The Lucky Hermit Crab and Her Swirly New Shell

A Colorful, Rhythmic
& Rhyming
Hermit Crab Adventure

The lucky hermit crab found a perfect, swirly new shell to replace her old home she had outgrown. But when she gets too big for this shell, will she be able to let go of her favorite shell to find a new bigger shell that will keep her safe and comfortable?

The Lucky Hermit Crab and Her Swirly New Shell is the fourth book in the award winning Seatales Sea Animal Series. Each book in this series is a rhyming adventure with brightly colored illustrations that bring to life authentic tales of what really happens at the edge of the sea. The Lucky Hermit Crab and Her Swirly New Shell is perfect for ages three through ten, but most adults are surprised at how much they learn from reading these stories, too!

Riddle Me This:

How are hermit crabs and children alike?

Answer: They both outgrow things and have to leave them behind.

We’re excited to announce that The Lucky Hermit Crab and Her Swirly New Shell is a Mom’s Choice Awards Gold Recipient. We couldn’t be prouder!

Sea Anemones and Hermit Crabs: A Special Relationship

Sea anemones and hermit crabs are a great example of creatures that have a mutualistic relationship. (Mutualism is a kind of symbiotic relationship where it’s a win-win for both creatures to be together.) Both the sea anemone and the hermit crab benefit from having each other close by. When a sea anemone is perched on a hermit crab’s shell, the sea anemone’s stinging tentacles keep predators away. Likewise, when the hermit crab eats, the sea anemones can dine on the scraps of food that the hermit crab scatters around it. This is such a special connection that a hermit crab will often move a sea anemone to its new shell when it outgrows its old one.

Hermit Crabs Live in Abandoned Shells

When a hermit crab grows too big for its shell, it will search for a larger, roomier one in which to live. Although a hermit crab has a hard exoskeleton covering the front part of its body and legs, its soft, curly abdomen (sometimes called its tail) needs protection from dangers in its habitat like predators, sharp rocks, and spiny sea creatures it might brush by. A hermit crab usually only leaves its shell to quickly move into a bigger, more comfortable one. Although a hermit crab won’t steal a shell from another hermit crab, it will fight for an empty shell. A scared hermit crab will tuck its whole body inside its shell, leaving its larger claw, or cheliped, to cover the opening of its home. Although a hermit crab prefers to live in an empty shell, it sometimes can be found living in a tin can, a glass bottle, a hollow plant, or a wooden stem when a shell can’t be found.

A Hermit Crab Reluctantly Shares His Lunch

The word “hermit” is defined as a creature who chooses to live alone. But hermit crabs are social animals. As you can see from this quick video, even though other hermit crabs were trying to get his food away from him, the large hermit crab didn’t attack them. He simply brushed them aside. And when another hermit crab managed to tear some of the clam away from the large hermit crab, they both continued eating together. Hermit crabs are often found living together, with smaller ones living in tidepools and larger ones in deeper water.

Editorial Reviews


Kirkus Reviews Excerpt:

“A hermit crab struggles to part with a “perfect” shell—even when it no longer fits—in this science-focused rhyming picture book from author-illustrator Petrie.

. . . Petrie’s full-color cartoon illustrations mix realistic detail with friendly facial expressions; the octopus hiding on almost every page makes for an excellent seek-and-find. The main text reads smoothly throughout, but the thought-bubble commentary from fish witnessing the crab’s difficulties is the story’s highlight. They offer fast facts about hermit crabs while amusingly reacting to the protagonist’s adventures. The ample ocean-creature terminology (exoskeleton, anemones) will challenge newly independent readers, and the interesting topic will provide encouragement.

A sea story with a solid message, fanciful rhymes, and engaging characters.”

Click here to read the complete Starred Kirkus Review.


BookLife Review Excerpt:

“In this upbeat picture book a hermit crab helps children explore how to let go and grow … Detailed and colorful, Petrie’s illustrations cleverly bring this story to life and allow kids to feel a sense of compassion for the hermit crab, which may be an unfamiliar creature to many … With her rhyming prose and obvious love of sea life, Petrie has created a playful and exciting underwater world that children will be eager to revisit.”

Click here to read the complete BookLife review.


Clarion Review Excerpt:

The Lucky Hermit Crab and Her Swirly New Shell is an informative picture book about a young hermit crab who learns to accept change and let go of outgrown treasures … Written in flowing rhymes, this lighthearted story also delivers educational information about sea creatures … Detailed and colorful, the illustrations keep the particulars of sea life in mind with their renderings of the hermit crab, her fellow creatures, and the terrain of the ocean floor. The octopus is a stealthy presence here, too, and young readers will have fun searching it out as it camouflages itself in the surrounding habitat.

