Score: 94/100 (9.4 out of 10)
The Caring Crab is another outstanding children's book by Tuula Pere, highlighting the helpfulness, friendliness, and compassionate nature of the book's titular crab, Colin.
It can also serve as a cautionary tale about not being taken advantage of and knowing one's limits. After all, you can't help and care for people if you can't first help and care for yourself. If you're sleep deprived, exhausted, weak, dehydrated, and/or hungry, you probably aren't going to be able to help others to the best of your abilities.
This is also a tale about paying it forward to those who help our communities the most, even the humble janitor or plumber. After all, these people are the ones working behind the scenes to make everything else run smoothly. Could you imagine if the toilets in a building didn't work? Could you imagine if the pipes in a building were leaking? Could you imagine if no one restocked the soap or the toilet paper? Guys like Colin the Caring Crab are the ones who make that happen.
Colin does what he can to help as many people in his riverbed neighborhood as possible. What a colorful and interesting cast of anthropomorphic animal characters!
There's Ms. Catfish, Sam the Seashell, Sally the Starfish, Eddie the Eel, and Norma the Newt (along with all her baby newts).
Ultimately, after presumably years of receiving help from Colin, they become concerned when he takes a day off, being so burned out that he even has dreams of not being able to be productive despite using “all his might.”
This is a familiar feeling for many parents and teachers who give their all to their children and students. At the end of the day, you sometimes don't have much time and/or energy left for yourself.
Colin is such a great and sympathetic character. He is representative of your typical workaholic—the one who always comes to work and always agrees to do extra. He is almost the antithesis to Francis the Fox, one of Pere's other great characters. He is almost completely selfless and self-sacrificing.
What's beautiful about this book is that the other characters realize what life would be like without their neighborhood crab friend, and they bond together to cheer him up and thank him.
Lastly, this book has some of the best illustrations in a Tuula Pere novel. Once again, the lighting effects the illustrator uses are outstanding. Did you know that this book actually takes place in a dark, dank, muddy river? We didn't! We thought it took place in a beautiful, well-lit ocean—a coral reef—because of how bright, lively, and colorful everything looks!
The language used in the writing is actually quite eloquent! It was like reading a Victorian-era novel at times!
Check this out on Amazon!