1, 2, 3, DO THE SHARK | Kirkus Reviews

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This companion volume to 1, 2, 3, Do the Dinosaur (2020) exploits the popularity of the song “Baby Shark.” Bess, her strawberry-blond braids peeking out from under the hood of her blue shark costume, sings and dances through an imaginary undersea world. Somewhat wordy verses and clunky rhymes tell a story “deep beneath the waves.” A huge storm whips the seaweed into motion, and Bess’ ocean friends are scared. Bess “flipped her tail and told them, / ‘Don’t be scared, just copy me.’ ” When a real shark shows up, it just wants to be included. Other illogical story elements underlie the tale and stretch credulity: Bess can breathe underwater? Sea creatures are scared by the motion of the water? Bess is firmly in charge of this fantasy. The cartoonlike sea creatures, including the toothy shark, follow her lead in an underwater dance. There’s a brief moment of suspense when the shark opens his mouth wide, but the page turn reveals “a great white smile.” On the final spread, the pace slows as Bess asks her friends to stretch their fins, wrap them tightly around their bodies, and “snuggle down. / 1, 2, 3….Sleep tight.”

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