A captivating work that offers vivid lessons about lobsters (and crabs).

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Something's Tugging on My Claw!

A rare blue lobster searches for the creature who took his claw in this brightly hued, educational children’s book.

Some days in the ocean are more treacherous than others, but when you’re a highly visible blue lobster, you do your best to watch out. When a young blue lobster feels something tugging hard on his claw, he does what lobsters do—he lets it go. Called “dropping” a claw, this act allows the hero to escape from his perceived threat. After discarding his claw, he sets out on a journey to find out who was pulling it. He sees a Jonah crab, a lobster trap, a swordfish, an octopus, and a horseshoe crab, among others, during his quest, avoiding them just in case they want a nice lobster dinner. In the midst of trying to uncover the culprit, the lobster molts his old, hard shell. He then realizes that he’s got his second claw back—albeit a tad undersized. With the threat gone (the lobster discovers that it was a human, enchanted by his cobalt hue, who yanked at his claw), the blue lobster is free to resume his under-the-sea life—but this time, he’ll wait until that second claw grows in. Little fish narrators dot the pages of the work, giving inside information about the narrative, such as explaining what a kitchen in a lobster trap is or that fish hide in the sand to avoid predators. The book culminates in a page of lobster facts aimed at budding biologists, complete with an illustrated diagram of all the important crustacean parts. Petrie (The Bumpy, Lumpy Horseshoe Crab, 2011, etc.), a former outreach specialist for the New England Aquarium, definitely knows her sea life. Both educational and sensational, this book should delight readers young and old, especially serving those who have an interest in marine biology. The little fish swimmers are a wonderful addendum to this children’s tale, answering many of the questions that could arise from young readers and pushing them to conduct their own research into the lobster’s ocean life. Petrie’s colorful illustrations are scientific enough to be accurate but not so complex that they become dull. Though the work is intended for younger readers, the prose is lively—many an adult wouldn’t mind reading this at bedtime to marine-leaning children again and again.

A captivating work that offers vivid lessons about lobsters (and crabs).

Pub Date: March 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-9705510-3-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Seatales Pub Co

Review Posted Online: Dec. 16, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2016

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With Ivan’s movie out this year from Disney, expect great interest—it will be richly rewarded.

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THE ONE AND ONLY BOB

Tiny, sassy Bob the dog, friend of The One and Only Ivan (2012), returns to tell his tale.

Wisecracking Bob, who is a little bit Chihuahua among other things, now lives with his girl, Julia, and her parents. Happily, her father works at Wildworld Zoological Park and Sanctuary, the zoo where Bob’s two best friends, Ivan the gorilla and Ruby the elephant, live, so Bob gets to visit and catch up with them regularly. Due to an early betrayal, Bob doesn’t trust humans (most humans are good only for their thumbs); he fears he’s going soft living with Julia, and he’s certain he is a Bad Dog—as in “not a good representative of my species.” On a visit to the zoo with a storm threatening, Bob accidentally falls into the gorilla enclosure just as a tornado strikes. So that’s what it’s like to fly. In the storm’s aftermath, Bob proves to everyone (and finally himself) that there is a big heart in that tiny chest…and a brave one too. With this companion, Applegate picks up where her Newbery Medal winner left off, and fans will be overjoyed to ride along in the head of lovable, self-deprecating Bob on his storm-tossed adventure. His wry doggy observations and attitude are pitch perfect (augmented by the canine glossary and Castelao’s picture dictionary of dog postures found in the frontmatter). Gorilla Ivan described Julia as having straight, black hair in the previous title, and Castelao's illustrations in that volume showed her as pale-skinned. (Finished art not available for review.)

With Ivan’s movie out this year from Disney, expect great interest—it will be richly rewarded. (afterword) (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-299131-7

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: March 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

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THE WONKY DONKEY

The print version of a knee-slapping cumulative ditty.

In the song, Smith meets a donkey on the road. It is three-legged, and so a “wonky donkey” that, on further examination, has but one eye and so is a “winky wonky donkey” with a taste for country music and therefore a “honky-tonky winky wonky donkey,” and so on to a final characterization as a “spunky hanky-panky cranky stinky-dinky lanky honky-tonky winky wonky donkey.” A free musical recording (of this version, anyway—the author’s website hints at an adults-only version of the song) is available from the publisher and elsewhere online. Even though the book has no included soundtrack, the sly, high-spirited, eye patch–sporting donkey that grins, winks, farts, and clumps its way through the song on a prosthetic metal hoof in Cowley’s informal watercolors supplies comical visual flourishes for the silly wordplay. Look for ready guffaws from young audiences, whether read or sung, though those attuned to disability stereotypes may find themselves wincing instead or as well.

Hee haw. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: May 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-545-26124-1

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Dec. 29, 2018

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