FICTION

Escargot

illus. by Sydney Hanson. 40p. Farrar. Apr. 2017. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780374302818.
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PreS-K—Meet Escargot, a French snail, complete with black beret, striped shirt, and red kerchief. He is on a journey to the end of the book, where there is a delicious salad, "with croutons and a light vinaigrette." Escargot invites a child reader to join him and asks the child to name a favorite animal, before he shares "a very sad thing: Nobody ever says their favorite animal is the snail." Escargot uses his persuasive powers to challenge the reader to view his qualities in a new light and choose him as a favorite pet. For example, the trails he makes are "shimmery" instead of slimy, and his shyness masks a ferocity that he uses to scare away unwanted carrots in his salad. Once Escargot and the reader reach the salad, there's a dreaded carrot in it! Escargot suggests that "on the count of three we will take a very, very, very small bite of the carrot." The snail finds it surprisingly delicious (it's assumed that the reader might, too), and with panache, he declares the reader his favorite animal. With soft, muted colors and a charismatic main character, this title will win many fans.
VERDICT A magnifique read-aloud that will charm and delight preschool audiences.

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