It began with a Ghost Crab Incident
On a family vacation last summer, my daughter took my then 8-year old granddaughter and 3-year old grandson to the beach after dusk to look for Atlantic ghost crabs (they’re most active in the evening). Dozens of them were skittering around, and it was fun watching them until a large crab startled Oliver by running across the top of his shoe. That was it. From then on, he insisted on being be carried high above the strange-looking creatures.
The next day my daughter and I went to the local book store on Hatteras Island, NC for a picture book about ghost crabs to help Oliver learn about them. We were astonished we couldn’t find anything. Not a single book.
What’s a writer to do?
So of course I have to write a book for Oliver. I titled the draft Gordy and the Ghost Crab. Young Gordy has never seen a ghost crab before, and on his first visit to the beach, his big brother tells him ghost crabs like to snip off people’s toes. What will Gordy do when a crab asks him for help? (I won’t give away the ending!)
The tricky part is the rhyme scheme. Originally I wasn’t going to attempt rhyme, but my friend MaryAnn, an accomplished poet who taught elementary school for 30 some years, encouraged me to try. It’s been a while since I’d taken a college class in form, but once I got started, I was hooked. I think rhythm and rhyme make fun reading for kids and adults.
Fun facts about ghost crabs
will be in the back of the book… because they are fun creatures. Of all the different kinds of crabs, ghost crabs are the fastest. They can run forwards, backwards and sideways. Their black eyes are on the end of thick eyestalks, so they can look all around for danger. A ghost crab talks by making a squeaky sound when it rubs the ridges on its right claw against its hairy leg. They breath through gills, but they’ll drown if they stay in water too long.
Anyway, I’m still tweaking the manuscript, but I made a mockup for my grandkids to read, even though a publisher may choose their own illustrator. They enjoyed it, especially my grandson. He was all smiles at the end, and he gave me a kiss. That’s the best ending for me!
Linda K. Sienkiewicz is the author of In the Context of Love, adult contemporary fiction about the need for women to tell their stories without shame.
– 2016 Eric Hoffer Book Award Finalist
– 2017 Sarton Women’s Book Award Finalist
– 2016 USA Book News Best Book Finalist
– 2016 Readers’ Favorite Finalist
– 2015 Great Midwest Book Festival Honorable Mention
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