Vulpes Libris

A collective of bibliophiles talking about books. Book Fox (vulpes libris): small bibliovorous mammal of overactive imagination and uncommonly large bookshop expenses. Habitat: anywhere the rustle of pages can be heard.

There’s a Shark in the Bath, by Sarah McIntyre

sharkinthebathWhat would you do if you found a shark in your bath? Or a whole family of them?

A bathroom adventure packed with sharks, sea creatures and silliness.

As a small child, I’d arrive at my local swimming pool, the first person to enter its still water, and I’d alarm myself with the idea that a shark had found its way in there. I’d seen a few scenes from Jaws (after pretending to be asleep on the living room sofa), and had developed a fascination with sharks. My favourite book at the library was a high quality print, non-fiction volume called Shark Attack and it contained some seriously gory photographs. Now, in hindsight, perhaps this fascination was not entirely healthy, but I’m still captivated by sharks and was pleased when daughter chose this book in our local branch of Waterstones.

My daughter picked up There’s a Shark in the Bath because of the illustrations, which are beautifully realised. She has since spent hours poring over them and trying to pick out details she hasn’t noticed before. These sharks, with their yellow smiles and spotted backs, are sassy, not scary. Toothy, not terrifying. It is true that – due to some very poor plumbing – they have found their way into a little girl’s bathtub, but they are not particularly intelligent sharks and our protagonist, Dulcie, manages to outwit them at every turn. In addition to being clever, Dulcie is confident and brave, which is just as well, given the circumstances.

As in so many of my favourite children’s books, the protagonist is alone in battling her enemies, because although Dulcie’s parents are both at home with her, they do not believe she is telling the truth. Note this exchange:

“There’s a SHARK in the bath!”

Dulcie’s mum just smiled. “Next you’ll tell us there’s an elephant in your cereal.”

“No – that would be silly,” said Dulcie.

Dad rolled his eyes. “Well, you’d better go and fish out that shark, then.”

So Dulcie did fish it out.

Parents, eh. Hopeless.

There’s a Shark in the Bath is an amusing picture book containing just the right number of gasps and giggles. I won’t give away the denouement, but readers may correctly surmise that the story does not end in a Jaws-esque bloodbath. At least, not in the final draft of the story (perhaps there’s the authorly equivalent of a director’s cut hidden on a hard drive somewhere?) In any case, I’d highly recommend this story as an exciting read for young children. Or indeed for anyone with an interest in brilliant picture books.

Paperback, 32 pages, Scholastic, ISBN-10: 140712191X, £6.99


2 comments on “There’s a Shark in the Bath, by Sarah McIntyre

  1. Jackie
    April 20, 2016

    Oh my goodness, that book you read as a child would’ve had me running away shrieking. I did like the Jacques Cousteau type shark books, but skipped over any photos with even a hint of red.
    Your review book sounds very entertaining and I applaud the author’s choice to have a brave little girl hero, instead of the usual boy. I hope her parents finally realized she was telling the truth by the end.

  2. Lisa
    April 21, 2016

    Jackie, yes, it wouldn’t have been for you. It was very graphic with lots of red. This book, however, is delightful.

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This entry was posted on April 20, 2016 by in Entries by Lisa, Fiction: children's.



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  • (The header image is from Aesop's Fables, illustrated by Francis Barlow (1666), and appears courtesy of the Digital and Multimedia Center at the Michigan State University Libraries.)
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