The Shark Caller

The Shark Caller

By Author / Illustrator

Zillah Bethell



Age range(s)



Usborne Publishing Ltd




Paperback / softback




Dive beneath the waves with this spell-binding adventure of friendship, forgiveness and bravery, set on the shores of Papua New Guinea, perfect for fans of Katherine Rundell and Eva Ibbotson.\"I want to be able to call the sharks. Teach me the magic and show me the ways.\"Blue Wing is desperate to become a shark caller, but instead she must befriend infuriating newcomer Maple, who arrives unexpectedly on Blue Wing's island. At first, the girls are too angry to share their secrets and become friends. But when the tide breathes the promise of treasure, they must journey together to the bottom of the ocean to brave the deadliest shark of them all... \"The most incredible story...tender and wise, with themes of friendship, love, grief, revenge and acceptance.\" Michelle Harrison\"Magnificent and beautiful.\" Sophie Anderson\"A rare treasure of an adventure.\" Sarah Lean



The Shark Caller is an outstanding, spell-binding story. The author, Zillah Bethell, was born and raised for most of her childhood in Papua New Guinea. Sharks are very special in Papua New Guinea. They are considered beautiful, dangerous and otherworldly. By reading this book your eyes will be opened to another culture and you will see how the Island has changed over time. You will also learn a little Papuan Pidgin English (don't worry, there is a glossary included!).

This beautifully written tale explores issues of bereavement, kindness, forgiveness and friendship, set against a stunning yet dangerous backdrop. Blue Wing is an orphan cared for by her guardian, Siringen. Siringen is one of the last Shark Callers, an ancient tradition which he refuses steadfastly to pass on to Blue Wing.

When the American, Professor Hamelin, arrives on the island, Blue Wing is charged with befriending his daughter Maple. Neither girl is happy with this arrangement but, as time goes on, they reach an understanding and find common ground. The Shark Caller really explores empathy between the children as Siringen encourages Blue Wing to try to get to know Maple and understand why she behaves as she does.

There is a mystery to be solved in discovering the true purpose of Mr Hamelin's visit. Is he really interested in the coral or is he concealing his true purpose for his visit? Could his presence on the island have more to do with the Japanese occupation in World War 2?

Throughout the book runs Blue Wing's quest, to avenge the death of her parents by becoming a shark caller and murdering the 'evil' shark, Xok; the deadliest shark in the ocean.

Shark Caller would be a perfect book to read for a book club. It is a thought-provoking book which explores many issues and the author has provided book club questions in the back of the book.

400 pages / Reviewed by Clair Bossons, school librarian

Suggested Reading Age 9+


Other titles