by Michael Pellico
Illustrations by Christina Berry
This is an unusual and touching story about compassion, friendship, and a special bond that forms between two siblings and an unlikely predator, a great white shark. Brother and sister, Stephen and Sabrina, are on a tropical island in the South Pacific with no friends and months before school starts as their parents, marine biologists, conduct research. After a big storm hits the island, Sabrina and Stephen discover a baby great white shark that was injured and trapped in a tide pool. After grabbing supplies to treat the injured baby shark, Sabrina jumps into the tide pool and dresses its wound. Over the next couple months they feed and care for the baby shark until it was well and together the children carried it over to the shore and released it into the sea. To the children's surprise, the shark had grown attached to them and refused to leave. So all summer long he visited the children every day to swim and play around together. During this time the shark had grown up along with his appetite for larger prey which took him further and further away from the beach. Eventually the children stopped seeing the shark altogether and thought they would never see him again. That is, until one day the children witness a shipwreck and attempt to save the frightened people who were screaming and had jumped into the water. Unfortunately Stephen and Sabrina's boat also capsizes and they find themselves surrounded by sharks. Then out of nowhere an enormous adult great white shark appears and protects the children from harm. Recognizing the shark immediately the children are delighted to see their unusual friend and make it back to shore along with the passengers of the shipwreck. An Unusual Friend is a welcome change of pace that portrays one shark as a sensitive and intelligent creature. This book encourages a love and respect for ocean life and compassion for beings other than humans. The story shows that helping others can bring both happiness and unexpected rewards for good deeds. An Unusual Friend nurtures in young readers a compassion for creatures and a love for science and marine biology. This book earns a spot on the shelves of any sensitive and science-minded children, shark fans or budding marine biologists.
An Unusual Friend is a recipient of the prestigious Mom’s Choice Award. The Mom’s Choice Awards® (MCA) evaluates products and services created for entries are scored on a number of elements including production quality, design, educational value, entertainment value, originality, appeal and cost. Around the world, parents, educators, retailers and members of the media trust the MCA Honoring Excellence seal when selecting quality products and services for families and children.