Review Blog

Nov 28 2019

Elena's shells by Rose Robbins

cover image

Starfish Bay Children's Books, 2019. ISBN: 9781760360573.
(Age: 4+) Recommended. Themes: Sharing, Possession, Shells, Empathy. Elena loves to collect shells. And she has a large pile of them. But one day, one of her shells starts to run away. She is distressed and follows the shell over the sand and the rocks to the water's edge. She has an idea and calls out 'Shark' making the shell stop in its tracks. Elena shakes the shell, asking why it would want to run away and a small hermit crabs falls out.
The crab explains to Elena, the tapir, that the shell is its home and he needs to change his home now and again when he grows. But Elena says that it is her shell and walks back to her pile of shells to place it with the others. But that night she has second thoughts and in the morning goes in search of the crab, worrying that she may have left him homeless.
She finds the crab and returns the shell, the effort giving her an idea of what to do with her shells, and a neat resolution comes about making all readers and the hermit crab most satisfied.
A bold colourful illustrative technique will encourage all readers to look at the details presented on the page, ponder why Emma is a tapir, look more closely at shells and shell collecting, tapirs and hermit crabs, and try to draw some shells themselves, using the sparkling endpapers as a guide.
Fran Knight

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