Santa Jaws – Mark Sperring

Illustrations – Sophie Corrigan

“Merry Fishmas!”

Shelly the shark has something special planned this Christmas. She makes a sign for her front door welcoming everyone to Santa’s Grotto. The only problem is that none of the other fish trust her, so they quickly make themselves scarce. Fair enough, too. I’m pretty sure I’d be questioning Jaws’ motives before willingly stepping foot inside their home.

The exception is one inquisitive squid named Sid. Maybe Sid doesn’t know who lives behind this driftwood door or maybe they’re just so excited about meeting Santa Claus… Soon Sid finds himself face to face with Santa Jaws, not Santa Claus.

This book is so cute! The rhymes flow well and the repetition isn’t overused. The highlight of this book for me, though, were Sophie Corrigan’s illustrations. They use bright colours, the fish are all quite expressive and there are plenty of details to enjoy.


I particularly loved the coral Christmas trees with shell decorations, the snowman made of sand, the angler fish finding love beneath the mistletoe and the stingray wearing a Santa hat.


I hereby decree that stingrays must wear Santa hats at all times from this day forth, so we may never forget how adorable they make them look.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

Today’s my LUCKY, LUCKY day.

Golly, whizz and gee!

For GUESS WHO’s meeting Santa Claus …

Yes, me! Yes, me! YES, ME!

Ho-ho-ho! It’s Christmas Eve and Sid the squid is SUPER-excited. He’s going to meet Santa Claus AT LAST!

But as he enters the dark underwater grotto, all is not as it seems …

Will there be a happy ending? Let’s hope so. It IS Christmas, after all!

Devil Sharks – Chris Jameson

Alex and his wife, Sami, are on their way to paradise for a reunion with Alex’s friends from university. Harry, who Alex has a complicated history with, has invited them to spend a week on board his 100 foot luxury sailing yacht. All expenses paid!

This is a once in a lifetime opportunity. The ocean is crystal clear, the weather is gorgeous and the alcohol is flowing. Except it’s not all smooth sailing aboard the Kid Galahad. They’re hundreds of miles from civilisation, sharks are circling and a not so merry band of pirates have made their acquaintance. What could go wrong?

Plenty, it turns out. It isn’t very long before their laughter turns to screams and the only thing flowing freely is blood.

Something bumped his thigh, nudged him hard, and then he felt razor teeth clamp down and rip his flesh, felt himself dragged and twisted, and he screamed as he went under for a second time.

Some of my favourite movies are B grade delights where humans find themselves knocked off the top of the food chain. It turns out that reading about especially bitey sharks is just as much bloody fun, although I definitely want to see this book made into a movie.

There is some time spent in the beginning setting up who’s who but it quickly all goes to hell. With a body count in the double digits, the tension is fairly consistent for over half of the book.

I initially took note of everyone’s occupation and personality so I could try to figure out who had the best odds of making it through the book with their flesh intact. It didn’t really seem to matter though as most of the characters are now in the process of being digested.

My only disappointment was the pirates. They had so much potential, but once they’d successfully ramped up the danger level for our group of friends they essentially disappeared. It was easy to forget they were even part of the story when the final battle for survival was taking place. The sharks well and truly made up for them though.

“What do you know about sharks?”

Alex cocked his head. “Mainly that I don’t want to be in the water with them.”

These sharks are relentless so there’s little chance your favourite character will survive. The person I most wanted to survive died and the person whose gruesome death I was looking forward to the most survived.

While this is my first Chris Jameson shark read, it will not be the last. Shark Island and Shark Beach are going to be bloodying up my imagination in the near future.

Thank you so much to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for the opportunity to read this book.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

A pleasure cruise in Paradise leads a group of friends to a shark-infested Hell in Chris Jameson’s Devil Sharks …

When Alex Simmons is invited to a college reunion in the Hawaiian islands aboard the private yacht of his old pal Harry Curtis, he is not sure what to expect. The two men had a falling-out years ago over the suicide of one of their friends. Could this be Harry’s way of making amends? Or is something more sinister in store?

The crew sets sail and arrives at Orchid Atoll, the site of a deserted former Coast Guard station. But they are far from alone. Out here, three hundred miles from civilisation, Alex and his friends are about to encounter two very different brands of evil – one human, the other with fins – unlike anything they could have possibly imagined. They have entered a place where there’s no law, no mercy … and no way out.

