“Every September the great white sharks return to San Francisco. Their hunting grounds, the Farallon Islands, are just thirty miles from the city. While their 800,000 human neighbors dine on steak, salad, and sandwiches, the white sharks hunt for their favorite meal.”

This opening catapults us into the hunt. And what are those great white sharks hunting for? Katherine Roy builds up suspense with a series of brilliant page turns (in which I was wondering–is it people?) until we see that they are hunting seals.

After that engaging, page-turning opening, the book is organized to give us details, page by page, of the process of a shark actually consuming that yummy prey, the seal. We learn why the seal is an ideal food source for the shark, how the shark’s body helps him move as a hunter, how the shark’s jaws actually function during an attack, and much, much more.

There’s even a subplot to this book! Just when it feels like the book is coming to an end, Roy introduces the scientists who are trying to study the sharks, and we learn how they study them and what they’ve learned from those studies.

Roy’s watercolor illustrations are gorgeous (even if they are a bit gory). The book is absorbing and fascinating–a definite page turner!

Neighborhood Sharks: Hunting with the Great Whites of California’s Farallon Islands, by Katherine Roy. Roaring Brook Press: 2014.