Prather’s Pick: A book to help kids remember the rules |

Prather’s Pick: A book to help kids remember the rules

Diane Prather
Diane Prather

“Clark the Shark”, a picture book intended for ages 4 to 8, is another book that can be used to teach kids (both at home and at school) as well as to entertain them! The book was written by Bruce Hale and illustrated by Guy Francis. It is published by Harper, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers (2013).

I’m always blown away by the creativity of children’s writers and illustrators, like this book, for example. The story begins as a school bus is headed for Theodore Roosterfish Elementary. That isn’t unusual, except that this school bus is a small yellow submarine, and the school is a sunken ship with a hole in its side. (Wrecked or not, the school is rated a “top school for fish.”) The setting is the ocean.

The bus sub stops beside a bus sign, and Clark the Shark crawls out through the hatch—just barely because even though he’s a youngster, Clark is big, much bigger than the other pupils. He’s dressed in a red and white-striped shirt, and a tiny ball cap is perched on top of his head.

The teacher, Mrs. Inkydink, greets the students, which include a jellyfish, a variety of other fishes and a crab. Clark’s best friend is Joey Mackerel.

Mrs. Inkydink is a pastel-colored octopus who wears a yellow dress and has a yellow bow around her head. Talk about multitasking! Mrs. Inkydink uses her tentacles to write on the chalkboard, write on a paper with a pencil and hold onto other papers — all at the same time. When it’s time for the reading circle, she can hold three books at once.

Clark loves Mrs. Inkydink. In fact he loves everything about school. He loves playing upsy-downsy and spinna-ma-jig and lunchtime and reading — everything. The problem is that Clark is a bit too enthusiastic. He’s too loud, too rough, and at lunch everything smells so good that he helps himself to the other students’ food. It’s finally gotten so that the other students won’t play, eat, or sit with Clark.

So Mrs. Inkydink tells Clark that there’s a place for everything, and “Sometimes the rule is to stay cool.”

It isn’t easy, but Clark tries to calm himself down. Mrs. Inkydink helps. Clark decides to come up with other rhymes that will help him remember the rules, like “Only munch your own lunch.”

Then a new big kid, Sid the Squid, comes to school.

Learning to follow the rules is tough for kids. After reading this book to children (at home or at school), have them think of rhymes to help them remember the rules. The rhymes might be put on little posters to be hung up around the house or in the classroom. Kids might also enjoy finding out more about some of the ocean animals, including sharks.

“Clark the Shark” is a delightful book! Sally Beauchamp, children’s librarian at the Moffat County Library, pointed the book out to me the other day. She said that kids love it. So that’s where you can find the hardcover book. If you’d like to purchase the book (it costs about $17.99 in hardcover), check with Downtown Books or other bookstores.

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