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Shadow of the Shark (Magic Tree House)



Last updated Monday, July 9, 2018

Author: Mary Pope Osborn
Illustrator: Sal Murdocca
Date of Publication: 2017
ISBN: 0553510819
Grade Level: 4th    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Jul. 2018

Synopsis: Jack and Annie are going on vacation! Or so they think. Teddy, the young sorcerer, has promised them a relaxing time off the coast of Mexico. The magic tree house whisks them away to a beautiful sandy beach, and Jack and Annie are ready to raft on the ocean waves. But when a hungry shark attacks, their dream vacation turns into a nightmare!

Note to readers:
•  The Shark on the front is a great white shark. Great White Shark attacks are extremely rare, even when humans are swimming nearby. In the Mediterranean Sea, for example, there have only been 31 confirmed attacks against humans in the last two centuries, most non-fatal.
Here is an article about sharks: https://www.natgeokids.com/uk/discover/animals/sea-life/great-white-sharks/
•  The characters, Jack and Annie, are sent to Cozumel, Mexico. If there is a map in the room, try to show them where that is.

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  Are you going anywhere for vacation this summer? Have you been to another country?

Vocabulary

•  Snorkeling- to swim underwater using a snorkel (a tube used by swimmers for breathing with the head under water)
•  Spa- a commercial establishment (as a resort) offering programs and equipment devoted especially to health, fitness, weight loss, beauty, or relaxation
•  Mayan Pyramid- structures built in the jungles of Central America by the Maya civilization between 200 and 900 AD. Unlike the straight sides of the more commonly known Egyptian pyramids, the sides of Maya pyramids are stepped–sometimes for the purpose of enabling people to ascend to the top. Moreover, Egyptian pyramids have sharper tips, while Mesoamerican (including Maya) pyramids tend to have flatter tops.
•  Civilization- an advanced stage (as in art, science, and government) of social development; the way of life of a people
•  Ancient- having existed for many years
•  Coral Reef- a reef made up of corals (the stony or horny deposit that is composed of the skeletons of various polyps), other organic substances, and limestone [think Finding Nemo]
•  Peninsula- A body of land surrounded by water on three sides
•  Yucatán Peninsula- separates the Gulf of Mexico from the Caribbean Sea

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  Have you been snorkeling before (in a pool or in the ocean)?
•  Where would you like to go on a dream vacation?

Craft ideas:
•  Draw a picture of your dream vacation spot
•  Draw a picture of a shark or the "monster fish" on page 119
•  Draw a Mayan Temple
•  Make your own coral reef

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don’t have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!