Monster Sharks: Megalodon and Other Giant Prehistoric Predators of the Deep – Brenda Gurr

Illustrations – R.J. Palmer

Monster Sharks: Megalodon and Other Giant Prehistoric Predators of the Deep is an interesting introduction to prehistoric sea creatures, providing facts and speculations about their lives based on fossils that have been discovered. The book begins with an overview of the three eras the animals lived in before focusing on various types: Megalodon and other prehistoric sharks, Dunkleosteus and other placoderms, Temnodontosaurus and other ichthyosaurs, Elasmosaurus and other plesiosaurs, Kronosaurus and other pliosaurs, Tylosaurus and other mosasaurs, Livyatan and other prehistoric whales, and an overview of other prehistoric sea monsters. Finally there is some information about modern sea monsters and a glossary.

My favourite facts were:

T. rex weighed about the same as an African male elephant. But experts think that Megalodon might have weighed about the same as ten elephants!”

Dunkleosteus had an impressive skill. It could open and close its enormous jaws in a fraction of a second. This was so fast that it created a vacuum that pulled its prey (along with plenty of water) into its mouth.”

“Its eyes are thought to be the largest eyes of any animal – ever. They were almost the size of dinner plates!” [this quote is about Temnodontosaurus]

Kronosaurus [KRONE-oh-SAWR-us] is a pliosaur named after Kronos, a thoroughly nasty Greek god who swallowed all of his children. (Don’t worry, they turned out fine.)”

“Like a snake, Tylosaurus had a double-hinged jaw.”

“The name Livyatan comes from the Hebrew spelling of Leviathan, a biblical sea monster.”

“Its neck was about three to four times the length of an adult giraffe’s! It made up about half of its body length and contained more than seventy bones.” [this quote is about Elasmosaurus who looks suspiciously liked the Loch Ness monster but apparently isn’t]

I liked the conversational tone of the writing and the comparisons made between animals or objects kids would recognise and the size and weight of the prehistoric creatures described in the book. The length of each animal is illustrated against a coast guard lifeboat. Similar books I’ve read have compared animals to the height of an average adult; as a kid I would have found it easier to imagine an animal’s size if I was using a person as the comparison rather than a boat. Even now I appreciated the pronunciation help for some of the more unusual names.

The illustrations are detailed and the layout is interesting and varied. Photos are also used where possible to show fossils and animals children will be familiar with. A lot of the illustrations feature animals about to eat other animals or engaged in fights, which may be scary for some readers. Occasionally the white writing was difficult to read when it was against a pale background but I read this ARC on an iPad so this may have been fixed prior to publication.

I imagine I would have gotten a good grade if I’d used this book to research a school project and it’s the type of book I would still borrow from the library because you can never know enough cool facts about Megalodon and its meals. I definitely need to check out the Megalodon skeleton that comes with this book (instructions for assembling it are included – whew!).

Thank you so much to NetGalley and Quarto Publishing Group – becker&mayer! kids for the opportunity to read this book.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

Monster Sharks: Megalodon and Other Giant Prehistoric Predators of the Deep brings real-life sea monsters back from extinction and up from the ocean depths!

Did you know that the prehistoric mega-shark called Megalodon was thirty times larger than a great white shark? If Megalodon were still alive, it would be able to destroy entire boats and swallow people whole! This nightmare-inducing shark continues to fascinate – and horrify! – shark fans everywhere.

Monster Sharks: Megalodon and Other Giant Prehistoric Predators of the Deep brings to the surface everything there is to know about this famed monster and explores other giant sea monsters from the past, including Tylosaurus (the deadliest marine hunter of its time) and the Elasmosaurus (a swimming reptile with a neck four times longer than a giraffe.)

Bring Megalodon to life with this 17-piece, 8.5″ long, intricately detailed Megalodon skeleton, complete with a 2-part stand. Assemble it yourself! 

How to Catch a Monster – Adam Wallace

Illustrations – Andy Elkerton

Spoilers Ahead!

The illustrations are brilliant in How to Catch a Monster, AKA, Confronting Your Fears and Discovering They’re Not as Scary as You Thought. Okay, so I wasn’t consulted during the naming of this book, thank goodness! So, the illustrations. They’re bright, colourful, detailed, kind of quirky and very engaging. I loved them!

The illustrations are brilliant in How to Catch a Monster, AKA, Confronting Your Fears and Discovering They’re Not as Scary as You Thought. Okay, so I wasn’t consulted during the naming of this book, thank goodness! So, the illustrations. They’re bright, colourful, detailed, kind of quirky and very engaging. I loved them!

