cover image Lobster for Lunch

Lobster for Lunch

Bob Hartman. Down East Books, $14.95 (1pp) ISBN 978-0-89272-302-7

Young Larry and his parents celebrate Mother's birthday with a trip to a fancy restaurant. While waiting for a table, Larry becomes fascinated by a small lobster in the restaurant's tank, and ``Little Lob'' is equally admiring of Larry. But when the waiter asks Mother to choose a lobster for her meal, havoc reigns amid the simultaneous outbursts of Larry and Little Lob, who have formed a sort of telepathic friendship. Hartman's text has an overwhelmingly negative tone, and the exclamatory dialogue is frequently nasty: ``Larry, get your face off that tank!''; ``Be still or I'll give you something to cry about!'' Though Larry's objections are understandable, his feelings are never taken into account nor is he given a rational explanation about the lobster's fate. Little Lob, on the other hand, is told that lobsters grow and leave the tank to eat humans--presenting some possible confusion for young readers. In Stammen's picture book debut, her pastel illustrations show promise in their composition, and her human figures are emotionally expressive. However, her pale palette doesn't quite match the exuberance of her characterizations. Ages 4-8. (Aug.)