In this captivating picture book for young readers, a Sally Lightfoot crab is taken on an unexpected adventure through the ocean deeps.
With rhyming narration nearly as colorful as the rich illustrations, author and artist Walkingheart (Collin O’Daurc, 2015, etc.) tells a dramatic tale about a little “bright blue and ruby-red” crustacean whose idyllic life in the tide pool is interrupted when she’s swept to the ocean depths by choppy seas. Never fear, this intrepid little Sally is able to hitch a ride on the side of a whale and catch a fortuitous piece of driftwood that will float her back into the shallows—but not before she encounters “The wrecks that wars and storms have drowned,” the “clawed and suckered flurry” of a hungry octopus, and “long-toothed, big-eyed fishes / Who think of crabs as tasty dishes!” Suspense builds, enhanced by the intensity of color and detail in the illustrations. The rhyming text, meanwhile, is crafted with intriguing imagery and vocabulary that respect a child’s intelligence, curiosity, and sense of fun. The real-life Sally Lightfoot crab, found in a wide swath of Atlantic and Pacific coastal areas, provides the model and inspiration for the heroine; Walkingheart also follows the fictional narrative with some factual information about her and a list of “Sally’s Odder Neighbors”—the spiny oyster, brittle star, moray eel, pistol shrimp and more—with child-friendly descriptions and illustrations of each. Walkingheart even sprinkles in a few references to John Steinbeck, concluding with an inviting suggestion: “And someday, maybe you’ll want to read The Log of the Sea of Cortez, by John Steinbeck, where Sally is often mentioned.”
A vibrant picture book that, through luminous illustrations and a suspenseful story, will easily help young readers appreciate ocean life.