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If Animals Disappeared

If Sharks Disappeared

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A healthy ocean is home to many different kinds of animals. They can be
big, like a whale,
tiny, like a shrimp,
and even scary, like a shark. Even though sharks can be scary, we need them to keep the oceans healthy. Unfortunately, due to overfishing, many shark species are in danger of extinction, and that can cause big problems in the oceans and even on land. What would happen if this continued and sharks disappeared completely? Artist Lily Williams explores how the disappearance would affect other animals across the whole planet in this clever book about the importance of keeping sharks, and our oceans, healthy.

40 pages, Hardcover

First published June 13, 2017

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About the author

Lily Williams

9 books117 followers
Lily Williams is the author and illustrator of the If Animals Disappeared nonfiction picture book series and graphic novels Go With The Flow and Look On The Bright Side (co-written with Karen Schneemann). Lily seeks to inspire change, engage audiences, and educate people of all ages with her artwork. Her work can be seen in films and books and on the web at lilywilliamsart.com.

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5 stars
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120 (11%)
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 250 reviews
Profile Image for karen.
3,988 reviews170k followers
August 15, 2020
sorry NOT SORRY for all the shark reviews lately, but shark week means i gotta float old sharky reviews, and now i gotta review all the ones i read during THIS year's shark week (although i only managed to read 6 this year -booo). this one was number three...

this is an excellent and responsible children’s picture book about sharks and how, although they might seem

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they are a very important part of our life here on land. there’s a lot factual information about how ecosystems work

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and how losing one part of the puzzle has ripple effects with dramatic consequences: it may seem like sharks are so removed from our daily experiences that they are unrelated or even inconsequential to human life, but if they were to go extinct, it would create a gap in the ecosystem that would result in very bad things for us, indeed.

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i’m a little squirmy over the lesson being, basically, “if a majestic creature goes extinct, this is how youuuuu will suffer,” but i get that this age range probably isn’t equipped to comprehend the interdependence of species and trophic cascades and their whole experiential range is that which directly affects themselves, but i can’t help squirming anyway.

in any event, this is a thoughtful, well-designed book that seems perfectly age-appropriate, and provides a list of further reading to grow into, as well as a list of ways we humans can help to prevent sharks from disappearing, whether for our own selfish reasons or for the sharks themselves.

and because i love picture book endpapers the most:

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come to my blog!
Profile Image for Manybooks.
3,211 reviews104 followers
June 6, 2018
Because I am (and always have been) totally and utterly in favour of protecting and safeguarding our planet's often fragile ecosystems (and their animals, plants etc.) I very much and massively do appreciate that author/illustrator Lily Williams with her If Sharks Disappeared so clearly and succinctly (but without emotional over-exaggeration) points out what could so easily (and even more than likely relatively rapidly) transpire extinction-wise if sharks (as an example of an apex predator species) were to suddenly disappear altogether from the Earth's oceans, if they became totally extinct (and considering how vulnerable and in many cases even critically endangered many species of shark in fact are, this is in no way dystopian paranoia but a real and sadly dangerous possibility, and as such, If Sharks Disappeared provides an essential and important conservation message that absolutely needs to be increasingly heard and made more public on a pan global scale, especially considering the sheer quantities of sharks that are slaughtered every year for useless "cultural" practices such as shark fin soup).

And with regard to the author's, with regard to Lily Williams' presented narrative, well textually and from a thematic and content based point of view, I for one very much do consider If Sharks Disappeared rather amazing and marvellous, providing more than enough detail to be enlightening and informatively educational but thankfully never overdoing the info dumping so as to become tedious and slogging to and for the intended age group (children between the ages of say five to about eight) with potentially difficult vocabulary words also explained in a handy and informative glossary at the back, not to mention that the supplemental information on sharks and the threats many species are facing, as well as the short but concise and intensive bibliography are appreciated and wonderful added bonuses and much augment the teaching, learning and research value and potential of If Sharks Disappeared.

