Crab Cake: Turning the Tide Together

Andrea Tsurumi. HMH, $17.99 (48p) ISBN 978-0-544-95900-2
Life under the teal Tsurumi sea is abundant, busy, and seems pretty much by the textbook: “Spiny Lobster looks for a new home. Parrotfish crunches coral and poops sand... Lionfish does whatever she pleases.” But one serious outlier, Crab, bakes cakes, cupcakes, and more—frosted peach and green confections studded with shells and seaweed. Crab’s fellow inhabitants both indulge in the treats and find the baking behavior a little perplexing. In one drawing, Tsurumi shows the classic ocean food chain, with Crab proffering a cupcake to the last and smallest fish. Then, one night, a literal boatload of junk crashes into the ocean; the once-limpid water turns dark, and everyone is at a loss (“Dolphin freezes. Manta Ray freezes. Even Lionfish freezes”)—except Crab, who determinedly bakes a cake. This act of defiance and resilience coaxes the shocked schools out of hiding to nosh, comfort one another, and find a solution. Fans of Accident! will be happy that Tsurumi’s mastery of detail, humor, and clear-eyed empathy continues in this wholly original and moving affirmation of one crab’s power to bring a community together. Ages 4–7. Agent: Stephen Barr, Writers House. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 10/22/2018
Release date: 02/05/2019
Genre: Children's
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