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The Bumpy, Lumpy Horseshoe Crab

The Bumpy, Lumpy Horseshoe Crab

5.0 8
by Janice S. C. Petrie (Illustrator)
The Bumpy, Lumpy Horseshoe Crab is a story set in Duxbury, MA about a sleek little horseshoe crab who learns how taking critters and creatures for a ride could save his life. This picture book has a whimsical, rhyming style, and portrays horseshoe crabs exhibiting behaviors that they commonly use in real life. It is the perfect choice for a family read aloud for


The Bumpy, Lumpy Horseshoe Crab is a story set in Duxbury, MA about a sleek little horseshoe crab who learns how taking critters and creatures for a ride could save his life. This picture book has a whimsical, rhyming style, and portrays horseshoe crabs exhibiting behaviors that they commonly use in real life. It is the perfect choice for a family read aloud for children 2-8 years old. It also is a great tool for teachers who are studying marine life, tidepools, or coastal sea animals, and is an invaluable resource for language arts teachers. The fun, colorful, simply drawn illustrations are expressive, and bring each sea creature to life. Although two horseshoe crabs are the central characters, periwinkles, limpets, barnacles, and green and jonah crabs are also portrayed in the story. There are information pages included in the back of the story that tell interesting facts about horseshoe crabs, as well as the other sea animals that have been introduced in the book.

Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
In Petrie's (Did You Make the Hole in the Shell in the Sea?, 2013, etc.) educational children's book, a horseshoe crab learns that an apparent fashion statement is actually necessary for survival.

As a young horseshoe crab wanders the seafloor, "flapping his gills" and "gliding with ease," he notices something peculiar—a fellow horseshoe crab who's a bit older, with bits of seaweed, barnacles, and other sea fauna encrusting her shell. The youngster is shocked that his female counterpart would choose to mar her shell this way—why not be light and free? Upon closer inspection, he sees that she has periwinkles, limpets, barnacles, and seaweed covering her sleek outer shell. Although the younger horseshoe crab is bewildered at the idea of weighing oneself down on purpose, he quickly learns why it's smart. As the sea retreats and the tide gets low, the female horseshoe crab buries herself in the sand, disguising her shell and avoiding the watchful eye of predatory birds. From the air, she just looks like a bunch of seaweed in the ocean. Without anything to hide behind, the younger horseshoe crab is quickly snatched into the sky by a sea gull, but the crustacean manages to fall from its grasp by twisting and turning. After this near-death experience, he understands the wisdom of collecting creatures to live on his carapace, and he's soon lumpy, bumpy, and, most importantly, safe. Petrie once served as an outreach educator for the New England Aquarium, and her knowledge of and passion for marine life is apparent throughout this colorful work. Readers don't need to have a deep interest in marine biology to love this book; it's so engrossing and engaging that the fact that it's also educational is just an added bonus. Children won't just learn about horseshoe crabs: after the story is over, the last pages offer a glossary of the sea creatures mentioned within, including limpets, Jonah crabs, and barnacles. Petrie's bright illustrations are also a delight. Overall, this work is sure to inspire further under-the-sea exploration at bedtime and beyond.

A fun marine adventure that's fit for everyone.

The Salem News
In her children's book, Petrie uses simple, bright images and a playful rhyming scheme to convey her message that horseshoe crabs have a greater purpose than their appearance may suggest. She's also hoping her readers will feel the same spark she felt 20 years ago.

"I love the little guys, and I think they're incredible," Petrie said. "And people would, too, if they spent some time with them." --(Muriel C. Hoffacker)

