Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Shark vs. Train

Barton, Chris. 2010. SHARK VS.TRAIN. Ill. by Tom Lichtenheld. New York: Little, Brown. ISBN 9780316007627 [Suggested Grade Levels PreK-2]

Chris Barton and Tom Lichtenheld present the ultimate battle between two unlikely foes in this amusing picture book. Children will laugh along with the reader as they pick sides in the progressively more outrageous competitions between shark and train. While shark has a distinct advantage in water sports such as high diving, train excels in land speed races. The real fun starts with more unusual contests. Children can predict which contender is more likely to win in bowling, burping, or basketball contests. As the competitions escalate, eventually even shark and train realize they are out of their elements. Even though they decide to take a break, shark and train playfully taunt each other with promises for a rematch.

Barton’s wacky contests between shark and train make this a fun read aloud selection. Young children will eagerly join in the reading to make their own predictions of who will win each showdown. Clever speech bubbles between the characters add another layer of humor to their playful bantering. Lichtenheld’s comical illustrations of shark and train’s facial expressions greatly enhance the mood of the story. The judges’ scorecards are another especially funny detail that readers will enjoy as they tally up the competitor’s results.

Readers can participate in their own competitions by borrowing some ideas from shark and train. Board and card games, bowling, and basketball shooting contests would tie in nicely with the theme of this selection. Children could also create their own unique competitions and make predictions of who would most likely win and explain why.

Other books about competition:
Rubio, Gabriela. TERRIBLE, TERRIBLE. ISBN 9788493306076
Turner, Sandy. COOL CAT, HOT DOG. ISBN 9780689849466

By Kimberly C. Kinnaird

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