Happy New Year!

A new year is about to begin and that means for many kids, it’s back to school time. For some, it can be hard to get back into the routine of getting up early, getting dressed, getting to school on time and then going through the school day. It’s the perfect opportunity for all the Crabbies to move in and ruin the day, and it’s the perfect opportunity to tell the Crabbies “No way!” Be sure to let them know you’re a CrabbieMaster and they have no place in your day!

Have a safe and happy New Year from all the Crabbies, CrabbieMasters and CrabbieMasters team. We’ll see you next year!

When Too-Tired moves in…

How do you know when Too-Tired moves in?

In my last post I talked about how all the Crabbies take advantage of us when we are tired. It’s tough for all of us when we get tired, but for young kids, it’s even harder.

There are a number of recognizable signs that someone is tired:

  • Cry easily
  • Gloomy (not particularly enthused about anything)
  • Lack of energy or coordination (really common for tired kids to fall down on the playground)
  • Inability to focus (hard time following simple instructions)
  • Impulsive (quickly react to situations; including hitting friends or throwing things)
  • Whiny and mumbling (you can’t figure out what they are saying)
  • ‘Wild’ (a consequence of the inability to focus)

For years, there was no real research on how much sleep is needed. In working with preschoolers, I noticed that if kids had less than 11 hours it was going to be an issue, if not the first day, later in the week. If they had 12 hours, they were going to be remarkably cooperative and reasonable. Now research is out, and the below chart states the optimal number of hours for various age groups.

Average number of hours of sleep needed per day, including nighttime sleep and naps:

Infant (0-12 months) – 14-18 hours
Toddler (13-36 months) – 13 hours
Preschooler (3-6 years) – 12 hours
School-age (6-12 years) – 10-11 hours
Adolescent (13-19 years) – 9.25 hours
Adult (20+ years) – 8.25 hours

With the holidays close by, and the excitement of Santa’s arrival, it can cause insomnia and that means Too-Tired is not far behind. Be sure to get a good night’s sleep every night and send a message to Too-Tired that he’s not welcome in your day today or any day!

Image Courtesy of Flickr/Jan Tik

The Worst Crabbie in the Universe

Which Crabbie is the worst Crabbie in the universe?


When we are tired we not only increase our vulnerability to Too-Tired, but to all the Crabbies. This is why we call Too-Tired the Worst Crabbie in the universe!

It goes something like this when you didn’t get enough sleep the night before:

It is hard to get going in the morning (Too-Tired got ya!)

You don’t have time or energy to eat a good breakfast (Hungry shows up)

You may grab something that does appeal to you, usually a sugary something (In sneaks Junk-Food)

You may find yourself feeling lightheaded or low on energy by mid-morning because of the sugar crash and not having eaten healthy (Achy moves in)

Low energy makes everything feel like an effort. It can be something you have done a 100 times or something that’s a new challenge (Can’t-Do comes around)

And anyone you need to interact with during this state you found yourself in is likely to be so annoying you can hardly believe they just said what they did or expected what they expected. (Get-Along strolls along)

Oh, man, look at the clock! Now we are late! (Here comes Hurry-Up)

Wow, I can’t believe this day!!!  (one happy King)

And that’s why Too-Tired has earned the title of worst Crabbie in the universe!



Meet Michael, co-creator and co-author

Hi. I’m Michael, the co-creator and co-author of the CrabbieMasters program and books. Becky will be doing most of the blogging, but occasionally we’ll have a guest blogger. Today, I’m it.

I have all sorts of jobs that I do for CrabbieMasters. I do stuff like marketing and promoting, but that’s not much fun to read about so I’ll chat about the fun I have with our illustrator.

Becky and I thought it would be best to have someone local illustrate our books. This would allow for us to be hands-on. There are many wonderful illustrators to be found on the Internet, and technology does make it possible to collaborate with programs such as Skype, but we knew local would be best for us.

I often visit Erik at his workspace, and I get to watch him do his magic. It amazes me how he makes it look so easy.

One of Erik’s favorite Crabbies to draw is the King. He is the leader and his facial expressions are fun to draw, Erik says. It’s really important to capture the personality of each character, and Erik does it so well.

I’m hoping I can convince Erik to do a couple short drawing tutorial videos. I might be able to sway him with a new sketch pad or some drawing pencils. What do you think?

The team is working hard to bring you all the CrabbieMasters goodness that we can. We hope you’ll stick around!

For now, I’ll say so long. Thanks for visiting!





A sneak peak…

The weekend is upon us, and for some it will be busy and others will relax. What will you be doing this weekend?

I may do some shopping and baking, and I know for certain that I will have some relaxation time. I don’t want Too-Tired creeping into my weekend!

I do know what our illustrator will be doing. Erik will be working on our Here Come the CrabbieMasters book. The rough sketches are finished, and he’ll be finalizing and coloring each page. I am excited to see it when it’s done!

I thought maybe you would like to see a couple of our covers, so here’s a sneak peek.


Have a happy and safe weekend, and we’ll see you Monday!


‘Tis the Season

The holiday season keeps us busy, and it’s the perfect time for Hurry-Up to sneak into our lives. In fact, it’s a favorite time of the year.

