Lobsters: Gangsters of the Sea

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Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Gr 4-6-Focusing on the ``Maine'' lobster (Homarus americanus), Cerullo briefly describes its physical characteristics and life cycle. The New England lobster industry is also discussed. The procedures lobstermen follow in setting and retrieving traps is outlined, as are their conservation efforts and some current research into the development of economical methods for ``farming'' the crustaceans. The information offered is bound to images of cooked lobster- that is, as human food. The author suggests that readers study its anatomy at the dinner table; as various body parts are examined, the edible and inedible portions are identified. A short section toward the end focuses on lobster consumption. Clear, full-color photographs appear on about every other page. One diagram of the underside of a lobster is included; there is no illustration of the oft-mentioned lobster trap. While clearly written and logically organized, the text is tinged with anthropomorphism, particularly in the chapter on reproduction. Language is sometimes imprecise. A female with eggs is referred to as being ``pregnant,'' not ``in berry,'' a more accurate term. The scientific term for sensory hairs on the animal's body is ``setae,'' not ``hedgehog hairs'' as stated. Jill Bailey's Discovering Crabs and Lobsters (Watts, 1987) may lack the detail on lobster behavior, but it discusses the characteristics of a variety of species and is a more objective introduction to the animal.-Karey Wehner, San Francisco Public Library
Hazel Rochman
With fine color pictures and an immediate, informative text, this lively photo-essay captures the behavior of lobsters and their relationship with the people who catch them. Lobster trappers are farmers as well as hunters of the sea, according to Cerullo, and lobster conservation is as much a part of the story as catching, cooking, and eating lobster. Many of the photographs are close-up views taken underwater, showing lobsters at various stages of their life cycle. There are also pictures of the fishing industry that show people working on boats and in restaurants, preparing bait, and throwing young or pregnant lobsters back into the sea. Cerullo's style is informal and immediate. She explains that lobsters are known as "gangsters" because of their aggressive and territorial nature: they steal bait from traps and food from the homes of other lobsters. One ironic connection with people who have wrestled with shells and claws at the dinner table is that lobsters themselves are messy eaters.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780525651536
  • Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 2/1/1994
  • Edition description: 1st ed
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 64
  • Age range: 9 years
  • Product dimensions: 8.32 (w) x 10.32 (h) x 0.49 (d)

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