You might need to be sitting down for this. I’m about to commit parenting blasphemy.
You see, I don’t universally adore Julia Donaldson books. (I shall now continue to write while wearing a tin hat – or at the very least the colander – clutching our well thumbed copy of The Gruffalo for protection)
In fact there are some that I’d quite willingly hide at the back of the bookcase, never to be read again – at least not until the girls are big enough to do the reading themselves.
Fortunately Ms Donaldson is quite spectacularly prolific and there are plenty yet that I like and I good clutch that I adore. This is one that I adore.
I can’t exactly put my finger on why I like The Snail and The Whale so much. It’s got Axel Scheffler’s trademark gorgeous illustrations in massive double page spreads for starters, full of colour and quirky detail.
It’s a sweet story too; the Snail who wanted to see the world and the Whale who gave a lift without condition, with no thought beyond sharing his journey. The Whale, who is so brave and strong in the face of stormy seas, lost and befuddled in a quiet sunny bay, and the tiny Snail who saves his friend with a bit of quick thinking and the help of a chalkboard.
But that doesn’t really do it justice because I think it’s the words themselves that really work the magic. There’s such a lyrical rhythm to the rhymes, that echoes the seascape poems of my childhood; memories of my father reading John Masefield’s Sea Fever on a dark wet evening in the winter and that feeling of being snug and warm in front of the fire while the gale outside lashed at the windows.
It’s the story I reach for when small girls are getting a little overwhelmed and overexcited and need to take a little break, and a definite favourite for bedtime; two tiny girls, and quite often their Mama too, rocked to sleep with the lullaby of the sea.
In some ways I’m really just picking up the Julia Donaldson baton from Anne-Marie whose link at Mummy Hearts You last week was the lovely Smartest Giant in Town; definitely worth checking out! And Vickie from Vintage Vickie shared the book that can’t but make you smile, I’m the HAPPIEST. Both posts are such lovely reads so do go and say hi!
And if you have a favourite why not share it here; each linky will stay open for a week so there’s plenty of time to join in. And so, without further ado, it’s over to you. I’ve told you what we are reading, now tell me what we should be reading!