Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Pagoo” as Want to Read:
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview


4.30  ·  Rating details ·  726 ratings  ·  54 reviews
An intricate study of tide pool life is presented in text and pictures through the story of Pagoo, a her-mit crab.
Paperback, 88 pages
Published April 26th 1990 by HMH Books for Young Readers (first published 1957)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Pagoo, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all) You might get more specific information on that from the publishers; they know which languages they've sold the rights to, and an approximate number…moreYou might get more specific information on that from the publishers; they know which languages they've sold the rights to, and an approximate number of copies sold. However, how many people have access to each copy and how many have read it, is up for grabs.(less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.30  · 
Rating details
 ·  726 ratings  ·  54 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Mar 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I want to be a Hermit Crab.

 photo Pagoo5_zpsorhn247z.jpg

No mortgages, just move when you want a new dwelling and take it over. I like that. Pagoo (short for 'Pagurus') is a Hermit Crab. When he is born, he is no bigger than a tiny pencil dot.

 photo Pagoo6.jpg_zpsljjbgygq.png

When you start life like that, the odds are not good. But
Sep 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
Way too many words for me right now, tbh. *But.* But when I was a child, I know I would have read this many times. I had a similar book, a reference, that was much more brief, that I read over and over, as I tried to glean more details from it. The text here is rich and seems both engaging and poetic, from the bits I skimmed.

*And.* And the pictures in this are amazing, for any age reader. I think maybe my favorite is either 'Pagoo was surrounded by a cloud of fairy ornaments' or 'the
Feb 14, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Ocean lovers
Recommended to Megan by: Richard
My dad read this book to me when I was just a little girl, exploring the tide pools of San Diego.

Pagoo tells the story of a hermit crab, from his first stages of life (no larger than a pencil dot), to his rough and tumble days as a fighting crab living in Tide Pool Town. It is a wonderful way for children to learn more about the world under the waves, but the story is clever enough that it is interesting for adults too. What truly makes this book special however, are the amazing, detailed illus
Courtney Clark
May 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: with-the-kids, 2014, 2017
This book was seriously amazing and directly added to my to-buy list (we had checked it out from the library). We learned more about tide pool and ocean life in this book than in our several weeks studying it in Science and the kids were enraptured.
Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all)
For a kid growing up in the landlocked Midwest, this book was a window on an unknown world: the world of the sea. As a child, I was lucky enough to attend the only elementary school in my town with its own (very well-stocked) library. This was one of the books that I checked out again and again, poring over the pictures and the marginal notes. The vibrant colours and amazing illustrations held me spellbound time after time.

Even as an adult, I enjoy going over the book again and again
Nockie Taylor
Jan 05, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This book changed my life. I read it as a child and it sparked a life-long interest in marine biology. Because my grandparents lived near the beach I was able to explore tidepools, but after reading this book I could actually identify what I was seeing! After taking a marine biology class in college I re-read the book and discovered that Holling's research was accurate and matched my textbook definitions. Every few years I re-read it -- the book is delightful!
Jovan Cianci
May 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
I like that the eel bit the octopus’ arm.
Jul 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
the best one yet we read from this series
May 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a beautifully illustrated book with a very detailed story about a baby hermit crab who is having the adventure of his life, wandering through the ocean with his “old instinct” guiding him to safety as he has his many troubles.
Larry Taylor
Jan 29, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Like all good children's literature (and film as well), Holling Clancy Holling's books are delightful for adults as well as kids of all ages. Younger children love to have his books read to them, and older ones love to read them, which is kind of a bummer because then the adults don't get to read them anymore. Pagoo is the delightful story of the life of a hermit crab, and instilled in me and my children a love for shore life and tidal pools.
Meghan Armstrong
Apr 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
So fun and I learned a lot. The girls narrated this in their play too.
Feb 11, 2019 rated it liked it
(This is the rating of a 9 year old who didn't want to read a school book...) :p
Karen GoatKeeper
Written in 1957 this book is a wonderful introduction to tide pools. Pagoo is a hermit crab and this is the story of his life. Along the way he meets many other residents learning about them and their behaviors.
The illustrations are lovely. The numerous sketches with explanations and labels help those new to the tide pool see the residents.
The book will mean more to those who have seen tide pools before. It is set in southern California, but tide pools are similar in other places alt
Sep 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
This was an interesting book that had showed up as a recommendation to me on Goodreads while unlike other recommendations I was able to chase this one down free of charge. And it was a good book that I enjoyed while I wonder why I had never come upon this book earlier as my childhood years would have truly enjoyed the book.