The story is told in rhymes. Our main character has secured the role of ninja master in the school play so they’re feeling brave. Dressed in full ninja garb and with a backpack filled to the brim with tricks and traps, hero ninja kid (whose gender is never identified and I love this!) sets off to confront their monster. Yep, it’s a literal monster that hides in their closet.

Instead of finding something that belongs in your nightmares, hero ninja kid not only overcomes their fear but makes a new friend. Aww! There’s even some fart humour with a surprise as our monster’s farts smell like strawberries and lime.

My favourite element was the wind up shark that came out of the backpack of tricks but this is me we’re talking about. It was always going to be the shark. 🦈 😊

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

There’s a monster in my closet, 
with claws, and teeth, and hair, 
and tonight, I’m going to scare him!
He lives just right through there …

Get ready to laugh as a young ninja heads into the closet to meet the monster that’s been so scary night after night! But what if things aren’t what they seem and our monster isn’t scary at all? What if our ninja hero is about to make a friend of strangest sort?

If you dare to travel beyond the closet door and into the land of the monsters … you might just find the very best reward of all. But with robots, lava pie, and a smattering of traps – catching monsters is no easy business!

Is there a monster living in your closet? Are you brave enough to catch him? Parents and children will love sharing this fun and inventive picture book, which reminds us that things aren’t always as scary as they seem. 

Knock Knock Pirate – Caryl Hart

Illustrations – Nick East

☠️ Ahoy, me mateys! ☠️

I discovered Knock Knock Pirate after devouring Caryl Hart’s The Invincibles series. My local library had this one as well and of course I was going to request a copy because, well, pirates!

What an imaginative counting book! With great rhymes and plenty of pirates to count, our young main character (whose name is not Jim) is Home Alone when a posse of pirates take control of her house and sail it down the street and across the seven seas in search of treasure. I’m extremely impressed by the buoyancy of this home! Along the way the house-ship and its quirky sailors encounter some awesome marine life including a giant whale, giant squid and a group of sharks that look mighty hungry!

Nick East’s illustrations are funny and detailed. They compliment the rhymes so well and there’s just so much to see. I really liked the three granny pirates who arrive in style – wearing shawls while perched on top of cannonballs that crash through the roof.

From the other items visible in her treasure chest of costumes it’s clear this isn’t the first adventure this young girl has taken!

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

A visit from a pirate might sound like fun … but when the Captain’s whole crew turn up too – causing mayhem and chaos – it’s time for this little girl to panic. What is Dad going to say when he gets home?!

Creature Files: Sharks – L.J. Tracosas

🦈 SHARK!!! 🦈

I’ve been fascinated by sharks ever since I first watched Jaws when I was too young to know he couldn’t come through the shower head in pieces, magically reform and attack me while I showered (true story! 🤪), so naturally this is my type of non-fiction kid’s book. There’s enough information to maintain your interest but not so much that you get bored or succumb to information overload.

It’s the sort of book I would have used for school projects in primary school and would have enjoyed reading it just for fun as well. Besides all of the cool shark facts there are plenty of quality photographs of the various sharks and the layout is eye catching. While there’s plenty to look at on each page it doesn’t look overly cluttered.

Of the over 400 types of shark, Creature Files: Sharks provides information and photographs of twenty. I personally learned a lot while reading this book and the facts below are only a snippet of what you’ll discover.

🦈 Great White Shark – My mate Bruce from Jaws is probably the most famous Great White. These sharks can have up to 300 teeth!

🦈 Bull Shark – These are the sharks most likely to attack people and have been found with strange objects in their stomachs including licence plates!

🦈 Mako Shark – The Fastest Shark award 🏆 goes to the Mako.

🦈 Sand Tiger Shark – A sand tiger shark in a New York aquarium lived more than twice as long as the average wild sand tiger shark.

🦈 Nurse Shark – Nurse sharks live at the bottom of the ocean.

🦈 Cookiecutter Shark – The bellies of these sharks glow in the dark.

🦈 Tiger Shark – Tiger Sharks have the nickname “garbage can of the sea”.

🦈 Greenland Shark – The Slowest Shark award 🏆 goes to the Greenland Shark.

🦈 Spiny Dogfish – These sharks have been overfished and are in danger of extinction.

🦈 Lemon Shark – Their eyesight is poor so they need to rely on other senses to find food.

🦈 Sawshark – Their prey include shrimp, worms and shellfish.

🦈 Basking Shark – They form groups (schools) that can range from a couple up to 100 sharks, unlike most other sharks who are loners.

