This is a terrific story you guys. We’ve been reading it regularly since we picked it up in Sewickley’s local bookstore last April when we were visiting family. The author Julia Donaldson also penned household favorite Room on the Broom as well as the popular The Gruffalo, all beautifully illustrated by Alex Scheffler – both stories are animated short movies as well and are so wonderful. I very much hope that this latest story is also headed for animation. The rhyming in all three stories is on point, and really I’ve come to expect nothing less from Ms. Donaldson.
The Whale and the Snail is the story of a uniquely adventurous snail and a humpback whale who shows him around the world. Without revealing too much about the end of the story, as it took an unexpected turn, I’ll say the pair runs into trouble when they come across some human activity and the snail must be extra brave to help his friend and companion. The first time I read through the story I became very upset when trouble arose but the author dealt with life’s realism with such understanding those emotions were soon soothed. Thankfully, the conclusion was a happy one, and the snail’s snail family were all very impressed and inspired. I love how this story illustrates the diverse beauty of our planet from the perspective of the sea and it’s inhabitants. It also introduces – in a very soft way – the very real and sometimes dangerous impact humans have on our animal neighbors in even seemingly ordinary human activity. Following that concept though we see how humans and animals can interact positively and assist one another. It’s a wonderful lesson to teach a toddler. I read so many kid’s books that teach acting with compassion in one’s human or pet relationships, but I think this is the first I’ve come across that acknowledges the impact we humans have on the environment around us and our responsibility to act with mindfulness and empathy towards our wild neighbors . I’m probably over analyzing here, but I think this is an important lesson for our children to learn. Compassion for all living things, plus a little casual environmentalism on the side. Pick it up soon!!