Crab Cake: Turning the Tide Together

illus. by Andrea Tsurumi. 48p. HMH. Feb. 2019. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780544959002.
K-Gr 2—Under the sea, the animals all have their part to play. The tangs swim in schools, the scallop flips in a loop-de-loop, and the crab…bakes cakes. Tsurumi gracefully switches between pseudo-nonfiction snapshots of undersea life and a ridiculous tale about a crab baking for its friends. The two threads come together toward the middle of the book, when a large amount of trash is dumped into their ocean. Shocked and scared, the other fish turn to Crab, who feeds them and orchestrates a cleanup movement. This is not only a simple tale about the healing power of baking, but also about the importance of clean oceans—links in the back to NASA Climate Kids and other sites help reiterate that important point. As in her debut, Accident!, it's Tsurumi's illustrations that win the day. Her attention to detail and ability to create rich textures through shading and colors truly bring the animals to life. And the cartoon style makes the piece fun and lighthearted before shifting gears to show the animals fearfully looking at the blackened garbage that has infested their home.
VERDICT A sweet and hopeful tale—highly recommended for one-on-one and small group sharing.

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