Crab Cake: Turning the Tide Together
"Under the sea, where sunlight touches sand, lies a place that's home to many incredible creatures." Among others, there's Clownfish, who enjoys hiding; Scallop, who swims in loops; and Crab, who, well, bakes cakes. (No, not crab cakes: the bakery kind. But with barnacles.) If the story's sea critters had eyebrows, they would be raised at Crab's decidedly uncrustacean-like behavior.
One night there's a "BIG SPLASH!"--a barge has dumped a mountain of garbage into the sea. While the other fish are experiencing psychic paralysis, Crab takes action, baking a cake that becomes a shared comfort food; it both fortifies the sea community and brings everyone together for a strategy session. Working collaboratively, the fish push or tote the garbage up to the dock and festoon it with the words (inked by Octopus, naturally) "COME/ GET/ YOUR/ JUNK!"
Crab Cake: Turning the Tide Together is a wackily wondrous "be yourself" book that doubles as an activism primer. Andrea Tsurumi, who presented multiple not-so-major disasters in the knee-slapper Accident!, never lets Crab Cake's ecological concerns obscure the book's humor. Her sea critters are all cute enough to be stuffies, even in the book's post-catastrophe grayscale scenes, in which the traumatized creatures aren't much more than googly eyes peeking out from hiding spots. Readers would do well to keep their own eyes peeled for Crab Cake's blink-or-you'll-miss-'em vignettes, as when an elder crab with a substantive shell glares at its shell-less charge and demands, "Well, where did you leave it?" --Nell Beram, freelance writer and YA author