By Jason Cooper
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Extra info for Antlers and Horns (Let's Look at Animals Discovery Library)
Still, nothing to be feared. The only things this animal would fear would be larger versions of itself and killer whales. Quietly, we descended. Even more quietly, it ascended. Are you crazy? Why are you playing chicken with a great white shark? When we were no more than five feet apart, the shark blinked. Without seeming to flick its tail or alter the pitch of its fins or move a muscle, it changed direction from up to down and passed beneath us. We stopped and turned, and watched the shark disappear into the gray canyons of the deeper reef.
Aside from the many merits of the Steven Spielberg film, the story apparently touches a deep nerve in a great many people. There was also the fact that in the summer of 2001, the United States and the world were in a relatively slow news cycle. Not much was going on that was newsworthy. Then, at dusk on July 6, eight-year-old Jesse Arbogast was attacked by a bull shark in shallow water off Pensacola, Florida. The attack was particularly gruesome and sensational. Somehow, his uncle wrestled the seven-foot shark to shore.
An obstinate book about a rabbit, Watership Down, refused to give up the number one slot. Nor did Jaws sell anywhere near the number of hardcover copies a bestseller would today. Nowadays, novels like J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter books sell millions of copies. Jaws sold about 125,000 copies. The story in paperback was entirely different. Jaws was number one for months on lists all over the world. In the United States alone it sold more than nine million copies. But that success had to do in part with the release of the movie.