Book Review – The Snail and the Whale

Format

The Snail and the Whale is not quite square at a size of 28cm x 25cm and has the standard 32 pages. The book has a variety of page layouts with many full-page spreads. I found this gave the book a more relaxed flow, as opposed to books with pages that contain many panels.

Writing

The Snail and the Whale is beautifully written and uses what seems to me, an unconventionally rhyming pattern.  When read aloud the words flow with an upbeat, interesting pace. There was one page that took a couple of readings before I could get the correct rhythm, however overall the book is very enjoyable to read out loud.
The characters are fun, although not particularly developed in the story. In The Snail and the Whale, however, this isn’t really needed as it’s the journey itself which carries the narrative. The narrative itself is uplifting and sweet – the whale takes the snail on an exciting journey, and later the snail repays his kindness by saving him from being stranded on a beach. A lovely story about two friends helping each other out!

Illustrations

The illustrations are typical of Axel Scheffler and are easily recognisable as his style. The images are bright and bold and have a softness very suited to a younger audience. The design of the characters is simple but effective – there’s only so much you can do with a snail and a whale as main characters! The backgrounds are detailed and varied and really bring the book alive. The illustrations tend to stick to a side-on perspective, but this works well as more unusual perspectives could have been jarring and might have disrupted the gentle pace of the read.

Conclusion

The Snail and the Whale flows effortlessly and with the offbeat rhyming, this book is a joy to read. It’s my favourite book by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffer, and my oldest boy tends to pick it more than the others too, so it’s a winner in our house. Another highly recommended read!

Click HERE to visit The Snail and the Whale’s Amazon page.

 

 

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Book Review – Supertato

Format

Supertato is a typical 26cm x 26cm square picture book and has the standard 32 pages (or 36 if you include the cover sheets). The page layouts vary between full-page spreads, single page images and split pages with two or three images per page. The layout is random and each pair of pages tends to be different to the pair before, creating a dynamic and interesting reading experience.

Writing

Supertato is a very witty and cleverly written book. It uses lots of play on words and amuses throughout. The characters are likeable and well realised in the text (the Evil Pea, the long-suffering villain, is definitely my favourite). The backing characters also have their fair share of well-written one-liners, especially one comment about the flavour of the jelly near the end. Supertato maintains an exciting, fast pace and keeps the reader entertained throughout.

Illustrations

The illustrations are bright and colourful and each panel is well designed. The design of the characters is simple and effective and perfect for a children’s picture book. Admittedly I am not a big fan of the ‘rough edge’ on the outline of the characters, but that’s just a personal preference. The backgrounds are also well illustrated and you never forget that the story is based in a supermarket. The illustrations contain a variety of perspectives and angles that keep the book exciting and dramatic.

Summary

The jokes are genuinely funny, and I quite possibly enjoy reading Supertato even more than my boys do. The characters are very fun to create voices for, and I have now got set voices that I use every time I read it! Supertato is a favourite in our household, and the fact that we buy every sequel is a testament to its popularity! A highly recommended read.

Click HERE to visit Supertato’s Amazon page