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The Lobster Lady by Alexandra S.D. Hinrichs
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The Lobster Lady by Alexandra S.D. Hinrichs
Hardcover $17.99
May 23, 2023 | ISBN 9781623543938

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  • May 23, 2023 | ISBN 9781623543938 | 5-8 years

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  • May 23, 2023 | ISBN 9781632893659 | 5-8 years

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Product Details


This sweet, beautifully illustrated tale of one exceptional seafaring grandmother and her life inthe Pine Tree State follows “the Lobster Lady,” Virginia Oliver, the oldest person lobstering inMaine. As the 102-year-old goes out on the boat for the day, she’s given a chance to reflect onover 90 years of lobstering and how, in the many decades of her life, she’s seen changes in hertown, on the water, and in the trade. In a narrative told largely in short vignettes of flashbackssure to resonate in places where traditional industries are a cultural touchstone, Virginia reflectson her pioneering life as the Lobster Lady to her family, friends, and the doctor stitching up agash from a crab. While the illustrations are beautiful and soft, and the story is quiet andreflective, a child reader will likely need some adult assistance to grasp the context. For fans ofpicture-book biographies that are quiet, gentle reflections on a life lived boldly.


Maine librarian Hinrichs profiles 102-year-old Virginia Oliver, “the oldest person lobstering in Maine, and maybe even in the world!”

The Lobster Lady rises before dawn, eats breakfast, and sets out with her adult son Max to her boat (named Virginia after her years ago). Out on the water they pull their traps, measure and sort the lobsters, and band the claws of the keepers. When Virginia sets aside a crab, it claws her, and the injury requires stitches. The doctor’s tactless question—”What were you doing out there anyway?”—prompts a flow of memories: spending childhood summers on the Neck, an island where her father ran a store and blacksmith shop; returning the rest of the year to live with her aunts and grandparents on the mainland and attend school; learning to helm a boat; marrying a lobsterman; and doing various jobs but finally joining him on the water. The backmatter includes more information about the subject, changes in the industry and community, two simple recipes, and sources, including numerous admiring media accounts. This inspiring story is set on full-bleed images done with chalk pastel on roughened paper that convey a strong sense of the waterwoman’s world, the boats, the sea, the sky. Even more than the matter-of-fact text, the saturated illustrations chronicle Oliver’s long life and convey a rich sense of history. Most characters present White.

A cleverly told, engaging portrayal of an indomitable woman.

Kirkus Reviews

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