The Story of Fish & Snail

illus. by author. 40p. Viking. June 2013. RTE $16.99. ISBN 978-0-670-78489-9. LC 2012030058.
K-Gr 2—Fish and Snail live in a book. Fish ventures forth to other books daily and brings back stories. When Fish urges a reluctant Snail to come out and experience the adventures firsthand, they have a fight that threatens their friendship, but bravery and fun ultimately prevail. The story is told almost entirely in dialogue, emphasizing emotions. The illustrations, though gently rounded and softly colored, are highly expressive and full of cinematic angles. Especially effective is the page by page "zooming in" as the conflict between Fish and Snail builds. The imaginative power of books is implied, but the concept of self-aware characters that visit other books might be too abstract to be appreciated by some children. This is an odd, sweet little story, appropriate for large collections or where friendship stories are in high demand. Refreshingly, readers never learn the gender of either character, and the book will be especially useful where non-gendered stories are desired.—Heidi Estrin, Congregation B'nai Israel, Boca Raton, FL

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