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  • Writer's pictureNZ Booklovers

Sunny the Shark by Remi Lai

Sunny the Shark has a new adventure, this time he is surviving the wild as Remy Lai takes readers on an underwater adventure full of the twists and turns that come from any adventure where the shark is the main character.

Lai tackles controversial issues right alongside a cute story of friendship and adventure. Topics such as climate change and ocean protection are vital to the story as we journey through the magical world. Presented as a graphic novel, the drawings are simple, but highly effective. It’s easy to see doodlings from the part of the reader coming through - they are certainly prevalent in our household.

As aforementioned, the messaging is really thorough and highly poignant given the current climate situation. In particular, the case against polluting the sea with rubbish from land. Sunny’s world is definitely in turmoil once his flipper gets caught in some pollution found in the sea.

This then does not allow Sunny to do normal shark ‘things’ like hunting and exploring. Things become a little serious at this point. Despite the friendliness of the imagery and the cover, the topics become fairly intense quickly. It is not a happy, friendly, uplifting tale. But it definitely hits home with the level of trouble that the litter causes.

Overall, this is Lai’s third in the series and the depiction of the shark is beautifully constructed. The simplistic approach of the illustrations brings a wonderful feel to the story, but the dialogue (despite being at a lower level) has moments of intensity around the impacts of climate change.

Sunny the Shark is not so sunny in demeanour by the end, and the final comment about the true inspiration behind the story is testament to the damage that has been irrevocably done to the ocean.

Reviewer: Chris Reed

Allen & Unwin

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