Wednesday, January 17, 2018

To Market, To Market! Clark The Shark Lost And Found by Bruce Hale

"Today is our field trip to the Farmers' Market," announced Mrs. Inkydink to the class.

"WOOHOO!" shouted Clark the Shark. "I've never seen a farmers' market!"

It's field trip time, and all the ebullient Clark can think about is the fun he's going to have with his friend Joey Mackerel.

Mrs. Inkydink, on the other hand, knows all the things that can go wrong on a field trip with her class of little golliwogs, so she launches into her Rules for A Field Trip lecture.

1. Hold hands with your partner!
2. Follow all directions!
3. Keep to your inside voices!

Of course, Clark the Shark is not listening. In fact he's busy telling Joey that a field trip means It's Playtime!

Right off the bus, Clark charges forward, with Joey at his tailfin, trying to keep up, as they swim toward the food vendors.

"LOOK at the food! YUM!"

The farmers' market is like a great big theme park to Clark and he dashes into the action, stuffing his toothy face, juggling goodies, dancing his funky shark dance, and swimming too fast for even the loyal Joey to keep up. It's a fine and fishy fun field trip. Until... Clark stops to look around.

Their class was out of sight!

He can't even see Joey! Clark The Shark is lost! Now he wishes he'd been listening to Mrs. Inkydink.

Is Clark the Shark lost at sea? In Bruce Hale's Clark the Shark: Lost and Found (I Can Read Level 1) (Harper, 2016), young readers will giggle at Clark's attempts to dredge his teacher's words out of his easily-distracted brain. Luckily, Mrs. Inkydink is on the job and all's well, with Clark (perhaps) learning his lesson for the day.

Author Hale handles his hyper Clark The Shark well by this point in the series, and perhaps young readers will get the message that there are times when it's really important to pay attention to the instructions. Illustrator Guy Frances adds plenty of underwater humor to the setting, and the two creators even add an appendix to this Level One I-Can-Read title, "Clark The Shark's Bite-Sized Facts" about (what else?) sharks!

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