- If Sharks Disappeared by Lily Williams
ISBN 978-1-62672-413-6 $17.99
Reviewed from galleys R 5–7 yrs
A lanky, brown-skinned young girl serves as cartoon guide as Williams posits what might happen if sharks, as apex predators in their marine food chain, weren’t around to keep the ecosystem in balance. At descending levels in the chain, some species would enjoy a temporary bump in population, overeating their prey, and once the lowly fish that feast on plankton disappear, “that could make the ocean a thick sludge.” An unlivable ocean affects the animals that live near it, and their loss in turn affects interior populations, resulting in a “pattern of cause and effect, called a trophic cascade.” The little girl, who moves freely among charts, timelines, healthy and dystopian seas, and her family’s fishing boat, leaves young listeners on a positive note, enjoying a shark sighting in a sea we can still protect. Williams closes with information about reasons for decline of shark populations, bullet points on “being a conscious consumer,” resource notes, and remarks on how she arrived at her speculations. Even shark-averse kids will be glad the predators are still around.