It is a calm, dark night, but all is not quiet. A giant powelliphanta snail is on the prowl. Powelli-what? If you haven’t heard of these before, you can learn a great deal about them from the pages at the end of Watch Out, Snail. There, you will find a cluster of whimsically presented snippets about them at the end of the book. The facts are laid out along a snail’s trail and the map of their geographic range is patterned the same as the snail’s mantle. A second page describes more about these strange, large land snails that are native to New Zealand and Australia. The story that precedes this is playfully sneaky as is the snail. While you think that the snail is going to be the one to be eaten, in fact, “Snail’s the winner. Worm’s the dinner.” All the while, hints of other predators can be found peeking over the edges of the page – a beak here, a foot or feather there. The text is simple with the focus on observation and anticipation – eat or be eaten. Margaret Tolland’s alluring illustrations feature the glossy snail shell amidst its habitat and both its predator and prey.
This book really was a fun read and I look forward to checking out Go, Green Gecko! – another picture book by Hay and Tolland published by the Australian-based Starfish Bay Children’s Books.
Suggested Ages – This story contains multiple layers for readers as young as pre-school, who can run their fingers over the glossy snail shell, to middle grade readers who will like the amazing facts about these giant snails.