Now while narrationally If Sharks Disappeared has most definitely been a four (and perhaps even a five star) read for me, the accompanying illustrations, although they are indeed bright, descriptive and colourful, are also visually and aesthetically speaking rather overly cutesy (with especially many of the shark species looking quite non predatory and much too cartoon like entertaining and inherently peaceful). For although I do tend to heartily despise those books on sharks where ALL of the shark images appear as straight out of the movie Jaws, it is also important to remember, to show and depict that sharks, or rather that many species of shark are indeed and in fact serious predators and many of Lily Williams shark images in If Sharks Disappeared, well they really do NOT appear as such and thus do tend to leave me with a rather strange and a bit annoying sense of visual disconnect between text and accompanying images.
Profile Image for Trish.
2,018 reviews3,436 followers
August 1, 2019
So what IF sharks disappeared? We might find out sooner rather than later ...

This is a cute book showcasing a healthy ocean as opposed to the already strongly deteriorating one we have plus what would happen if sharks indeed were gone from this world.
It is made out to look as if it was a book by a child for other children (like when you have to do a report for school and then present it in front of class maybe) and I like that concept a lot, not least because you don't see it too often.

What I loved about this book was the colourful art that shows us the beauty and wealth of the oceans and thus also the writer's/artist's love for the eco system.
What I seriously LOVED about this book was the amount of science. It wasn't just saying that, for example, the food chain would collapse. It was showing what evolution is and that it created sharks, showed how the eco system has them fulfill a specific role and what that means for every creature in the food chain once the sharks are removed. A complex topic broken down in simple terms but shown accurately and in detail.

We thus get history and biology along with a few infos about shark behavior to show that sharks aren't evil (it is indeed interesting how that myth still persists today) and that we needn't be so scared (and thus act rashly out of fear).
Moreover, the author showed that she knows that children are simply little people. Not stupid and not in need of being "protected from the truth" as many grownups like to put it, but capable of understanding and handling scientific facts.

The art, most definitely by design, acts to draw young (and old) readers in - a concept that worked perfectly in this reader's case.

A wonderful addition to my shark literature this Shark Week and a book I hope will end up on many a child's bookshelf!

Profile Image for destiny ♡ howling libraries.
1,743 reviews5,291 followers
April 27, 2019
This is such a great little nonfiction book to add to any kid's collection, whether they love sharks, are afraid of them, or are new to learning about them. It presents sharks in an honest but kind light — yes, they can be frightening, but they're not all vicious man-eaters! — and, most of all, it strongly highlights the awful things we humans do to sharks, and the effect that our actions are having on the oceans and will continue to have if we don't stop over-fishing.
Profile Image for Peacegal.
10.2k reviews94 followers
July 14, 2017
Sharks are struggling. Despite existing nearly unchanged for millions of years, many species of shark large and small are now at the brink of extinction. Sharks have far more to fear from us than we do from them.

This book presents to an elementary-aged audience the repercussions that could occur if sharks were to disappear from the food chain. The information is simplified in a way that young audiences can understand it, and it's likely to get them fired up about protecting sharks.

We definitely need up-and-coming generations who won't think eating shark-fin soup is sophisticated, or entering a shark fishing tournament is cool. We'll also need people who will make laws to protect sharks and a voting base willing to agitate on behalf of them. Unfortunately, lawmakers in many parts of the country and world have wimped out under pressure from the shark products industries.

Of note: While the extinction of sharks affects us all, most people don't consume shark meat or wear shark leather boots. However, most people do eat other types of fish. This book doesn't address the threat posed to sharks when they become bycatch of fisheries for other species, or when their primary prey is eliminated because of overfishing.
Profile Image for Jillian Heise.
2,320 reviews482 followers
May 17, 2017
This is a great book about sharks, ecosystems, food chains, ocean life, and what might happen If Sharks Disappeared. Fantastic science connections, as well as ecofriendly and sustainable fishing advocacy. The back matter with further explanation, calls to action, and an authors note are not to be missed. I enjoyed the energetic illustrations (and the cameos by the child's golden retriever!) and the simplified, but not dumbed-down, explanations of complex concepts. This is a must-have for any classroom studying the animal kingdom, food chains, or the ocean.
Also appreciative of the POC main character/family (which has nothing to do with the story, they just are) and that it's a girl interested in and explaining the science of it all.
Profile Image for La Coccinelle.
2,251 reviews3,563 followers
February 2, 2019
This picture book is a little heavy on the facts, so it would probably be best suited to older kids. Some of the terms used will be unfamiliar, and although there's a glossary, the text might still be too advanced for younger readers.

