A House for Hermit Crab

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by Eric Carle; published (1987) by Scholastic Inc.

A HOUSE FOR HERMIT CRAB is a charming story about the habits of a hermit crab, with a subtheme : the breaking away from the old and venturing out into the new.

When Hermit Crab outgrows his old shell, he has to find a bigger place in which to dwell. His new home is old and very plain. But, bit by bit, anemone and starfish and crusty coral come along to adorn it; snail keep it clean, sea urchin (prickly and fierce) love to protect it and lanternfish light it up.  Hermit is a happy crab.  Until his cozy quarters become too cramped and again, coming full circle, he has to let go of the shell (along with the comfort of the sweet and familiar).

“I couldn’t stay in that little shell forever,” said Hermit Crab as he waved goodbye.

The ocean floor looked wider than he had remembered, but Hermit Crab wasn’t afraid…..”Sponges!” he thought. “Barnacles!  Clown fish!  Sand dollars!  Electric Eels!  Oh, there are so many possibilities!….” 

And that is the important message here:  so many possibilities, about accepting the cycle of change with an open mind.  I learned a lot about hermit crabs too (stuff I didn’t know –  I’d actually never heard of a hermit crab until reading the book) and the illustrations are attractive and easy to follow.

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