Friday, May 03, 2019

Crabphabetical! The Crab Alphabet Book by Jerry Pallotta


We crabs are tired of books about cute penguins and colorful butterflies.

Enough with the cutesy critters, the crabs complain. CRABS ARE COOL.

They are decopods--animals with ten feet (eight legs and two claws)! How's that for unusual? And if they lose a leg, they grow it back. They have eyes on stalks so they can see in all directions. They have shells for safety and some of them also crawl inside a cast-off shell for extra protection. Crabs can be colorful, or they can go for the camou look. Crabs can be sneaky. Crabs can be scary, even creepy. And yes, they can be (sort of) cute and cool pets, too.

And just in time for the crabs' makeover campaign, that master of the abecedarian picture book, Jerry Pallotta, has his newly published The Crab Alphabet Book (Charlesbridge Publishing, 2019).

With this newest title, author Pallotta continues his career providing outstanding nonfiction books aimed at the the primary grades. Here he comes up with twenty-six crabs in alphabetical order, from the arrow crab to the zebra hermit crab, named for their shapes or markings, and with each one getting its own full-page detailed color illustration by noted artist Tom Leonard. Some crabs specialize in colors: the blue crab is, well, blue; the Christmas Island crabs sport Santa-suit red shells and legs; while the Halloween crab has a natural orange and black coloration. The sneaky decorator crab, however, covers his shell with whatever keeps him covert, be it purple or mossy green seaweed. Ghost crabs, silvery white, come out only at night, while the king crab wears royal scarlet and the little green crab is, well, green.

Size can be a amazing, too. Crabs can be tiny, like the pea-sized oyster crab, or monstrous-sized, like the thirteen-feet-wide Japanese spider crab and the three-feet-wide, burly land-dwelling robber crab. Crabs can be solitary, like the eponymous hermit, or march in armies like the soldier crab. They can be crinkly, like the wrinkled crab, fuzzy like the Yeti crab, or sleek as a fiddler crab.

In Pallotta's latest natural history entry, crabs are unquestionably cool. This humorous, irresistible, and beautiful nonfiction picture book belongs in classroom, school, and public libraries everywhere.

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