Tuesday, 17 November 2009

The Snail and the Whale by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler

2004, MacMillan Children's Books
32 pages, Paperback
Review Copy


Clouds: 5
Pencils: 5
Smiles: 5
Tissues: 0.5 (it has a happy ending)
Yunaleska's recommended rating: ♥♥♥♥

No, it isn't a typo. I really did request a book from 2004. Ok perhaps I didn't realise it was quite that old, but it looked a nice story. And it is :)

The title says it all, but the story follows an adventurous snail who wants to travel the world. Naturally the other snails don't understand her. Yes, I was very pleased that the snail is a girl. For some reason, a lot of picture book I've read either don't say if the animal is male/female or it ends up as a male. We need more female characters.

Anyway, back to the story. This snail has an ingenious way of attracting attention of someone who can help fulfil her dream. Along comes a whale, and together they travel the world. I can quite easily spend a long time looking at the illustrations through their travels: they are rich in colour and every animal has its own personality. The personality isn't written in words, but it was easy to imagine whether the animals were cheeky, a little slow, jokers etc just by the way they are drawn.

Unfortunately for the travelling duo not all goes as planned. The whale gets beached. Now, logically a little snail won't be able to help a huge whale get back into the water when there is no water nearby. If the snail had carried water herself, the whale would have expired by the time the beach was full of enough water for it to return to the sea. Thankfully, the clever snail is still getting clever ideas. In the same way that she caught the snail's attention, she ventures off and gets help for the whale.

The funny part was at the end when the other snails decide that they too would like to see the world. I think that the whale will have a job for life!

The text is written in rhyming verse, which would make it ideal for children to learn, and follow on their own after the story has been told a few times. The pictures inspire the imagination and might make the reader laugh (I laughed quite a bit - I think the snail is plucky).

The author Julia Donaldson has her own website here, where you can check out her latest books.

Liked this? Try Lucy Goes to Market by Imogen Clare and Sanchia Oppenheimer


GMR said...

It's good to read a children's tale now and again. I know I thoroughly enjoy them as a small often happy break from darker themes. Regardless of this books release date (old, new or in-between, a book is a book is a book), I think it too sounds magical...thanks for sharing!

Yunaleska said...

Thank you :) I review most books quite happily. Multi genres are fun!