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“The sea snail slithered all over the rock / And gazed at the sea and the ships in the dock. / And as she gazed, she sniffed and sighed. / 'The sea is deep and the world is wide! / How I long to sail!' / Said the tiny snail.” –The Snail and the Whale
The Snail and the Whale
by Julia Donaldson
AR Test, Picture Book
3 - 7
When a tiny snail wants to travel to far-off lands, he makes a “silvery trail that looped and curled” asking for a ride. The snail meets a humpback whale and the two travel together to far-off lands. It’s a dream come true for the snail, who has never left home before. But when the whale swims too close to shore, will the snail be able to save his new friend?
The Snail and the Whale is a wonderful adventure about two unlikely friends who connect over their desire to travel. The vibrant, full-page illustrations use hues of blue to paint the sea, and splashes of color to create the different “far-off lands.” The two friends visit the penguins that live in “towering icebergs,” monkeys who live where there are “fiery mountains and golden sands,” and other wild places.
The beginning of the story focuses on the beauty of nature. However, the whale ends up going too close to the shore where “there are speedboats, running a race, zigging and zooming all over the place.” The confused whale ends up on the shore. Even though the snail “felt helpless and terribly small,” she didn’t give up. Instead, she crawls into a classroom and makes “a silvery trail saying, ‘Save the Whale.’” With the help of the town, the whale and the sail make it safely back to sea.
The Snail and the Whale is an engaging story that is perfect to read aloud. With rhyming lines, alliteration, and descriptive imagery, readers will want to hear the story again and again. Each two-page spread has 2 to 10 lyrical lines that are intended to be read aloud to a child, rather than for the child to read independently.
Adventure-loving readers will enjoy traveling with the whale and the snail. The satisfying conclusion highlights the love of travel as well as how two friends can help each other. The “snail with an itchy foot” takes the reader on a wonderful adventure, full of beautifully detailed illustrations. Ocean-lovers will also enjoy Way Down Deep in the Deep Blue Sea by Jan Peck.
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