Who knew there were so many kinds of crabs? At least 26, in fact.
Pallotta is known for his many alphabet books, ringing the abecedarian changes on such subjects as construction equipment, victory gardens, “icky bugs,” herbs and spices, and dinosaurs, to name just a few. Here, he brushes the sand off of crabs from A to Z. Readers will learn that crabs are decapods, a term that means 10 feet, with crabs qualifying by having eight legs and two claws. The subject itself is intriguing, and paired with Leonard’s realistic acrylic illustrations, the result is striking. Many readers would know a few types, such as fiddler, blue, (zebra) hermit, and king, but most will likely be a surprise: Christmas Island, Halloween, mitten, ghost, velvet, xeno, and yeti. Kids will giggle at the ninja crab and the pom pom crab (which “holds venomous anemones in its claws”). The book is nicely designed, with a capital and lowercase letter in the top corner of each page and the illustration framed with a white border. Humorous notes (“please don’t call a grumpy teacher a crabby teacher—it’s not nice!”) and informational tidbits (“If a crab loses a claw or a leg, it grows back”) appear in faux hand-lettered callout boxes throughout. The Sea Mammal Alphabet Book publishes simultaneously, struggling a bit to meet the ABC format and lacking the impressive unity of this title.
Informative and entertaining; good for ocean units, displays, or just plain browsing. (Picture book. 4-8)