Shark & Lobster’s Amazing Undersea Adventure

by Vicky on August 3, 2010

For my last “Make a Splash” storytime of the Summer Reading Program, I chose the book, Shark and Lobster’s Amazing Undersea Adventure, by Viviane Schwarz.  I’m indebted to my colleague, Heather Watson, who offered her Bruce the Shark puppet for me to use, because I would not have discovered this great book if I had not been casting about for a good shark story.  Our library system did not have it, and I ended up buying my own copy based on the rave reviews I found online.  We had a number of plastic lobsters that were part of our summer decor at the library, so I snagged one for my puppet show and I made the other puppets I needed for the story.

I love the blurb for the book on Viviane Schwarz’s website:

A story about fear, fun, stripes, and TEETH.
(Warning: Contains song)

Shark is scared.  Someone has told him about a thing that’s full of teeth and stripes…TIGERS!

So he and Lobster and a number of eager helpers decide to build a fortress so they will be safe from tigers.  This book is deliciously silly, and the text and illustrations complement each other perfectly.  The fortress eventually includes a piano (in my version, it was a marimba—because I just like saying that word and because my wooden tongue drum sounds a bit like a marimba and would fit on the puppet stage).

Shark even sings an operatic aria about the dangers of tigers, which I performed with gusto.  I seem to have lost all fear of looking like an idiot.

Unfortunately, Shark’s aria reawakens everyone’s fear of tigers, and they decide that they need “a truly frightful thing” to protect them.  They carry up a sleeping sea monster and tie it in a knot around their fortress and are singing and dancing and playing the marimba to celebrate. 

Naturally this awakens the sea monster, who chases everyone all around until it finally gets tired and goes home.

After surviving the sea monster attack, the imagined tigers seem less fearsome.  As Shark points out to his friend, Lobster, “I’M full of teeth, and YOU’RE full of stripes!

This was true. So from then on, they weren’t afraid of anything.

I had fun making a sea monster puppet out of an old towel, a plastic bottle, and various odds and ends.

Our page, Andrew, joined Mr. Matt again, and they passed out rhythm instruments to the kids and taught them two different simple rhythms to play against a calypso rhythm.  After the story, Matt and I held the limbo pole, and the kids could hardly wait to circle around and writhe under the ever-lowering pole.  I hope someone sends me some photos!  I don’t think I’ve ever seen such huge grins of delight on every single kid’s face! 

Note to self: find more stories from the West Indies.

Matt and Andrew continued drumming together as the kids worked on their sea monster masks.  These seemed to spark everyone’s dramatic imagination.

I did not made an example for them this time because I wanted  to leave this craft completely up to each child’s personal vision.

Each child got a mask template and a lot of assorted eyeballs and body parts (from Sarah McIntyre, illustrator of Morris the Mankiest Monster by Giles Andreae). 

I also set out several boxes of assorted random materials.

The sea monster masks seemed to inspire a lot of dramatic play.

Who would want to encounter this frightful crew?

Or these?

Ravi had been working hard on his mask and didn’t want me to photograph it until he had completed it to his satisfaction. Finally he rushed over to show me.

“I’m a sea DRAGON,” he informed me. 

This story makes me happy.  The song that the Shark sings has hilarious melodramatic and portentous chords.

The upbeat ending makes me feel like dancing, so I played “Under the Sea” from Disney’s The Little Mermaid:

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: