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Shark vs. Train Hardcover – April 1, 2010

4.5 out of 5 stars 125 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Starred Review. PreSchool-Grade 2—When a boy with a toy shark faces a train-wielding companion, it sets off a series of imaginative and very funny contests between fish and machine. The result of each battle depends on the setting. Shark wins at high diving, not surprisingly, while Train comes out on top when it comes to burping. Other face-offs are less immediately obvious: Train stretches vertically to triumph at basketball, while Shark's sharp-toothed clown costume works best for trick-or-treating. In some situations, neither combatant fares well: as Train comments on the scoreless video-game competition, "Sure would help if we had thumbs." The cleverly chosen contests reflect the imaginative powers of kids while retaining the consistent logic that's also essential to play. The notion of a shark and a train trying to be quiet in a library is absurd, for example, but the reasons why neither would succeed make perfect sense. Energetic cartoon illustrations take full advantage of the visual possibilities. Creative use of page space and perspectives gives a fresh look to each new battle. Just-right facial expressions capture the distinct personalities of the two competitors, including an evil grin from Shark at the Ping-Pong table and Train's uneasy look during a disastrous piano recital. Subtler visual details add to the humor, including a shark-jumping Fonzie reference that adults will appreciate. This inspired pairing, executed with ingenuity and packed with action and humor, is a sure winner.—Steven Engelfried, Multnomah County Library, OR
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

Maybe they haven't pitted this exact pair against one another, but there's little doubting young boys' ability to spend hours and considerable blocks of imagination smashing different toys together in a knock-down, drag-out battle royale for romper-room supremacy. The opening spread shows two boys digging through a toy box, each pulling out a fearsome competitor. In this corner, there's Shark (I'm going to choo-choo you up and spit you out); and in the other, Train (Ha! I'm going to fin-ish you, mackerel-breath). The bout gets progressively more ridiculous with each escalating shift in setting and rules. Early rounds in the ocean and on the tracks are split; Shark has the upper hand on the high-dive, and Train in giving carnival rides. Neither turns out to be much good at the Extreme Zombie-Squirrel Motocross video game (no thumbs) or sword fighting on a tightrope. Barton's imaginative and wacky scenarios are knocked home by Lichtenheld's ferociously funny artwork and will leave kids measuring up their dump truck and T-Rex for the next tale of the tape. Preschool-Grade 1. --Ian Chipman
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 7 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 3
  • Hardcover: 40 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers; 18254th edition (April 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316007625
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316007627
  • Product Dimensions: 10.2 x 0.2 x 10.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (125 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #42,861 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

A Kid's Review on May 7, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I am seven and three quarters. This book is really cool and hilarious. My favorite part is at the end where they are on the motorcycles. They've gone up ramps on the motorcycles and are now FLYING in the air. And Shark's like, "Okay, this is getting ridiculous." Train's like, "Now would be a good time for a break..." And when they are performing a piano recital, that is another one of my favorites... It's one of my FAVORITE BOOKS!
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Format: Hardcover
I had heard a lot of hype about this book, on Facebook and Twitter. So I approached it with a little bit of hesitation. So many people were raving about it and I just did not get it. Yet when I read the book for the first time, I found it so wonderful I read it through a few times in a row. Two young boys go to the toy box to select toys for playtime, one a train the other a shark, then Shark and Train have battle after battle to see who is the best, strongest, fastest, smartest ... The adventures they have are fun, hilarious and extremely entertaining, as often only the imagination of a child can be. The book is well written and illustrated.
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Format: Hardcover
Two boys rush for the toy box to dig out a couple of tussling toys. A bat, a football, a truck, a ball, and other things are tossed aside, but each of them comes up with something to work with. One has a shark in hand. "GRRRRR" and the other a train . . . "CHUGRRR-CHUG." It is shark vs. train, but which very determined toy is going to win the fight? Of course if they are under the ocean waves, the shark has the edge, but if they are on some railroad tracks, the train is going to win hands down. What do you think if they are on a seesaw or in a hot-air balloon?

Of course when they are roasting marshmallows the train can make them nice and toasty brown at the top of his smoke stack while the shark gets his bit wet from water dripping off him. "Drat!" But eating pies, the shark has him beat. Mmmmmm! After the meal, "BELCH!" ... guess who won the burping contest? The two go head to head in all kinds of contests. They bowl, shoot baskets, take a flip off the high-dive board, sell lemonade, go trick-or-treating, go on carnival rides, play games, and hide-and-seek. There are lots of things to tussle with, but when Mom calls out, "BOYS! LUNCH!!" it's time to for a little break . . . until next time.

This fun, imaginative story about the shark and train toy competition will keep your youngster guessing the winner. The tale is adventurous and seems to capture every "fun" thing a youngster will think up when playing with toys from bowling to belching. The artwork was very animated and caught every competitive nuance on the faces of both boys and toys. If you want a cute `n' slightly zany tale, this one certainly fits the ticket. All aboard!
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Format: Hardcover
My boys, 3-1/2 and 8 years old, both love this book. The 3-1/2 year-old asked for it every night for a week and a half. Not only is it a thoroughly zany story that riffs off an original idea, the details of many of the illustrations, and the back cover, give the kids plenty to look for in repeated readings (and the adults things to point out to them, to make the repeated reading experience bearable the 15th time). One of the most original children's books we have seen in awhile.
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Format: Hardcover
A fun book that also teaches a lesson: Who is better at what game, or task, can depend on the circumstances. It offers a unique way to start a conversation about competition with younger children in a way they can relate to: Through toys. Engaging and fun illustrations that aptly show the various challenges and predicaments the characters find themselves in when out of their element.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My three year old boy loves this book. The timing must have been perfect because he's always loved trains but after asking me to read him this book 10 times in three days he asked his mom for shark shoes when they were at the store. I've read it enough times that he knows it by heart and will sit and "read" it to himself.
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Format: Hardcover
Shark vs. Train is an entertaining tale about what happens when one young boy finds a toy shark in the toy box and another young boy finds a toy train. This begins a battle royale with a series of amusing face-offs. Who will win in the ocean? Shark, of course. Who will win on the railroad tracks? Another predictable one. But the fun begins when author Chris Barton's inquiries start to get more unusual: who will run a better lemonade stand? Apparently Train, because Shark can't compete with a lemonade tank! And how about Trick or Treating, who will triumph in that activity? Clearly Shark will and he doesn't even need much of a costume to scare all the treats right out of the bowl and into his bag.

This amusing book will delight young children. The humor is sophisticated and clever enough to entertain both parent and child. It's a celebration of imagination. The illustrations are terrific, as well. Adults reading this book: take a look at the spread of the shark trying to jump the cars, one actually has the words A. Fonzarelli Leather Co. on it. What a funny take on the Happy Days "Jump the Shark" episode!
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By Bama on August 14, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought this as a gift for my grandson and he absolutely loves it!! He is a beginning reader and trying to find books he wants to read have been a challenge. This is one of the few I have found so far that he will read without any prompting. In fact he wants to read it to us. Wonderful book and a nice change from the usual sappy early readers.
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