The inspiration for my new picture book, Land Shark, illustrated by Ben Mantle, and published by Chronicle Books, came from a cuddly puppy with some tiny teeth . . .
which inflicted some big damage!
Which prompted a little research.
Which resulted in some interesting facts:
• Up until the 16th century, sharks were known among sailors as “sea dogs”.
• Baby sharks are called “pups”
• Sharks can smell one drop of blood in a million drops of water. Dogs can detect a teaspoon of sugar in one million gallons of water.
• Dogs eat garbage. Tiger sharks eat garbage.
You get the drift.
And that drift floated me right into the idea of Land Shark, a book about a shark-loving boy who comes to realize that puppies have oh, so many shark-like qualities. As the boy grows to love and appreciate his new puppy, he realizes he can love more than just sharks and that, in fact, there are a lot of amazing things to love, puppies included.
Land Shark is my sophomore picture book, publishing just as my daughter is finishing her sophomore year of high school and my son is beginning his sophomore year in college. The word sophomore translates loosely into “wise fool”, which seems pretty appropriate, because although I know a lot more than I did a few years ago, there is much, much more to learn about writing and publishing.
And see how the word “more” is lodged so nicely in the word “sophomore”.
Because there is always more to know, to do, to try, to learn, to write.
Sophomore also rhymes with some other great words, so to segue a bit into some random things . . .
I abhor swimming far out in the ocean (more than 10 feet) because I am scared of sharks!
I love to explore connections between words.
I live next door to a wildlife management area so I often see wild turkeys, foxes, deer and giant snapping turtles.
I often ignore traditional meal suggestions and eat pizza for breakfast and pancakes and cereal for dinner.
I deplore getting up early.
I adore receiving my author copies and seeing a stack of my very own books.
Holding a copy of Land Shark was just as exciting as holding Stick and Stone. Every book is unique and different, but just as jaw-some, I mean, awesome! I am excited for this book and hope kids will join Bobby on his frightful, bite-ful, delightful journey. Now excuse me as my own not-so-little bite of inspiration is barking to go out.
Beth Ferry is the author of the New York Times Bestseller: Stick and Stone, published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, available April 7, 2015. She is also the author of Land Shark, coming August 4, 2015 and Pirate’s Perfect Pet setting sail in the Fall of 2016. Her latest picture book, Swashby and the Sea, will be released in 2017. Beth writes and lives by the beach in New Jersey with her family and two lazy land sharks. You can learn more at http://www.bethferry.com.
Now, as promised in the title, here is the super easy Shark Puppet Craft (Compliments of Darlene).
All you need to make a cool shark puppet are:
A long business-size envelope, black marker, tape and scissors. I used pinking shears to give the shark’s mouth “teeth”, and regular scissors for the tail end.
1. Seal the envelope. Draw a line in one end, and a triangle on the other as shown in the photo.
2. Cut along the drawn lines, saving the triangle for the fin. You can discard the tail end.
3. Tape the fin to the shark’s back. Draw an eye and gills as shown. Flip it over and do the same on the other side.
4. Put your arm into the envelope and make the shark “swim”.