The Story of Fish and Snail

Deborah Freedman, Author
Deborah Freedman. Viking, $16.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-670-78489-9
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Freedman (Blue Chicken) continues to explore the idea of books as worlds unto themselves, playing with representing three-dimensional objects on two-dimensional pages. The timid snail of the title waits in a goldfish bowl that, readers will quickly see, is actually a spread in a picture book. Snail’s friend Fish returns from his daily outing with an invitation: “Ahoy, Snail! Guess what? I found a new book!” Snail’s not interested: “I don’t want to go into other books,” he says. “I like this book.” Despite the offer of a secret treasure and a pirate ship, Snail won’t budge, and the two part ways angrily: “Fine, Snail. Good-bye. The end.” Snail crawls to the edge of his book to see the new book far below, opened to a watery page. “Fish?” he calls uncertainly—and then boldly leaps himself, in a moment of uncharacteristic bravery. The theme of books as doorways into rich new adventures couldn’t be more vividly conveyed, and the resolution of the conflict between two sweet friends provides encouragement for other “snails” to try new things. Ages 3–5. (June)
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