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Cover image for Crab cake : turning the tide together
Crab cake : turning the tide together
Boston ; New York : Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, [2019]
Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : chiefly color illustrations ; 24 x 29 cm
"Under the sea, a crab follows its heart and its calling, bringing everyone together in the wake of a disaster"-- Provided by publisher.


Call Number
+ Tsurumi
Tsurumi, A.

On Order



Under the sea, a crab follows its heart and its calling, bringing everyone together in the wake of a disaster. Feed your craving for a hilarious, heart-warming story with Crab Cake, perfect for budding environmentalists, kids learning to cope with mishaps, and every young reader in between.

Under the sea, fish do what fish do: Seahorse hides, Pufferfish puffs up, Parrotfish crunches coral, and Crab . . . bakes cakes?
Scallop swims, Dolphin blows bubbles, and . . . Crab bakes cakes.
And so life goes on, until one night when everything changes with a splash!
In the face of total disaster, can Crab's small, brave act help the community come together and carry on?

Author Notes

Andrea Tsurumi is an author-illustrator-cartoonist and the creator of Accident!, her debut picture book. Her favorite whale is the beluga, and her favorite cake is all of them. Originally from New York, she now lives in Philadelphia with her husband and dog. Find her online at www.andreatsurumi.com and on Instagram at @atsurumi.

Reviews 5

School Library Journal Review

K-Gr 2-Under the sea, the animals all have their part to play. The tangs swim in schools, the scallop flips in a loop-de-loop, and the crab.bakes cakes. Tsurumi gracefully switches between pseudo-nonfiction snapshots of undersea life and a ridiculous tale about a crab baking for its friends. The two threads come together toward the middle of the book, when a large amount of trash is dumped into their ocean. Shocked and scared, the other fish turn to Crab, who feeds them and orchestrates a cleanup movement. This is not only a simple tale about the healing power of baking, but also about the importance of clean oceans-links in the back to NASA Climate Kids and other sites help reiterate that important point. As in her debut, Accident!, it's Tsurumi's illustrations that win the day. Her attention to detail and ability to create rich textures through shading and colors truly bring the animals to life. And the cartoon style makes the piece fun and lighthearted before shifting gears to show the animals fearfully looking at the blackened garbage that has infested their home. VERDICT A sweet and hopeful tale-highly recommended for one-on-one and small group sharing.-Peter Blenski, Greenfield Public Library, WI © Copyright 2019. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publisher's Weekly Review

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.) c Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Kirkus Review

Sea creatures fortified by pastries work together to clean up their home."Under the sea, where sunlight touches sand," aquatic animals live mostly in peace. "Scallop does loop-de-loops," "Octopus hides in a coconut," "The venomous Lionfish does whatever she pleases," and "Crab bakes cakes." Each full-page spread is a delight of detail, with adorable, expressive creatures that kids can pore over at length. The bright colors suddenly darken, though, when "one night, there's a BIG SPLASH!" and a barge dumps a load of trash into their habitat. The animals freeze, horrified, but Crab gathers its fortitude and bakes yet another cake. The sea creatures collect as a community, eating and discussing what to do next, and they come up with a plan to send the trash back to the humans. Each animal does what it can to help (each with its own distinctive, vigorous verb), and soon life under the sea is back to normal. The tone shifts dramatically in this surprising story, from light and fun to serious and upsetting, gently but clearly showing children how everyone has unique skills and interests that they can use in support of community or a common goal. Just baking a cake might seem frivolous, but readers come away with the idea that nourishing and supporting one another is the only way to change the world.A kid-friendly yet profound confection. (Picture book. 4-8) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Booklist Review

In this follow-up to Tsurumi's well-received Accident! (2017), many creatures go about their business under the sea: Clownfish hides in the stinging anemone. Manta Ray gets cleaned . . . and Scallop does loop-de-loops, while Crab . . . well, Crab bakes cakes. Quite how one bakes underwater when everybody else is doing biologically appropriate, if anthropomorphized, activities is entirely beside the point, especially when suddenly there's a BIG SPLASH! and lots of garbage is dumped into their world from a boat that had been circling ominously on the back cover. This trauma causes everyone to freeze up, except for Crab, who carries on baking, bringing everybody together around good food and inspiring them to collaboratively return the mess to land, along with a message to humans: Come get your junk! While entertaining, as evidenced by the playful title which recalls appetizers at a seafood restaurant, it is with serious intent and empathy that these comical comics (graphite on vellum with digital coloring) successfully communicate a theme of community and environmentalism.--Andrew Medlar Copyright 2018 Booklist

