Monday, July 2, 2012

New Jersey Shark Attacks Pull Kids In

For the next hundred years, people around Elm Hills would be talking about Chet Roscow, the kid who had said there was a shark in the creek. He'd be a big joke, like the Captain was.

Chet felt like running away, far away. All the way to California.

But then he noticed Sid, strangely still in the creek. His face had gone white. His mouth was open, like he was going to scream.

Chet's insides turned to jelly when he saw the glistening fin moving slowly through the water.

I Survived The Shark Attacks Of 1916 by Lauren Tarshis
2010, 87 pp

This short chapter book places a fictional character, 10-year-old Chet Roscow, in the summer of 1916 on the New Jersey shore when a series of shark attacks terrified the state. Chet is new to town and is trying, mostly unsuccessfully, to fit in when the shark attacks intrude.

The story is well told and my 7-year-old son was riveted when I read it to him. The story was so good that my 11-year-old daughter often wanted to listen as well and now wants to read it herself. This is a great story that incorporates some historical detail, and kids will relate to Chet's more mundane issues of fitting in and will be captivated by the extraordinary events that change his life. Younger kids will be interested enough to settle in for a long storytime and older reluctant readers will find the text easy to read but fully engaging.

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