Click here to read the complete Foreword Clarion review.


Midwest Book Review Excerpt:

“Critique: Fun and informative, “The Lucky Hermit Crab and Her Swirly New Shell” is an ideal and unreservedly recommended addition to family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library Marine Life picture book collections for children ages 3-10.”

Click here to read the complete Midwest Book Review.



Reader Reviews:



I LOVED THIS SO MUCH! Such a fun book, love the drawings, the cute fish telling hermit crab facts, the information at the end and the sweet story. Definitely recommended for kids interested in sea creatures. I’m happy that invertebrates are featured more and more in children’s stories, they have been underrepresented for a long time! – Max Willems (Reviewer – NetGalley Review) Click here to view review on NetGalley.


Recommend? YES! Love it!

“Had to read it straightaway with my littluns, of course!

Review from my 6-year-old (5 stars!!): I really liked it! The pictures are pretty. And the hermit crabs are sooooo cuuuute! Hermit Crab struggles as she grows…but it works out when she finds the most perfectest shell for her!

Review from my 9-year-old (4-1/2 star): It’s good! The story is fine and all, but I really like the facts. And it’s cool that it’s nonfiction AND fiction at the same time, so no matter what, the reader will like it! Nicely done!

And from me (5 stars!): Short and sweet, with something to spot and discuss on every page (hello, octopus!). Cute and informative, without being overly obnoxiously so on either end. Even-keeled writing (neither dumbed-down nor hifalutin), which is a difficult road to thread. And yes, even I learned a thing or two, which is the author’s goal—educating all ages.” – Rebekah (goodreads reviewer)


Definitely recommend!

“This book was so cute! Loved that the illustrations looked like a TV cartoon and the educational tidbits would be really fun for families that have a pet hermit crab. However even for families that don’t, I think the message about the necessity for change and growth was really beautiful. Would be great for kids going through a transition to better understand the importance of change and why it is a good thing. Definitely recommend!” – Jessica M. (NetGalley Review) Click here to view review on NetGalley.


A gorgeously illustrated educational book:

“As a mother of four kids with ages ranging from 6-12, this book has something for everyone! From the beautiful illustrations, to the cute story that my youngest could read, to the closing pages that give a wonderful educational explanation about these sea creatures that fascinated my 12-year-old, this book is the perfect addition to any library.

It’s packed with little-known information from an author who knows everything about hermit crabs. And as part of an under-water series, it’s a must-have for any child who wants to learn about sea life while being entertained.

A 5-star quality book that your kids will cherish and learn from . . . and you’ll probably discover you’ll learn a new thing or two as well!” – Reader Girl (Amazon)


What a fun and educational children’s book!


What a fun and educational children’s book! We really enjoyed learning about the hermit crab and the similarities between hermit crabs and octopus’s. I had no clue they could inhabit any type of shell and while my young daughter isn’t old enough to grasp all that we learned in the book, there’s something in the book for children (and adults) for all ages! The illustrations are colorful and eye catching, and the little chat bubbles of information from the other sea creatures were some of the best parts of the book. Would recommend to anyone looking for buy a fun children’s book for a loved one! – Kristen F.  (NetGalley Reviewer) Click here to view review on NetGalley.


This is a great book.

“This is a great book. Not only does it have a great storyline, but it is filled with tidbits of information throughout.
The two pages of information at the end of the story makes this adaptable for not just youngest children, but extends to school-aged children as well.” – Melissa B. (goodreads review)


A fun and informative story with great illustrations.

“This was a very cute rhyming story to appeal to younger readers while also including interesting facts for older readers. The pictures are beautiful. Overall great children’s book.” – Lincoln Tan (Amazon reviewer)


I really enjoyed this book and it’s illustrations.

“I really enjoyed this book and it’s illustrations. Throughout the pages, the crab was the star of the show, but the other fish in the sea are very eager to share their knowledge of sea life, and they are very concerned over the hermit crabs safety…against the octopus!
I’m an adult and I learned a lot about hermit crabs reading this book….and enjoyed the additional information on the hermit crab and octopus at the end of the book.
I would absolutely recommend this book to young children.” – Carrie (goodreads reviewer)


This book is perfect for young readers and adults alike.

