The first book that came out of the challenge for the month of December is Sherman the Shark. This story follows the life of a tiger shark that eats trash and stinks so bad that no other sea creature will stay around long enough to make friends. Sherman isn’t bothered by this at first, but eventually, he becomes lonely and longs for a friend. Enjoy the excerpt!
Sherman smelled. He smelled awful. He smelled so badly that other fish and sea animals would swim away when he came near them. Sherman didn’t know how he got this stinky, but he thought he was always this way.
Sherman loved to eat. He loved to eat trash. He also loved to eat other shark’s leftovers. He could smell a good trash dump or a decaying animal from miles away. He rarely hunted living animals. He didn’t need to. He observed not many other sea animals ate the trash. When he came on the scene of a kill, the other sharks would flee because of his horrendous stench.
Sherman didn’t have any friends. No one stayed around long enough to exchange names. Most other sharks it seemed knew him as Stinky the Shark. Or at least that is what he heard the other sharks say when he came close, “Swim away! It’s Stinky!” It is hard to make friends when everyone swims away. Sherman didn’t mind at first. It meant more food for him. But after a while he got lonely and wanted a friend.
One day Sherman smelled one of the best aromas he had ever smelled. He quickly swam to the stench. When he arrived, he saw all the other sharks swim away. It was rotting whale blubber. As he sank his teeth into the decaying fat, he saw one of the largest sharks swimming toward him. Sherman didn’t understand. Why was this shark swimming toward him and not away? Sherman was scared. The other shark swam right up to the decomposing animal and took a tremendous bite!
“You didn’t swim away?” Sherman asked hesitantly not knowing if the other shark would attack.
“Why should I have?” The other shark asked through a mouth full of food.
“Because I stink,” Sherman informed him, “really badly.”
“I can’t smell very well,” the other shark replied taking another bite.
Sherman stared not knowing what to do. Then he took another bite thinking maybe this is what it was like to have a friend.
“Name’s Graham,” said the other shark. “Sharks call me Scarnose.”
“Sherman,” replied Sherman. “Sharks call me Stinky.” He took a bite, then asked, “Why do they call you Scarnose?”
“Because of this,” Graham replied showing Sherman the large jagged gray scar across his nose. “Got this in a fight with another shark when I was younger. I guess you could say I stuck my nose where it shouldn’t have been. Haven’t been able to smell very well since.”
“Lucky for me then,” whispered Sherman to himself.
“What’s that?” Graham asked eating more blubber.
“Oh, I said nice to meet you,” answered Sherman.
“Nice to meet you too,” replied Graham. Then he asked, “Why do others call you Stinky?”
“Because I stink horribly,” answered Sherman, “I guess.”
Graham stared at him and then laughed. Sherman would have blushed if sharks could blush. Then he asked timidly, “What’s so funny?”
“You stink,” Graham began still laughing, “but I can’t smell you. I usually scare others away, but not you. It looks like we found the perfect friendship.”
Sherman didn’t understand, but he liked the idea of a possible friendship. He’s never talked much with others since they never stayed to chat. Graham noticing Sherman’s confusion continued.
“We can help each other. I can hunt food and you can smell food. I can sneak up on the fish, and you can keep others away.”
Sherman understood now and agreed. When they finished the meal, they swam away together.
However, the first meal Sherman led them to was a deliciously large garbage spill from a barge. Sherman swam in and devoured everything, he could get his mouth on. He ate so ravenously that he didn’t notice his new friend not join in the meal. Instead, Graham looked shocked while Sherman feasted.
“What are you doing?” Graham finally asked.
“What do you mean?” Sherman responded with his mouth full of trash.
“I mean,” Graham emphasized, “Why are you eating trash?”
“What do you mean?” Sherman replied still not understanding his friend. “Have you never eaten trash?” Sherman asked in wonder.
“No, never,” said Graham.
“It’s amazing!” Sherman exclaimed. “You should try some.”