Arthur A. Levine Books
Arthur A. Levine Books 

Shark God, The Shark God, The

Written by Rafe Martin
Illustrated by David Shannon

David Shannon and Rafe Martin reunited!

Almost ten years ago Rafe Martin and David Shannon set the standard for folktale interpretations with their unforgettable rendition of the Algonquin Cinderella tale, The Rough-Face Girl. Since then David Shannon has received a Caldecott Honor and Rafe Martin has delighted audiences across the nation with his storytelling. Their talents have deepened and broadened, and here, in this thrilling reunion, they show that their collaboration still sparkles with a unique chemistry.

Many will hear echoes of the biblical flood story in this tense and moving Hawaiian legend: a righteous family, a cruel and callous civilization, a deity whose wrath brings a terrible storm of destruction, leaving one lone boat untouched…

But heaven is truly in the details of this glorious picture book – in the dramatic phrasing of Martin’s perfectly paced text, and in the Gaugin-like splendor of Shannon’s gloriously colored canvases.


“The winning partnership that created The Rough-Face Girl (1992) reunites with this dramatic, beautifully illustrated adaptation of an ancient Hawaiian legend. . . . In text and images, the story creates a potent sense of atmosphere, power, and suspense. Children will feel the roaring Shark God's murky lair, see his "strong, sharp, white teeth," and sense his ferocious omnipotence, impressively portrayed in vibrant paintings reminiscent of Gaugin and perfectly composed for large groups. . . . Great cover, too.” – Booklist, starred review

“There's enough joy, terror, and drama here to captivate any reader.” – Kirkus Reviews, starred review

“Based on an ancient legend from Hawaii, this story is sufficiently un-familiar and suspenseful to have appeal for storytellers and readers alike. . . . Given the fact that sharks are a source of endless fascination among children, this is a real find for story hours and individual readers as well.” – The Horn Book

“Shannon's sun-drenched tropical landscapes sometimes recall Gauguin's, but his powerful Hawaiian figures, far from standing silently in their tranquil paradise, look ready to burst forth from the spreads. Martin's suitably myth-like prose gives the story appropriate grandeur.” – Publishers Weekly

“Shannon's vigorous illustrations provide a dramatic backdrop for this well-told tale of cruelty and compassion as the merciless king faces the implacable justice of the Shark God. … From the vivid cover depicting the Shark God assuming a gigantic human form to the laughing sound of the royal drum as the liberated family sails off to a new home, this is a winning package.” – School Library Journal


National Association of Parenting Publications Gold Award

Barnes & Noble
Book Sense

Fall 2001
Picture Book
ISBN: 0-590-39500-9
Price: $15.95/$22.99
Trim Size: 8 1/2” x 11”
Page Count: 32
Foreign Rights: Scholastic
Translation Rights: Scholastic
Rights Available? yes



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