Snail Crossing

HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray. Feb. 2020. 40p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062878007.
PreS-Gr 2–Snail is a likable protagonist who spots some cabbages and is determined to get one. Unfortunately, the field of cabbages he has spied is all the way across a busy road. Snails of course, are well known for being terribly slow. Nonetheless, he sets off across the road, never thinking about the adventures that await him. He just misses getting squished by a car and is nearly eaten by a crow. Reader gets a sense of Snail’s slow pace by the slime trail he leaves behind. At one point he thinks he’s traveled so far, but the slime indicates he has gone almost no distance at all. Rather than pointing out his slowness in the text, the slime trail lets the child figure out the joke. Despite being laser-focused on the cabbages, Snail stops to shelter some ants in his shell during a rain shower. In all the hubbub, he gets turned around and slimes his way back to where he started. The grateful ants return the kindness and bring a cabbage right to Snail. The artwork, done in watercolor and pencils, is just right for a picture book—it tells a good part of the story. Tabor’s writing is also notable, especially when read aloud.
VERDICT This is a wonderfully wacky story of determination, kindness, and friendship that children will love. It’s funny and clever and provides a showcase for snails the world over. A must-buy for most libraries.

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