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August 10, 2016


Every month, TAB editor Kristin will be sharing her thoughts on five titles from our… Read More

June 1, 2016

Hold On to Your Dorsal Fin—Shark Week Is Here!

The craze over the many species of teeth-regenerating terrors of the deep continues this week as Shark Week comes to life. What follows is enough quality high-definition television programming to satisfy at least a month’s worth of late-night Discovery Channel needs. Simply put, hold on to your dorsal fins—as Shark Week tends to reveal, there’s a little bit of marine biologist in all of us.

But if TV ain’t your thing—or if you’re a teacher who prefers to let your students watch only 20 minutes at a time (before things get too scary)—may I recommend a pair of new reads to dive with leagues under the sea.

Shark School, a cute, clever chapter book authored by Davy Ocean and illustrated by Aaron Blecha, follows the haphazard adventure story of Harry Hammer (a hammerhead shark) as he learns about himself and finds his place in a large, sometimes terrifying, yet mostly cuckoo, ocean habitat.

Then there’s The Magic School Bus Presents Sea Creatures, a nonfiction reference filled with pictures that detail the lives and ecosystem of a variety of sea creatures, including sharks. There’s a specific diagram of a shark’s super senses, which helps to explain concisely the different sensory systems of a shark and how they interact. Pretty cool, eh? And not just because it’s Shark Week!

Both of these books were reviewed by two of our teacher advisors—check out what they had to say below.


Shark School—Maura Stewart, 3rd Grade

I absolutely loved reading Shark School! This story, narrated by a humorous hammerhead, explains what being a shark is like. The comical images engage the reader and the exciting language keeps you coming back for more. I could hear the hammerhead’s British accent when he was referring to his “mum” and referencing going on “holidays,” which added all the more charm to this story. I know my third grade students will be eager to sign this book out of my library and will have trouble putting it down!


The Magic School Bus Presents Sea Creatures—Morgan Hostutler, 3rd Grade

With its vibrant images and intriguing Frizzle Facts, The Magic School Bus Presents Sea Creatures is sure to engage students in nonfiction text in a meaningful way. This book creates a unique opportunity for readers to be entertained by nonfiction text—which usually is not the case, especially in elementary grades. Because we all know and love Ms. Frizzle and her students, it is easy to buy into their world of sea creatures from the start.

Ralphie, Carlos, Wanda, Phoebe, Tim, Keesha, and Arnold provide essays on each page that give more facts about the ocean and the creatures found within it. They can also be found drawn into the photographs, providing interesting quips about the animals around them. At the end of the book, two pages give a snapshot summary of each sea creature Ms. Frizzle’s class discovered. There is also a glossary in the back of the book. There are so many ways these extras enhance the classroom lessons incorporated in this book!



Both Shark School and The Magic School Bus Presents Sea Creatures are now available at Scholastic Reading Club Online.



About the Author: Jamie Turak is a Scholastic Reading Club blogger who has gone scuba diving with whale sharks.

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