A Book For Escargot – Dashka Slater, illustrations by Sydney Hanson

   A Book For Escargot – Dashka Slater, illustrations by Sydney Hanson, Farrar Straus Giroux Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Macmillan Publishing Group, LLC, 9780374312862, 2020 

Format: Hardcover

Rating:  1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 5

Genre: Picture

 What did you like about the book? This story begins with an introduction from Escargot. He is a very handsome (his words!) snail and is planning a trip to the library to get a new cookbook. He is getting bored eating the same salads, so he is looking for a French cookbook to gather some new recipes. While at the library, he expresses his discouragement that there are no heroic books that feature a snail as the main character. He does see many books about snails such as “The Very Hungry Snail”, “Where The Wild Snails Are”, and “Goodnight Snail” (kids will get a kick out of seeing these familiar covers altered a little to reflect a snail as the main character). Escargot does manage to find a wonderful French cookbook–until he realizes that snails (him!) are a big part of French cooking. The only way he can save himself is to eat the cookbook pages–which he does! All during his travels through the library, Escargot is discussing what is needed to make a good story–a character needs to be introduced, the character needs to overcome an obstacle, and everything needs to be resolved in the end. At the end of the book, we see that a little girl has been writing this story all along–and a snail is finally the hero in the story!

This is a cute story, but what I really like is that it can be used as a valuable tool in so many ways. It is a great introduction to libraries and the different books they offer, it encourages children to think about what kinds of stories they like to read, and it also provides a little insight into the process of creating a story.

The illustrator for this story, Sydney Hanson, did an excellent job of giving Escargot some expressive facial features and mannerisms. Early on, the reader does find him to be a rather cute snail and you find yourself really wanting him to have his own story where he is finally the hero.

Anything you did not like about the book. Nothing

To whom would you recommend this book? I think this would be appropriate for children between the ages of four and seven–especially if they are planning a trip to the library or even working on a writing assignment at school. It is a fun way to think about the process of creating a story.

Who should buy this book? Perfect for public and elementary school libraries, anyone who works with children between the ages of four and seven.

Where would you shelve it? Picture Books

 Should we (librarians) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Yes, this would be a great book for all those classroom library visits.

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Kristin Guay, former youth services librarian.

Date of review: April 27, 2020

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