cover image Moving Day

Moving Day

Robert Kalan. Greenwillow Books, $15 (1pp) ISBN 978-0-688-13948-3

This slight but upbeat story takes place on the ocean floor, where a hermit crab searches for his ideal shell. Like Goldilocks, he rejects a number of possibilities, declaring, ""Too long,/ too wide,/ too big,/ too small,/ these shells/ will not do at all."" At last, the picky crustacean discovers a nautilus with ""more room inside./ Room to grow,/ room to hide."" Kalan (Jump, Frog, Jump!) compares adjectives such as ""fancy"" and ""plain,"" ""heavy"" and ""light,"" introducing beginners to a range of opposites. Abolafia (Fox Tale; My Three Uncles) makes the most of the limited material, presenting simultaneous views of underwater and landlubber life in his watercolor seascapes. His cartoon shellfish--whose pink pincers resemble those of a crayfish, not the asymmetrical claws of a real hermit crab--wears bandages after encountering a pointed shell (""too rough""), and poses playfully in front of a peacock-tail-shaped half shell (""too fancy""). Kalan and Abolafia supply plenty of good humor, but look to Megan McDonald's and S.D. Schindler's Is This a House for Hermit Crab? (Orchard, 1990) for scientific substance as well as a pleasing presentation of the same subject. Ages 4-up. (May)