Many of us are busy decorating, shopping, baking, attending holiday parties, writing holiday greetings all while keeping up with routine tasks and commitments.

Hurry-Up can bug adults more than kids because he likes to make kids take their time while Mom, Dad, or some other adult waits. And Hurry-Up loves to make people late.


This time of year, it’s really important to keep Hurry-Up away. If he does show up, send him away! One way to do this is to allow yourself a little extra time when you know the day will be hectic. Kids can help by doing what they’re asked the first time, and by doing what they know they have to do without being asked, such as getting dressed and brushing their teeth.

Cutting down on the holiday rush will keep the other Crabbies away. Remember… sometimes the Crabbies work as a team. Hurry-Up would like nothing more than to watch you eat on the run so Achy will show up or… get you into a squabble so Get-Along comes along.

Let’s not forget Junk-Food. When we’re in a hurry and hungry, we tend to grab fast and easy snacks… like junk food!

CrabbieMasters know how to beat Hurry-Up and we hope you do too! As we prepare for the holiday season, we need to remember how to chase the Crabbies away and keep them away!


As Kay says, “When asked to do it, we get right to it!”

See you next time,


Hi there! I’m Erik, the illustrator of the CrabbieMasters books. I really like drawing the Crabbies and CrabbieMasters. I’ll give you an abbreviated overview of how it all comes together.

After each story is written and edited, the art director breaks down the text by page and decides how the page should look. When that’s done, the art director writes down the instructions for the illustrator, in this case—me!

Once I get the instructions, I begin making rough sketches that look like this:

Too-Tired Crabbie Book p4 sketch

Once the rough sketch is finished, I show it to the author’s and the art director. At this stage, any changes that are requested are made. It’s important to make sure there’s a place for the text!

Next, I scan the rough sketch into my computer. I use Photoshop, but there are other programs that can be used to finish the illustration. In Photoshop, I can add or remove detail, move things around, and add the text. When that’s done, it’s ready to be colored.

Too-Tired Crabbie Book p4 color

This is a quick overview of how the pages were created. There are all sorts of tutorials online with tips on how to illustrate books for children.

For those who want to do everything by hand, any medium can be used. The most common are watercolor, ink and acrylic. You can then scan the pages and add the text in the font of your choice.

Soon, we’ll be adding some Crabbie coloring pages for you to print.

Happy drawing,


The Imaginary Fun started in my preschool in the late 1980s with my first group of students. It was then that I discovered the Crabbies and so we came up with ways to beat them. When we “Beat the Crabbies” we called ourselves “CrabbieMasters.”

At first, the Crabbies were purely imaginary. When something started to go wrong, someone would announce that they thought the Crabbies had arrived. We would stop what were doing and start blowing out deep breaths. We called it “Blowing out the Crabbies!” Not really understanding why it worked, I went with it simply because it did work—everyone reset. Over the years, I gradually expanded on the concept. It worked so well that I got my husband Michael involved. By 1990, we had identified the eight specific Crabbies that were consistently the culprits trying to ruin our perfectly good days!

I noticed the Real Results from that very first day. It was one of those days when lots of things were interfering with my teaching and I was feeling frustrated. I walked away from the circle of children, opened the door and started blowing out my breath. Feeling much better, I turned to the kids and said, “I think I just blew out my Crabbies!” The kids instantly reacted by running to me with huge smiles and giving me a big group hug.


Now, more than 25 years later, we will be having our morning meeting and I will bring up a Crabbie I think we should put “on notice.” Spontaneously, the kids will get up from their seats and run over for one of those big group hugs. The fun-spirited and lighthearted approach that comes with talking about the Crabbies is quite amazing to me even today. It is a way of resetting things when there is any sort of conflict.

The fun of “Beating the Crabbies” brings everyone together. This camaraderie amongst the kids and me makes the days go so much smoother, eliminates power struggles and conflicts, and results in improved relationships. As a teacher, the most noticeable result is the increase in the ease of teaching and how the kids consistently amaze me with how much they are learning!

Have a fun and Crabbie-less weekend,


Hi, I’m Becky Undlin, co-creator and co-author of CrabbieMasters. I hope you like our newly-designed website and will visit often. Either myself or someone on the CrabbieMasters team will contribute content, and I promise we will have fun!

Recently, it was suggested that to get the word out about CrabbieMasters and the books we’re writing, I should blog, tweet and tumble. Everywhere I went, Can’t-Do followed knowing I was not familiar with blogging, Instagram, Tumblr or Twitter.


Today, I chased Can’t-Do away and here I am writing my first blog post on our new website. I thought it would be a good time to share with you this picture (above) one of my preschool mom’s took around the time I first discovered the Crabbies and created the idea of teaching my preschoolers how we could all become CrabbieMasters. The little guy in the red and white striped shirt is Paul. As an adult, he has encouraged me to share CrabbieMasters and has done all of our CrabbieMasters websites, including this one.

Whew!  I made it through my first post. Don’t let Can’t-Do keep you from trying new things and doing what you want to do. Make it a great day!