🦈 Frilled Shark – Rarely seen alive by humans, Frilled Sharks live at the bottom of the ocean.

🦈 Blue Shark – World travellers, these sharks swim about 1000 miles (1609 kilometres) each year.

🦈 Wobbegong Shark – They have flat bodies and are a type of carpet shark.

🦈 Leopard Shark – Groups of leopard sharks are social and are known to hang out with other types of sharks.

🦈 Great Hammerhead Shark – Their favourite food are stingrays but will also eat sharks, including other hammerheads.

🦈 Goblin Shark – Only 50 Goblin Sharks have been seen since they were first discovered in the late 1800’s.

🦈 Megamouth Shark – Megamouths are filter-feeders.

🦈 Whale Shark – The Largest Fish in the Sea award 🏆 goes to the Whale Shark.

Each shark file provides ‘fast facts’ which include the length of the shark and a picture showing the size comparison of that shark and a person (in feet and metres), how much the shark weighs (in pounds and kilograms) and a world map highlighting where it lives. I love that each shark file contains a Shark Bite that explains what that type of shark eats, what its teeth look like and for the majority of sharks an accompanying close up photo of its smile.

Included with the book are three replica teeth that kids can identify using their new knowledge and they can make a shark tooth necklace with the cord that’s also included. I would’ve loved wearing that necklace as a kid.

Thank you so much to NetGalley and Quarto Publishing Group – becker&mayer! kids for the opportunity to read this book.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

Peek into the jaws of 20 of the ocean’s most dangerous predators with the next title in the Creature Files series! Creature Files: Sharks features photos, facts, and maps that provide up-close tours of some of the most terrifying sharks in the seas.

Did you know that a shark can grow over 20,000 new teeth in its lifetime? Or that some sharks will eat anything, from tiny fish to license plates from cars?

An incredible amount of information about sharks can be revealed by examining the teeth and jaws of the 20 jaw-snapping species covered here, in Creature Files: Sharks. From aggressive sharks like the great white to the truly weird ones like the goblin shark, this book is packed with awesome photos and fascinating facts about the ocean’s most amazing predators.   

Three specially molded replica teeth are included in the front cover, so you can feel the power of a shark’s real bite – and deduce which sharks the teeth come from using your new shark-bite expertise.

This book also includes a breakaway cord to make your own shark-tooth necklace! 

Shark Island – Donna McGough

Shark Island is an entertaining adventure story for readers from 9 to 12 years. With a shipwreck, shark infested waters, an island that may or may not be inhabited and the possibility of hidden treasure, there is plenty of action and potential danger in store for our characters.

We start this story on board a deep-sea fishing expedition off the Florida Keys coast. On board are best friends Charlie and Jake, Jake’s cousin Natalie, an old sea captain with an artificial leg that is rumoured to have resulted from a shark attack, and the ship’s Australian first mate, Nathan. Natalie’s personality reminds me a bit of Hermoine Granger.

I’m not sure whose responsibility it was to check the weather radar before they set off for the expedition that day but before too long they’re in the middle of a huge storm which results in a shipwreck. The three children and Nathan wind up together at Shark Island, where many before have tried and failed to find the rumoured ancient treasure that’s buried in shark guarded caves.

While there isn’t a focus on character development in Shark Island the reader is given sufficient detail to be able to picture each character. There’s enough information given so when decisions are made throughout the book they line up well with what the reader knows about that character’s personality or motivation. I would have liked for some off page action to have been described more but at only 96 pages there’s only so much detail you can go into.

I love the cover illustration of this book. You’re face to face with a shark who’s swimming towards you. In the background there’s a shark fin above the water scarily close to the fishing boat, which looks to be struggling against the power of the ocean in wild weather. Way in the background is just the hint of land.

Before you’ve opened this book you know it’s going to involve a perilous journey and for me the anticipation began as soon as I saw that image. I love shark stories. Rick Sanders has done a wonderful job capturing the tension with this illustration. I really liked the illustration of a shark’s tooth at the beginning of each chapter as well.

The text on Robin Krauss’ cover design stands out without overshadowing or covering up any of the main elements in the illustration. While the font for the author’s name is fairly bland and forgettable, the title font is appropriately rugged and weathered.

I thought the inclusion of the “Your Turn” questions at the end of most chapters was a clever way to pull the reader into the story and to make them think about what they’ve read. Besides ensuring the reader has comprehended the preceding chapter the questions also encourage creative thinking, asking the reader to consider what they would have done in a situation or what they think will happen next.

