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Book Review: Sharks at Your Service

Author: Jessica Woodend

We can all think back to that very first moment we met an animal that made an impact on us. Each one of our team members could tell you about a special experience they had with a shark that was the catalyst for their passion behind shark education.

Sharks at Your Service brought back a lot of memories for me. The story starts with the main character, Marina, waking with excitement to visit an aquarium for the first time. Anyone that has visited the New England Aquarium (one of my favorites) will recognize it right away.

The author, Mary M. Cerullo does a great job capturing the excitement and the curiosity kids have when seeing ocean animals for the first time. As well as the awe they feel when watching the staff in the water with these animals, and the questions that come up for them.

Marina learns so much about why sharks aren’t scary, and that they do very important jobs in the sea. On her trip home, Marina is reminded of all the shark facts she learned, and is seeing sharks doing jobs all around the city. Introducing these roles helps kids get a better understanding of the benefits that sharks provide, and why we need them.

With a combination of beautiful illustrations by Chen-hui Chang, and real photographs from Jeffrey Rotman, the book bounces between the main story line, and JAWSOME shark facts explaining their adaptations.

The book ends with a prompt to get the reader thinking about how they themselves can help protect sharks. This aligns so well with our lessons, and helps to create the next generation of shark advocates.

Disclaimer: We are very intentional with the language we use with sharks. In the book the words victim and attack are used regarding the prey of the sharks. We steer away from language that could have a negative association with sharks. We had a wonderful conversation about it with the author, who has since gone through newer work looking for more positive-association words to use with these incredible animals.

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