Beach Read
A new children’s book from a local author examines the life and times of an adventurous, ambitious hermit crab
by Bob Craig

Hermit crabs fall far short of living up to their static, solitary name. Ask Daniel Sean Kaye and he’ll explain: At least some of these crafty crustaceans lead full, enriched and even exciting—yes, exciting!—lives.

Kaye is the author of the new children’s book, “Never Underestimate a Hermit Crab,” which hits bookstores this month under the Silver Dragon Books ( imprint of Horsham-based Zenescope Entertainment. As previous editor of Parents Express magazine and longtime writer of that magazine’s “Dadography” column (among many other posts, including school board director for Abington School District and contributing writer for Suburban Life, as well as father of a 9-year-old son, Aidan), Kaye knows a thing or two about connecting with children.

“Never Underestimate a Hermit Crab” was borne of a comic strip that Kaye once wrote for several local publications, titled “Milo K., Hermit Crab.” He found additional inspiration from his “marketing guru,” Aidan, not to mention the family pet hermit crab, named Milo. Kaye began toying with his idea after simply observing the actions—or lack thereof—of Milo in his cage.

“I would watch him and notice he didn’t do anything,” Kaye says. “[I would] imagine what his life was like when I wasn’t around. It seems like there has to be a whole different world inside his shell than what I’m aware of. At least I’d hope.

“The basic idea [with the column] was to have a hermit crab that was linked to events and happenings in the area,” he continues. “Say someone was coming to perform that week, Milo would be going to that concert.”

Milo has evolved from his comic-strip beginnings and can now be found in Kaye’s new book alongside some fellow hermit-crab friends. “In one [chapter] they’re astronauts, in another they’re running for political office, and another one they’re wearing odd costumes because they like to get dressed up,” Kaye shares. “It doesn’t matter how everyone else sees you; it’s more about how your imagination, interests and hard work get you to be who you want to be. You need to accept yourself and be comfortable with yourself, and that’s where it starts.”

Although the book is geared more toward children, Milo and his friends offer wisdom for open-minded persons of any age. Kaye admits his current path could lead anywhere, with hopes of expanding his work into a possible line of children’s books with Silver Dragon and spreading his message of acceptance as far as he possibly can.

“I’ve never been happier than I am now,” he explains. “Talking to kids about creativity and who they are, it’s a lot of fun and it’s great to see them smile. The world can be a scary place for kids. If I can bring a little laughter or hope, it makes my day a heck of a lot better.”