THE CRAB MAN by Patricia E. Van West


by & illustrated by
Age Range: 5 - 9
Email this review


On the island of Jamaica many people depend on the tourist trade, and Neville does, too. The small boy catches hermit crabs and sells them to the crab man, six for one US dollar. He’s saving money to buy his mother a new dress, “a fancy one the color of the sea.” One day Neville sees that the crab man stages races for the tourists, abusing the crabs in the process. The boy is horrified. Snatching his crabs back, he makes a run for home. There, with his mother’s understanding, he releases the overheated crabs into the cool shade of the bushes near the beach. The moralizing tone is reduced by the fresh setting and straightforward narrative. Lucas’s softly colored illustrations effectively capture the tropical setting, Neville’s pleasure in the natural world, his pride at earning money, and his consternation when he realizes the true cost of his actions. (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1998
ISBN: 1-890515-08-6
Page count: 40pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15th, 1998