Review Blog

Jan 18 2017

The busy tailor crab by Bingbo

cover image

Ill. by Gumbi. Starfish Bay Children's Books, 2016. ISBN 9781760360412
(Age: 5+) Recommended. Humour, Crabs, Sewing. Zhao Bingbo is a prominent author working at the Zhejiang College of Liberal Arts. He is the Vice-President of the Hangzhou Writers Association, and has many children's literature titles to his name and won many awards. Some of his titles are published in Australia by Starfish Bay, including The busy tailor crab.
Young children will laugh out loud at the image on the front cover of a crab with its oversized claws running material through the treadle sewing machine.
The tailor crab makes clothes for the animals. He makes a jacket for the praying mantis and pants for the caterpillar. And he is happy at his work and charges ten dollars for each garment. But one night he works out that in making pants for the caterpillar he had to make many legs, so decides to charge more for many legged pants. Ten dollars per garment but five for each leg that has to be made is posted. His notice shocks some animals who cannot afford to pay per leg, but some animals take advantage of the one cost per garment. An elephant comes along and wanting a shirt, so the tailor crab works very hard cutting out the pattern in the material and sewing it for the animal. Next a boa constrictor has pants made and because it has no legs, tells the tailor that he cannot charge him, so after three long days of work the tailor receives nothing for his efforts. Sitting dejectedly outside his house, the elephant comes back with a bunch of bananas to thank him for his lovely shirt and the boa does the same bringing a basket of apples. The tailor crab works out what makes him happy, and tears down the notice. Since then his house is full of friends and customers.
This is a lovely tale with a moral which children will love to talk about. The illustrations are charming, and readers will see lots on each page to look at and ponder.
Fran Knight

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