June 15, 2015
High Tide for Horseshoe Crabs by Lisa Kahn Schnell, illustrated by Alan Marks
High Tide for Horseshoe Crabs
by Lisa Kahn Schnell
illustrated by Alan Marks
Not much is known about horseshoe crabs, prehistoric-looking animals that come ashore at night to lay their eggs. Perhaps that is why to make this story work, author Lisa Kahn Schnell intertwines three stories — the crabs coming ashore to lay their eggs, the shore birds that rest at Delaware Bay, and the citizen scientists that study them both.
To get the full hermit crab story, readers will have to study the end pages of this book. The end pages are the pages that are pasted to the cardboard cover and their heavy paper facing pages. In this case, they are printed with labeled diagrams detailing horseshoe crab anatomy. Schnell also tells of how these creatures journey into shore to lay their eggs.
As the same time, huge numbers of shore birds are migrating. Migraition is hard work and when the birds reach Delaware Bay, many of them are lean and tired. They spend some time at the bay feeding and fattening up. Some of them go so far as to double their body weight and they do it largely by feeding on horseshoe crab eggs.
Scientist don’t know much about these crabs. They don’t even know how many there are or how far they journey. To find out, scientists tag them. Whenever someone finds a tagged crab, they can report the tag number and sciensts have a bit more information.
The author has provided interestested readers such as teachers or student scientists with a wealth of information in the back matter. This expands on how they grow (molting) as well as giving more information on their coppery blue blood.
This book would make a welcome addition to the classroom bookcase and an excellent jumping off point for discussions on the ocean, how scientists collect information and more.