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The End of the Beginning: Being the Adventures of a Small Snail (and an Even Smaller Ant) Paperback – April 1, 2008


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The End of the Beginning: Being the Adventures of a Small Snail (and an Even Smaller Ant) + A Beginning, a Muddle, and an End: The Right Way to Write Writing + Poppy and Ereth (Tales from Dimwood Forest)
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 and up
  • Grade Level: 2 and up
  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers; Reprint edition (April 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0152055320
  • ISBN-13: 978-0152055325
  • Product Dimensions: 0.4 x 5.6 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #595,992 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 3 Up–A charming modern fable. Avon the snail's voracious reading convinces him that having an adventure is the key to a happy life so he sets out on a journey with his new friend, Edward the ant. In a series of very short chapters, the two travel–at a snail's pace–the length of a branch, meeting another snail, a caterpillar, a worm, a cricket, a salamander, and a mouse (whom Edward and Avon are sure is a dragon in disguise). Many insights unfold: "here" and "there" are not much different; while getting lost is easy, it's finding one's self that's hard; whether rushing or going slowly, one still arrives; and it is important to look at the world with one's heart and not just with one's eyes. The book is full of plays on "beginning" and "end." Until Avon and Edward help the worm, he is unsure which is his front and which is his back, and is doomed to a life without end. When they reach the end of the branch, are they actually at the end of the sky and the beginning of the branch? Avon and Edward turn around and head back, coming to a house that looks magically like Avon's own. The friends decide to live together in this magic castle. And so, true to the book's title, the beginning of their friendship ends. Whimsical pen-and-ink sketches add much to this wise little book. It's perfect for reading and discussing.–Connie Tyrrell Burns, Mahoney Middle School, South Portland, ME
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Gr. 2-4. Avon the Snail is a reader, so he knows that everyone leaves on a journey to find adventure. When he laves on his quest, he takes along Edward the Ant, and the friends find a dragon (in disguise, of course) as they travel from here to there, and discover that the end of the branch they are on is the beginning of the sky. With Tusa's occasional, expressive pencil drawings, this small chapter book seems part warm Frog-and-Toad-type friendship tale and part gentle farce. Young grade-schoolers will enjoy the slapstick with the small creatures; older ones will have fun with the wordplay (Father is stuck at home writing about fast food for Readers Digestion) and the situations (in a letter to his friend Avon writes about what he's doing--writing to his friend). Best of all is the fun with the heroic quest of leaving home to find home. A story that begs to be read aloud; even kindergartners will enjoy it. Hazel Rochman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

It is a cute book and an easy reader.
Wesley
We love this series of Avi books and bought this copy for a baby shower gift.
April
Suitable and highly recommended for middle readers and up.
Heidi Anne Heiner

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Erika Sorocco on September 7, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Avon, a small snail, has never been blessed with experiencing an adventure. However, he has heard that adventures are the key to happiness in life. So, with the help of his new friend, a small ant named Edward, Avon sets out to experience a journey. One that will make up for all of the adventures that he has missed in his short lifetime. During their journey, the two young adventurers meet up with all kinds of wonderful, and fantastical beings, and strange creatures, including something that Avon has always wanted to meet up with face to face - a dragon!

Phenomenal author Avi once again proves that he has the talent to write in various different genres, with his latest effort THE END OF THE BEGINNING. Filled with two wonderful young characters who are inquisitive, brave, intelligent, and loving, Avi shows readers, young and old, that even the smallest creatures think, and gives us all a new respect for snails as well as ants. With wonderful black and white sketches contained on almost every page, as well as a beautiful harcover format, that fits right into your pocket, this is an absolute must-have. NOTE: Don't be intimidated by the page count (143). The large-set font, as well as the illustrations make this book a quick read, that is a wonderful start for young readers trying to read on their own.