New York Review of Books Review

A boy and his dog head to the moon, a crab bakes cakes, a cat foils a bakery break-in: These books send imaginations soaring. ONE IS A PIÑATA Written by Roseanne Greenfield Thong. Illustrated by John Parra. Thong and Parra have explored shapes ("Round Is a Tortilla") and colors ("Green Is a Chile Pepper") with adorable bilingual flair, and this take on the numbers one to 10 is just as appealing. Each object is named in Spanish, with surrounding text in English ("six flavored aguas to quench our thirst"), while Parra's folk-art illustrations give visual clues to scenes from Latino life. Each friendly page beckons - to find stuff to count, or just to imagine lying on the beach under one of the five palapas. 32 pp. Chronicle. $16.99. (Ages 3 to 5) THERE ARE NO BEARS IN THIS BAKERY Written and illustrated by Julia SarconeRoach. A protective tabby named Muffin, a shop called Little Bear Bakery, a nighttime intruder. Is it a giant mouse? Or... a baby bear, helping herself to the goodies? Muffin is on the case. Sarcone-Roach ("The Bear Ate Your Sandwich") draws her audience in with I'm-the-boss cat humor and expressive mixed-media art in shades of blue and orange, perfectly capturing moods ranging from a terrified kitty ("I was smooshed, like a muffin between the couch cushions") to a satisfying bear hug. This delightful caper calls out for multiple readings. 32 pp. Knopf. $17.99. (Ages 4 to 8) TEN RULES OF THE BIRTHDAY WISH Written by Beth Ferry. Illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld. Admit it, that annual wish you make before blowing out the candles is a huge deal. This antic step-by-step guide at first plays it for laughs, pulling in dinosaurs, rhinos, penguins and many more creatures to sow amusing chaos. Dogs howl the birthday song off-key, and puffer fish are warned not to take a big breath. But the always vibrant Lichtenheld and Ferry turn sweetly serious for the moment we've been waiting for, with a gentle reminder: "Don't forget that wish ends in 'shhhhhh.' " 40 pp. Putnam. $17.99. (Ages 4 to 8) GOOD BOY Written and illustrated by Sergio Ruzzier. This latest from Ruzzier (the Fox & Chick books) has just one or two words per page. But with lovely art that turns effortlessly surreal, that's all it takes to tell a clever, comical story of a truly mutual relationship. A boy and his dog, whose coat is the same shade of yellow as the boy's hair, practice canine training commands like "Sit" and "Jump" that soon morph into wondrous feats like "Cook." Before you know it, the devoted pair are off on an outer-space adventure. 40 pp. Atheneum. $15.99. (Ages 4 to 8) WHAT IS GIVEN FROM THE HEART Written by Patricia C. McKissack. Illustrated by April Harrison. In this exquisite story of generosity from the beloved McKissack, who died in 2017, a little boy named James Otis and his mama have fallen on hard times after his father's death. But they keep their spirits up, focusing on a request by their minister to add to a "love box" for a family that lost everything in a fire. Harrison has created soft yet dazzling illustrations for this tribute to faith, hope and the African-American community 32 pp. Schwartz & Wade. $17.99. (Ages 4 to 8) THE NEIGHBORS Written and illustrated by Einat Tsarfati. Translated by Annette Appel. All apartment buildings contain tantalizing mysteries, and the red-haired girl who narrates this zany treat tells what's behind each door in hers: a tiger, a vampire, a family that "celebrates someone's birthday at least once a week." Tsarfati ("An After Bedtime Story") balances visual extravagance with sneaky insight into how kids think of home. 40 pp. Abrams. $16.99. (Ages 4 to 8) CRAB CAKE Written and illustrated by Andrea Tsurumi. The sea creatures who populate Tsurumi's underwater idyll live harmoniously, yet each does its own thing, including Crab, who bakes cakes. But when someone dumps trash into their home, the psychedelic colors darken. What to do? The eco-friendly lesson goes down easy as "everybody comes together," pitching in to haul the trash away, with another cake from Crab waiting at the end. 40 pp. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. $17.99. (Ages 4 to 8) CICADA Written and illustrated by Shaun Tan. Like all Tan's genre-defying books, this one vibrates with profound questions about how we choose to live and how we treat one another. A gray-suited cicada is an office drone, insulted and underpaid by the humans; he lives in an office wall space. After 17 years, he's shown the door. Despondent, he seems about to jump from the roof, but instead sheds the suit and becomes dozens of bright red insects, flying away to freedom. 32 pp. Arthur A. Levine. $19.99. (Ages 12 and up) MARIA RUSSO is the children's books editor of the Book Review.