The End of the Beginning: Being the Adventures of a Small Snail (and an Even Smaller Ant)

The End of the Beginning: Being the Adventures of a Small Snail (and an Even Smaller Ant)

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Avon the snail has never had an adventure. And adventure, he has heard, is the key to a happy life. So with his new friend Edward the ant, Avon sets out on a journey to find the excitement his life has been missing.

This modern fable is filled with funny--and profound--insights about the meaning of things . . . great and small.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780152055325
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date: 04/01/2008
Edition description: First Edition
Pages: 144
Sales rank: 425,288
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 6.60(h) x 0.50(d)
Lexile: 560L (what's this?)
Age Range: 7 - 10 Years

About the Author

AVI has written many acclaimed books for young readers, including The Secret School, The End of the Beginning, and A Beginning, a Muddle, and an End. His novel Crispin: The Cross of Lead was awarded the Newbery Medal, and Nothing But the Truth: A Documentary Novel and The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle were named Newbery Honor books. He lives in Colorado.            

TRICIA TUSA has written and illustrated many wonderful picture books, including In a Blue Room by Jim Averbeck; Mrs. Spitzer's Garden by Edith Pattou; The Magic Hat by Mem Fox; The End of the Beginning by Avi; and her own Follow Me.

Date of Birth:

December 23, 1937

Place of Birth:

New York, New York


University of Wisconsin; M.A. in Library Science from Columbia University, 1964

Read an Excerpt

Chapter one


In Which the Adventure Begins


avon, a rather small snail, read a book every day. He loved to read because books told him all about the things that creatures did when they went on adventures.

           Now, Avon had noticed that when creatures finished their adventures, and when the stories ended, the creatures were always happy. Because Avon had never had an adventure of his own, the more he read, the sadder he became. It was absolutely necessary, he decided, to have adventures for himself. Only then would he be happy.

           He sighed. “No adventures will ever come my way.”

           A newt who was passing by overheard Avon’s words. “Nay, lad, don’t say such things.”

           “But don’t you see,” said Avon, close to tears, “the most important thing in the world is having adventures. Not only have I not had any, I don’t think I ever will. And if I don’t have adventures—like the ones I’ve read about in these books—I’m bound to be unhappy forever.”

           “Then go out and seek some adventures,” said the newt.

           “I don’t know how,” Avon said.

           “Remember, lad,” said the newt, “if it’s going to be tomorrow, it might as well be today. And if it is today, it could have been yesterday. If it was yesterday, then you’re over and done with it, and can write your own book. Think about that.”

                Avon thought about it for a long moment, and then he said right out loud,

           “Yes, I will do it. Yesterday for sure!”



Text copyright © 2004 by Avi

Illustrations copyright © 2004 by Tricia Tusa


All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.

Requests for permission to make copies of any part of the work should be submitted online at or mailed to the ­following address: Permissions Department, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company, 6277 Sea Harbor Drive, Orlando, Florida 32887-6777.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"A charming tale."—Publishers Weekly"A story that begs to be read aloud."—Booklist

