Snail’s Ark

Putnam. Feb. 2022. 32p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780593109397.
PreS-K–A deeply religious, sweet retelling of the story of Noah’s ark, from the snail’s perspective. Esther, a small snail, feels the earth moving and witnesses the procession of two-by-two animal pairs heading for an ark. Although Esther has survived rainy weather, something tells her that this storm is different. She seeks out her friend Solomon and then the two are airborne right into the ark. “They were flying!” What unfolds here is a tale that depends on readers to know every detail of the old story, and then to give themselves over to Esther’s mindset. It works for secular collections, as there is no mention of God, or Noah, or any details of the biblical story. It falters only in voiding the suspense of the narrative—She’s a snail! She cannot move quickly no matter how urgent!—in favor of a miraculous flight. That’s in contrast with Dorothy M. Stewart’s 2009 It’s Hard to Hurry When You’re a Snail, which is more overtly religious. Dramatic illustrations of the billowing skies and storm and then serene waters about to recede will seed some exciting story hour discussions.
VERDICT The miraculous flight aside, this tale has a lot to offer for little-snail-that-could devotees. For collections that don’t have Stewart’s It’s Hard to Hurry When You’re a Snail, this works for children of any faith.

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