"In Monterey Bay There's a jumble of rock

Stacked up like a castle across from a dock.

The king of this castle, an old crab called Kermit,

Lived all by himself in a cave like a hermit.

There was never a crab who was one half as selfish

Or one tenth as mean as this crusty old shellfish."



"One story was the result of sketching crabs in supermarkets, the crabs stacked on ice in the sea food displays. I always carry a small notebook with me in case I get an idea or need to sketch something. These old crabs all seemed to have the same expression...the big crabs with stern expressions and their claws crossed under their chins. That is, if crabs have chins, I'm not sure of that. And I'd seen the crabs up along the coast of Monterey Bay. The little crabs that fought over everything. They're scavengers, they fought over little bits of things in the rocks. Always grabbing with their claws and tugging at things. Kermit could be an old miser of a crab that lives alone. I kept sketching crabs until I began to see a character, a greedy grabby old miser who turned out to be Kermit the Hermit." I had to stop on Kermit about half way and go on to another book (Chester the Worldly Pig). I could not possibly seem to make the thing work, rhyme wise.

Bill Peet in an interview with E. Edwards, post 1970


Copyright 1965 by William Peet, Houghton Mifflin Co. Boston

A page from one of the small notebooks that Bill always carried with him.