STEM Friday

Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Books

High Tide for Horseshoe Crabs

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high tide 1High Tide for Horseshoe Crabs
by Lisa Kahn Schnell; illus by Alan Marks
40 pages; ages 3-7
Charlesbridge, 2015

I love this book beginning with the endpages – which are scientific illustrations (with labels) of the dorsal and ventral side of a horseshoe crab (plus pedipalp details).

And then the title page, where you see a horseshoe crab scuttling up a beach. And then…

“It’s starting. One spring night, the first horseshoe crab lunges onto shore.”
Then… “They’re arriving.”
Later, “They’re laying.”
Until, finished, “They’re leaving.”

Who are “they”? Horseshoe crabs. Gulls and other shorebirds. Researchers and citizen scientists who’ve come to tag and count the crabs. And they’re all converging on one beach in Delaware, on the day of high tide.

What I like about this book – besides the endpages and awesome illustrations – is the way author Lisa K. Schnell layers the story. You can see it on the page below:

HighTide 2

“They’re arriving.” Simple. Bold. Easy to read. Then a more detailed paragraph about how the crabs “crawl from the muck of their winter homes” and head toward Delaware Bay, where high tides will carry them far up the beach where their eggs will develop.

Another thing I love about this book is the back matter – and there’s a lot. One page tells more about horseshoe crabs; another goes into detail about how the blue blood of horseshoe crabs is used by the medical industry to test for harmful bacteria on needles, pacemakers, and even in vaccines. There’s a map, some resources for further investigation, and advice for where to find horseshoe crabs – and even how to get involved in crab counts.

Head over to Archimedes Notebook for some beyond-the-book activities and an interview with author Lisa K. Schnell.

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Author: Sue Heavenrich

I write about science and environmental issues for children and their families.

One thought on “High Tide for Horseshoe Crabs

  1. Our library has this one on order and I can’t wait to see it. Horseshoe crabs are the focus of a lot of challenges right now.