Topsfield resident Janice S.C. Petrie knows so much about horseshoe crabs that she wrote a children's book "The Bumpy, Lumpy Horseshoe Crab" to debunk common myths about the sea creatures and to educate children.
"Horseshoe crabs are not well known. They get a bad rap! There are many misconceptions about these friendly sea creatures," Petrie said.
"The Bumpy, Lumpy Horseshoe Crab" is a story set in Duxbury, MA about a sleek, little horseshoe crab that learns how taking critters and creatures for a ride could save his life.
While working as an outreach teacher at the New England Aquarium in Boston, Petrie became interested in learning more about horseshoe crabs.
"I learned how to catch a horseshoe crab and was able to observe them in their nature habitat," Petrie said.
Petrie, a graphic designer, certified K-8 teacher and reading specialist, collects her horseshoe crabs and other sea creatures from Power Point Bridge in Duxbury.
"Horseshoe crabs are easy to collect in shallow water. I have always gone to Power Point Bridge to find horseshoe crabs and I never come home empty-handed!" Petrie said.
For many years Petrie, founder of Seatales Education Company, went to elementary schools to give sea creature demonstrations to students.
"I would catch sea creatures in September for my school presentations and release them back into the wild in June," Petrie explained.
Petrie created an impressive system to make sure the animals were kept in a similar environment to what they were use to, even though they were in Topsfield.
Through demonstrations, Petrie learned the biggest misconception people have about horseshoe crabs is they sting because of their long tails.
"They do not sting or even bite! Horseshoe crabs use their tails for balance," Petrie explained.
Horseshoe crabs are very valuable for science research, Petrie added. Scientists are interested in horseshoe crabs for a number of reasons including their optic nerve, chitin shell and blue blood.
"Scientists have discovered that a horseshoe crab's oxygen-based blood has the ability to clot when it reaches certain temperatures."
In the 1960s, Dr. Frederik Bang, a Johns Hopkins researcher working at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, found when common marine bacteria were injected into the bloodstream of the North American horseshoe crab, massive clotting occurred.
Their blood is used by the pharmaceutical and medical device industries to ensure that their products, such as prosthetic limbs and vaccines, are free of bacterial contamination, Petrie explained.
"Horseshoe crabs are invertebrates, meaning they do not have a backbone, but they do have a very hard shell," says Petrie.
Their shell is made out of chitin, a flexible but hard material.
"Chitin from horseshoe crabs is used to make chitin-coated sutures and contact lenses," Petrie said.
Although horseshoe crabs are a valuable resource to the medical community, they are in danger of extinction, Petrie added.
"Fishermen use horseshoe crabs as bait to catch conch," Petrie said.
For more information about horseshoe crabs check out Petrie's youtube video by searching for "The Bumpy, Lumpy Horseshoe Crab."
On Monday, July 25 at 10:30 a.m., Petrie will be reading her new book at the Topsfield Town Library. Sea animals are also expected to make an appearance.
"The Bumpy, Lumpy Horseshoe Crab" has a whimsical, rhyming style, and portrays horseshoe crabs exhibiting behaviors that they commonly use in real life.
"Although it is a fictional story, I tried to make it as accurate as possible," Petrie said.
"I was always interested in writing a children's book," Petrie said. "This book is a great tool for teachers who are studying marine life, tide pools, or coastal sea animals."
Petrie used her graphic design experience to create colorful, fun and simply drawn illustrations that are expressive and bring each sea character to life.
Although two horseshoe crabs are the central characters, periwinkles, limpets, barnacles and green and Jonah crabs are also featured in the story.
In the last few pages, Petrie includes additional information about horseshoe crabs and the other sea animals that appear in the book.
"The main reason I wrote a book about horseshoe crabs is because I thought the more familiar and comfortable people get with horseshoe crabs, the more apt they would be to care about them and want to protect them," Petrie added.--(Suzanne Snell)
The Wakefield Daily Item
They hang out at the beach and are so scary looking you think they might bite. No, they're not men wearing Spandex. These little creatures are actually horseshoe crabs and author Janice S. C. Petrie, who grew up in Montrose and raised her children in Greenwood, has written a book about them.

Written in rhyme, "The Bumpy, Lumpy Horseshoe Crab" is set in Duxbury at Powder Point Bridge and is for children ages three to nine. The book tells the story of horseshoe crabs and their undersea adventures. A glossary is included at the end of the book and teaches about limpets, barnacles and other underwater life forms and explains the individual parts of a horseshoe crab.

Petrie said that she learned details about the "sweet" horseshoe crabs while working for the New England Aquarium at the wooden Powder Point Bridge. She also worked for Seatales Publishing Company for 20 years where she learned about other forms of sea life.

