“Petrie’s unique, upbeat picture book helps children explore how to gracefully let go of what is not meant for them as they grow up. The story follows a young hermit crab who has become too big for her shell and must find a new one to protect her soft, squishy tail from predators. One day she discovers the most “strikingly wonderful shell in the world,” which is adorned with colorful barnacles and anemones and stands out because of its swirly pattern. The crab knows she is lucky for having found the shell and loves to show it off—but soon she grows again, and she must make another difficult decision.
Because childhood is a time of such rapid change, kids will relate to the hermit crab’s plight—and while they may initially be rooting for her to keep her standout shell, they will likely soon recognize that letting it go is the only way for her to continue to grow and stay safe. Importantly, in Petrie’s empathetic book the crab is never shamed or criticized for wanting to hang on to her old home, which makes the message more accessible. The story also includes plenty of facts about hermit crabs and other sea creatures, which will appeal to both curious kids and adults.
Detailed and colorful, Petrie’s illustrations cleverly bring this story to life and allow kids to feel a sense of compassion for the hermit crab, which may be an unfamiliar creature to many. With long, pointy legs and antennae-like eyes, the crab is shown hiding from predators and scuttling along the ocean floor in a too-small shell before finding her lovely new one, surrounded by rocks, seaweed, and a trio of colorful fish. With her rhyming prose and obvious love of sea life, Petrie has created a playful and exciting underwater world that children will be eager to revisit.
Takeaway: In this upbeat picture book a hermit crab helps children explore how to let go and grow.
Great for fans of: Catherine Leblanc’s Too Big or Too Small, Barney Saltzberg’s Cengdu Can Do.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: A“