Monday, December 8, 2008

Review #6: Shark and Lobster's Amazing Undersea Adventure

Dad:  This week's book is "Shark and Lobster's Amazing Undersea Adventure" by Viviane Schwarz.
Isaac (age 10):  This book is one of my favorites.  It's so funny.
Dad:  So, what's the first thing you notice about this book?
Isaac:  It's sideways.  You have to hold it sideways in order to read it.
Gracie (age 8):  I think that's cool!
Isaac:  That's good for this book.  The characters are funny and confused, so the book is the exact same way too.
Dad:  Tell me about the story...
Lily (age 5):  A shark and a lobster and little tiny cuttlefishes were building a fortress to keep tigers away.  But then they realized their fortress was just a pile of rocks...
Gracie: they freaked out...
Lily: ...and they went down to get a great big giant monster, and they wrapped it around themselves.  But then the monster was chasing them!
Isaac:  That monster is very, very ugly.  Uglier than other monsters.  And... is it wearing tapshoes?
Gracie:  It has a fork-nose and eyelashes.  It's ugly!
Isaac:  Why does it have little windows on it?
Gracie:  You can see a ship and fish bones inside it.
Isaac:  I think it would be hard for the monster to grab anyone because its hands are on its eyeballs.
  I like how there are mysteries in this book.  Like - what kind of monster IS that fish-thing?  And how did it get there?  How did they learn about tigers?  I don't understand... they tied the monster in a knot?
Isaac:  How did they tie him?  He was ten times bigger than them!
Dad:  Those must be very strong cuttlefish...
Isaac:  Ha ha ha!  Yeah!
Dad:  So this book raises lots of silly questions.  Does it bother anyone that we don't know the answers, or is that part of the fun?
Gracie:  (dramatically) It drives me crazy!
Dad:  Goofball, you just said you liked the mysteries!
Isaac:  I wonder how the lobster and the shark heard about tigers?  They live miles and miles and miles away from tigers.
Gracie:  Maybe there's a traveling crab that they are friends with... and he traveled to a zoo... and he saw tigers.
Isaac:  Or maybe it was whales because they do move back and forth from Antarctica to hotter places...
Gracie:  Don't get all "schooly..."  This is supposed to be fun.
  How about the pictures?
Gracie:  Borders!
Dad:  You mean panels?  Yep, everything is in boxes like in comic books.
Isaac:  And whenever somebody is talking they put it in "word bubbles."
Lily:  I like the little tiny cuttlefishes because they are cute and you can barely see any of them...  they're just little tiny black dots.
Isaac:  The pictures weren't drawn with a perfect straight line or really serious.  They are kind of bumpy and -- at first it seems like it wouldn't take much work... but if you really look at it, it would be kind of hard to do that.
Dad:  The lines are loose...  It's a loose style of drawing.
Gracie:  Kids would really love this book.  I really love this book.  Hey, (pointing at a picture) what is that?
Dad:  That's one of the monster's eyes.
Gracie:  It's smaller than the cuttlefish!
Dad:  (laughing) You guys love those cuttlefish!  They must be the stars of the show.

no tigers, by Isaac

looking at cuttlefish with a magnifying glass, by Gracie

great big giant monster, by Lily

Author/Illustrator: Viviane Schwarz
Colorer: Joel Stewart
Published, 2006: Candlewick Press
Like it? Find it


Lorie Ann Grover said...

I loved reading your ideas about how they knew about tigers! Thanks for the great post!

ElizT said...

Fun, and not at all schooly.

Viviane Schwarz said...

Hooray! :D

I think this is my favourite review I ever had in my new favourite blog. Thank you very much! I LOVE The pictures. Hope you don't mind me printing them out for my studio wall.

I'm glad you noticed that the monster has a bit of a problem with actually catching things because although it has lots of grabby implements, they are not all in the most useful places. Also putting all those shoes on is VERY tiring. It normally likes to slowly eat sunken ships from the bottom of the sea and digest them over the centuries, I believe.

I went to draw the cuttlefish at the London aquarium and they did look like they really, really wanted a piano. Next time you visit an aquarium, have a look and see if you agree.

I think it is not unlikely that someone bumped into a swimming tiger who was on their way to or from an island somewhere. Tigers are very good swimmers, but if some nosy fish or crab asked them who they were halfway across some sea channel there might be communication troubles. Or else, maybe they heard from a sea turtle who was released into the wild from a zoo...
You never know where these stories come from, really. But once you heard about something scary it is very hard to stop being frightened of it if you can't easily go and check it out... so sometimes the scariest things, and the ones you think most about, are the things you'll most likely never meet. That's rather daft, but as you noticed it's a very silly book!


I'll be looking forward to starting my weeks with your future book reviews!


Z-Kids said...

Hello Viviane Schwarz!

I'm glad you liked our review! We also really like your book about Timothy and his Super Strong Pyjamas! It is true what you said about scary things --- Like tyrannosaurus rexes breaking through my roof and eating me at night. I always worry about that but it will never happen I bet.

- Gracie

I want to say something. There is no such things as monsters. Just in books. But I like the one you made because it is awesome.

- Lily

ElizT said...

What a treat!!!
For us all.

Anonymous said...

Another book we'll have to check out!

Anonymous said...

My favorite line is from Gracie

Don't get all "schooly..." This is supposed to be fun.

That one made me laugh tons. Once again a great review. Thanks!

Viviane Schwarz said...

I am confident that we are on the whole safe from dinosaurs and monsters, but I do get worried about that sort of thing too, sometimes...

Anonymous said...

Just discussing monsters with the kids tonight. I think I need to find some good books about fighting monsters to put them back in charge of their fears. Thanks for the great ideas, I'll be looking up Viviane's books to help us in our quest to put all bed-time monsters back in their place. Which is hopefully in the pages of good books like this one!

Tony Johnston said...

My boys and I only discovered this book this week and it's quickly become a favorite. My three year old corrects all the misconceptions about tigers. No fin, they don't walk on their teeth, and they aren't invisible, among others.

I discovered your blog while searching for more information about the book and I'm completely charmed by this review. It's fantastic that the author posted a comment!

Now I'm off to explore the rest of your blog. Thanks so much!