Something’s Tugging on My Claw!

Book Reviews


Editorial Reviews

Book Review – Kirkus Reviews

“A rare blue lobster searches for the creature who took his claw in this brightly hued, educational children’s book.

Some days in the ocean are more treacherous than others, but when you’re a highly visible blue lobster, you do your best to watch out. When a young blue lobster feels something tugging hard on his claw, he does what lobsters do—he lets it go. Called “dropping” a claw, this act allows the hero to escape from his perceived threat. After discarding his claw, he sets out on a journey to find out who was pulling at his claw. He sees a Jonah crab, a lobster trap, a swordfish, an octopus, and a horseshoe crab, among others, during his quest, avoiding them just in case they want a nice lobster dinner. In the midst of trying to uncover the culprit, the lobster molts his old, hard shell. He then realizes that he’s got his second claw back—albeit it, a tad undersized. With the threat gone (the lobster discovers that it was a human, enchanted by his cobalt hue, who yanked at his claw), the blue lobster is free to resume his under-the-sea life—but this time, he’ll wait until that second claw grows in. Little fish narrators dot the pages of the work, giving inside information about the narrative, such as explaining what a kitchen in a lobster trap is or that fish hide in the sand to avoid predators. The book culminates in a page of lobster facts aimed at budding biologists, complete with an illustrated diagram of all the important crustacean parts. Petrie (The Bumpy, Lumpy Horseshoe Crab, 2011, etc.), an outreach specialist for the New England Aquarium, definitely knows her sea life. Both educational and sensational, this book should delight readers young and old, especially serving those who have an interest in marine biology. The little fish swimmers are a wonderful addendum to this children’s tale, answering many of the questions that could arise from young readers and pushing them to conduct their own research into the lobster’s ocean life. Petrie’s colorful illustrations are scientific enough to be accurate but not so complex that they become dull. Though the work is intended for younger readers, the prose is lively—many an adult wouldn’t mind reading this at bedtime to marine-leaning children again and again.

A captivating work that offers vivid lessons about lobsters (and crabs).”

Kirkus Reviews


Book Review – The Midwest Book Review

Children’s Bookwatch: March 2016
James A. Cox, Editor-in-Chief
Diane Donovan, Editor
Midwest Book Review
278 Orchard Drive, Oregon, WI 53575

The Pets/Wildlife Shelf

Something’s Tugging On My Claw!
Janice S. C. Petrie, author/illustrator
Seatales Publishing Company
20 Pheasant Lane, Topsfield, MA 01983

“Something’s Tugging On My Claw!” is a colorful, authentic and accurately illustrated story about a young blue lobster’s adventure experience trying to discover what creature was tugging on his claw. Told in rhyming narrative verse, the story immediately describes an amazing ability possessed by blue lobster, when threatened or trapped, they can shed or drop their claw. The young blue lobster does this, then hides all night and day until danger is gone. Hungry, and with only one claw to catch food, he swims on. He observes a Jonah crab, wondering if he is the creature who tugged on his claw. The Jonah crab becomes caught in a lobster trap. Next the blue lobster spies a swordfish and observes him hunting an octopus. Escaping by using his tail to swim backwards, the blue lobster encounters a horseshoe crab, wondering, is this the claw tugger? The blue lobster is warned by another darker lobster that the horseshoe crab is not his claw thief. Instead, his claw was tugged by….. a man! The old lobster counsels camouflage and hiding far away from the shoreline, since the blue crab’s color makes him attractive to the curious. Then an amazing transformation happens to the blue crab: his old shell splits and he crawls out with a brand new shiny blue shell. Fascinating facts about sea creatures and lobsters are offered by little observer fish creatures, such as, “He’s molting. Once he’s out, he’ll eat his old shell while he waits for his new shell to harden.” Finally the new blue lobster emerges, now with a second smaller claw, a pincher, to complement his crusher claw. The bigger blue lobster wisely keeps his claws under cover. The final two pages of “Something’s Tugging On My Claw!” lists fascinating details of lobster facts, including a labeled model of a handsome blue lobster. “Something’s Tugging On My Claw!” is appealing to young readers from ages 3-10, and contains many valuable lessons of lobster lore.”


Book Review – The Salem News & The Gloucester Times

Blue Lobster Stars in Gloucester Author’s New Book

“Sometimes it’s better not to stand out.

The lobster in Janice Petrie’s new children’s book, “Something’s Tugging On My Claw,” tries to blend in with the scenery but can’t, because he’s blue.

Only one in every 2 million lobsters that are caught have blue shells, according to the “Lobster Facts” in Petrie’s book, and that unusual appearance puts them at risk in their environment.

It’s a dilemma that forms an important part of Petrie’s story, which is based on a real lobster.

“One of the lobstermen I knew came across a blue lobster, and he gave it to me,” Petrie said. “He knew that I take them to schools, and a lot of people would benefit.”

Petrie has learned a lot about lobsters, first as an outreach specialist for the New England Aquarium, and later as supervisor of the lobster room at Steve Connelly Seafood in Gloucester.

Lobstermen taught her several things that appear in her book, including the fact that lobster traps are separated into two main areas: a “kitchen” where the bait is located, and a “parlor” beyond that, where lobsters await their fates.

Petrie, from Topsfield, earned a bachelor’s degree in art with an emphasis on graphic design. She has illustrated all her books, which include two previous titles in a series about marine life.

