kids crow gleefully. Strongly recommended.

3 responses to “Review: Land Shark by Ben Mantle, Beth Ferry

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