What would you do if you found a shark in your bath? Or worse still, if you found a whole family of sharks in there? Well that's exactly what happens to Dulcie in Sarah McIntyre's picture book There's a Shark in the Bath. Dulcie, the little girl who makes this discovery is not a girl who is easily rattled and uses her skills and several sneaky games in her efforts to outwit the sharks in this amusing and enjoyable adventure.
The shark family arrives at breakfast time in Dulcie's house and Dulcie races downstairs to tell her parents the news. Dulcie’s parents greet this announcement with disbelief and gentle teasing in a manner which reminds me of Bernard's parents in Not Now Bernard by David McKee. Therefore, Dulcie has no option but to deal with the shark family all by herself. This is made a little challenging as the sharks are extremely keen to eat Dulcie for their breakfast. Dulcie, though, doesn't let this put her off and has several bright ideas up her sleeve.
The story is great fun and is enhanced by Sarah McIntyre’s uniquely wonderful and vibrant illustrations.
For children, in year 1, teachers could draw similarities between There's a Shark in the Bath and traditional tales such as Goldilocks and the Three Bears. Here, you have the same patterning of speech as you do in the 3 Bears story, 'Papa Shark said....Mama Shark said....Baby Shark said'. You could also explore the character traits of the sharks and compare and contrast them with those of the 3 bears.
There's a Shark in the Bath could also be read with children at Key Stage 2 as part of a unit on Fairy Tales. It contains the key 'ingredients' you would expect to find in a fairy tale, such as the importance of the number 3, the delaying of impending doom by the use of magical, inventive tactics and the theme of good versus 'not so' evil. As such pupils at key stage 2 could be encouraged to identify these elements after investigating them in traditional tales and then plan their own 'modern' fairy tale, which they could write for the children in Key Stage 1 or Foundation Stage.