The Snail and the Whale. Julia Donaldson

The Snail and the Whale

 The Snail and the Whale is a children's book by former children's laureate Julia Donaldson, illustrated by longtime collaborator Axel Scheffler. It has won several awards, including 2004 Early Years award for the best pre-school book, the 2005 Blue Peter award for Best Book to Read Aloud, and the 2007 Giverny award for Best Science Picture Book. The Snail and the Whale has also been adapted into an audio book, a successful stage play and translated into British Sign Language.

Donaldson has said that it is one of her favourite books, due to its similarity in rhyming style to the works of Edward Lear, of which she was particularly fond as a child.

A little snail lives in a flock, on a rock by the docks, and longs to see the wider world. After writing an advert for a lift wanted around the world, a humpback whale arrives one night and offers to take her travelling. The pair see many sights along their way until one day the whale, confused by the noise of a group of racing speedboats, swims into a bay and is left beached by the retreating tide.

In an effort to help her friend, the snail crawls to a nearby school, and asks for help by writing on the blackboard. The children fetch the emergency services, and the local people and the fire department help to keep the whale wet until the tide turns, and the whale and the snail are able to refloat and swim safely away.

They return to the snail's home in the docks, where the other snails are suitably impressed by the travellers tales, and the whale offers to take them all away to travel around the world.


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