Review Blog

Jul 11 2018

Ariki and the giant shark by Nicola Davies

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Walker Books, 2018. ISBN 9781406369793
(Age: 8+) Highly recommended. Ariki is a young island girl with a love for the sea. She has lived on her island her whole life but she is still seen as a stranger because she wasn't born there. Ariki was washed ashore as a toddler and has no knowledge of where she is from. Ariki is also very different to the other islanders due to her tattoos - they are dots and lines rather than lines and swirls. her tattoos are also on the opposite side to other girls. The island is suffering as the fish are not swimming which means no food. When the nihui (sharks) gather in abundance and as an even larger shark appears, the islanders believe they are under attack and must hunt and kill this monster shark. Ariki thinks differently. Her tattoos tingle when she is in the water with this creature. The cave etchings she discovers, thanks to the younger children, show this giant creature needs help from humans. Can Ariki, her friend Ipo, her guardian Arohaka and eight children help this creature while the rest of the island wants to destroy it?
"Ariki and the Giant Shark" is a beautiful island adventure and story about being yourself and believing in your gifts. Ariki is an excellent role model for young readers because she is strong, adventurous and independent despite being called names and not having a traditional family to care for her. The story is descriptive and easy to read, making it a great read aloud story for bedtime or even in the classroom. It is a story from another culture, connecting it to learning about Australia's neighbours in Geography. This book is highly recommended for independent readers aged 8+.
Kylie Kempster

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