Henry the snail by Katarina Macurova

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With absolutely stunning illustrations, the story of a determined snail called Henry unfolds as he tries to climb the stalk as other snails do.

Luxurious greens cover the pages as Henry is born, raindrops falling from the large garden foliage. He sees the other snails climb the stalks and he watches them, trying to copy their skills.

He grips the stalk, using his tentacles to wind around the leaf, but he slides back down. He is not producing enough slime to slime his way up. He decides to do it another way and tries covering his body with honey, which attracts the bees, and finds that tree sap is too sticky. So he tries another way - exercise. He lifts strawberries, rolls seeds across his underbelly, lifts cherries and drags pebbles.

With his new strength he tackles the biggest flower stalk in the garden, but halfway up he finds he cannot go any further. A slug on the leaf helps him go the last little way to the top. At the top he is amazed at the view he has of the whole garden, and then he comes down. After watching Henry’s strenuous efforts, the other snails want to learn his skills. He teaches them all he has learnt, and eventually they are so good they form a circus, Henry’s Circus.

This charming tale is about striving, about doing your best, about not letting one disappointment stop your effort, of trying a different way. All point to the effort Henry makes in striving to do his best.

Marvellous illustrations fill each page, engaging the younger reader, having a giggle at the bee hovering over Henry’s honey covered body or the attempts by Henry to slime his way up the stalks.  Younger readers will love peering beneath the foliage to find the insects lurking in the garden, and be amazed at the variety of flowers and vegetables grown in the garden.

Themes: Engagement, Friendship, Striving, Determination, Humour.

Fran Knight