There are plenty of facts presented, as well as speculation about what would happen if sharks disappeared. It isn't pretty. Sadly, we're well on our way to making that future happen. The book tells us if we "work together", we can fix the problem. I sat there for a while thinking, "How?!" until I got to the next few pages that actually give some suggestions. As a vegan, I feel that these suggestions don't go far enough. Not buying shark products is probably the only suggestion that's going to have any effect. Trying to buy sustainably caught fish doesn't go far enough. The fact is that humans don't need to be eating fish--especially in the quantities we're currently consuming. In the developed world, we have access to plenty of other healthy, nutritious foods... and yet we're taking fish and other seafood away from animals who have no choice in what they eat. (Currently, near where I live, the small pod of local resident killer whales is on the verge of extinction because there isn't enough salmon for them to eat. You'd think that we--with all of our knowledge and supposed compassion--would put an immediate end to salmon fishing for human consumption. But, no. We're unwilling to change our diets--even though we can--and another species is going to pay the price because they can't.)

The pictures are lovely and the text is clear and concise, but I don't think the suggestions go far enough. If we really want to take care of our oceans and the creatures who live in them, yes, it is up to us. But we can do more than just avoid shark products if we want to save sharks. As the book says, everything is connected... so we humans can have a huge impact, if we can only find the will.
Profile Image for India.
Author 11 books123 followers
September 10, 2017
Really cute illustrations. It was fun to read through this with my daughter, who was very hesitant to read this book. (She said she doesn't like hearing about how the world is dying.) But in the end, she came up with a lot of interesting questions and it ended up being a good discussion. Really cute and written well. The vocabulary might be a bit rough for younger kids. Ave is 8 and stopped me to ask about a lot of the words.

Ave says she'd rate it 5 stars because she liked it and it's good for people to know that we can't just keep killing sharks.
Profile Image for Martha Trzepacz.
128 reviews
October 3, 2017
They are all smiling! The perfect introduction to the world of sharks. Bright colorful illustrations and packed with valuable information, it is sure to be a hit. The conservation issue and the role sharks play in the world will not be lost on students. Information sections in the back are particularly kid friendly. "How can you help?" tell a friend and draw shark pictures, this is something little readers can do. Some of the language is on a higher level, but does not detract from the book. Get this one for all your budding shark biologists.
Profile Image for Hannah.
Author 6 books207 followers
April 15, 2020
Umm this is fantastic. Like, it's really good science about something that's not overdone in books, especially books for children; it assumes children are intelligent; it's not precious; it's really well designed as far as page turns and text placement and occasional changes from landscape to portrait; and oh yeah, the ur-child or default child on all the pages is black, JUST BECAUSE.
Profile Image for Barbara.
13.2k reviews277 followers
June 13, 2017
There's been a recent spate of books considering what might happen to our world if certain key species were gone. This is a terrific one to add to the science classroom library since it features colorful images that completely fill each page, but it also describes a worst case scenario that might encourage change in fishing practices and human behavior. After providing background information about sharks and their importance as apex predators, the author points out that many shark species are vulnerable to extinction. She then unfurls the consequences of a world without sharks, making the domino effect of their disappearance quite clear. Young readers will be shocked as they contrast the image of a trophic cascade in which the ocean appears filled with sludge and almost lifeless while a girl and her dog stare sadly at the water to a vertical gatefold of a healthy ocean brimming with living things. Back matter includes information about what readers can do and explains why sharks need our help. The text and images make it very clear that the loss of such an important species would be detrimental to life as we know it. Now, if we can only get those in power to do something about these problems, even acknowledging them and working toward change, that would be a great start.
Profile Image for Gary Anderson.
Author 0 books88 followers
June 19, 2017
Something about sharks makes them endlessly fascinating. If Sharks Disappeared acknowledges the scariness of sharks but then makes a sharp turn to focus on the ecological importance of sharks. Author Lily Williams illustrates what would happen if sharks vanished from the food chain. Williams explains that sharks are apex predators, those at the top of the food chain. If sharks go away, species lower on the food chain will proliferate, causing a variety of ripples in the delicate balance affecting creatures in the ocean and on land, including humans.

