Kermit the Hermit Crab

Author & Illustrator:  Bill Peet

Mary reads an excerpt from Kermit the Hermit.

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In his autobiography, Bill says of himself as a young boy, “My favorite room in the house was the attic, where I enjoyed filling fat five-cent tablets with a hodgepodge of drawings. But in the summer the stifling hot attic was no place to be.  It was time for the great outdoors, and with my brothers and the neighborhood boys I was off into the countryside wading along the creeks that ran through shady ravines.”

I’d like to think that this is where the thought came years later to write the engaging story of Kermit the Hermit.

Now, to be honest, I haven’t always been a fan of hermit crabs. (I’m sure that comes as no surprise!) My dear friend Deni, (as you also may have guessed!), decided years ago that my 1st grade classroom needed a class pet. Yup! She came in one day with a small box that was making a “scritchy” noise! Oh joy! The kids were ecstatic! My reaction was somewhat less. However, this delightful story gave us a wealth of ideas for sharing, art projects, science spin-offs, and creative writing prompts. I was hooked! Speaking of hooked – so was one of my precious 1st grade girls one day.  Little blond-haired Jamie was wailing at the crab cage, with “Shelly” dangling from her finger by its big pincer! I rushed her to the sink and held her hand under the faucet until the crab loosened its grip.  I often wonder if Jamie remembers that incident. . .

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Kermit was not truly a hermit crab, but he was indeed a hermit. This bad-tempered, selfish old Scrooge of a crab lived all to himself in a cave under the rocks off Monterey Bay.

There’s such a great lesson in this story. It’s so easy to get caught up in wanting “stuff” that we often overlook what is more important – thinking about others. Kermit gives us an exciting adventure on how he learns that lesson.

UPDATE

Just heard back from Jamie who sent us her personal journal entry from that traumatic day in 1988.

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Translation: Today at school two of our students brought a crab in.  One of the crabs bit me bad!!!  Miss Kline put her finger nail in its claw…

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and we finally got it off!!!  And I had to go to the nurse.

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Mary Byrne Kline

 

 

 

 

 

 

An Official Review

Bill Peet’s stories, with their friendly cartoon-style illustrations, touch the hearts of children on several levels.  The stories are written in lighthearted nonsensical verse, the animal characters are engaged in fantastic adventures, and yet the characters he has created experience universal problems – fear, loneliness, and self-doubt.  He manages to attack these issues with humor that displays an understanding of childhood.   Children’s Book-A-Day Almanac

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