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Wolfsnail: A Backyard Predator
     

Wolfsnail: A Backyard Predator

by Sarah C. Campbell, Richard P. Campbell (Photographer)
 

The wolfsnail hunts its prey: other snails. This true tale of horror begins in the leaf litter beside a quaint porch in Jackson, Mississippi. The wolfsnail is on the prowl. Big, strong, and fast (for a snail), the wolfsnail has a taste for meat. In some areas, it is called the cannibal snail. It has earned the name. Soon, the predator finds the slime trail of a

Overview

The wolfsnail hunts its prey: other snails. This true tale of horror begins in the leaf litter beside a quaint porch in Jackson, Mississippi. The wolfsnail is on the prowl. Big, strong, and fast (for a snail), the wolfsnail has a taste for meat. In some areas, it is called the cannibal snail. It has earned the name. Soon, the predator finds the slime trail of a smaller snail and follows the path toward its prey. When the chase ends and the dramatic feast is done, nothing remains of the smaller snail but an empty shell. This photographic story, a Theodor Seuss Geisel Honor Book, of a day in the life of a wolfsnail offers a unique and dramatic introduction to the food chain. Young readers will be fascinated by this little-known predator and the impact it has had on habitats where it does not belong.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Denise Daley
Unlike typical nonfiction books, this one teaches its readers about its topic through a story. It begins on a rainy spring day. A large bright photograph shows the wolfsnail slowly emerging from its shell, and the accompanying sentence describes the process. Photographs on the following pages show the wolfsnail slowly gliding along a hosta leaf, while one or two sentences explain that the wolfsnail is seeking a meal. The wolfsnail eats only meat, and the photographs and text describe how it follows the mucus trail of a snail until it finds its unsuspecting prey. It then uses the teeth on its tongue to pull the snail from its shell and eat it. Full from its feast, the wolfsnail then finds a cool spot to rest until, eventually, the process starts again. The rich and vibrant photographs can tell the story themselves, but the text supports them with simple explanations, making this an engaging and educational book for beginning readers. Reviewer: Denise Daley
School Library Journal

Gr 3-4- The star of this slim volume is not your common land snail, slipping along its slimy path in search of succulent salads. This is a fierce, speedy (for a snail) predator seeking smaller vegetarian snails and slugs to feed its voracious appetite. Campbell's terse, conversational text follows one such hunt on a damp spring day as a wolfsnail detects, tracks, and engulfs its prey, using its mustachio-style lip extensions as ultrasensory devices. Large, crisp photos record the activity, from the wolfsnail's morning awakening to start the hunt to the denouement of a return to rest. Two additional pages provide further fodder, including mating facts (and a small photo of these hermaphrodites caught in the act). Pair this title with Allan Fowler's more general A Snail's Pace (Children's Press, 1999; o.p.) for an interesting glimpse into a slow-motion world.-Patricia Manning, formerly at Eastchester Public Library, NY

Kirkus Reviews
A rosy wolfsnail prowls along a hosta leaf, finding and devouring its prey-another snail. In this introduction to a carnivorous species probably unknown to young readers, striking color photographs of larger-than-life-sized snails accompany a simple straightforward text. Native to the southern United States, wolfsnails have been introduced in Hawaii and other parts of the world where they have become a serious pest. This photo essay, however, concentrates on the animal itself-its curiously shaped head, its ability to follow a trail of slime or hide from a predatory bird, the toothy tongue that allows it to remove the meat from inside a smaller snail. Backmatter includes a list of fast facts, additional information (including mating and reproduction) and a glossary. Sure to encourage early readers and listeners to explore their own backyards for similarly wondrous creatures. (Picture book/nonfiction. 4-7)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781590785546
Publisher:
Highlights Press
Publication date:
05/15/2008
Pages:
32
Sales rank:
838,334
Product dimensions:
8.00(w) x 10.00(h) x 0.39(d)
Lexile:
540L (what's this?)
Age Range:
4 - 7 Years

Meet the Author

Sarah Campbell is a writer and photographer with degrees in journalism from Northwestern University and years of journalism experience. She lives in Jackson, Mississippi, with her husband, Richard, and three sons.

Richard Campbell is an executive vice president of a financial institution in Jackson, Mississippi. In his spare time, he is a partner in creative pursuits with his wife, Sarah, specializing in photography, design, and technology.

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