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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars SURELY A CONTENDER FOR 2000'S BEST PICURE BOOK ?, 26 Mar 2001
This review is from: The Snail House (Hardcover)
"The Snail House" will take everybody back to that safe warm world, where you sat on Grandma's knee and had stories told to you.
It is both a fantasy and a reality for children to see the world around them at different size scales. This might have something to do with little person's low-eyelevel perspective. Most young children play in a miniaturised world, Little boys with the toy cars and trains, or little girls with their baby dolls. Playing on the floor or out in the garden, small things look large, and big things look huge.
In this story, Grandma transports the children to a world where they live in a snail's shell house. They have three adventures. The great earthquake when the apple fell; baby gets lost when she climbs the dandelion; and the day the thrush almost got their snail but was scared away by a cat.
One of the charms of the book, is the way the children interrupt their Grandma as she tells the story, and ask questions and make suggestions. Does that sound familiar?
We are never that far from the real world. On each page, outside the frames that contain Grandma's story we see the children with their grandmother or shown scenes close by her house. We are reminded that traffic is humming on the distant road and "headlights are gleaming in the gathering dark".
This is one of those rare picturebooks where the story and illustrations mesh perfectly. The story within the story is a neat device, perfectly matched and supported by the illustrations, which show both the "real world" at Grandma's house and the "story book" micro-world of the adventures with the snail.
Gillian Tyler's portrayal of the miniature scenes in the garden is superb. The details and activities going on beyond the written story will intrigue and capture the attention of all youngsters.
There is just a hint of mystery in the story. In the last scene, we see young Hannah out on the verandah "standing yet, gazing into the muffled blackness of the garden".
"The Snail House" shows us that gentle, lyrical writing, and charming and soft but detailed pictorials still have an important part to play in making a children's picture book work successfully. It is a refreshing change from a lot of the garishly, overly styled, supposedly smart and sometimes very cynical children's books that we often see.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Snail house, 6 Jun 2010
S. Ingram - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Snail House (Paperback)
Lovely story book, just perfect as I have been teaching my class about Allan Ahlberg and we have been learning about minibeasts! Came in expected condition in time. Lovely story.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully written and illustrated - magical tale, 18 Aug 2014
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This review is from: The Snail House (Paperback)
Our family love this book. The text is atmospheric and endearing, and Gillian Tyler's illustrations are heavenly. The highlights are the pictures of the errant baby. We originally borrowed this book from the library but on the strength of the hilarious illustrations we had to have our own copy!
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The Snail House
The Snail House by Allan Ahlberg (Hardcover - 4 Sep 2000)
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