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This intriguing picture-book biography tells the true story of Virginia Oliver—the Lobster Lady—who at 102 years old is the oldest person lobstering in Maine.
Still hauling lobsters at over 100 years old, Virginia Oliver is admired in the state of Maine and beyond. She has been lobstering on and off for over 93 years and is fondly known as the Lobster Lady among locals. Virginia is a native of Rockland, Maine.
The Lobster Lady chronicles a day in Virginia's life while illuminating all that she remembers from growing up and starting a family on the mainland in Maine and on her family’s island, called the Neck. Readers get a sense of Virginia’s life and an idea of all that goes into lobster harvesting.
Lyrically told and beautifully illustrated, The Lobster Lady is a tribute to the incredible life of a Maine icon and female pioneer.
About the Author
Alexandra S. D. Hinrichs has worked as a historical researcher at American Girl, a children’s librarian, and a children’s bookseller among other things. She earned MAs in United States History and Library & Information Studies and is the author of several children’s books, including The Lobster Lady; The Traveling Camera: Lewis Hine and the Fight to End Child Labor; and Thérèse Makes a Tapestry. Alexandra is currently a middle-school librarian in Bangor, Maine.
Jamie Hogan is an award-winning illustrator living off on the coast of Maine on Peaks Island. She has illustrated many books for children, including Rickshaw Girl and Tiger Boy. She is the author and illustrator of Skywatcher. www.jamiehogan.com
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.