Our book today combines the best of both worlds in the animal kingdom: it’s Shark Dog! By Ged Adamson, his fourth and most winning children’s picture book yet, newly released by Harper.
The plucky little girl who narrates Shark Dog wastes no time in telling us that her bug-eyed red-bearded father is a world-famous explorer. In fact, she’s accompanying him to a fantastic land with beautiful butterflies and tortoises as big as cars when something strange happens: late at night, something leaps out of the ocean and thumps on deck. Our little narrator hardly has time to wonder what it might be before she’s face-slurped in a way that only one animal species on Earth has completely mastered.
And the combination isn’t just skin deep. “Sometimes, when he did dog things, he was more like a shark,” we’re told (accompanied by the book’s most priceless visual, of a poor cat being stalked through tall grass), “and sometimes, when he did shark things, he was more like a dog” (he brings the famous explorer his slippers during a deep-sea dive).
But the shark dog is clear on one thing: he loves his adventures with his new family. Until, that is, he seems to start pining for his own kind. “Maybe it’s time we took him back,” suggests the famous explorer, so they do (on the plane ride, I was green with envy at the explorer’s in-flight reading material: National Sharkographic).
And anybody who’s ever an odd, ungainly little dog will smile at the book’s outcome.
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