The cause/effect focus in If Sharks Disappeared will stimulate scientific thinking in readers. In this time when some politicians discredit hard science by calling it a hoax, we need to help young people understand that relationships exist in nature, and we can accurately predict what will happen if a variable is changed. Teachers could easily use this book as an example, and then encourage students to consider other similar situations in nature.

The pictures in this book are colorful and charming, providing a nice counterpoint to the serious concepts under consideration in its pages. The glossary at the end is useful and provides accessible definitions of complex ideas.

Profile Image for Lynn.
2,861 reviews12 followers
February 7, 2018
I would like to do a study of non-fiction books that at first glance have the appearance of fiction, such as this one. I really thought it was going to be a 'fun' book about a girl and her dog looking for sharks, with some cute, surprise ending. I wonder if our youngsters are taking these non-fiction books seriously when they have illustrations like this one.
On the other hand, the artwork here is sufficient, and has a great fold-down page so the reader can experience the depth of the ocean. There is a small map in the narrative, and the backmatter includes a glossary, author's note, and bibliography. And, the end papers show silhouettes of a variety of sharks.
Profile Image for Abby Johnson.
3,373 reviews319 followers
August 28, 2017
This would be a great book to read for classroom units on conservation and the environment. It explains in a very simple way what the potential effects of losing an apex predator like the shark would have on the environment. That the family in the book is a family of color is a cherry on top.

Hand this to environmentally-minded kids or kids who love reading and learning about the ocean.
40 reviews
March 15, 2018
I really enjoyed this book. It had a very healthy balance between awareness in disaster and promoting change. The illustrations were very cute. It would be a great book for educational purposes with science. It discuses food chains and how the environment works.
Profile Image for Dawn.
23 reviews
April 17, 2019
Nonfiction Title: If Sharks Disappeared
Author: Lily Williams
Copyright: 2017
Twin text
Fiction Title: Sea Creatures from the Sky
Author: Ricardo Cortes
Copyright: 2018
Content Areas: Science- SC.3.7.2 Gather and analyze data to communicate an understanding of the interdependent relations in ecosystems.
Language Arts- LA 3.1.6 Comprehension: Students will construct meaning by using prior knowledge and text information while reading grade-level literary and informational text.

I chose the book Sea Creatures from the Sky as my twin text for the book If Sharks Disappeared. The books have similar content, and their illustrations are bold and beautiful. My fiction book explores shark conservation from the viewpoint of the shark. My nonfiction book looks at how sharks have evolved and how they help balance our ecosystems. Before reading the books as a class, I would use the KWL interactive learning method, which we have used several times in class. The students would pair up and make a list of what they know about sharks. After they have spent time preparing lists, each pair of students would share one point they know about sharks. I would then read Sea Creatures from the Sky. As I read, I would stop in the middle of the book and let the students predict the outcome of the book. After reading my fiction book, I would have the students regroup and list what they want to learn about sharks. Then, I would have six to eight students share facts they hoped to learn about sharks. After our discussion, I would read my nonfiction book, If Sharks Disappeared. When I have finished reading, the students will regroup and list what they have learned about sharks. From the information the students have collected, I would have each group form a paragraph about sharks to share with the class.
Cortes, R. (2018). Sea Creatures from the Sky. Brooklyn, NY: Akashic Books.
Williams, L. (2017). If Sharks Disappeared. New York, NY: Roaring Brook Press.
Profile Image for Sandy.
2,557 reviews62 followers
July 22, 2018
If all the sharks disappeared in the world, life as we know it, would cease to exist. It’s the circle of life inside this children’s nonfiction book and I enjoyed how Lily Williams told this story.

