When Snail spots “a field of plump, crisp cabbage just across the road,” he’s jubilant, knowing it’s his lucky day. Proclaiming himself “cabbage bound,” he sets off on a slow but steady journey toward an eventual feast in Corey R. Tabor’s sparkling picture book, Snail Crossing.
Every sluggish step of Snail’s quest is filled with humor. While making his way across the asphalt, Snail encounters a variety of dangers (vehicles!) and characters that keep the tempo moving. Meanwhile, Snail’s single-minded determination and utter obliviousness to obstacles is utterly endearing. Tabor’s dialogue (“Well, you won’t stop me!”) and word choice add to the fun, with Snail shouting “Evasive maneuvers! Evasive maneuvers” and traveling in spiraling circles when he spots a ravenous crow.
Who knew that a gastropod’s facial expression could be so doggone cute? Or that the silhouettes of “a troop of rowdy ants” could be so animated? Tabor’s mixed media illustrations add color and texture to everything from a flower stem to the slimy path that Snail leaves in his wake. Scenes illustrated from Snail’s lowly perspective will charm and amuse readers. Tabor adds delightful touches everywhere, especially when Snail welcomes those raucous ants into his cozy shell, which turns out to be replete with armchairs, teacups and a kitchen range.
As Snail marches toward his cabbage destiny, he encounters many twists, turns and a major setback, but that’s when those rollicking ants come to the rescue, turning Snail’s single-minded adventure into a story about kindness and cooperation.
Snails may be notoriously slow, but Corey R. Tabor’s Snail Crossing is one lively tale.