Friday, January 26, 2018

PPBF: The Shark God

And now on to today's Perfect Picture Book Friday pick

The Shark God, by Rafe Martin and David Shannon
The Shark God

Written by Rafe Martin
Illustrated by David Shannon

Arthur A. Levine, Imprint of Scholastic Books, 2001
Ages 4-8, 370L

Folk Tales, Culture

It was long, long ago that two children, a brother and sister, tried to find someone to help them save a shark.

The Shark God is a retelling of an ancient Hawaiian fable, Kauhuhu The Shark God of Molokai.
Two children who live in a hard-hearted village save a shark from a slow death. In their excitement, they break a tribal law and are sentenced to execution. Their parents seek help from the powerful and frightening Kauhuhu. With his guidance, the children are freed and reunited with their family.

What I Love:
Master storyteller, Rafe Martin, has made this unusual tale accessible to modern readers and has tweaked the story to center on the children and to include a more concrete ending. With bold color and energetic illustrations, this Hawaiian folk tale leaps off the shelf. Kids will love the heroic nature of the sharks and the magical details.

While I planned to review a contemporary picture book featuring characters from an under-represented culture for Multicultural Children's Book Day, I couldn't resist this striking picture book with its rare tale of adventure and its strong theme of callousness vs. kindness.

Make a classic bottle catch game from Krokotak.
1. Read Kauhuhu's story in the sacred texts, available on Hawaiian Legends of Ghosts and Ghost-Gods.

2. The University of Hawai'i at Manoa has created a detailed index of Shark god stories, compiled by the Hawai'i State Library.

3. DKFindOut! has created pages of Shark facts, or visit SharkSider for a compendium of sharks, detailed by species.

4. Make a shark-shaped cootie catcher origami with instructions from Easy Peasy and Fun.

5. Support Multicultural Children's Book Day and #ReadYourWorld. Find suggested reading, classroom kits, and more on their website.

6. Check out these and more Perfect Picture Books at your local library.

Reviewed by Julie
Reviewed by Vivian

Reviewed by Clar
Reviewed by Patricia

Reviewed by Maria
Reviewed by Joanne

Have you reviewed a Perfect Picture Book along this theme? Please leave the link in the comments below. Thanks!

Check out all the recommended titles for Perfect Picture Book Friday
for Friday, January 26, 2018 available on Susanna Leonard Hill's blog.


  1. The is a unique Hawaiian tale. I love the choice. And, it is a perfect Multicultural Children's Book Day choice.

  2. Wow! What a great story. I just place it on hold at the library. Thanks for the rec!

    1. You're welcome. It was a unique find and I'm happy to share it with you.

  3. Very interesting. I'm gonna see if my library has this one.

  4. Cute craft idea! This book is great for multicultural day. I am checking this book out for my multicultural lit class I am teaching this summer. Thanks for this suggest!

    1. Awesome! I'm always happy to recommend books. Let me know if I can ever be of service. Thanks.


Thank-you for taking time to share your thoughts!