“Charming wit and fun dramatic irony await readers in this snail tale.”
When Snail spots some appetizing cabbage across the street, he excitedly sets off to enjoy a scrumptious meal. Being a snail, his pace is quite slow—though fortunately he’s obliviously optimistic and thinks he “must be nearly there” when he’s only a short distance from his starting point—and before long, he is overtaken by a group of ants. Gruff and short, they quip to Snail to get out of the way. But when Snail’s response saves them from the rain, they apologize and explain they were just feeling a bit “antsy.” After sharing tea, the ants depart, but not before taking note of Snail’s desire to reach the cabbage. Snail also continues his journey, only to be interrupted again, this time by a more threatening visitor, a hungry crow. Snail kicks into escape mode as he calls out, “Evasive maneuvers! Evasive maneuvers!” (One can only smile and appreciate Tabor’s imaginative creativity at having a snail execute an evasive maneuver.) Though Snail escapes the crow, his evasive maneuvers got him turned around, and when he thinks he’s reached the other side of the road, he’s really only back where he started. “Well, shoot.” Fortunately, his kindness to the ants is returned in cabbage, as the ants come marching back across the street carrying cabbage for their new friend, and together they enter Snail’s shell to enjoy “cabbage soup and tea.” Though his conflict of ants drowning in rain seems contrived, Tabor excels in using his text and illustrations to create moments of dramatic irony that will delight readers. His design for the inside of Snail’s cozy shell is especially fun, where the observant reader will notice that time is kept in days, rather than minutes and hours.
The illustrations show readers a lot more that is happening than is described in the text, so readers know more than Snail. You could use this as an opportunity to introduce your young reader to the idea of dramatic irony.
Snail responds kindly to the ants, even when they've been short and bossy with him. What can you learn from Snail's example?
"Despite all the stress, Snail keeps it kind: He invites a “troop of rowdy ants” inside his shell (and his vintage-decorated living room) to take shelter from the rain. But between the tea and other distractions, will Snail ever make it to his lunch?"
Corey R. Tabor is the author and illustrator of Fox and the Jumping Contest, Fox and the Bike Ride, Fox Is Late, and the Theodor Seuss Geisel Award–winning Fox the Tiger. Corey lives in Seattle with his wife and son and spends his time making pictures and stories. You can visit him online at coreyrtabor.com.
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The artist used pencil, watercolor, colored pencil, and ink, assembled digitally, to create the illustrations for this book.