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Close to Shore: The Terrifying Shark Attacks of 1916 Paperback – May 21, 2002
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From School Library Journal
Grade 6-10-An adaptation of Capuzzo's adult book, Close to Shore: A True Story of Terror in an Age of Innocence (Broadway, 2001). During the summer of 1916, just as railroad travel enabled city dwellers to make day-trips to the seashore and swimming in the ocean became popular, bathers along the East Coast were frightened away by a series of vicious attacks in the water. During a one-month period, three men and one boy were killed. Initial opinions of the attacker ranged from sea turtles to killer whales or swordfish, before it was determined to be the work of a rogue white shark. Capuzzo describes the shark's quest to satiate his hunger with the flesh of humans, sometimes verging close to anthropomorphism as he builds an atmosphere of suspense about the creature, its wanderings and its means of attack. The menacing cover of a gaping shark's mouth, the addition of black-and-white photos and newspaper clippings, and the suspenseful writing add to the accessibility of this work for young people. There are no footnotes, but an explanation of the sources used to compile this account is offered along with a sampling of books consulted. Peter Benchley's Shark Trouble (Random, 2002) and Thomas B. Allen's Shark Attacks: Their Causes and Avoidance (Lyons, 2001) offer wider-ranging examples of shark attacks, along with ways to avoid them.
Pam Spencer Holley, Young Adult Literature Specialist, Virginia Beach, VA
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Library Binding edition.
Gr. 7-12. The jacket photo, a gruesome close-up of an open-mouthed shark, sets the tone for this riveting adaptation of Capuzzo's similarly titled adult book about what occurred when, in 1916, a rogue shark traveled inland along a New Jersey creek, terrorizing residents of nearby towns. Extensive trimming has eliminated much about the individuals most involved in what happened, which occasionally makes for some confusion. But this book has a rich assortment of photos and news clippings not in the original, and the vividness and sheer physicality of Capuzzo's writing remains intact. In many ways this is a new book. Capuzzo reconstructs events with a novelist's flair and a scientist's attention to detail, and his pacing is relentless as the story moves from cultural history and shark physiology to close-ups of the crazed, disoriented beast slicing through the water. When the shark dies at the hands of two astounded fishermen, readers will experience relief as well as a sense of tragedy. As with the adult book, there are no notes--only a list of further readings that kids can use to find out more. Stephanie Zvirin
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Library Binding edition.
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Top customer reviews
I would recommend this book to readers who like non-fiction, sharks and information about life in 1916.
If you want to understand sharks in a way that goes deeper than headlines and more scientific than JAWS, this book will likely please you. It quotes a number of world-class sharp experts. And it treats sharks with respect.
But ultimately I felt that "Close to Share" was a shaggy shark story. The climax was underwhelming. Perhaps this was because the author was determined to tell the truth. I admire him for taking that position. But somehow the earlier parts of the book created an expectation that there'd be a dramatic conclusion. And that expectation wasn't met.