Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary News and Events, July 2017

Wellfleet Bay's Fiddler Crabs Star in New Children's Book

large_landscapeAs every Wellfleet Bay day camp counselor knows, fiddler crabs are the star attractions of the salt marsh. Artemis Roehrig, who worked as a counselor here for seven summers, says she recalls watching kids’ fascination for the crabs and their burrows. But when she tried to find a picture book about fiddler crabs to read to campers, there was nothing. “So I teamed up with my mother to write one!” she says.

That book, Does A Fiddler Crab Fiddle?, is a reflection of Artemis’ summer experiences at Wellfleet Bay. And it no doubt helped to partner with a mom—Corinne Demas—who not only is a Professor of English at Mount Holyoke College, but is also an author of numerous books, including novels, poems, and other children’s books.
Corinne says many people wrongly assume that writing for kids is easier than writing for adults. "Writing a picture book is like writing poetry,” she says. “You need to accomplish a lot in a small space, and every word counts. You write for the ear, as well as the eye, and you always have to be aware of your audience and make sure your language choices are age-appropriate.” The book is colorful, fanciful, and fun, but Corinne says it also has a mission. “We hope children will see that real live fiddler crabs are quite as amazing as any fantasy fiddler crabs, and that the Cape is full of fascinating creatures to observe.”