Beginning Chapter Books Bullies--Fiction Fear--Fiction Sharks--Fiction (Grades 2-5)

Shark Alert! Sam Wu Is NOT Afraid of Sharks by Katie and Kevin Wang

From the outside the Aquarium looked a lot like the Space Museum–BIG.

“Hey, Sam Wu-ser! Do you have a stupid outfit for the aquarium, too?”

It was Ralph. Only Ralph thinks it’s hilarious to call me Sam Wu-ser–because it rhymes with loser.

Sam’s nemesis, Ralph Philip Zinkerman The Third, has made it his life work is to let nobody in the class forget the unfortunate INCIDENT at the Space Museum. So Sam hides his fear when Betty the Aquarium Lady puts his hand right on the back of a real stingray. But touching a stingray is nothing compared to that holy terror of the shark tank, Crazy Charlie, who seems to have his eye on no one but Sam.

THEN THE SHARK UNHINGED HIS BIG JAW AND SHOWED ALL ITS TEETH… AND CHARGED.

AARRGH!said everybody who had seen Crazy Charlie ram his head into the glass.

But Ralph Philip Zinkerman laughs and points at Sam.

“Scaredy Cat Sam is scared of SHARKS!”

At least I hadn’t wet my pants like I did at the Space Museum, Sam thought.

Sam figures he’s pretty safe from sharks as long as he stays away from large bodies of water, but of course Ralph’s parents make him invite everyone in the class to his birthday party, and of course his birthday party is at the BEACH, which means that the shark-infested ocean will be only a few steps away.

Sam’s Space Blaster buddies Zoe and Bernard remind him that they will be there. They do research at the library on sharks, and Sam screws up his courage to venture onto the beach. He’s planning to stay busy building sandcastles safely away from the waterline, but then he sees a black fin approaching an old man in the water.

He is even older than Na-Na.

If ever Na-Na is ever in the ocean and about to be eaten by a shark, I hope someone will save her, too!

Sam Wu comes through, wading bravely into the surf with the Space Blasters’ mantra on his lips: Do it for the universe! in Katie and Kevin Wang’s latest book, Sam Wu Is Not Afraid of Sharks (Sterling Books, 2019). Again Sam Wu gets by with a little help from his friends and triumphs over his fears and Ralph Philip Zinkerman III in a truly funny beginning chapter book, illustrated in black and white comic drawings by Nathan Reed. There’s even a hint of the Wang’s next book, as Ralph’s sister Regina has an invitation for Sam Wu:

“Do you think you could come over sometime and get the zombie werewolf out of our basement?”

Katie and Kevin Wang’s first book is Sam Wu Is Not Afraid of Ghosts (see review here).

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