She will read from her new book at the Barnes & Noble in Peabody on Saturday, April 2, at 11:15 a.m., where she will also present a few sea creatures.

“I intend to bring a horseshoe crab, moon snails, and a lobster,” she said. “I’m going to bring a cull lobster — a one-clawed lobster —as it’s called in the industry.”

Between her jobs at the aquarium and Connelly’s Seafood, Petrie earned a master’s degree in education and trained as a reading specialist.

“I’ve been writing for several years and doing sea animal programs,” she said. “I’m still teaching about animals, but doing it from a literacy point of view.”

“Something’s Tugging On My Claw” introduces a variety of scientific terms, but is suitable for ages 3-10, Petrie said.

“If you’re a 3-year-old, it’s a great story,” she said, while older children will appreciate the details of lobster biology and behavior.

These details include the fact, which Petrie alludes to in her title, that when lobsters are seized by a predator, they can choose to drop a claw from their leg.

“My books are entertaining, and teach about the animals,” Petrie said.”

Will Broaddus may be contacted at


Book Review – The Wakefield Daily Item

Local Author Continues Her Tales of the Sea

“If there’s one thing Janice S. C. Petrie has her mind on these days, it’s writing.
The prolific author of sea tales for children is about to release her third book – “Something’s Tugging on My Claw!”
The book, like her previous two, is a learning tool and features whimsical, vibrant images of underwater sea life illustrated by Petrie herself. In this instance, the rare “blue lobsters” that inhabit the North Atlantic Ocean are the stars of the show. They are so rare that only one in three to five million lobsters are this beautiful shade of blue.
The third in her sea animal stories, “Something’s Tugging on My Claw!” was inspired by a blue lobster named “George” that was donated to Petrie by a lobster fisherman who wanted children of all ages to learn about these fascinating creatures.
The book invites children on a young blue lobster’s journey to discover the culprit who has been tugging on his claw. Once the mystery is solved, the blue lobster is delighted to discover that a claw that’s dropped on purpose to escape danger isn’t necessarily lost forever.
Editors at Kirkus Reviews, a prestigious organization that examines the works of authors, selected Petrie’s new book to be included in their February 1st Kirkus Reviews Magazine, a rare opportunity for an independent publisher, said Petrie. “I’m thrilled that my book was chosen,” she commented.
On Saturday, March 5th from 2-4pm, Petrie will be at Barnes & Noble to talk about “Something’s Tugging on My Claw!” As part of the attraction, Petrie will showcase live animals such as moon snails, horseshoe crabs and live lobsters. The event is free and open to the public. The author also will have her books on hand to autograph and sell.
Petrie first learned about coastal marine life while working for the New England Aquarium as an outreach specialist. Since then, she’s spent years caring for and teaching children about sea life.
Her two other children’s books, “The Bumpy, Lumpy Horseshoe Crab” and “Did You Make the Hole in the Shell in the Sea?” are on the shelves at Barnes & Noble.
Petrie will continue to write but her next book will stray from works for children. She is currently writing a mystery novel for adults set on Cape Ann. If her book is anything like her other four, readers will be taken on a mystery ride they’ll never forget.”

— Gail Lowe, February 19, 2016.


Reader Reviews

“When I received this book I immediately loved the graphics and rich educational information. I passed this book onto my husband a certified teacher, who is a youth services librarian, and does a 2 to 5 year old story time. He said ,”Good book! I found it was well done but recommend for a story time with grades K-3rd.” I liked that you could almost read the book from two different points of view. One informational and the other entertaining.”

— Sarah Winkowski Foster, librarian, September 17, 2016


“Excellent book! Educational and beautiful. Congrats on another great book!”

—Sonia Fuller, October 12, 2016, MA


“Another exciting new book for the great-grandchildren!”

—Barbara Jones, ME, October 12, 2016


“Wonderful book! Beautifully illustrated and enchanting, rhyming text.”

—Sally MacLaughlin, retired elementary teacher, FL, October 12, 2016


“Love the vibrant illustrations! Your books are both educational but also have a great literary flow!”

—Samantha Romage, Illustrator at Poisonfish Games, MA, October 12, 2016


“I love this book, and so do my fourth graders! We learned so much about the lobster and we are from Maine! Keep writing. Your third book is as fantastic as your first two!”

—Debra Timberlake, Fourth grade teacher, ME, May 20, 2016


“A beautifully illustrated, exciting book about a lobster and his unique talent. Love it!”

—Kristen, owner and graphic designer at Mellarium Creative, MA, October 13,2016


“Kid’s love this book!  We read it to our visitors all summer!”

—Kate, Schoodic Educational Adventure Director, Acadia National Park, Bar Harbor, ME; October 13, 2016


“This is my granddaughter’s “go-to book” at my house! I love that she’ll snuggle on my lap while we read it together!”

—Karen Coughlin, ME, October 14, 2016


“. . . This is a great book and I absolutely love the attention to detail and facts at the end! Makes it very easy for a child to understand some marine life facts. I completely recommend this book to anyone wanting to educate their children in enjoyable ways. I am actually looking forward to checking out her other books!”

—Clark, Goodreads, March 11, 2016


“This is an adorable children’s book. I love that the story itself is cute and fun to read for little kids, and there are facts throughout for older kids. This has something for everyone!”

—Jessica, Goodreads, March 10, 2016


“Loved the book! Educational, colorful, and perfect for my grandchildren!”

—Jeannine Pete, ME, September 18, 2016