Gift from the Heart: Clark the Shark Takes Heart by Bruce Hale
IF YOU LIKE A GIRL AND IT'S ALMOST HER BIRTHDAY, WHAT DO YOU DO?" CLARK ASKED HIS BEST FRIEND, JOEY MACKEREL.
Clark the Shark is a guy who makes no small gestures. When his mentor in all things social suggests that he send his crush, Anna Angelfish, some candy and a card, to the ebullient Clark the tried-and-true girl-pleasing gift seems too dull.
"WHAT WOULD IMPRESS ANNA ANGELFISH THE MOST?" HE WORRIED. THEN HE HAD A SHARK-ARIFIC IDEA!"
He spots a sign, SWIM RACE TODAY," and Clark thinks that winning the race and dedicating his win to the birthday girl would really score with a speedy fish like Anna. Being the biggest fish in the inlet, he takes the lead easily, but when he looks back to see if Anna is impressed, he gets off course and crashes into the reef. Bummer!
Efforts to impress Anna by rescuing her from a stuck school sub-bus just make a mess of the bus, and Clark despairs of ever impressing Anna Angelfish.
"SOMETIMES," ADVISES JOEY, "GOOD THINGS COME IN SMALL PACKAGES."
And the third time is the charm, as Clark finds just the right small gift to win Anna's favor, in Bruce Hale's latest Clark the Shark saga of mastering undersea social skills, in Clark the Shark Takes Heart (HarperCollins, 2015). Hale's deft narration helps readers understand that sometimes what appears to showing off is just a lack of more subtle interpersonal skills. And then, sometimes "Less is more," as Clark learns in a lesson in affairs of the heart at Theodore Roosterfish Elementary School. Illustrator Guy Frances again does a fine job of portraying personalities and interpersonal relations among denizens of the deep in charming style.
Other similarly themed Clark the Shark stories are Clark the Shark and Clark the Shark Dares to Share (See my reviews here.)