"In writing the book, my hope was that the more familiar people become with the crabs, the more they'll be apt to want to protect them," she said. "It's amazing how many people know so little about these sea creatures." Petrie, a Topsfield resident for the past 15 years, said that horseshoe crabs are an endangered species, and the entire population could be wiped out if measures are not taken to protect them. For instance, she said they are used as bait in the conch industry and to catch other seafood, and these practices could wipe out the entire population. The horseshoe crabs, she said, are not royalty but they actually do have blue blood. This is because their blood has a copper base that appears blue when oxygen is present, whereas when human iron-based blood has oxygen present, it appears red.

This finding has led to the LAL test, which helps to expose bacterial contamination of injectable and intravenous drugs. LAL testing is also used to screen prosthetic devices such as heart valves and hip replacements for bacterial contamination.

To learn more about the horseshoe crab, Google You tube and type "The Bumpy, Lumpy Horseshoe Crab" on the search line. To view Petrie's Facebook page, type in the title of the book after going to the Facebook site. Surprising facts about horseshoe crabs:

• A horseshoe crab's tail is not a weapon; in fact, it's fragile. Therefore, crabs should never be picked up by their tails.
• It takes a male crab nine years to reach reproductive maturity and female crabs 10 years.
• Loggerhead turtles and shore birds depend on horseshoe crabs and their eggs for food.
• If horseshoe crabs die out, these populations can be reduced and biomedical research would screech to a halt.
• Horseshoe crabs have aided eye research, and their shells are used in sutures that are absorbed by the body in dressings for wounds. --(Gail Lowe)

Product Details

SeaTales Publishing Company
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
9.30(w) x 12.20(h) x 0.40(d)
Age Range:
3 - 10 Years

Meet the Author

Janice Petrie first learned about horseshoe crabs when she worked for the New England Aquarium as an outreach teacher. Since then, she has spent years caring for horseshoe crabs and other coastal marine animals, providing hands-on programs to children in schools throughout New England. Janice Petrie holds a B.S. in Education and a M.Ed. in Reading, as well as a B.A. in Art with a concentration in Graphic Design.

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The Bumpy, Lumpy Horseshoe Crab 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
debrat207 More than 1 year ago
I am a third grade teacher and read this book to my class. The vocabulary is wonderful, "debris." Being from Maine I figured the children were aware of what a horseshoe crab was, but NO. The book is sure to bring on much discussion. Fabulous! A must read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
MichelleL35 More than 1 year ago
I read "The Bumpy, Lumpy Horseshoe Crab" to my class of 2-3 year olds. They really liked it, especially the part where the seagull swooped down and grabbed the horseshoe crab and then wiggled free and fell back into the water. We had to look at those few pages and talk about them again and again! I also read the story to my 7 year old and she really liked it as well!!
smacSM More than 1 year ago
I am a fourth grade teacher. Recently, I read The Bumpy, Lumpy Horseshoe Crab to my students. Each year we study the ocean biome and this book nicely illustrates the need for adaptation in order to survive in the ocean environment. The rhyming pattern of the text is a fun read.
SamIAm15 More than 1 year ago
Fun and colorful illustrations.Text is rhyming and rhythmic, which makes it fun to read!
Amy94 More than 1 year ago
I received this wonderful children's book on Wednesday and couldn't wait to read it to my first graders at Brophy Elementary School, Framingham, MA. The students extremely enjoyed this story as a read aloud as they had touched and felt a horseshoe crab when we went to the Aquarium. The rich vocabulary and rhymes kept students highly engaged. Although my students knew it was a fiction story, they appreciated the non-fiction elements including the glossary, diagrams, and facts throughout the book. They wondered whether the author was an expert on horseshoe crabs. Some direct quotes from my students include: "I like this book because it tells us about real life in the ocean;" "I think it is a good book and I hope the author writes another book about a seahorse;" "The pictures are cool! How did she make them? Maybe with markers."
EricaB7 More than 1 year ago
The Bumpy, Lumpy Horseshoe Crab is an extremely enjoyable book for both children and adults. The rhyming story is fun to read, the characters are expressive and the illustrations are beautiful. My classroom of preschoolers (4 year-olds) found The Bumpy Lumpy Horseshoe Crab entertaining and ask for it to be read during Circle Time whenever they see it on the shelf! As a teacher, I find the last few pages very educational, which explains what the other animals are that are in the book too.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago