Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2019 A Junior Library Guild Selection
Starred Kirkus Review
Starred PW Review
Under the sea, fish do what fish do: Seahorse hides, Pufferfish puffs up, Parrotfish crunches coral, 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?
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.
“If Accident was about taking responsibility for your mistakes, Crab Cake is about taking care of yourself when the mistake is not your own … So what a kid is going to get from this is that even when things are terrible, there is a way to fix them if people communicate and help one another … Certainly this won’t be the first book librarians think to reach for when parents walk in asking for books that help kids understand how to process trauma. It’s a bit subtler than other books that tackle that topic … This is a book with a ridiculous premise that dares to deal with raw emotional weight, and somehow, bizarrely, the combination works. Cake may not save the world, but when times are hard, it’s amazing how it helps make everything just the tiniest bit better. - Fuse 8 School Library Journal
“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.”- Starred Kirkus
“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."-Starred PW Review
“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 … 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.“ -School Library Journal
“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."-Booklist
“The eco-friendly lesson goes down easy.”- New York Times Book Review
“I think it’s remarkable what Andrea Tsurumi pulls off in Crab Cake. It’s a story filled with understated humor … it’s entertaining; it’s informative; Tsurumi knows how to compose a spread well; and … we encounter an environmental message that comes across loud and clear, yet is never too heavy-handed. At its heart, it’s a story about a community banding together to make a difference and make themselves heard.“-Julie Danielson, The Horn Book
“… The animals decide on a plan to get back at the humans, and what I love about it: it’s absolutely fair. Seriously people, you can have your garbage BACK! Children will click with this, and children are smart: they know that those living in the sea would not be able to do what the characters in this book do. They know it’s up to us humans to stop creating the environmental disasters that we create … At the center of this so-good-it-makes-me-giddy-just-writing-about-it book is the absurdity of a crab who, yes, astounds with their baking skills. And that’s another reason Crab Cake works so well: the humor. This isn’t a dry purposeful lesson. No, Tsurumi fills her lovely work with visual wit and giggle-inducing imagery.”-Mr. Brian’s Picture Book Picks
“The end pages of author and illustrator Andrea Tsurumi’s new picture book Crab Cake give readers a hint of the gratifyingly offbeat nature of this story: we see jellyfish, floating deep in the ocean, with cakes at their centers … Tsurumi plays up the understated humor in expressive cartoon-like illustrations“ -Julie Danielson, Bookpage
“a wackily wondrous "be yourself" book that doubles as an activism primer.” -Shelf Awareness