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The Snail House Hardcover – March 1, 2001

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 5 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Kindergarten - 3
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Candlewick; 1 edition (March 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0763607118
  • ISBN-13: 978-0763607111
  • Product Dimensions: 10.9 x 0.4 x 7.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,230,227 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

What if one day you and your siblings shrunk down to a tiny, tiny size, crept out under a crack in the door, and went to live in a snail house... on the back of a moving snail? That's precisely what happens in Allan Ahlberg and illustrator Gillian Tyler's quiet, lovely picture book The Snail House, told in a folksy, story-time voice by Grandma to her grandchildren Hannah and Michael and their baby brother. ("'It have a TV?' Hannah said. 'No TV, sweetheart, not in those days. But a radio, yes.'")

Young children will adore poring over every delicate detail of Tyler's exquisitely drawn snail's-eye view of the world, a universe where falling apples cause earthquakes and babies can be lost in a forest of grass. The snail house--complete with doors, windows, porch railings, tiny furniture, and toys--provides fodder for hours of close examination. Scary moments like the arrival of a giant snail-eating thrush ("'No!' cried Hannah") contrast with peaceful times, such as stretching a clothesline between the snail's eyestalks, reading books, and washing windows. All in all, this fine book is a visual feast with the miniature-world appeal of The Borrowers. Preschoolers can revel in the fascinating picture story without having to read a word. (Ages 3 to 7) --Karin Snelson

From Publishers Weekly

Tyler's (The Good Little Christmas Tree) paneled, watercolor and pen-and-ink pictures in miniature play a pivotal role in revealing the engaging action in this creatively designed, horizontal volume. Small-scaled, wispy and finely detailed, her art bears an uncanny resemblance to that of the late Janet Ahlberg. In his story within a story, author Ahlberg introduces a brother and sister who climb into their grandmother's ample lap while their baby brother dozes in a stroller. The woman tells them about three siblings portrayed in the pictures as their look-alikes who one day shrink to a tiny size and take up residence in a snail's shell: "It was a proper house too, with a door and windows, roof and chimney, table, chairs, three little beds, curtains, and crockery everything!" Side panels show the siblings battling bugs with a broomstick and hanging laundry on a line fixed between the snail's feelers. As the children eagerly interrupt their grandmother to comment on her tale, the nimble, conversational narrative describes a trio of adventures that the children embark upon before bidding farewell to their snail. Ahlberg again displays his gift for storytelling in a work that will surely set young imaginations loose and may well color the way readers view diminutive garden dwellers. Tyler's paintings prove that she is equally adept at depicting these likable human characters as she is the natural world. Ages 5-8.
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 25 people found the following review helpful By "hurburgh" on March 25, 2001
Format: Hardcover
"The Snail House" will take everybody back to that safe warm world, where you sat on Grandma's knee and had stories told to you.
It is both a fantasy and a reality for children to see the world around them at different size scales. This might have something to do with little person's low-eyelevel perspective. Most young children play in a miniaturised world, Little boys with the toy cars and trains, or little girls with their baby dolls. Playing on the floor or out in the garden, small things look large, and big things look huge.
In this story, Grandma transports the children to a world where they live in a snail's shell house. They have three adventures. The great earthquake when the apple fell; baby gets lost when she climbs the dandelion; and the day the thrush almost got their snail but was scared away by a cat.
One of the charms of the book, is the way the children interrupt their Grandma as she tells the story, and ask questions and make suggestions. Does that sound familiar?
We are never that far from the real world. On each page, outside the frames that contain Grandma's story we see the children with their grandmother or shown scenes close by her house. We are reminded that traffic is humming on the distant road and "headlights are gleaming in the gathering dark".
This is one of those rare picturebooks where the story and illustrations mesh perfectly. The story within the story is a neat device, perfectly matched and supported by the illustrations, which show both the "real world" at Grandma's house and the "story book" micro-world of the adventures with the snail.
Gillian Tyler's portrayal of the miniature scenes in the garden is superb.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Katie Hammond on November 12, 2001
Format: Hardcover
I'm a graduate student in Boise Idaho. I'm in an Advanced Children's Literature class and I've been asked to write a review of a newer children's book for this website. I chose The Snail House by Allan Ahlberg and illustrated by Gillian Tyler. This is a story about a Grandmother telling a fantasy to her grandchildren. All of my grandparents are deceased, but as a child my grandmother used to tell us stories. This is much of the reason that I chose this story. It sort of brought me back to my childhood. The book starts out with Michael, Hannah, and the baby. They all climb onto Grandmother's lap to hear the story of a boy and his sister and their baby brother who suddenly become so tiny that nobody can see them. They decide to leave their home to live for a little while in a home that fit their new size. This home was a snail house. They have everything they could possible need; a door, windows, a kitchen, tables and chairs-everything. In this house which is also a moving house they have a number of adventures; an earthquake, the baby disappearing, and the thrush who would like to eat their house. Along with this wonderful story told by Grandmother are enchanting illustrations that draw the reader further into the story. This is a great read for the ages of 4 to 10, however I'm 27 and I enjoyed it immensely.
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