When I saw this book, it immediately said “Aubrey” to me (see my interview posted earlier this week) so it had to be the Perfect Picture Book this Friday.

Title: The Legend of the Golden Snail

Author/Illustrator: Graeme Base

Publisher: New York: Abrams Books for Young Readers, 2010


Genre: Picture book, fiction, fantasy

Audience Age: 5-8

Theme: Imagination, helping others

Opening Sentences: The Legend of the Golden Snail was Wilbur’s favorite story. He imagined the Golden Snail sailing through the Magical Realm to its home in the Spiral Isles, and he listened with wide eyes to the part where the Grand Enchanter banished it to the Ends of the Earth.

Synopsis: Wilbur sails off  (in his imagination? or … ?) to seek the Golden Snail of his favorite story, and to become a Grand Enchanter. He encounters various fantastical creatures, and although it slows his journey, he helps each one. He discovers later, when he encounters difficulties that those he has helped come to help him. When he finally finds the Golden Snail and becomes its new master, he takes pity on it and sets it free. Wilbur discovers that in his pursuit of his goal, he achieves something even better.

Why I like this Book: The whimsical story, fantastical creatures and marvelous illustrations combine to create a feast for the imagination. I appreciate that although Wilbur doesn’t actually achieve his intended goal, he discovers that what he has become, and what he has done, is even better. The illustrations are wonderful, and pique the imagination.

Activities/Resources: The book in itself is an activity, as there is first a small book with lift-the-flap delights on the title page, then there is a hidden “Snail and Crossbones” in each illustration, which when found lead the reader to the clue to making the Golden Snail on the author’s website come to life.

A suggestion I would give for an additional activity to use with this book is for children to be challenged to imagine and illustrate other perils Wilbur might have encountered on his quest, and to think of ways in which he could have dealt with them and helped them.

Availability: Readily available in hardcover.

# 14 in Perfect Picture Book Fridays. See all this week’s Perfect Picture Books at Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog, or find the entire listing at her “Perfect Picture Books.”

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