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The Hermit Crab

Overview

The hermit crab would prefer to blend into the background. He is happy to spend his time alone, looking for food. But when he finds a flashy new shell, he can’t resist trying it on for size. He is so taken with it that he doesn’t notice the mysterious contraption that floats down from the surface. While the lobster wonders if the contraption is a restaurant and the bluefish thinks it’s a trap, the poor flounder gets stuck underneath! When the hungry hermit crab investigates the delicious smells coming from the ...

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Overview

The hermit crab would prefer to blend into the background. He is happy to spend his time alone, looking for food. But when he finds a flashy new shell, he can’t resist trying it on for size. He is so taken with it that he doesn’t notice the mysterious contraption that floats down from the surface. While the lobster wonders if the contraption is a restaurant and the bluefish thinks it’s a trap, the poor flounder gets stuck underneath! When the hungry hermit crab investigates the delicious smells coming from the contraption and frees the flounder, he inadvertently becomes a hero. But is the hermit crab ready for the limelight?

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Goodrich (A Creature Was Stirring), who has worked on Finding Nemo, Monsters, Inc. and Ratatouille, tells a story that tips its hat not only to the Pixar/Disney tropes of misunderstood, unlikely heroes but also to The Story of Ferdinand. When the critter (who has reclusiveness running through his DNA) takes up residence in the top half of a discarded, sternly muscular action figure, he becomes the inadvertent rescuer of a flounder that's caught under a lobster trap. Crab isn't driven by an awakened sense of civic virtue, but rather by the tasty smell of the trap's bait. Happy with his lot in life, he chooses anonymity over celebrity, allowing the other sea creatures to believe that the action figure is responsible. With watercolor and pencil, Goodrich beautifully conveys the feeling of sunlight penetrating the blue-green depths, and the goggle-eyed cluelessness of most of the creatures winks at readers without undermining the story. The narration is rather bland and literal, but the visual point of view is so strong and reassuringly familiar that children probably won't notice. Ages 6-10. (June)

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Children's Literature - Erika Clark
The hermit crab was not your average hero. He was terribly shy, nervous, and pleasantly happy keeping to himself. One day a large wooden contraption fell from the sky in the center of town. Trapped beneath this contraption was one of the hermit crab's neighbors, the flounder. When no one could help the defenseless flounder, the hermit crab came out of the forest of seaweed, wearing his new flashy shell. After giving the contraption a shake, it floated back up into the sky, freeing the flounder. After the rescue, everyone praised and congratulated the new flashy shell, without noticing the hermit crab. Out of sight and quietly hidden in his shell, the hermit crab waited until everyone was asleep to slide out of his shell and tiptoe away. When he found his old shell, he "settled in, just beyond the edge of the crowd, right where he was most comfortable." This story of the hermit crab teaches young readers that they can help others just by simply being themselves. Reviewer: Erika Clark
School Library Journal

K-Gr 2

As the marine denizens are settling down to breakfast, a wooden crate falls near them, and the bluefish warns that it might be a trap. Then they realize that the flounder is missing, and the shy hermit crab becomes a hero when he dons the top half of a toy action figure he finds in the water and inadvertently releases the trapped fish. Deliberate pacing advances the impending action, and the affirming conclusion fully completes the offbeat narrative. The personal tone engages the audience, bringing immediacy to the plot, and serves as a warm contrast to the cool illustrations. Goodrich's colored pencil and watercolor spreads predominately feature greens and blues to convey the watery depth of the sea. Animated expressions result in humorous interactions among the varied characters, and the crab's fully realized disguise enhances the development of this slight story.-Meg Smith, Cumberland County Public Library, Fayetteville, NC

Kirkus Reviews
"The hermit crab in this story didn't set out to be a hero." So begins this appealing dive into the undersea world, created by a character designer for Finding Nemo. When the unassuming hermit crab spies "the most beautiful shell he'd ever seen," the top half of a brawny purple action figure, he decides to move in. With this amusing transformation, it follows that his fellow sea creatures don't recognize the mysterious purple hero who bravely lifts a heavy trap off the sea floor to save a hapless, pinned flounder. (The hermit crab doesn't even know the fish is imperiled-he's just hungry and the bait smells good.) Fleeing the crowd's adoration, the timid crustacean shucks the Herculean torso, leaving his peers to worship an empty purple husk. There are no inner transformations or sly lessons here, just the quietly funny story of a shy hermit crab who stays exactly that. Cinematic, full-bleed spreads of the sea floor in soft-hued colored pencil and watercolor effectively convey the perspective of a small creature in a big world. (Picture book. 6-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781416938927
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
  • Publication date: 6/2/2009
  • Pages: 40
  • Sales rank: 976,740
  • Age range: 6 - 10 Years
  • Lexile: AD680L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 9.00 (w) x 12.20 (h) x 0.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Carter Goodrich is the illustrator of A Creature Was Stirring. His animation work has also appeared in the films Finding Nemo; Shrek; Monsters, Inc.; and The Prince of Egypt.

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