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 Chengdu Can Do.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: A
"The Lucky Hermit Crab and Her Swirly New Shell is an informative picture book about a young hermit crab who learns to accept change and let go of outgrown treasures … Written in flowing rhymes, this lighthearted story also delivers educational information about sea creatures … Detailed and colorful, the illustrations keep the particulars of sea life in mind with their renderings of the hermit crab, her fellow creatures, and the terrain of the ocean floor. The octopus is a stealthy presence here, too, and young readers will have fun searching it out as it camouflages itself in the surrounding habitat." - Foreword Clarion Review - 9/13/2022
". . . Petrie’s full-color cartoon illustrations mix realistic detail with friendly facial expressions; the octopus hiding on almost every page makes for an excellent seek-and-find. The main text reads smoothly throughout, but the thought-bubble commentary from fish witnessing the crab’s difficulties is the story’s highlight. They offer fast facts about hermit crabs while amusingly reacting to the protagonist’s adventures. The ample ocean-creature terminology (exoskeleton, anemones) will challenge newly independent readers, and the interesting topic will provide encouragement.
A sea story with a solid message, fanciful rhymes, and engaging characters."- Kirkus Reviews - October 7, 2022
"Critique: Fun and informative, "The Lucky Hermit Crab and Her Swirly New Shell" is an ideal and unreservedly recommended addition to family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library Marine Life picture book collections for children ages 3-10." - Midwest Book Review - September 2022 issue.
A Kirkus Star! So excited to hear from Kirkus Reviews that my book, "The Lucky Hermit Crab and Her Swirly New Shell" has received a Kirkus Star! I guess that my little hermit crab truly is lucky!