Introduction to "Dr. Shrimp and Mr. Grouper"
Dr. Shrimp and Mr. Grouper tells the story of a small shrimp living on a coral reef with his friend the goby. Because shrimps are considered especially good to eat by fishes (as well as us humans), he struggles to survive and raise a family on the reef. Along the way he meets dangerous characters like a squirrelfish that wants to eat him, a large Grouper and a Moray eel. The grouper inadvertently saves his life by eating the squirrelfish just in the nick of time, but later becomes very ill because of parasites (small worms and shrimp-like animals that feed on him like lice and ticks do on humans and their pets). The shrimp courageously saves the grouper by eating the parasites. Soon the shrimp is eating parasites off of many different types of reef fishes and becomes known as the “cleaner” (because fish are sensitive about the parasite issues and “cleaner” sounds, well...cleaner!). In the end, the cleaner shrimp is recognized by the entire reef community for his good service and is awarded the degree of Dr. Shrimp by the kingfish.
This story is a fictionalization of real fish behavior important to the ecology of coral reefs. An important aspect of the book is the asides that teach children little tidbits of marine ecology and help foster in them a love of nature and of the study of nature. The book ends with a brief Epilogue that tells the reader about the true aspects of the story and introduces them to some of the real life characters through pictures and illustrations. Go to the Story