The Blue Lobster
The Peppertree Press (2011)
Reviewed by Eli Lugo (age 5) and Mom for Reader Views (1/12)
This book is about a lobster that is blue. Most lobsters are red but being blue made him special. He was also lonely because red lobsters would not open their doors to play with him. He has a funny name so I thought maybe that was why they wouldn’t play with him. But my mom told me that’s the scientific name for some lobsters. It doesn’t matter if they are red or blue. So I guess they didn’t like him just because of his color. He wanted to do all the things that red lobsters do but no one wanted to be around him. He even tried to put on silly clothes and dance. He swimmed (swam) backwards but he still didn’t get any friends. Then he was caught in a trap and taken to a restaurant. He thought people would eat him but they didn’t. They just wanted to look at him in a tank. He became famous. Then I guess he went back home and had friends.
“The Blue Lobster” is a whimsical way to start a child-based dialogue about physical differences. The rhymes make it easy for an early reader to grasp and the colorful images add another layer of emotion to the book. I applaud Ms. Taylor-Chiarello for tackling a topic that is difficult for some parents to approach with their children. So often, kids learn the social etiquette about physical differences after they’ve made a social faux pas. Mom, look at that fat guy!
While it’s a nice book to start the conversation, I found it left my child with more questions than answers; questions the book couldn’t address. Why did he have to leave his home to be accepted? If a person is different but is not a celebrity, does that mean he still doesn’t have friends? Why would you go live with strangers to be liked? After giving it some thought, I realized the underlying message the book emits isn’t the kind of message I would want my child to walk away with. Perhaps it is more appropriate for the preschoolers in the 2 to 4-year-old range but I think it’s better left on the shelf for kids older than 4. At that age, they begin to ask questions that don’t have concrete, simple answers and could misconstrue the intention of the book’s message.