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4.8 out of 5 stars
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4.8 out of 5 stars
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on 5 April 2005
I have read this book to children in Year 2 and 3, all of which loved it. The illustrations are beautiful and there are many lessons which can tie in with the books themes; travel, friendship, rhyming etc.
A lovely story which is especially suitable for 5-8 year olds.
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on 18 September 2003
Another super children's story from Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler. Those who have read Julia's previous works, such as the Gruffalo, The Monkey Puzzle, Room on the Broom and the Smartest Giant in Town, will recognise the pleasing, rhythmic style and carefully crafted structure of the story as well as the quality of Axel Scheffler's glorious illustrations which bring this enchanting story to life.
It is the story of a tiny sea snail who wants to travel the world and hitches a lift on the tail of a humpback whale. They travel the world together and, when the whale gets into trouble, the snail manages to pay his fare by getting the help of some school children.
A truly lovely picture book story which parents and grandparents will enjoy reading as much as the children will enjoy hearing again and again.
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This book is popular with both my 13 month old and my almost 3 year old. It is written in a lilting rhyme which is great to read aloud - I really do enjoy reading it to them, and interesting, detailed illustrations. The story is simple but touches on so many themes you'd like little children to think about; the desire to see new and amazing things, why even when you're small you can make a big difference, and helping out someone who needs it. I would thoroughly recommend this book for those with little children, and I'm sure it will be a favourite in our house for a long time to come.
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on 25 January 2004
This wonderful book has the flow of a song, almost Dylan Thomas in its pace and grace (no pun intended). Shows the wonder of travel and lets small children know that they can make a difference and that being small does not mean they are not capable or important.
Need a new copy now as the first one is worn out with love.
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on 24 July 2006
This book is excellent! It shows you that anyone can become friends with each other. In this book, a snail and a whale become friends and travel together. When trouble arises, the snail becomes the hero. This book is great for young children showing them that if you put your mind to something, you can accomplish anything even how small you are.

Cynthia Marie Rizzo, author of "Julie and the Unicorn" and "Angela and the Princess"
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on 7 April 2007
Although my daughter is only 11 months old she just loves having this gorgeous story read to her and can spend ages turning the pages of her board book version.

For me, it is an absolute delight to read and look at, and difficult to decide which is more enchanting - the words or the illustrations.

Her other favourite is the Gruffalo and she has started to point to the owl and the snake, and of course the Gruffalo, when I ask her to show me where they are, and I am hoping that she soon starts to get the same developmental benefit from the Snail and the Whale as I can think of no finer introduction to the concept of relating words to images than the works of Donaldson and Scheffler.

PS I love the scared face of the woman in green in the speedboat "Buzz".
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on 19 May 2006
Julia Donaldson is one of the most popular and successful childrens authors at the moment and pretty much most parents have copies I think of The Smarties gold award winning The Gruffalo. Axel Scheffler is a competently trained artist and the two have had numerous pairings with her other books.

Her other books, Gruffalo's Child, Squash & a Squeeze, Charlie Cook, Giant, Room on a Broom, Monkey, Paintbrush & Sharing a Shell also get a lot of attention.

I'm not personally keen on things which seem to be over hyped, and don't particularly like the Gruffalo (awarded Pre-School award by The Book Trust) have to say, but I do like this book (Blue Peter Book Award: Best Illustrated Book to Read Aloud 2005)

It's unfortunately too old for my three year old - perhaps some parents could read it to this age group but really it's most suitable for the 5-8 age range having smallish writing etc. The pictures are very nice and the story/themes good, supporting "understanding of the world" etc. My child prefers "Sharing a Shell" and the funny "Room on a Broom" at her stage.

It is most likely a modern classic along with Donaldson's other titles.

Other good picture books for this age range are by Giles Andreae, Dahl, Lynley Dodd, Judith Kerr, Martin Waddell, Max Velthuijs, Debi Gliori & Emma Chichester-Clark etc and you can also search by age through the Book Trust recommendations list online.
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on 6 October 2006
Donaldson has taken the theme of the fable of the lion with the thorn in his paw, saved by the feeble mouse and has reworked it with the tale of the snail and the whale. As with the original Aesop story it gives small people a sense of hope about the potential to influence their environment in significant ways. Unlike Aesop it does this through magical poetry that neither I nor my 3 year-old tire of, alongside beautiful illustrations.
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on 18 January 2005
My children (4 and 7) absolutely love this book. They both relate to the ideas of wanting to explore the world further and being too small. Smashing to read on a day when a little one has been helpful, so they can relate to the story. Lovely lovely book and a lasting reference for them from when they were very tiny to a grown up seven!
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on 1 November 2005
I absolutely love this book. It is a classic tale with a friendship reminiscent of Wilbur and Charlotte, though expressed in much fewer words. This is an exceptional book with beautiful illustrations and a wonderful story - perfect for all ages. The adventurous spirit and courage of our tiny hero is remarkable, proving that even the smallest of us can make a huge difference in the world. This is truly a prize book for my collection, and one I will enjoy reading again and again for years to come.
J.H. Sweet, author of The Fairy Chronicles
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