Thursday, January 13, 2011

Picture Book review: Shark vs. Train by Chris Barton (author) and Tom Lichtenheld (illustrator)

Reading level: Ages 4-8
Hardcover: 40 pages
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers; 1 edition (April 1, 2010)

Summary: Shark VS. Train! WHO WILL WIN?!

If you think Superman vs. Batman would be an exciting matchup, wait until you see Shark vs. Train. In this hilarious and wacky picture book, Shark and Train egg each other on for one competition after another, including burping, bowling, Ping Pong, piano playing, pie eating, and many more! Who do YOU think will win, Shark or Train?

Our review: Shark vs. Train is the perfect picture book to read to boys (and girls). My son loved it. The story begins with two boys, each grabbing what they believe is THE strongest toy out of the toy box. One picks a shark, the other a train caboose. Then the two toys face-off and we are instantly entertained by their tales. My son laughed at the zany pictures and couldn't pick one favorite picture. He liked them all. And so did I. The burping contest between the two is hilarious, the piano recital had me laughing out loud. My son really got a kick out of shark and train trying to play video games with no thumbs. That is the great thing about this picture book: each page builds on the other, simple everyday situations take on a new light and get kids to think about certain things from the perspective of these two toys. Shark having a lemonade stand underwater? He tells his customer "Whaddaya mean, "It's a little watery"?" When roasting marshmallows Train certainly has an advantage. Trick-or-treating has Shark with a clown hat on telling someone "The clown is very hungry."

Shark vs. Train is simply delightful. Fantastic illustrations by Tom Lichtenheld paired with Chris Barton's realistic situations bring to life a kid's ultimate dream--a battle between their toys--with tons of humor (train at the library is soo funny) everyone can relate to and laugh at. The centerfold is great with shark making a high dive. I did have to explain some of the jokes to my son but once he understood them, he smiled. This picture book is an instant classic everyone will love to read over and over again. I only wish some of our most cherished picture books could be made into animated movies.

Rating: :0 (5 smiles, the best)

Cover comment: With one look at this cover you know this book is going to be good. Shark and Train in battle mode all ready to rumble. Hilarious.

Book source: Purchased


  1. My son also loved this book when we had it from the library. Always know it's good when you have to read it several times in a sitting.

  2. Thank you for reviewing our book!
    - Tom LIchtenheld

  3. Chris Barton is from me! We see him a lot around these parts. He is always so friendly and sweet. Great review, he would be happy to read to read this. You can find him at @Bartography


  4. Why, I *am* happy to read this -- thanks, ReaderGirls (and hi, Kristina, Tom and Jen)!