‘Shark Whisperer’ first in a promising kids book series
Marine scientist Ellen Prager wrote The Shark Whisperer, a novel about the importance of sharks, told through the eyes of a boy who discovers that he can communicate with sharks. Illustrates KIDSPOST-BOOKS (category l), by Mary Quattlebaum, special to The Washington Post. Moved Wednesday June 4, 2014. (MUST CREDIT: Rodrigo Garvla)
The Shark Whisperer, by Ellen Prager, is a book about the importance of sharks, told through the eyes of a child who discovers that he can communicate with sharks. Illustrates KIDSPOST-BOOKS (category l), by Mary Quattlebaum, special to The Washington Post. Moved Wednesday June 4, 2014. (MUST CREDIT: No photo credit required)
A kid who swims with sharks?
That would be Tristan Hunt, the 12-year-old hero of The Shark Whisperer. He goes to a beach camp expecting sand and sunburn but discovers a new talent: communicating with sharks.
Like Tristan, the book’s author, Ellen Prager, has gotten very close to sharks; she has even petted them. Studying sharks and other sea creatures is part of her job as a marine scientist.
“Some of the adventures in this novel actually happened to me!” Prager said in a phone interview.
In The Shark Whisperer, Tristan and his friends learn how to use their special talents to help the oceans. When dead sharks appear close to a tiny island in the Bahamas, the camp director and kids must track down and stop the killer. They travel to a marine lab where Prager once worked. They even catch one of her favorite sights: an undersea “light show” of glowing worms.
Just as happens with real sharks, the book’s fictional sharks have a problem: They are being “finned.” A villain is cutting off their fins and tossing the bodies back in the sea. The fins are then sold to make an expensive soup that is popular in parts of Asia.
“Millions of sharks die like this every year,” Prager said. “This is very harmful to oceans because sharks are important predators.” They help keep the fish population in balance.
Prager is a big fan of the best-selling series of Percy Jackson books. Like author Rick Riordan, who mixes adventure with Greek myths, she writes books that include action and humor, science and sea creatures. The Shark Whisperer is the first novel in a series called Tristan Hunt and the Sea Guardians. If Tristan swims with sharks in this book, will he actually ride them in the next one, The Shark Rider? Find out next spring!