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

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The End of the Beginning: Being the Adventures of a Small Snail (and an Even Smaller Ant) 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 30 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A comedy that someone of any age could enjoy. An inspiring book that brings delight to the reader. Adorable and hilarious characters with bright and spirited dispositions always craving a good adventure!
Guest More than 1 year ago
'The End of the Beginning' is an outstanding book about two characters, named Avon 'the snail' and Edward 'the ant',who meet each other at Avon's house. Avon always wanted an adventure, so Edward offered to go with Avon on the adventure. And so the adventure began and soon they were off to discover more about themselves and meet new people along the way. You will enjoy this book if you are a reader who likes to read clever use of language and think deeply about life and possibilty. Enjoy!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a adorable book , i love it and it made me smile i would recomend this to anyone who needs a laaughbor giggle
JWeller More than 1 year ago
I checked this book out from the library for my 5 year-old niece. We haven't even finished it and I already ordered a copy for her permanent library. She and I have giggled our way through this book, and I enjoy the philosophical bent to the book. I'm ordering extras for several of my girlfriends who enjoy writing that is both funny and thoughtful.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
i think this book was amazing, u should totally read it! it is one of my fav books and i read it like twenty times!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is one of my favorite books ever! I absolutely love it! I have read it about a millon times! I reccomend it for EVERYONE!!!! :)
Guest More than 1 year ago
I thought this book inspired me to go on great adventures
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was listed on my summer reading list and i loved it! This book was sooo cute, humerus, funny, and upside down, this is coming from a 10 year old. I definetly rate it 5 stars.
EGHunter01 More than 1 year ago
A quote from the book that was worth reading: ..."the most important thing in the world is having adventures." Adventures are a great way to explore your world and use your imagination based upon the thinking of the snail and the ant in this tale. *Very comical. *Delightful.* Whimsical. *Fun for leisure time reading for youth ages eight to ten. *Good for adults just to laugh at the "silliness" of this tale. *Enjoyable entertainment. * Good for stress reduction.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. It inspired me and some of my closest friends to go out and set out for an adventure. This book has so many similaraties to what my friends and I were thinking about finding or what might be ahead. On my friends and our adventure we had spotted a lot of things that had happened with our adventure. If you are the kind of person who sits at home and bored my friends and I would definately recommend this book because it will persue and inspire you like how it persued me and friends. You could go on this adventure with some good friends like i did or by yourself althoughit is not as fun as by yourself like it is not fun to play a board game by yourself. I read this book in about 4 hours and it was the best that i would never want to put it down. I give this book an A+.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved this book, HOWEVER I do believe it might be a 'confusing' read for the younger reader. Each chapter provides so much insight about life, it really requires a desire to read into the stories and apply the lessons to everyday life. As someone who loves the wisdom of Buddha this book was inspiring and uplifting. I plan to use it as graduation presents for the right someones....
Guest More than 1 year ago
I bought this book for my third grader to read. The cover was so cute and I have always enjoyed Avi's work. This story blew me away! My daughter is now in 5th grade and graduating from Elem. school. All the refrences to endings being beginnings were super. And she loves thinking of elem. school as the end of the beginning of her education. Also, the characters seem so childlike in their views of the world, but they are actually quite profound if you give it greater thought. This book is filled with symbols and metaphors. On top of that, the characters are very likeable and the illustrations are perfect for the text...
fishfinder on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The End of the BeginningThe End of the beginning is a good book because when Avon (the snail) reads too many books about adventurers. He becomes very sad. He had noticed that the adventurers in his book always ended up happy. One day he decided to go out on his own adventure. When Avon is about to close the door, he hears a little voice¿ you aren¿t going away without saying goodbye, are you?¿
amspicer on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a great book for grades three and up. It is a story about Avon, a snail that has never had an adventure before. And from what he has heard, an adventure is exactly the element he is missing to have a happy life. In order to achieve this, he and his new friend Edward, the ant, set out on a journey hoping to find the excitement that his life has been missing. Along their journey, the two friends find themselves crossing paths with many differently strange, yet wise creatures and the adventures begin! This is an easy read and your students will absolutely love it! They will also enjoy the concept of reading a 'chapter book.'
Necampos on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I love snails so i definitely loved this book! Avil the snail wants to go on adventure of his own, so his friend Edward the ant tags along. They meet many friends and encounter a lot of situations on their journey. A very adventurous book that makes kids want to go out and be adventurous. A writing story could b a follow up to the book to have students create an adventure they would like to go on.
bobdude on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
it was a good book and i liked it
sharese on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Summary:The adventure story of an Ant and a Snail who are good friends and want to get out and see the world. They set out to see many things including a dragon which they both agree is necessary to having an adventure. With wonderful sketches of the characters throughout and sweet little friends they meet on the way. Review:I thought this book was rich with words and ideas about an adventure between two friends. This book reminded me of Winnie the Pooh or Frog and Toad the way two friends became closer from the adventures they went on. I would read this book to young kids and I think older kids would like it too.
volleyballgirl on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a great book about a snail and a ant that go on the biggest adventure in there lives. The snail is going to the end of the branch and finds out another snail is coming and dosent know what to do. Read the book to find out what happens next.
zodox5 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
It's a book about a snail and an ant that travel to the end of the branch and back.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
When I was in 3 or 2nd grade. I was a lover of Avi. So I was looking for some books from Avi, then I stumbbled against a few books The End of the Beginning and The Beginning of the End. I grabbed the book and checked it out. I litterly fell in love. It was just so good I didn't want to put it down. I recomend this book to all ages!! It's not scary. Happy reading!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a book for all ages. I love this unique story. Full of odd charecters, and odd reasoning. The ant is hilarious, and he makes absolutely no sense.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this book. I first heard it as a third grader and now, as a seventh grader, it is still one of my favorite books of all time. Although it's a quick read, Avi included humorous and adorable characters who, while somewhat childish, have great insight on the world. Overall, this is an adorable and memorable book full of life lessons and perfect for older elementary school age kids.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago