Cover image for The great white man-eating shark : a cautionary tale
The great white man-eating shark : a cautionary tale
Mahy, Margaret.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Dial Books for Young Readers, 1990.
Physical Description:
25 unnumbered pages : color illustrations ; 24 cm
Greedy to have the cove where he swims all to himself, Norvin, who looks a bit like a shark, pretends to be one, scaring off the other swimmers and leaving him in happy aquatic solitude--until he is discovered by an amorous female shark.
Reading Level:
880 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 4.8 0.5 6068.

Reading Counts RC K-2 2.4 2 Quiz: 04796 Guided reading level: L.
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
J PIC. BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books

On Order



Norvin has just two talents: acting and swimming. But there's a problem--he looks like a shark! He devises a fiendish plan, and soon has the water to himself; or does he? A perfect beach book for all year round. Illustrated

Author Notes

Margaret Mahy was born on March 21, 1936 in Whakatane, Bay of Plenty, New Zealand. She received a B.A. degree from the University of New Zealand. She worked as a nurse, an assistant librarian, and a children's librarian in England and New Zealand. Her first book, A Lion in the Meadow, was published in 1969. She became a full-time author in 1980. During her lifetime, she wrote more than 120 children's books including The Haunting, The Changeover, Memory, The Seven Chinese Brothers, The Man Whose Mother Was a Pirate and A Summery Saturday Morning. She won the Esther Glen Award five times, the Carnegie Medal of the British Library Association three times, the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award, Hans Christian Andersen Award, and in 1999, she won the New Zealand Post Children's Book Award in two categories, Picture Book and Supreme Award. She died after a brief illness on July 23, 2012 at the age of 76.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Ages 6-9. Talent is easy to abuse, as young Norvin discovers in this cautionary tale. Blessed with the ability to act but cursed with a face and body that resemble a shark more than a thespian, Norvin cleverly decides to take up swimming. It's not Broadway, but what can you do when nobody's writing "plays with good parts for sharks"? Soon Norvin has learned to "shoot through the water like a silver arrow," but there's a problem: the other swimmers get in the way. Not to worry--with the help of a homemade dorsal fin, Norvin starts a shark panic and clears his beloved Caramel Cove. So far so good, but then Norvin, like so many talented people before him, gets greedy. Determined to have the cove all to himself all the time, he keeps his fin in place a little too long, ultimately attracting a female shark. (Norvin may be a funny-looking boy, but he's the Tom Selleck of sharks.) Mahy and illustrator Allen play the offbeat premise mostly for laughs--combining nicely understated text with brightly colored, manic drawings. But there's a grown-up message lurking not far under the surface of Caramel Cove: talent is a gift, and gifts must be handled graciously. A good story to read aloud to gifted and talented students of any age. --Ilene Cooper

Publisher's Weekly Review

Although very different from her acclaimed 17 Kings and 42 Elephants , Mahy's newest book is sure to be a winner. The star is a crafty boy named Norvin, whose acting aspirations are thwarted by the fact that ``he looked very like a shark.'' So Norvin takes to the water instead, but gets cross when the other swimmers at Caramel Cove get in his way. The resourceful lad makes a plastic dorsal fin and straps it to his back. He then proceeds to terrify the other swimmers, who cower on the sand and refuse to go back in the water for days. Now Norvin has the cove to himself--until an amorous female shark appears, and Norvin discovers--to his horror--that his disguise fools even her. Mahy's amusing tongue-in-cheek tale meets its match in Allen's droll drawings. Norvin's wonderfully shifty eyes and the vivid expressions on the faces of his victims are certain to tickle funnybones. Ages 4-8. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

K-Gr 4-It's love at first bite when a boy in a shark costume attracts the attention of a real shark who has romantic designs on him. A quirky combination of Jaws and The Boy Who Cried Wolf. (Jan. 1990) (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.