Beginning with how important sharks are to our environment, to their evolution over the years, sharks are important, no matter how scary they are. On the top of the food chain, sharks help create a balance in our world and without that balance, our world would become unstable and even us humans, would be affected. Beginning in the water, this devastating event would affect many inhabitants on land, water and air.

Great illustrations accompany this education text. A book that shows how one event can have a rippling effect. I picked up this novel because Shark Week is coming up.
October 31, 2021
Wow! A beautifully illustrated, thought provoking, fun, informational, scientific children's book. A story that puts life as we know it on earth into perspective. These wonderful, cartoonish yet detailed, drawings using clever uses of line, and cool, blue tones to represent the depths and extremities of the sea cultivate the reader into realm of imagination and mind altering discovery about what would really happen if sharks no longer existed in the book If Sharks Disappeared. There are detailed time lines, clever depictions and tons of relative information that helps the reader be able to imagine the world changing effects that could be brought about by the extinction of such an important apex predator. I think that this author, Lily Williams does a terrific job at balancing the fun, childish cartoony illustrations with the real world hypothesis of the cataclysmic results that could take place. I loved this book and the way that it toyed with a "what if question" that mimics the kind of conversation that any child or really any person would have with their friends. This style offers so much relatability and joy even while talking about a serious topic.
29 reviews1 follower
November 13, 2021
Presenting climate change in a way that’s not scary.
This picture book has been carefully crafted in a way that presents the problems of climate change and speaks to children in a serious but no threatening way. The carefully collaboration with the illustrations allows the impacts of climate change to really be shown. In addition the use of correct terminology which is presented in a way that children can understand helps further extend children ideas of what climate change is.
Profile Image for Lauren.
504 reviews1,632 followers
August 4, 2022
Great educational children's picture book about the importance of sharks in the food chain and (ocean) ecosystems! The artwork was beautiful and very creative! I was so pleasantly surprised by the long fold-out page and almost want to buy myself a physical copy now.

I'm not sure what the best age range is for this book, as there were some rather difficult words and concepts for small kiddos, but what I know for sure is that I, an adult, loved it too! So if you're interested in the environment and nature, and enjoy appreciating gorgeous, detailed artwork, check this out!
40 reviews
December 4, 2020
A great book to read to your class to educate them about sharks and how they are important to ecosystems. The illustrations are fantastic and maps are also included. The book is a cause and effect type book, but it also ends with a great call to action to the reader on how they can help save the sharks. There are some more challenging vocabulary words in this book for young readers.
Profile Image for Jennifer (JenIsNotaBookSnob).
982 reviews12 followers
December 12, 2017
Excellent nonfiction which reads like a picture book. Not quite short enough for a toddler storytime, but, probably excellent as a kindergarten read loud. This book is mostly about the niche sharks fill in the environment and what would happen if they were gone. This book relies on illustrations rather than photographs and the illustrations are of the cutesy variety. This book doesn't discuss a bunch of different types of sharks, rather, it's about how the oceans and even land creatures could be impacted if they disappeared.
Profile Image for Lisa Johnson.
275 reviews6 followers
May 14, 2021
This book is educational for young readers. It teaches children why sharks are important and what can happen if sharks disappeared. I did not know this about sharks and now that I learned why they are important, I look at sharks a little differently. They still are scary! But they are important to the ecosystem.
Profile Image for Lorie Barber.
557 reviews36 followers
May 31, 2021
Beautiful narrative nonfiction. Timeline is magnificent. Strong cause and effect structure is easily accessible for young readers. Content is current and vital. Can’t believe I haven’t picked this one up sooner.
Profile Image for Melanie.
Author 5 books204 followers
June 26, 2018
An honest look at the role sharks play in our ecosystems and what would happen to everything if we allow them to die out, plus a glossary and resources for more info.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 250 reviews

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