When I was in primary school some teachers would read portions of books to my class on specific days and tasks were then set based on what was happening in the story at the time. I can definitely see this book being used in classrooms. The questions at the end of chapters would be a perfect starting point for classroom discussions and the final chapter question is just begging to be used as a creative writing exercise.

I wasn’t a fan of the people indigenous to Shark Island being referred to as “savage natives”. Theirs is one scene I would have preferred to happen on page, if only to point out to the reader how wrong that preconception was, as the description made them appear helpful but somewhat cranky.

I would have liked to have known more of Nathan’s backstory and I would have liked some more shark scenes, but I say this as someone just slightly older than the target audience. I expect I would have been closer to 9 than 12 when I would have enjoyed this type of book the most.

For those it’s intended for there’s good dialogue between the characters, enough suspense and potential danger to be exciting but not too scary, and plenty of action to keep the plot moving along.

Thank you so much to NetGalley and thewordverve inc. for the opportunity to read this book.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

A boating adventure turns wild! 

Three friends, pre-teens, embark on a deep-sea fishing excursion. Their weathered and wise captain has just one leg – thanks to a shark attack from long ago. Nate, the first mate, dreams of treasures not yet discovered. The kids just want to do some fishing. 

When an unexpected storm comes along, the boat loses course, and with the high waves and furious waters, the passengers and crew are tossed into the ocean to fight for their lives. 

New reality sets in. They are on a deserted island, surrounded by sharks. Hence, its name: SHARK ISLAND. 

Legend says there is a treasure there. And Nate will do anything to find it – including putting the youngsters in harm’s way. 

Will the kids survive the harrowing experience? Will they return home to their families? Will the captain be able to lead his mates to safety? 

And what about those natives?

Shark Lady: The True Story of How Eugenie Clark Became the Ocean’s Most Fearless Scientist – Jess Keating

Illustrations – Marta Álvarez Miguéns

Shark Lady is the inspiring true story of Eugenie Clark, who I had never heard of but definitely need to learn more about. In this beautifully illustrated children’s book the reader is taken on a journey from when Eugenie first discovers her love of sharks at the aquarium through to her lifelong study of these magnificent animals, academically and in the field.

Defying the cultural expectations of her gender that said girls were not “smart enough to be scientists or brave enough to explore the oceans” (BOO!), Eugenie did both and became known as Shark Lady (WOOHOO!). Throughout her life some of the amazing things she accomplished included writing books and journal articles, discovering new species of fish and dispelling myths about sharks.

Included in this book are some Shark Bites (two pages of information about sharks) and a timeline of Eugenie’s life. Eugenie lived into her 90’s and spent her final birthday scuba diving! How cool is this lady?! 💜 Her story is inspirational and a testament to what hard work combined with believing in your dreams can amount to.

I remember needing to do a report to the class in early high school where you chose an animal and talked about its biology. I chose sharks and no one could understand why. Ever since Bruce nearly scared the life out of me while watching Jaws as a young child I’ve been fascinated by these extraordinary creatures, so I particularly loved Eugenie’s story.

Marta Álvarez Miguéns’ illustrations are so beautiful! I love that the marine life looks real, rather than a cartoon version of them and adored that the clothing worn by everyone at the aquarium when Eugenie was a child were appropriate for the early 1930’s, even including an array of fantastic hats. My favourite illustration is the one where the sharks watch from behind the library shelves as Eugenie studies. There are so many imaginative illustrations and they help bring the wonder and passion of this girl to life.

I’d recommend this book to children and adults alike. Future scientists will be encouraged by her story and I hope after reading this book that anyone with a dream will be inspired to follow it, regardless of what anyone else thinks. This is one of those marvellous books that makes me so proud to be a woman. GIRL POWER! 😃

P.S. I love that my library buys books like this one!!!

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

At 9 years old, Eugenie Clark developed an unexpected passion for sharks after a visit to the Battery Park Aquarium in New York City. At the time, sharks were seen as mindless killing machines, but Eugenie knew better and set out to prove it. Despite many obstacles in her path, Eugenie was able to study the creatures she loved so much. From her many discoveries to the shark-related myths she dispelled, Eugenie’s wide scientific contributions led to the well-earned nickname “Shark Lady.”

Inside Out Sharks – David George Gordon

I’m really enjoying the bite sized chunks (sorry!) of information in this Inside Out series. This book provides interesting facts about sharks’ skeletal system, cardiopulmonary system, reproductive system, digestive system, liver, sensory/nervous system, muscular system, and dermal system.

