In Sauer’s bighearted tale, two fine, finned friends discover that conventional wisdom isn’t always to be trusted. Nugget the minnow and Fang the shark have palled around forever in the deep ocean. But when it’s time for Nugget to go to school, Fang feels left out. Meanwhile, Nugget is shocked by what he learns in school: “Sharks are toothy. Sharks are scary. Sharks and minnows can’t be friends,” he explains to Fang. Just when things look bleakest, Fang finds a way to win back Nugget’s friendship and shatter the scary shark stereotype. Sauer (Princess in Training) creates kindly characters and hits sweetly humorous notes throughout, avoiding a lesson-heavy tone. Packed with visual gags, Slack’s (Pass It On) digital artwork features varied blues and zingy dashes of orange, magenta, and neon green that make the friends’ undersea home feel like SpongeBob Square-Pants’s Bikini Bottom by way of Mary Blair. Fang’s comparative enormousness and toothy grin help him steal most of the scenes in this funny friendship tale. Ages 4–8. Author’s agent: Laura Rennert, Andrea Brown Literary Agency. Illustrator’s agent: Lori Nowicki, Painted Words. (Mar.)
From the Publisher
"It's darn near impossible to resist such an earnest, toothy hero."
"Sauer creates kindly characters and hits sweetly humorous notes throughout, avoiding a lesson-heavy tone. . . . [a] funny friendship tale."
— Publishers Weekly
"The text's cadence is well-timed for sharing aloud, and both narrative and illustrations zing with humorous touches. An entertaining tale that sends a positive message about the power of friendship and the importance of individuality."
— School Library Journal
"Incorporate this into fish- or shark-themed storytimes or share with "Finding Nemo" fans— either way, kids are likely to snap it up hook, line, and sinker."
— Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"Slack's bright blue scenes are full of action, reaction, and witty details."
Children's Literature - Beth-Anne White
Nugget and Fang have been best friend for a long time. They do everything together. One day, that changes when Nugget goes to school. There, Nugget learns that sharks are bad and cannot be friends with minnows. Can Nugget and Fang still be friends? Tammi Sauer writes a story that will make children laugh from start to end. The humorous telling engages the reader to find out what happens next. However, this book goes beyond humor and teaches deeper lessons about friendship and peer pressure. Children will be able to empathize with both Nugget and Fang in their struggles to find out what will happen to their friendship. But just as it is easy for the reader to see what the best choice is for Nugget and Fang, Tammi Sauer help the children to apply the moral of the story to their own situations. Parents and teachers will happily read this book to because the children they care for; it is fun to read and has an important lesson. Reviewer: Beth-Anne White
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2—Two undersea buddies spend all of their time together, until the tiny fish swims off to school and is taught that sharks and minnows can't be friends because sharks are known to devour smaller species. Shocked, and "apparently delicious," Nugget decides that the two should part ways. Though Fang attempts to win his pal back through several well-intentioned but poorly planned endeavors, including dressing up in a ridiculous mermaid outfit to prove he isn't scary, the small-fry remains resolute. Downcast and lonely, the shark is moping in deep waters when he notices that Nugget and the other minnows have been caught in a fishing net. The ever-faithful Fang comes up with a plan to utilize his "big sharp teeth" to save the day. Drenched in rich blues and vivid coral-reef hues, the exuberant illustrations depict a tiny bright-eyed fish and a likable shark with razor-sharp chompers and goofy charisma. The text's cadence is well-timed for sharing aloud, and both narrative and illustrations zing with humorous touches. An entertaining tale that sends a positive message about the power of friendship and the importance of individuality.—Joy Fleishhacker,School Library Journal
Nugget, aptly named, is a tiny minnow, and Fang (even more aptly named) is a shark. One can already begin to predict the conflict. In the beginning, however, Nugget and Fang are oblivious to societal norms. All they know is that they have fun together. What could be wrong with that? But when Nugget starts school, he learns the truth about sharks…in every single lesson. Sauer slyly slips shark warnings into reading, science and even math class: "What if there were ten minnows and a shark came along and ate four of them? How many minnows are left?" Nugget is dumbfounded. Fang would never do that. Would he? It all comes down to the ultimate lesson: "Sharks are toothy. Sharks are scary. Sharks and minnows can't be friends." Fang--who normally has the biggest, goofiest grin on his face--slumps in dejection. He must, somehow, get his best buddy back. Slack's bright undersea world, teeming with a variety of creatures, is an ideal backdrop for these two googly-eyed swimmers. Not the first interspecies friendship tale (and likely not the last), but it's darn near impossible to resist such an earnest, toothy hero. (Picture book. 3-6)