Santa Jaws by Mark Sperring

cover image

Illus. by Sophie Corrigan. Bloomsbury, 2020. ISBN: 9781408897812.
(Age: 2+) Highly recommended. Shelly the shark is all set to make this Christmas a very festive one. She turns her cave into a Santa grotto and invites the little fishes to come in, but they are very wary and swim away. However, Sid the squid is very excited as he has not met Santa before:
. . . today's my LUCKY, LUCKY day.
Golly, whizz and gee!
For guess WHO's meeting Santa Claus?
Yes, me! Yes, me! Yes, me!
When he swims in finds that it is Shelly the shark in her diving Santa suit. Can he trust her?
This is a hilarious read aloud, from the creators of Mince Spies. The cadence of the rhythm and rhyming words make a rollicking read and young children will love to sing out the 'Yes, me!' And 'I am!' refrains along with Sid. The person reading it aloud can also make the story lots of fun by coming up with voices to suit the two main characters, who each have their own characteristics. Readers will identify with Sid and his desire to meet Santa, while relating to Shelly who has no friends and is not trusted by anyone. She is a misunderstood creature, and it was lovely to see Sid working with her to bring joy to all the sea creatures.
Illustrations are cute with lots of fishy details to examine and giggle over. Sid the squid with his long pink tentacles and big black eyes is a hoot. The double page spread where he realises that there was not a real Santa in the cave is hilarious, showing Shelly's gleaming white teeth and little Sid's tentacles bunched together. Newly independent readers will love to give this one a go as well with the illustrations complementing the narrative.
A fabulous fun Christmas book, it is perfect as a bedtime story as well and has become a firm favourite with my little grandson.
Pat Pledger