The Snail and the Whale

( 7 )

Overview

When a tiny snail meets a humpback whale, the two travel together to far-off lands.  It's a dream come true for the snail, who has never left home before.  But when the whale swims too close to shore, will the snail be able to save her new friend?

From the creators of Room on the Broom and The Gruffalo comes this touching tale of adventure and friendship.  With vibrant illustrations and rhymes that are both playful and lyrical, here is a story that shows us that ...

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Overview

When a tiny snail meets a humpback whale, the two travel together to far-off lands.  It's a dream come true for the snail, who has never left home before.  But when the whale swims too close to shore, will the snail be able to save her new friend?

From the creators of Room on the Broom and The Gruffalo comes this touching tale of adventure and friendship.  With vibrant illustrations and rhymes that are both playful and lyrical, here is a story that shows us that even the smallest creatures can help others in a big way.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
A sea snail with an "itchy foot"? This offbeat premise sets the stage for Donaldson's and Scheffler's (The Gruffalo) satisfying picture book, relayed in a cumulative rhyme scheme that recalls "The House That Jack Built." Stuck on a rock, a tiny snail pines for adventure, until a passing gray-blue humpback whale obligingly invites her to hitch a ride on his tail. Together the oddball pair travel the "starlit sea," visiting "towering icebergs and far-off lands/ With fiery mountains and golden sands." In cleanly delineated and colorful mixed-media spreads, Scheffler depicts exotic locales full of mynah birds, monkeys and other creatures that appeal to young animal lovers. Tumbling waves and towering mountains communicate a feeling of vastness, helping readers see the world from the snail's perspective ("She gazed and gazed, amazed by it all,/ and she said to the whale, `I feel so small' "). But the snail proves herself big of heart when she helps her travel companion after he's distracted by speedboats and gets stranded on a beach. Writing "Save the Whale" in a "looping, curling, silvery trail" across the blackboard in a nearby schoolhouse, she sets a rescue mission into motion. Along with providing a resonant environmental message, the story lightly demonstrates that friendships come in all shapes and sizes. Ages 4-up. (Mar.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
PreS-Gr 3-A tiny mollusk that longs to see the world hitches a ride aboard a humpback whale in this charming picture book. After seeing far-off islands, underwater caves, and storm-filled skies, the snail feels impossibly small-until the whale is beached in a harbor, and she saves the day by writing a note on the blackboard of a nearby school to summon help. The message that even the smallest among us can help others will not be lost on children, and neither will the poetic language: "A humpback whale, immensely long,/Who sang to the snail a wonderful song/Of shimmering ice and coral caves/And shooting stars and enormous waves." Donaldson's smooth, sprightly rhyming scheme buoys the story and never falters. The flat, cartoonish look of Scheffler's multimedia illustrations perfectly complements the tone of the text. The rollicking language and bright pictures make this a great choice for reading aloud.-Kathleen Kelly MacMillan, Maryland School for the Deaf, Columbia Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Like an ocean-going "Lion and the Mouse," a humpback whale and a snail "with an itchy foot" help each other out in this cheery travelogue. Responding to a plaintive "Ride wanted around the world," scrawled in slime on a coastal rock, whale picks up snail, then sails off to visit waters tropical and polar, stormy and serene before inadvertently beaching himself. Off hustles the snail, to spur a nearby community to action with another slimy message: "SAVE THE WHALE." Donaldson's rhyme, though not cumulative, sounds like "The house that Jack built"-"This is the tide coming into the bay, / And these are the villagers shouting, 'HOORAY!' / As the whale and the snail travel safely away. . . ." Looking in turn hopeful, delighted, anxious, awed, and determined, Scheffler's snail, though tiny next to her gargantuan companion, steals the show in each picturesque seascape-and upon returning home, provides so enticing an account of her adventures that her fellow mollusks all climb on board the whale's tail for a repeat voyage. Young readers will clamor to ride along. (Picture book. 6-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780803729223
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 3/29/2004
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 110,773
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 11.36 (w) x 10.07 (h) x 0.36 (d)

Meet the Author

Julia Donaldson lives in Glasgow, Scotland.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 7 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 11, 2007

    Mom's favorite book!

    I have never written a book review before but I love this book so much I want to spread the word. This is the best read aloud book I have found. The story is a sweet (not syrupy) one of friendship, but mainly the rhymes are beautifully written in a roll of your tounge way which is fun to read and rhythmical, lulls a child to sleep. We read it every night...twice. It never fails, my 2 year old is asleep halfway thru the second time. I bought this book as a favor for my son's 3rd birthday party, and often buy it for birthsday presents.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 29, 2012

    Wonderful Book

    I bought this book based on another recommendation and I am so glad I did. My 2-year-old son absolutely loves this book. The way it flows is so soothing and it has a wonderful lesson as well. I highly recommend this book!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 14, 2007

    A reviewer

    It's gorgeous, it's adventurous, it's compassionate, worldly and fun.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 15, 2004

    Cute tale about friendship and loyalty

    I really enjoyed this story. The illustrations were beautiful. I found the snail asking school kids 'save the whale' powerful, despite how simply put the story is. I liked the end; the snail¿s determination can't help but put a smile on the readers face.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 9, 2004

    Enchanting and Heartwarming Adventure

    I absolutely love this book. It is a classic tale with a friendship reminiscent of Wilbur and Charlotte, though expressed in much fewer words. This is an exceptional book with beautiful illustrations and a wonderful story - perfect for all ages. The adventurous spirit and courage of our tiny hero is remarkable, proving that even the smallest of us can make a huge difference in the world. This is truly a prize book for my collection, and one I will enjoy reading again and again for years to come. J.H. Sweet, author of The Fairy Chronicles

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 15, 2004

    IT'S THE LITTLE THINGS THAT COUNT

    Rhyming texts are always appealing to young ears, and this adventure tale by Julia Donaldson is no exception. A tiny sea snail lives on a rock overlooking the sea. The more he looks at the sea the more he dreams of sailing around it. Ignoring the advice of his fellow snails who want him to stay put he posts a sign on the rock: 'Ride wanted around the world.' As they say, nothing ventured nothing gained. One night a giant humpback whale came to the rock and invited the snail to sail with him. It didn't take the snail but a second to decide - he hopped on the whale's tail and they were off. They saw many wonders: icebergs, penguins, mountains, golden sands, underwater caves. Such excitement! But one day there was a bit too much excitement as racing speedboats forced the whale to swim too close to shore. Then as it does every day, the tide went out leaving 'the whale beached in a bay.' Now, how can a tiny snail possibly save his friend the whale? Youngsters will love this story's ending, and also learn a valuable lesson.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 24, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews

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