The Clambake Mutiny by Jerome Beatty, Jr. ; illustrated by Tomi Ungerer
New York : Young Scott Books, 1964. First edition. Hardcover. 66 pages ; illustrated ; 21 cm. Price-clipped dust jacket. Pages are unmarked and binding is firm.
The Clambake Mutiny By Jerome Beatty, Jr.
Illustrated by Tomi Ungerer
This humorous adventure story, written from the point of view of a lobster named Daniel, tells how, after a brief and embattled encounter with the world of people, he is glad to return to the peace and security of his underwater home off the coast of Maine.
The whole thing starts when Daniel's Uncle Chris, who should have known better, gets caught in a lobster trap and, at the tug of a line, is hoisted up out of sight. Determined to save Uncle Chris, Daniel boldly enters the lobster trap the next time it comes down. What happens to him, when he, too, gets jerked up into the strange world above —inhabited by "funny creatures with only four legs, no feelers and little tiny claws," —will surprise all readers both human and lobster.
As in his other children's books, Mr. Beatty demonstrates a remarkable talent for spinning out adventurous excitement that will totally absorb his readers. But this book, a satire in both text and pictures, does more than that. It presents us with an image of ourselves as lobsters might see us—an image that speaks directly to youngsters who are struggling to understand themselves and their world more clearly.
In other words, Mr. Beatty and Mr. Ungerer are pointing out to us that there are at least two ways of being invited to a clambake.
About the Author and Artist
The ability to look at life through the antennae of a lobster is one thing Jerome Beatty, Jr., and Tomi Ungerer have in common. Mr. Beatty, born and brought up in the New York and New England area, attended Dartmouth College, worked on newspapers and magazines, and finally settled down in Connecticut as a free-lance writer. Mr. Ungerer, from Alsace, was the scion of a renowned family that had made famous clocks for centuries. As a young man he left home, walked all over Europe, and ended up in New York some ten years ago carrying samples of his art work which, he was told, was "ahead of its time.
Mr. Beatty, a rebel at heart, and Mr. Ungerer, a rebel in deed, first met then. They became friends, helping each other in their work but never actually collaborating until Mr. Ungerer illustrated an adult book of Mr. Beatty's in 1963. Now they have come together to create The Clambake Mutiny which they both believe is considerably more than an anthropomorphic tale for the entertainment of children.
This is Jerome Beatty's third children's book. He is known for his adult books as well as his regular "Trade Winds" column in The Saturday Review. Tomi Ungerer, a brilliant satirist in his own right, has written and illustrated some of the most popular children's books published in recent years.
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