YOUNG READING: Book tells story of snail who just wants to wake up his family
Snippet draws on sidewalks, chews leaves and plays soccer. In other words, he's a typical snail. However, he doesn't quite fit in with the rest of his family.
"Snippet the Early Riser," by Bethanie Deeney Murguia, is the story of an early-bird snail who becomes impatient with his snoozing dad, mom and sister.
As he puts it, "How did i end up with a family of slugs?"
The bulk of the book is about Snippet's attempts to wake up his family as they sleep underneath a leaf. He hollers (with the help of a megaphone-shaped blossom), turn on the shower (by dropping water from the leaf top) and follows the advice of a grasshopper (who says, "Let's jump on the bed!")
But all the jumping in the world doesn't rouse his sleeping family.
Snippet gets more ideas from a cricket, a firefly and a stinkbug. However, the best idea comes indirectly from a caterpillar. With a surprising, yet thoughtful move, Snippet finds a way to wake up his happy family.
Nearly the entire story takes place on (and under!) one leaf. However, author Bethanie Deeney Murguia keeps readers intrigued by providing many perspectives.
As readers, we see the snails from below as we look up to the underside of the leaf. Other views (both close up and distant) allow us to see the transparency of the leaf, the warmth of the morning sun, and even the tiny shadow of nearby tendrils.
Murguia also uses the shells to show each family member's personality. Dad's shell is plaid. Mom's shell has rhinestones. Sister's shell is decorated with stars.
My favorite illustrations are the ones that show unexptected action. When the grasshopper is introduced, he seems to leap out of the center seam of the book (this illustration surprises me every time).
But overall, "Snippet the Early Riser" is a quiet story. With tenderness, it uplifts a unique child who thrives within his ordinary family.
"Snippet the Early Riser." By Bethanie Deeney Murguia. Knopf, 2013. 32pp.