Did you know that the disks in a shark’s vertebrae have growth rings? You can tell the age of a shark by counting the rings, just like you can with trees.

“Female blue sharks can have litters as large as 135 pups!”

Some of the more interesting items found in the stomachs of captured sharks include a cuckoo clock and a suit of armour.

Ever since Jaws taught me to be afraid to go back into the water I’ve been fascinated by sharks, especially Great Whites. Hey, did you know Great Whites can live 70 or more years? When I first saw Jaws he was the most terrifying thing I could imagine. After watching my mate Bruce rip people to pieces I was convinced he had the power to come out of the shower head in pieces and magically reform before my eyes before he ate me while I showered. I was under 7 at the time and had a marvellously detailed imagination.

Like the Egyptian Mummy book I’ve already read in this series I loved the layout of the pages, with a nice balance of text, illustrations and photos. I also personally appreciated the pronunciation help with more difficult words such as “elasmobranchs (i-LAZ-muh-branks)”, the group of fish sharks belong to.

While my journey through this book wasn’t in 3-D as I received a digital copy, I can imagine how much fun a kid in my life would have learning about sharks while playing with the interactive die-cut model, if they managed to pry it out of my hands first. I would have loved using this as a resource for a school project or reading it for my own enjoyment. While aimed at kids aged 8 and above, adults will also enjoy learning more about these awesome creatures.

Thank you so much to NetGalley and Quarto Publishing Group – becker&mayer! kids for the opportunity to read this book.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

Journey inside a shark and live to tell the tale! With Inside Out: Shark, you’ll take a three-dimensional tour through a different sharks to learn about the unique bodies of these eating machines! 

Sharks are some of nature’s largest and most ancient creatures on the planet. This is your chance to learn how they move, how they work, and tons of facts about how they live. Inside Out Sharks brings you all of this information and a whole lot more!

Why are shark eggs called “mermaid purses”? What in the world are “skin-teeth”? Do sharks deserve the nickname “man-eater”? Find the answers to these questions and more in this action-packed book, which dives deep under the surface to explore the world of these astounding animals.

From the eerie goblin shark to the wide-eyed hammerhead to the most feared shark of them all, the great white, see the world from a shark’s-eye-view – and get an in-depth look at these most mysterious and misunderstood predators. 

The (Not) Sleepy Shark – Tamia Sheldon

The (Not) Sleepy Shark is a cute bedtime story for little kiddies (👶🏽). It tells the story of Amelia the shark (🦈) who is unable to sleep one night and is bored so she meets up with some of her friends and finds out why they’re not sleeping either. We meet May the seahorse (🌊 🐴), a clownfish called Jester (🤡 🐟), Ada the turtle (🐢), Hanna the crab (🦀), Sasha the seal (🌊L), a large school of fish (🐟🐠🐟🐠), Olivia the octopus (🐙) and Lucy the whale (🐳).

Each friend Amelia meets has a reason they can’t fall asleep (except Lucy who’s ready for bed), mirroring the multitude of excuses reasons why kidlets will tell their parents why they can’t sleep yet … worries about bad dreams, wanting to tell jokes, needing a drink, too cold, too hot, annoyed by someone, hungry, and wanting to play. I personally excelled at the needing a drink trick. The payoff for going to sleep now is that tomorrow you’ll be rested and will wake up with plenty of energy.

I was disappointed that we never got to find out Amelia’s excuse reason for not being able to sleep. Whether it had something to do with the fact that there were no parents in sight during the entire book could’ve had something to do with it. Maybe Amelia was wanting to hang out with each of her friends because she was scared of having to go back to her cave all by herself?

I’ve loved sharks ever since I got over the trauma of watching Jaws for the first time at about 6 years old. You want a reason to not be able to sleep, kids? Just watch Jaws as a child with an overactive imagination. It’s one of my favourite movies now though. Go figure!!

So with my shark obsession in tow I decided I had to read this book. It was cute and I enjoyed it but felt like there was something lacking. I’ve pondered this for a few days now and I think my lack of connection to this book is because of the illustrations. Don’t get me wrong; they are nice pictures. It’s just none of the animals seemed to have personalities or individual little character traits that shone through.

Thank you so much to NetGalley and Xist Publishing for the opportunity to read this book.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

Amelia the shark is tired but she’s not ready to sleep. In this fun bedtime book, a silly shark explores the way other sea animals get ready for bed until she’s finally ready to say goodnight.