Everyone loves books about bears, mice, kittens and puppies. Other animals barely stand a chance at being popular with young readers. Even hippos, lemurs and wildebeests beat out snails in the favorite animal department.
Up until now, that is. Escargot is a quirky story of a jaunty French snail eager to make the case that snails deserve a shot at being your favorite animal. If you think snails are too slimy, Escargot explains that it’s “not slime . . . more like shimmery trails of . . . shimmery stuff.” If you think snails are too slow, well, that’s only because a French snail likes to relax before enjoying his salad. And if you think snails are too shy, Escargot is eager to demonstrate that he is quite fierce. In fact, his fierce face can scare away a lion, a wild boar—and even a carrot that might sneak into the beautiful salad waiting at the end of the story.
By the time young readers get to that salad, they still might not be ready to rush out to get a pet snail, but they might be persuaded to enjoy some greens—and even carrots. Dashka Slater and Sydney Hanson have conjured a sweet little snail sure to appeal to the preschool set. And adults will certainly savor a story that supports healthy eating—and giggles.
Deborah Hopkinson lives near Portland, Oregon. Her most recent book for young readers is A Letter to My Teacher.