By: Holling Clancy Holling Complete Authored Works
Published by: Houghton Mifflin Company
Publication Date: 1957
Series: Holling's Geographical History Books

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Little Pagurus—"Pagoo" for short—came from an egg the size of a pencil dot. He drifted on the surface of the sea like a tiny fleck of foam, yet he would become a two-fisted Hermit Crab—if luck was with him.

Under water, Pagoo's glassy body was almost invisible. His large eyes looked like eyes, but the rest of him was a fuzzy blur because as yet he had no claws or legs. Although his parents were nowhere near, his "Old Pal Instinct" would be around to advise him.

Pagoo found bits of floating food small enough to eat, and he grew. He molted by kicking off his plastic armor, as do his crustacean relatives such as Shrimps and Lobsters. Each molting found him a little larger, with a few more improvements added. Looking more and more like a Hermit Crab, at least he could swim no longer. He settled to the bottom of a tide pool near shore, and walked with legs. But now his armor covered only part of him.

"Scoot!" hissed Old Pal. "Protect that bare, rear half of you!"

Thus instinct set Pagoo to hunting shelter in crowded Tide-pool Town. He could not know that his odd new body was shaped to fit a particular home built by a creature he had never met. He could not guess that house-hunting would land him inside a big fish, sweep him skyward in a bird's beak, or get him clutched in the death grip of a jet-propelled Octopus!

In telling this engaging life story of a Hermit Crab, Mr. Holling again presents an informative panorama—this time, tide pools along our beaches where Pagoo and myriad creatures live and reproduce their kind in the rocking rhythms of the sea. Twenty brilliant, full-color plates and exquisitely detailed marginal drawings illustrate a book that is a treasure to read and to own.

More than thirty years ago, Mr. and Mrs. Holling walked among the ruins of jungle-hidden Old Panama, a rich city sacked and burned by pirates long ago. The Hollings saw no ghosts of buccaneers, no shadowy mule trains laden with treasures, but they did see something small and alive rolling down the beach like a marble. Lucille Holling exclaimed, "Our first Hermit Crab, living in a cast-off Snail Shell! Shall we do a book about Hermit Crabs someday?"

Over the intervening years, the Hollings have taken advantage of every opportunity to observe these plucky crustaceans in their natural habitat. Mr. Holling writes, "We researched in university and museum libraries and consulted our scientist friends in marine biology stations. On collecting trips along the Pacific Coast from Mexico to Canada, we lived by the timetable of the tides. Often we rolled out in the wee hours to catch an extra low tide on some deserted shore. There, by flashlight, we watched the busy night life of another world.

"Sea caves and grottoes yielded wonders. We collected, took notes, sketched and photographed. Live Hermits were carted home for study of processes and for action drawings. Thus each Pagurus, in gallons of aerated sea water, became a pet. We called him 'Pagoo' for short."

And the rollicking tale of Pagoo's adventure in Tide-pool Town now takes its place with Paddle-to-the-Sea, Tree in the Trail, Seabird, and Minn of the Mississippi. These four Holling titles, to quote the New York Herald Tribune, "offer our boys and girls a unique vision of their country, each focusing first on the wildlife Mr. Holling knows so well, but spreading wide into the works of men and the sweep of history. They make a special, intellectually valid contribution to modern children's books."

From the dust jacket

Pagoo Reprint

Reprinted in 1994 by Beautiful Feet Books
Available formats: Paperback
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