Erika Sorocco

Book Review Columnist for The Community Bugle Newspaper
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on September 28, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This is my favorite book ever. It was very,very funny. It was funny when they found a worm that went to sleep and then, when it woke up, it forgot which end its head was supposed to be on. Then they had to tickle the ends to find out what end was which.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on November 3, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I"m seven and I think that this book should be read from second to fifth grade. I thought this book was great because they (Avon and Edward) talked themselves into things that are not really true and in that way it"s really funny. They go on an adventure and think it"s the beginning but it"s really the end.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Heidi Anne Heiner VINE VOICE on November 10, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Newbery Medalist Avi writes a new book reminscent of A. A. Milne (Winnie-the-Pooh) at his best, but with a charm all his own. Avon, a snail, decides to go out on an adventure after reading about so many adventures in books. In the process of leaving, he becomes friends with Edward, an ant, just in time to say good-bye. After a suitable good-bye--no one likes long good-byes-- Edward catches up with Avon and they continue the adventure together. Simple logic, whimsical word play, and hidden humor follow them along the way as they experience numerous beginnings and endings. Their adventures and friendship are quirky and charming, but far from sappy or sweet. Ultimately, when their journey is finished, they discover that they have only reached the end of the beginning, a wonderful philosophy of life for young and old.

Suitable and highly recommended for middle readers and up. This book also makes a great addition to a personal library since it will hold up to multiple readings thanks to its witty insights into life and living.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on January 12, 2010
Format: Paperback
Avi's THE BEGINNING OF THE END is short and enjoyable. It's the tale of Avon the snail who meets Edward the Ant. The two become friends and embark on a series of adventures which take them virtually nowhere, and yet fun and delight still manage to ensue.

The most surprising thing about this little book is how it incorporates different motifs in to its plot development. While reading I was reminded of the likes of ALICE IN WONDERLAND, DON QUIXOTE, THE PHANTOM TOLLBOOTH, and PILGRIM'S PROGRESS among others. The story is interwoven with plays of words, behavior, and even theology. Although the book is written for very young children, only a more mature mind will pick up on Avi's subtle morals in the book. Perhaps it is best read aloud to children. Also, you need not agree with all of Avi's lessons (Edward's faulty belief in the "Invisible Magician" may sound like an espousal of atheism to some), for the story is not without merit.

Avi wrote a sequel called A BEGINNING, A MUDDLE, AND AN END. I look forward to enjoying that one as well.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By firenity on January 11, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I got this book for my 5 year old son, I had only heard that it was a book about a snail and an ant who are friends and go on adventures. I'm still not really sure why he likes it, but we read several chapters every night and when we finish he asks to start all over again.
The chapters are short so it's easy to get to a stopping place and there are some great puns and twists in thinking, they are still a little above a K-1st grade level, but I think as he gets older my son will 're-discover' some of these interesting ideas as they represent thoughts we all have as we move through childhood and realize there are a lot of things that seem to not make any sense at all, but really do and vice versa.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By R.A. Bloom on September 21, 2004
Format: Hardcover
What an inspiring book. It's ageless!! This would be a terrific book for a graduation gift. Also a great read for the person who is a little down on their life. Every ending is a new beginning!!!! Everyone can accomplish anything with determination and a little friendship, along with individuality.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Rebecca on August 7, 2009
Format: Paperback
My 7 year old has been resistant to reading on his own, especially fiction. I was thrilled to find this book and see his enthusiasm for it. He completed it in 3 days, with great retention. I am here looking for more in the series!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews


More About the Author

More info at avi-writer.com and facebook.com/avi.writer
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Avi is part of a family of writers extending back into the 19th century. Born in 1937 and raised in New York City, Avi was educated in local schools, before going to the Midwest and then back to NYC to complete his education. Starting out as a playwright--while working for many years as a librarian--he began writing books for young people when the first of his kids came along.

His first book was Things That Sometimes Happen, published in 1970, and recently reissued. Since then he has published seventy books. Winner of many awards, including the 2003 Newbery award for Crispin: the Cross of Lead (Hyperion), two Newbery Honors, two Horn Book awards, and an O'Dell award, as well as many children's choice awards, he frequently travels to schools around the country to talk to his readers.

Among his most popular books are Crispin: The Cross of Lead, The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle, Nothing but the Truth, the Poppy books, Midnight Magic, and The Fighting Ground.

In 2008 he published The Seer of Shadows (HarperCollins), A Beginning a Muddle and an End (Harcourt), Hard Gold (Hyperion) and Not Seeing is Believing, a one-act play in the collection, Acting Out (Simon and Schuster). Crispin: the End of Time, the third in the Newbery Award-winning series, was published in 2010. City of Orphans was released in 2011, receiving a number of starred reviews. Learn more at Avi-writer.com. Follow Avi on Facebook, facebook.com/avi.writer, where he shares an inside look at his writing process.

Avi lives in Denver, Colorado, with his wife and family.

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