Coco Crab’s Lagoon
by Robyn Panther
Illustrated by: Thomas Hsieh
What an unusual premise: an overgrown and unattractive, rejected, lonely coconut crab in some far away tropical island lagoon becomes a small boy’s best friend. By association the crab, Coco, finds he soon gains other friends too. These characters are well drawn and colourful, and suit the island life well.
The boy and the giant crab devise a secret form of communication known only to them, through a series of clicking and tapping. And Todd, the boy, explains the meanings of simple words the crab has no understanding of, words we take for granted.
When the island has a carnival, instead of being fearful of such annual events, the crab is involved. Here we are taught about sharing and teamwork. There are quite a few life-lessons to be found in this story: new adventures, water safety, caring and inclusion, friends and not-friends. Loneliness and exclusion.
It’s a good read, which I found enjoyable. The story is told well, and moves along at a good steady pace. But editing and proofreading are sadly missing. The BOLDtype shouts unnecessarily. The overuse of !!!s and …..s make for disjointed reading. And if Coco the crab doesn’t understand about water paintings and life jackets, how can he appreciate the shape of a pyramid? Even with his description of the tree, I still cannot imagine what shape it is.
I am impressed with the artwork, by Thomas Hsieh. It is simple and appropriate; it doesn’t intrude or take over the book, but subtly enhances the storyline.
With some very necessary editing and proofreading, this book has the potential to win children’s hearts.
Author: Robyn Panther; Illustrations Thomas Hsieh
Publisher: Witchetty Press NZ
Available: McLeod’s Bookstore Rotorua, Books for Kids Hamilton, or direct from Witchetty Press NZ, 169 S H’way 30, Tikitere, RD4 Rotorua