With teeth bared and menacing looks on their fierce profiles, a big turquoise shark and a smoke-belching gray-blue train engine are gearing up for an intense confrontation. The shark sneers, “I’M GOING TO CHOO-CHOO YOU UP AND SPIT YOU OUT,” and the unintimidated train responds, “HA! I’M GOING TO FIN-ISH YOU, MACKEREL-BREATH.” “Who will win?” it asks in big red letters.
Turn the page and the competition begins in earnest. Shark wins the swim in the ocean; Train aces the race on the railroad tracks. Each page introduces a new trial.
When you turn to the title page, with its tantalizing “Who will win?” question, you may want to pause for a mini-discussion on what your kids think the story will be about and which toy will be triumphant. Or not. Your listeners may insist on turning the page without any delay. The illustrations are jammed with hilarious details that will make readers want to dig out their own favorite toys and start playing.
TIPS & EXTRAS:
Look at the insets on the back cover, listing the personified duo’s favorite color, food, and game. Kids can draw and label portraits of their best toys. Download the very cute activity guide at http://tomlichtenheld.com/childrens_books/sharkvstrain.html. This best buddy book of the year joins Let’s Do Nothing by Tony Fucile and A Couple of Boys Have the Best Week Ever by Marla Frazee for a perfect testosterone-filled trio of books about imaginative play.
THEMES: COMPETITION. FRIENDSHIP. IMAGINATION. PERSONIFICATION. PLAY. SHARKS.
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2010
Suggested Ages: 3-7