Recently released Land Shark by Beth Ferry and illustrated by Ben Mantle from Chronicle Books (fall 2015)  is a covert pet acquisition operation by one boy to convince his parents to buy him the ultimate birthday present, a pet shark.  So his parents do what any parent would do, they buy him a puppy.


book review of Land Shark by Beth Ferry and illustrated by Ben Mantle


This picture book is perfect as kids at this age 3-9 ask for all kinds of pets.  And they can ask for outrageous ones.  My one son for awhile was asking me for a poisonous tree frog.  Really!  Sometimes it seems the more exotic the better. After I repeated my rule of no poisonous pets in our house rule about a 1,000 times did he finally relent and say ok, how about a dog?  I guess a puppy is better than a poisonous tree frog or a shark.  Read on to find out about the book Land Shark and the early writing activity sheet.
Land Shark

Author: Beth Ferry

Illustrator: Ben Mantle

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Published Date: 2015

Recommended Ages: 3-8.

Bobby wants more than anything to get a pet shark for his birthday so he devises a plan to convince his parents.  He leaves notes conveniently where his parents will find them.  Only he never openly tells them he wants a shark, he just wants a pet.  Well, you can image the disappointment on Bobby’s birthday when he receives a puppy instead of a shark.  Dogs are cuddly, sweet, adorable and sharks are not.  Bobby is adamant that:

Shark lovers cannot be converted to dog lovers. EVER!

The next morning when Bobby wakes up he is delighted at all the destruction his new little puppy has caused.  Bobby’s delight grows through the week as the little puppy continues to wreck havoc all through the house causing everyone to become grumpy.  Bobby is convinced that his mom will return the puppy and get the shark now.  But is that what he wants?  Could a shark lover be converted to dog lover as well?

What I loved about the book:

Cute and creative story with bright, colourful illustrations and I loved how the puppy grew on the boy and even though he didn’t get what he wanted for his birthday he did learn to love the one he did get.  How many times do kids not receive the gift they were drooling over but receive something else.  This story, in my family anyways, opened up the discussion of appreciating the gifts you do receive and how to handle disappoint.  And of course, it opened up the conversation of the endless battle over when can we get a pet?


Now whenever my kids ask for a pet I use a pro/con list to listen to their concerns but also so they can understand why mom and dad might not want a pet.  Feel free to use this sheet if you would like.  It is available as a free download.

This is a great early writing activity as well for kids as they just have to focus on single words and not complete sentences.  For older kids, this can be used as an advanced organizer to a paragraph writing piece on convincing their parents of buying them a pet.  Have kids pick from the pictures at the top of page or they can choose any animal, reptile, fish etc… even fictional animals or monsters perhaps.

Here are some of guiding questions to think about:

Where will the pet sleep?

Does it need its own house?

What kind of food does it eat and where do we as a family find it or buy it?

Where will the animal pee/poop?  Who will clean it?

What happens if the animals gets sick?  Vet costs?

Does the animal need regular grooming?

Does the animal need regular exercise?

What happens to the pet if the family wants to go on vacation?

Is anyone in our family allergic to an animal?


early writing activity with kids

Free Printable Pro/Con List

 The creative possibilities are endless when having these conversations with children as they always see things from a different point of view and will come up with pros or cons that might even surprise you.

*Disclosure:  I received this book from Raincoast Books for review.  All opinions are my own.  I only post about books I found valuable or entertaining to my readers.  You can read my full Disclosure Policy here.  I do participate in the Amazon Affiliate Program so if you click on the links and purchase anything not just books I would receive a small commission. Thank you for supporting my small blog.

What is the strangest animal your child has asked for as a pet?  I would love to hear about it.


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Bonnie Dani

Educator, Writer, Blogger, Mom

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