Sunny the shark by Remy Lai

cover image

Sunny the oceanic white tip shark is just looking for a bit of peace and quiet, away from noisy seagulls, in the depths of the open ocean where it is cooler. It is not long before that peace is shattered when a school of little fish race up asking for help to escape a hungry tuna fish. On seeing Sunny, with her sharp teeth, the tuna turns tail and swims away. The little fish are very grateful and want to stay safely with Sunny saying they can offer something in return. Sunny replies “what could you have to offer? The great gift of noise?” It turns out they can remove parasites from the shark’s gills and clean her teeth. They promise to be quiet but that doesn’t last! Sunny is caught and tagged by a marine research team but then she becomes entangled in a loop of plastic attached to a discarded balloon. As she grows the plastic gets tighter around her fins and Sunny finds it harder and harder to hunt for food. Time passes and she gets weaker and slower but Sunny is encouraged by her constant companions, the noisy, but supportive, little fish and the barnacles living on the ring of plastic. It seems she will never be rid of it in spite of attempts by the researchers and a diver.

There is a happy ending and at the end of the book is the real story of a shark with a plastic ring around her neck and details about the types of shark and little pilot fish that often accompany them. There is also a section about plastic rubbish in the ocean and ways to avoid it. Described as part of an “inspiring series for young readers” the message is not overdone with the emphasis on the story. This colourful and fun graphic novel has plenty of adventures, beautifully drawn and engaging characters, equally suitable for young readers or for storytelling.

Themes: Sharks, Plastic pollution.

Sue Speck