When compared to "The Year of the Whale" and the "The Year of the Seal", "Pagoo" could be ranked up there with them although it has more or less an audience targ
Mar 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing
My son is so hard to find a book for that grabs his attention. This book has done that! He loves hearing about the little hermit crab's adventures. The pictures and illustrations a very beautiful and labeled so the children know what you're talking about.
Aug 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-2016
An amazing read aloud. My son enjoyed it. I loved his attempts to change outcomes by providing suggestions for Pagoo. He learned so much about hermit crabs. I loved how the story came full circle. I'm so glad we read this story. I too learned much about the tide pool and it's community.
Jan 21, 2015 rated it really liked it
Using for grade 4 (waldorf) homeschool as a great first intro to animal science. Lovely pictures, and I learned things from it too. It looked very wordy to me and not as appealing to me to just read to myself, but we enjoyed it as a read-aloud.
Feb 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
A story of a little hermit crab that embarks on his life's journey. Old instinct helps to guide him, sometimes he listens and sometimes he doesn't.
Jasmine St. John
Mar 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is a book that my best friend Nicole loved. So I just had to read it!
Jul 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
One of my favorite books as an elementary schooler. So much detail about actual natural science of the tide pool ecosystem from the point of view of Pagoo the hermit crab. Beautifully illustrated and amusingly anthropomorphised. (Pagoo survives in large part because of "Old Pal Instinct" who regales him in a Walter Brennan-esque dialect at critical times. Once Pagoo is in a shallow pool and it starts to rain and he hears the voice of Old Pal screaming "That's fresh water! It'll KILL you. GIT BOY ...more
Jun 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was my favorite Holling book we have read so far! My kids truly enjoyed the narrative of this little hermit crab’s life, and I appreciated the way so many details about tide pool life were interwoven with his story.
May 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Lovely story with scientific accuracy, wonderful illustrations, and a page-turning rush towards its satisfying end.
May 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. I read it out loud to my kids. We couldn’t stop. It’s chapter book length, not storybook length, but I never cared so much about tide pools or hermit crabs.
Sep 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
A long, poetically wordy look at the life cycle of a hermit crab. I thought my son might be bored but he actually loved it.
Heather Moore
Jul 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lex-me-2019
Fantastic read aloud! A creative, hilarious “insider’s look” at life in the tide pool as well as the life cycle of a hermit crab. Pagoo paired excellently with our summer marine biology study.
Feb 18, 2017 rated it liked it
I much prefer Paddle and Seabird. Interesting read, but not spectacular.
Nov 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
My children and I LOVE Pagoo!! This was such a fun read for a morning time science selection. At the time of this reading my children range in ages from 9 months to 11 yrs. old.
Everyone was captivated by Pagoo's adventures. The story telling is exceptional. The author did a fabulous job of weaving an enormous number of facts through the telling of a captivating story. We learned about plankton, bryozoans, hermit crabs, snails, tide pools, anemones, starfish, sea gulls, sculpins, moray eels, and
Sherry Elmer
Nov 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Sherry by: Ambleside Online

I wish I had known Holling Hollings when I was a child, but I am thankful my son will be able to say he enjoyed these classic stories in his childhood. My favorite Holling book so far is Paddle to the Sea, but I enjoyed this one very much as well. I learned a lot and grew to love dear little Pagoo the pagurus.

*My 9 year old gives it 5 stars. He is shocked that I didn't also.
It probably deserves 5 stars, but I read it so very slowly that I think that diminished the experience for me somewhat.
Vicki Riddiough
Apr 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
This was my first book by Holling & it came recommended from a home schooling mom (which I am not). My son loves anything to do with animals & has been tide pooling on various field trips so I knew this would be right up his alley. I enjoyed learning more about life in a tide pool & thankfully there were pictures, otherwise I don't think I could have got through it!! My son loved it & we'll be starting another Holling book soon, but I'm not much of a science-oriented person & ...more
We love Holling C. Holling books. This is a great natural science "living book" about the life cycle of a hermit crab named Pagoo living in Tide Pool Town. My children thoroughly enjoyed it. A trip to the beach would be a great fieldtrip. If you're into lapbooking, is a good resource for this book and many others.
« previous 1 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Joan of Arc
  • The Burgess Animal Book for Children
  • Benjamin Franklin
  • Parables from Nature
  • This Country of Ours
  • The Little Duke
  • The Child's Story Bible
  • The Landing of the Pilgrims
  • Trial and Triumph: Stories from Church History
  • The Handbook of Nature Study
  • Burt Dow, Deep-Water Man
  • A Drop Of Water: A Book of Science and Wonder
  • The Adventures of Marco Polo
  • Fifty Famous Stories Retold
See similar books…
Born in Jackson County, Michigan, in 1900, Holling Clancy Holling graduated from the Art Institute of Chicago in 1923. He then worked in a taxidermy department of the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago and spent time working in anthropology under Dr. Ralph Linton.

During this period, he married Lucille Webster, and within a year of their marriage accepted a position as art instructor on th