Annie's snails by Dianne Wolfer

cover image

Ill. by Gabriel Evans. Walker Stories series, Walker Books Australia, 2014. ISBN 9781921720635.
(Age: 5+) Recommended, Snails, Gardens. Annie is looking around the garden to find some snails. She loves them and wants to collect some to be her pets. She plays snail trails with her younger brother, leaving a trail of debris for him to follow, while she hides under the washing basket, masquerading as the snail shell. She looks and looks for some snails: all in the right places, dad's tomato bush, Mum's garden hat, near the water tap. There are none. But after a shower of rain she looks in their hiding places again and there they are. Collecting six snails she keeps them in a bucket, painting a letter for their name on their shell.
Over the next day she learns about being a thoughtful pet owner and whether the pets are best left to their own devices, in their own environment.
The line illustrations add another level of humour to the story as we see Annie and her brother playing, and laugh at Annie's style of stance, imitating her mother's, and particularly, the imaginative use of the garden when the children are searching for the snails, as well as the words made by the snails.
This is a lovely tale of looking after pets, of learning about snails, of learning to enjoy the garden, of even learning a few letters and putting them together to make words. All in all a delightful first chapter book for younger readers, with three chapters, and published in clear large print, easy for younger readers to try their hands at.
Fran Knight