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Reviewed by Alice DiNizo for Readers' Favorite
Authors Anita Elco and Katherine Stelmach have created a book that early grade school teachers will love using for lessons on science and on accepting and aiding others. "Who's in that Shell" tells of elementary school teacher Mrs.Davis and her class as they take on hermit crabs as classroom pets. Illustrator Michael Patch has done a good job in illustrating the text which is formed in the style of "choose your own adventure". The class begins with Merman, the hermit crab, but they quickly add four more hermit crabs when Merman is obviously lonely. The children interact with the hermit crabs who are busy interacting with each other. The text offers the young reader choices, as on page 26 the reader can either continue to a certain page if one hermit crab doesn't help another, or continue to another page if the one crab helps the other. Conversation bubbles on many of the pages in this book offer interesting facts about hermit crabs that are relevant to the information on each page. The story concludes with an online site that offers further information about hermit crabs, their habits and habitats.
"Who's in That Shell" is well-written and a good resource for classroom teachers as well as the young reader who wants to learn on their own. Merman, Mura, Mama Jazz, Purple and the elusive Bleu behave as hermit crabs do with their crawling and falling. The conversation bubbles that offer information on hermit crabs make this book especially appealing. The book's print size is perfect for use by everyone and children's libraries in public and school settings will welcome "Who's in That Shell".