“The fourth book in Petrie’s Seatales Sea Animals series centres around a spirited hermit crab who outgrows her beloved shell and has to find another! Whilst initially reluctant to move on from her special swirly shell, she soon realises she will be much safer in a bigger one and accepts sometimes change is for the best. Petrie’s own passion for the sea shines in this engaging story that encourages compassion and understanding towards sea animals, as children will relate and empathize with the fear of change as they find themselves growing out of their clothes, shoes and classrooms! Combining an enjoyable rhyming scheme with full colour expressive illustrations, fascinating facts and humourous characters, this book is perfect for young readers and adults alike.” – Kira D. (NetGalley Reviewer) Click here to view review on NetGalley.


The book is really wonderful.

“The book is really wonderful. I liked the illustrations and the little poems, the rhythm of it. I’m sure any child would love it. It’s instructional, it’s easy to read and from a psychological perspective I think it could help children learning about letting go of things and a healthy detachment.” – Alexandra A, (NetGalley reviewer) Click here to view review on NetGalley.


I loved it!

“What a nice story, an interesting way to get to know about hermit crabs. there’s even trivial things happened behind the main story, and while it’s not really affecting the plot, it’s fun to notice them. there’s further more-detailed explanation about hermit crab and octopus at the end of the story. i loved it.” – Reviewer 833603 (NetGalley) Click here to view review on NetGalley.


The illustrations are very sweet and funny! There is definitely a message:

“This book tells a story of a hermit crab looking for a new shell. When the crab has a close call, as he has grown out of this ‘perfect’ shell, the other ocean animals worry. When he finally does leave the shell and moves on to a bigger shell. A new little hermit crab moves in and finds this perfect shell and makes it his home.

The Illustrations are very sweet and funny! There is definitely a message: what once was perfect for you, might no longer be now and that it might be time to move on. Towards the end of the book, there is some more factual information about invertebrates, which is a very nice touch!” Malissa C. (NetGalley Reviewer) Click here to view review on NetGalley.


This book was really cute and informative.

“This book was really cute and informative. The illustrations were nice and I liked the information about the animals at the end and the fact that the fish side characters gave information about hermit crabs throughout the book. We had hermit crabs as class pets in 3rd grade, I’m sure my teacher would have loved to read this to us.” – Ray (goodreads reviewer)


. . . Kids will love reading this, it’s fun, pretty and has a bit of education within it but in a very fun way.

“The hermit crab had outgrown her shell home so had to go searching for a new one, she finds the most beautiful perfect shell to be in but she quickly gets too big and a scary octopus lurks by scaring her out so quick.

This was so adorable, I loved seeing the journey with the hermit crab making herself a new home. Trying to find the most perfect one, but struggling until it falls down right to her, it was so cute.

The illustrations were really pretty and I really liked the rhyming too, it made the story even more fun. I loved the little fish that went along with her to share facts as though they were discussing hermits to each other was a very clever touch.

I also liked that at the back you get facts about the hermits and octopus too which that’s great. I enjoyed this picture book a lot, it was so enjoyable, sweet and I think kids will love reading this, it’s fun, pretty and has a bit of education within it but in a very fun way.” – Joey-Susan Luke (NetGalley Reviewer) Click here to view review on NetGalley.


The animals are sweet and funny, and the story is nice.

“This book tells a story of a hermit crab looking for a new shell. When disaster almost strikes the other ocean animals worry about this hermit crab and his new shell, but when he leaves the shell and moves on a new little hermit crab moves in and finds the perfect shell. The animals are sweet and funny and the story is nice. The font is a bit small but is clear and fairly easy to read. As a grade 3 teacher, I would recommend this book to parents of children in the age 4-6 range.” – Angie K. (Educator: NetGalley review) (PDF review format) Click here to view review on NetGalley.


Such a great book!

“Such a great book! I loved the way everything rhymed making the story fun and educational. Cute story of a hermit crab finding a new home with colorful pictures on every page.” – Sara Beth Van Cleave (goodreads reviewer)


Cute story

Cute story. My kids enjoyed finding the octopus on each page and learning new facts about hermit crabs. I enjoyed the rhyming flow of the story. – Valerie (goodreads reviewer)


Knowledge, color and poetry gift wrapped in the sea.

It is my pleasure to review The Lucky Hermit Crab by Janice S.C. Petrie. “Colorful illustrations reveal the rarely seen “quick change” of the at first reluctant, Lucky Hermit Crab to her new shells. The lurking octopus and the observations of a few fish, create an educational adventure for a variety of readers and ages. Knowledge, color and poetry gift wrapped in the sea.” – Gretchen M. Ashton (ScubaFit Review)


This book was a great combination of both (nature and science).

“My grandkids love watching the hermit crabs when vacationing at the beach. They both love nature and science. This book was a great combination of both as it explained how the hermit crabs find the perfect shell.” – Dawn H. (NetGalley Reviewer) Click here to view review on NetGalley.