Don’t Worry, Little Crab

In his latest picturebook, Haughton covers some well-trodden ground in the world of children’s literature: how little people – with the right support and reassurance – have the courage to overcome life’s big obstacles. When Very Big Crab suggests to Little Crab that they leave the safety of their tiny rockpool in search of the sea, Little Crab is totally onboard. Until, that is, Little Crab finally comes face to face with the enormity of what lies ahead…

Haughton’s text is littered with onomatopoeia and alliteration (‘slimy, slippery seaweed’) and he injects a wonderful sense of drama into the ‘wave’ scenes which lend them to being read, or acted out, with gusto. Anticipation is built gradually…and then ‘Whoosh!’ – another wave comes crashing down on the page! Despite the drama, the dialogue between our seabound duo is gentle and considered. Very Big Crab allows Little Crab’s worries to be voiced, and this in itself could act as a springboard for further discussion about barriers and anxieties with little ones.

While the story may lack the originality of his earlier picturebooks, there’s no doubting that the illustrator’s style remains as unique and bold as ever. Still, teal seascapes erupt with frothy white waves, and the vibrancy of the double-page seabed spreads is truly striking. Haughton is an illustrator unafraid to experiment with colour and, once again, the results are delightful.