Curb Your Enthusiasml! Clark the Shark by Bruce Hale
CLARK THE SHARK LOVED SCHOOL, AND HE LOVED HIS TEACHER MRS. INKYDINK.
OF ALL THE FISH AT THEODORE ROOSTERFISH ELEMENTARY SCHOOL, THE BIGGEST AND STRONGEST WAS CLARK THE SHARK!
Clark's enthusiasm for the school experience knows no bounds... and that's the problem.
"Lunchtime! Sweeeet!" he yells as he inhales all of his lunch and most of his tablemates' grub as well. His big voice drowns out even the teacher, and at recess Clark's cowabunga style dissuades the other students from even approaching the swings and slides.
There such a thing as too much of a good thing, and Clark's over-enthusiasm for everything is overwhelming for his friends and and a bit over the top for even his veteran teacher, Mrs. Inkydink. Clark is making waves. In fact, he's a dorsal-finned tsunami!
"SOMETIMES THE RULE IS STAY COOL IN SCHOOL!" SHE SAID.
But how can Clark keep that rule in mind? Every time the class transitions into a different activity, Clark's runaway enthusiasm makes a mess of everyone else's efforts. Then Clark begins to coach himself silently.
STAY COOL IN SCHOOL. HEY! THAT RHYMES!
Putting school rules into rhyme works! Soon Clark has concocted couplets for everything he needs to remember about being a good citizen in his class. Only your own lunch is yours to munch! No walking while Mrs. Inkydink is talking, he reminds himself, and it helps. The class and the teacher relax. Whew!
Bruce Hale's latest, Clark the Shark (Harper, 2013), points up what is a hard transition to classroom etiquette for some rookie students, learning not to overwhelm others with your own wants and ideas. And it's just in time for Clark the Shark, because a new student appears, Sid the Squid, whose size intimidates even Clark and who has his many hands all over everything in the room! Now it's time for Clark to teach this newbie the rules for a cool school! Hale's rhymes and Guy Francis' cartoon illustrations of an undersea school, nicely executed in watery palette and wavy lines, offer plenty of fun while the premise makes its point that everyone in a group needs to be considerate of all the others--a good message to keep in mind for back-to-school time!
Pair this one with Tom Lichtenheld's comic Shark vs. Train for a twosome of over-enthusiastic shark tales.