Have you ever wondered how to chat with a shark or parley with a conger eel? Make sure you read Andy Seed’s piece about how he managed to talk to some of the oceans giants and how you can too!
“If you could talk to animals, what would you ask? Get familiar with 10 extraordinary ocean giants as they step up to the mic and share their habits, behaviour, likes and dislikes, favourite foods, and more. Each animal has its own story to tell… and its own attitude!
Features ‘interviews’ with a great white shark, blue whale, orca, sunfish, giant squid, narwhal, manta ray, octopus, conger eel, and angler fish. Plus, ideas for how to do your bit to help endangered species.”
‘I interviewed a shark (and you can too!)’ by Andy Seed.
In 2020, the fun factual book ‘Interview with a Tiger and Other Clawed Beasts Too’ by me and Nick East was published by Welbeck Children’s Books. In it I used my special tranimalator machine to ask questions to a wolf, a jaguar, a giant anteater and a tiger (among others) and find out what they thought about life and especially about us humans.
The book has been particularly popular with ages 6-9 with its fabulous illustrations by Nick and revelation that some of the animals were funny! Of course some were grumpy, some shy, some secretive too – who knew! And then the animals told me so many great facts about themselves as well. Did you know that a giant armadillo’s main claw is as big as a banana?
As a writer I set out to produce something that children would enjoy reading and find interesting, amazing and surprising too. But when teachers started using the book they told me how good it was for inspiring children to write as well. After all, if I interviewed a tiger, what was to stop them interviewing an elephant or a snake or an eagle or indeed, a worm?
I’ve been sent some fabulous writing from schools who have used the book, much of it wonderfully illustrated too. Everyone has enjoyed using the simple Q&A format, from Y1 to Y5. And now, Nick and I have a second title out: ‘Interview with a Shark and Other Ocean Giants Too.’
By a huge stroke of luck I discovered that my tranimalator works underwater! (it’s made from old coat hangers, a broken waffle maker and half a sock in case you weren’t aware – there’s a photo on my website). Yessss! So I put on my wet suit (an ordinary suit that just gets wet), dived into the salty seas and began to ask the questions everyone wants to know, to big fish and marine mammals alike:- Why are you so MASSIVE?- What’s your favourite snack?- Where do you sleep?- Who are you scared of?- Just what are those dangly things for?
And I asked the serious questions too – about plastic and pollution and people. Gulp, the answers weren’t easy to take. Whales, giant squid, orcas, narwhals – they all have a lot to say…
But most of all, writing this was FUN! And once again, children can have a go. They can talk to a tuna, interview an isopod, grill a green turtle and natter to a nudibranch! They can interview a shark too – I chose a bull shark but what’s to stop them questioning a great white or a tiger shark or a spotted wobbegong?
It does help to know some facts first, of course. Interview with a Shark is a fun read but it is foremost a fact book – the things that the animals told me are all true. So, children planning an interview will need to do some research first. Here are some more tips:- Pick an animal that really interests you- Think what you’d really like to know about their lives- Avoid questions that can be answered ‘yes’ or ‘no’ (Instead of ‘Do you eat fish?’, ask ‘What do you eat?’ Why and how are very useful words!)- Ask your animal what it thinks about humans and why- Give your animal some character: is it moody, jolly, suspicious, chatty, cheeky, curious…?
I really enjoyed my interviews with a giant squid, conger eel, octopus and blue whale among others. I discovered so many awesome facts about them too (did you know that a manta ray is covered in snot?). I just know that children will enjoy reading it and perhaps it might just inspire some great writing too!
Interview with a Shark & Other Ocean Giants Too by Andy Seed, illustrated by Nick East (£9.99, Welbeck Children’s) is available now.
Excellent advice there from Andy about inspiring children to write and have fun, whilst also learning about some of the great diversity of species we have on this planet.
We are huge fans of this hilarious series in this household. The blend of facts, humour and illustrations is just absolutely spot-on for the target age group of readers aged 6 plus. We are looking forward to seeing where he ventures next. Will he take to the skies to talk with the birds or maybe rummage in the undergrowth to chat with the insects? I can’t wait to find out!
*Many thanks to Welbeck Books for inviting me to be a part of this blog tour*