Science Comics: Sharks: Nature’s Perfect Hunter
The latest in the outstanding line of Science Comics, non-fiction graphic novels for kids about technology and our natural world, is Joe Flood’s Sharks: Nature’s Perfect Hunter.
Unlike other animal books in the line, such as Dogs or Bats, this volume doesn’t have a bridging story or a cute narrator example of the species. That wouldn’t be appropriate for the subject. Instead, this is a straightforward presentation of the various types of sharks, their biology (including their jaws, of course), and their behaviors as apex predators.
Flood opens by addressing the elephant in the room: Movie portrayals and sensational news articles have given sharks a fearful reputation, which has led to actions that have adversely affected their population. But it’s their variety of sizes and shapes and their essential place in the ocean environment that makes them most interesting, and that’s what he presents here in clear, inspiring images and caption text. It’s a combination essay and mini-encyclopedia, and it will bring new understanding to the appeal of these impressive sea creatures.
Sharks isn’t dry at all, though (heh), contrasting shark anatomy with fish (which the reader might be more familiar with) and showing how other animals through the ages of evolution stayed away from the shark menace. The last section, on interactions with humans, I found most fascinating, but the entire book is something to sink into, enjoying the images of these sleek beasts.
The book concludes with a family tree of the many various species of sharks, a glossary, and a page on alternatives to the inaccurate phrase “shark attack”. There is also a hardcover edition available. (The publisher provided a digital review copy and has posted preview pages.)