Tuesday, June 26, 2012
The Shark King by R. Kikuo Johnson
Kalei and her mysterious rescuer fall in love, marry, and soon a son is on the way. Shortly before the child is born, the husband goes swimming in the sea for hours When he returns, he announces, “I’m making a place for our son at the bottom of the pool.” At the bottom of the pool? Then, the night before the boy is born, he leaves completely, returning to the sea and revealing himself to be the Shark King.
Kalei is left to raise the boy, Nanaue (nah-NOW-way), on her own. But he is different from the other boys and villagers and must stay hidden. Eventually his secret is discovered when the villagers no longer catch any fish. Blaming Nanaue, the villagers chase him to the only place he can find safety - the pool - leaving Kalei alone.
The Shark King is one of Toon Books more difficult books, Level 3 on their Toon Into Reading scale for “Advanced Beginners.” Pronunciations like the ones in this review are included in the text. Readers will enjoy Nanaue’s antics that keep his mother busy, as any young boy's antics will. Readers will especially enjoy drawing conclusions about the mysterious Shark King and Nanaue. As with all graphic novels, the text is limited, leaving readers to use the images to understand the events. Should Nanaue wander farther and farther from home? Is Kalei truly left alone? Will Nanaue be safe in the pool?
The Shark King by R. Kikuo Johnson is another strong addition to the Toon Books library. But with Toon Books, that’s come to be expected with each new release.