Friday, December 9, 2011

The TTLG 2011 Picture Book Celebration: Book three hundred and forty-three

When you are a young child, it is hard not to feel rather small at times. You cannot see over counters, you cannot reach items that are on tall shelves, and you cannot open a car door by yourself. On the whole, the world is a place that is full of hugeness and huge things. It is easy to believe that you are too small to make a difference.

In today's picture book you will meet a character who is very small, but who discovers that being small does not preclude one from doing big things. 

Julia Donaldson
Illustrated by Axel Scheffler
Picture Book
For ages 5 to 7
Penguin, 2003, 0-14-240580-9
   There once was a sea snail who lived on a rock near the sea. More than anything, the sea snail, who had “an itchy foot,” wanted to see the world. The other snails on the rock told the little sea snail to “Sit still! Stay put!” but the snail couldn’t bear to spend her entire life on that rock.
   Being a clever creature, the snail wrote a message on her rock asking someone to give her a ride “around the world,” and not long after, a whale came along who was happy to take the snail to “far-off lands.” Off went the whale, with the snail on his tail, and together they saw icebergs, tropical islands, huge waves, and underwater caves. Seeing such wonders made the snail feel very small.
   Then one day the whale accidentally got beached. If he didn’t get some help soon he would die, and the only living creature who knew of his plight was the snail. What could a tiny sea snail do to help a whale?
   With its wonderful rhyming text and its delightful story about an unusual friendship, this picture book will surely resonate with young children who think that they, like the snail, are too small to make a difference. Children who long to have grand adventures in distant lands will enjoy swimming in the world’s oceans with the whale who carries a snail on his tail. 

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