Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Shark Lady by Jess Keating

- How Eugenie Clark Became The Ocean's Most Fearless Scientist -

Eugenie Clark has a love and a dream at a very early age. When she was nine years old she visited the New York Aquarium at Battery Park and immediately realized that she liked the smell of the salty air and beautiful fish, she even chose a favorite on her visit: sharks. Eugenie’s mom bought her an aquarium and she began studying and taking lots and lots of notes about sharks.

As Eugenie grew she knew that she wanted to study zoology, but at that time women were encouraged to be secretaries, housewives, etc. However, she wasn’t discouraged.

“Despite all of the people who didn’t believe in her, Eugenie was one of the smartest students in her field. Even after she earned her degree, many still doubted her."

This special woman with a dream even discovered three new species of fish when she started diving in the ocean.

But one of her biggest concerns was that most people saw sharks as mindless killers. Eugenie was determined to disprove those ideas.
But how?

Concerns:  It feels like so many books zero in on girls stepping out of gender roles, and not just providing a story for both boys and girls. I would have liked a little more of Eugenie's accomplishments to have been included in the story. For instance, she helped pioneer the use of scuba gear and continued diving into her 90s. There were lots of facts added at the end of the book, however, and I know a picture book is limited to word count.

My last concern is with the dust jacket:

"Through her accomplishments, she taught the world that sharks were to be admired rather than feared - - and that women can do anything they set their minds to."

The above quote, or similar ones, always hit a nerve with me. Think about it for a minute. Can you do anything you want to do? You may attempt to do anything but to be able to do anything? I don't think so.

I'm afraid if we continue to tell children that they can be or do anything, we may be setting them up for disappointment and failure. If it's not possible to achieve a dream, doesn't it leave kids feeling like it's their fault since they should have been able to do anything they set their minds to?

Just Struck a NERVE! and I couldn't help but comment.

What I Liked Most:
Sometimes it's hard to create non-fiction books to be as interesting as fiction. Or maybe I'm judging this by the fact that I kept putting this book on the bottom of my pile of books to review. Now I wish I hadn't since Jess Keating did a wonderful job of making this an interesting book for everyone.
I like that there is a section at the back titled: Shark Bites. This, of course, is filled with interesting shark facts.

There is also a two-page spread of Eugenie Clark’s timeline, which I found very helpful in further understanding this woman’s accomplishments.

I recommend this book and will definitely be reading more by this author.

Author: Jess Keating
"As a zoologist turned middle grade and picture book author, Jess Keating has been sprayed by skunks, bitten by crocodiles, and been a victim to the dreaded paper cut."
Read More About This Fun Author
Illustrator: Marta Alvarez Miguens
Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky (June 2017)
4 Stars
  • Approx. Word Count: 704
  • Ages: 4 - 8
  • Pages: 40
  • Purchase Book Here

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