Reviews /

Everything You Know About Sharks Is Wrong

Authored by Dr. Nick Crumpton
Illustrated by Gavin Scott
Published by Nosy Crow Ltd

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Everything You Know About Sharks Is Wrong: The latest in this entertaining and informative series dispels some popular myths about sharks and explores the reasons for their bad reputation whilst providing a wealth of facts and interesting information. 

The format of this book explores a statement such as: sharks kill lots of people, sharks only live in tropical oceans, all sharks have to keep moving to breathe each of which is ‘rubber stamped’ as WRONG and then over a double page spread the information is provided to explain the reality. Some of the statements are more widely believed than others but nonetheless this approach is an excellent way to draw children in and even the most avid shark fan will no doubt learn something new. The author, Dr Nick Crumpton, a zoological consultant, has an ability to convey expert knowledge in an accessible and enjoyable style and this works both as a reference book and as one to browse for pleasure, dipping in when a section has a particular appeal. 

The introduction explains the aims of the book concluding that sharks are ‘some of the most interesting – and misunderstood – animals in the oceans’. Through engaging text and clear, colourful illustrations children will learn how important sharks are to the ecosystem and that they are essential to maintaining balance in the oceans. From breeding to evolution, feeding to habitat, teeth to senses, speed to intelligence, purpose and threats, the range of subjects covered is broad and fascinating. There are some facts that are attention grabbers for example that more people are killed by cows in the USA in one year than are killed by sharks throughout the whole world in the same time period. Other facts are perhaps unexpected such as the discovery that Lemon Shark pups in the Bahamas build friendship groups to learn how to hunt and live like adult sharks. Some of our assumptions about sharks may have some truth in them so are not strictly speaking wrong and in these cases the author elaborates providing background. The overriding message is to stress the diversity within the shark family and to encourage children to help campaign to save these creatures. 

There is a helpful glossary covering general vocabulary such as ‘evolution’, ‘habitat’ and ‘predator’ plus more specific language to this topic including ‘filter-feed’ and ‘olfactory bulbs’ and a comprehensive index. One point I should mention is that whilst the term elasmobranchs (the group of fishes that includes sharks) is spelt correctly within the text it is incorrect in both the glossary and the index. I understand that this will be corrected in the next print run. The presentation of this book is appealing from the eye-catching cover onwards and this book definitely deserves a place in primary school libraries for the upper junior age range and probably secondary school libraries for KS3 too.