From Publishers Weekly
Set on the prairie wetlands, Latimer's (Fox Under First Base) worthy but wordy story pairs curious Buffalo with insecure Snail. "What are you?" asks Buffalo, unintentionally intimidating the tiny creature. He brags about all that buffaloes can do: thrash and charge, swish their tales and run 32 miles per hour. But when Snail slowly enumerates her own talents, including "whorling" and walking "on one foot," Buffalo is duly impressed, and even defends his new pal after a pompous reindeer dismisses Snail as slow, a "slug wearing a seashell." "Snails are fast," he says. "Compared to a buffalo walking on one foot, a snail is lightning." Despite such imaginative recapitulations, the theme is a familiar one and the text too long. Painted with an acrylic drybrush technique on hardboard, debut artist Curry's stylized illustrations?though overly dark and often static?offer some playful perspectives on the characters' relative sizes. Ages 4-8.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From School Library Journal
Kindergarten-Grade 2?Buffalo can do many things: lick salt, thrash, charge, eat grass, run, roll, jump, and be brave. What can snail do? She can whorl, siphon, retract, walk on one foot, and be brave. When a raggedy reindeer speaks contemptuously of snail's attributes, Buffalo defends her. Curry's artwork, familiar from the Atlantic Monthly and other magazines, appears for the first time in a children's book. Abstract shapes?the buffalo is almost all head and hump?are married to dark, threatening colors of a storm, giving all an ominous look. Latimer's metaphorical language matches the pictures. The buffalo is "a tower, a church, and a steeple..." This is a nice parable about respecting differences, but some jarring elements are distracting: a reindeer in buffalo territory, a snail that can jump, the meant-to-be startling statement that snail can speak "clam" (why not? she speaks buffalo), and the implication that snails may cause lightning. Not a first choice.?Ruth Semrau, formerly at Lovejoy School, Allen, TX
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.