A young girl goes beachcombing and finds an unexpected friend.
Clem collects treasures both natural and human-made, and a small crab comes entangled in the plastic that makes up some of her collection. While heading home on the bus with her sister, Clem discovers that the crab has unwittingly stowed away in her pants leg. In her kitchen, she makes a home for the crab, then brings him to school along with all the plastic waste she found on the beach as part of her show and tell. Crab escapes, scaring and delighting her classmates, and the teacher tells Clem to take him back to the beach. Clem replies,“The beach is messy and dangerous. I try my best to keep it clean, but it’s a big job.” When she returns to the beach, she is delighted to find that her classmates are there already, helping to clean up. She feels much better about returning Crab to his newly pristine environment and makes a promise that she will always look after the beach: “for Crab, and all the other sea creatures.” Lumbers’ skillful, pleasingly composed pencil, crayon, and watercolor illustrations and simple but expressive text are perfectly suited to her story, capturing the ingenuous earnestness of her young protagonist. Clem and her sister are white; Clem’s classmates are diverse.
This sweet, feel-good tale about a can-do kid is in tune with its audience. (Picture book. 3-6)