The Shark in the Park


Author Mark Watson was born in England, and illustrator Pablo Michau in South Africa, both now live in Mataro, Spain where Mark teaches English and Pablo works as a freelance illustrator/graphic designer. After their first collaboration the two men have committed to working exclusively on children’s book. We, the readers, are the winners. Their shared sense of creativity and sensitivity as well as a natural sense of what will entertain a child and provide some important character building blocks is not only evident here- it shines!

The story shares the morning walk of Michael on his way to school, stopping by the park on his way where he notes something terrifying: `There’s a shark in the park! How can this be? These terrible beasts live in the sea.’ The shark’s visible fin breaks through the turf’s surface. Michael jumps n a roundabout to escape the advancing shark, but the shark undermines him and surfaces, tossing Michael and his schoolbag in the air and chomping Michael’s homework materials in this vicious teeth. Michael runs after the departing school bus and the shark sinks out of sight. Daily Michael battles the shark in the park until one night, armed with his dad’s helmet and fishing pole he casts for the shark, and reels him out of the ground and into his gold fish bowl. `Now here he is the fearsome beast, fat, content and tame. Bobbing around on the mantelpiece between some books and a picture frame.’ Michael has overcome fear, put his ingenuity and courage to the test, and comes out the winner!

This is pure delight on every level – the rhyming verse is sophisticated in style yet accessible to children, the story is fun to read, and the illustrations more than enhance the story – they complete it. Mark and Pablo have a very strong career in store. More please! Grady Harp, March 14

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The Shark in the Park by Mark Watson is a cute little story which will tickle the creative and imaginative minds of all small kids. Michael is walking to school one day when he sees something swimming beneath the trees. It looks like a shark; blue above, white beneath, and with a huge fin. Michael cannot believe his eyes. He runs as the shark chases him. The shark eats his homework and Michael misses his school bus. Michael decides to catch the shark and he goes with his dad’s helmet and fishing pole to the park. Will Michael be able to catch the shark?

The story is adorable and the way Michael tries to catch the big shark every day is exciting to read. The book has a very good message of how to confront one’s own fears and overcome them in the best possible way. The ending is really cute and unusual and the illustrations complement the story, the scenes and the characters very well. The illustrations also help in giving pace and movement to the story. The rhyme scheme makes it even better and more enjoyable for kids while reading out loud. The story line is great and the thought of seeing a shark in a park is very imaginative and original. The book makes a good bedtime storybook and both grandparents and parents can read it out to their grandkids and kids. The book also makes a good story for read aloud sessions in classrooms and school libraries.


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