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Snail Trail: In Search of a Modern Masterpiece Hardcover – April 27, 2010

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

PreS-Gr 1–A snail with a colorful collage shell invites readers to follow him in search of a work of art: “There's a special picture I'd like you to see./A famous artist based it on me!” A silver trail leads the eye from page to page, past famous modernist pieces like Jackson Pollock's Number 20 and Salvador Dali's The Persistence of Memory, with the snail commenting very briefly on each one. At last they come to Matisse's The Snail, and the little guy explains how this abstract piece is meant to resemble him: “He's made my body a block of blue,/with my shell a ebook of every hue.” A final page shows a photo of the artist at work. While this whirlwind tour of modern art may be useful to teachers or docents working with young children, it does not stand alone. Without adult intervention, the story's complete lack of context results in nothing but a succession of pretty images. The pedestrian rhymes offer little in the way of art appreciation. Picture credits in tiny print inside the back cover provide the only identification for the famous works. In addition, the author undermines the very nature of Matisse's abstract Snail by suggesting that he modeled it directly upon an actual multicolored snail. Pass on this one.–Heidi Estrin, Feldman Children's Library at Congregation B'nai Israel, Boca Raton, FL(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


One of the finest, liveliest art books for the very young that I have encountered and deserves a place in the nursery or reception classroom or on bookshelves at home. --School Librarian

Produced to a simple formula, well designed and easy to follow, this book gives us the visual space to look at and enjoy each painting. --Books for Keeps

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 3 - 6 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 1
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Frances Lincoln Children's Bks (April 27, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1847800211
  • ISBN-13: 978-1847800213
  • Product Dimensions: 8.7 x 8.8 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.9 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #495,768 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Susanna Blackburn on July 8, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I have 2 year old twins who are more likely to eat a book that sit and watch/read it. Snail Trail is both charming for me to read to them and fascinates Sam and Lily. Rare to find a book that works now and they can learn from in the future too. Thank you Ms Saxton, next one pls..
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By M. Coker on December 11, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Great book to teach Matisse and thanks for great delivery and good product. Love to have children do Snail by Matisse after reading this book.
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