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Snail & Worm: Three Stories About Two Friends by Tina Kügler. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016

Three short stories in chapter format describe the initial meeting of Snail and Worm and two episodes in their friendship in a droll offering with a delightfully deadpan quality in the humorous interplay between the straightforward dialogue and the offbeat illustrations. In the opening chapter, “Meet My Friend,” Snail and Worm meet while playing with their respective friends Bob the rock and Ann the stick. In “Snail’s Adventure,” Worm provides support and encouragement as Snail scales a tall flower, although neither he nor Snail notes the flower has bent low to the ground under Snail’s weight. (“Wow! They look like ants down there!” exclaims Snail from no more than an inch off the ground as several large ants march by.) “Meet My Pet” has Worm looking for his lost pet, whom he describes as brown and furry with sharp teeth. Terrified Snail is convinced it’s a spider, even after Worm’s lost pet, Sam, shows up and is clearly a dog. Meanwhile Rex, Snail’s dog, is clearly a spider. Playful contradictions give readers and listeners a lot to notice and to laugh about in a book perfect for beginning readers or as a read-aloud. The deceptively simple and expressive art shows great thought and sophistication in its design and execution. ©2016 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Try these early literacy activities with children:

  • Read: “Buzz, Buzz, Buzz” in Goodnight Songs
  • Talk: About the humor of the book. Why is it funny? Talk about perspective.
  • Sing: A song very slowly then very quickly. Think about how Snail and Worm move.
  • Write: Draw a favorite activity you like to do with a friend or a favorite thing you like about a friend.
  • Play: A guessing game. Describe something then see how many clues it takes to guess the object. Let everyone have a turn describing as well as guessing.
  • Math or Science: Go outside and look for snails and worms and rocks and twigs. Explore what else you see outside.

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