Do your kids love interactive stories? Can you do a mean French accent? Does everyone in your house enjoy read-alouds that make you giggle (or full-on laugh out loud…)? And, do you need one last gift idea for a special child in your life? Then Escargot by Dashka Slater might be the book for you!
We first read Escargot when it was published in 2017. I think we renewed our copy of it as many times as we could before the library made us return it so that someone else could enjoy it. But, on our most recent trip to the library, it had been granted a coveted spot on a front-facing shelf, and I excitedly grabbed it, thinking it would be a fun way to break up the holiday reading that is on repeat this month.
And, we were not disappointed! From the very first page, Escargot, the charming French snail, had my girls smiling and laughing– I mean, he calls himself a “beautiful French snail,” so one can’t help but laugh at him! Through the book, we travel with Escargot on his adventure to get to the salad at the other end of the picnic table, a delicious salad “with croutons and a light vinaigrette.” Escargot charms his audience with witty humor, the most fun French words to say in your best French accent (like “oh la la!” and “magnifique”– though in the interest of full disclosure my 3-year-old didn’t like my attempts at a French accent and demanded I read this in my regular voice… My husband’s accent was approved to roaring laughter though!), and ridiculous claims. He also invites the reader to interact with him, stroking his shell to make him feel better, making fierce faces and loud roars to scare away sneaky carrots, and blowing a gentle breeze his way to cool him off after the heated sprint to the salad at the end.
Sydney Hanson’s illustrations just add to the humor and endearing qualities of this snail. I mean, you can’t help but laugh at the depiction of a snail racing across the picnic table, claiming that he is “like the wind itself.” Escargot’s large, kind eyes draw you in even from the end papers, and Hanson’s choice of muted colors for the background keep our attention and affection on Escargot himself.
So, maybe you have a rare child who doesn’t enjoy an interactive read-aloud book. Is he a picky eater? Then this book still may be worth a try, as Escargot learns a valuable lesson in the end! Throughout the book, he makes bold claims about how he won’t eat carrots, but once he reaches the ultimate goal of the salad, he admits that he’s actually never eaten one. He asks the reader to try a tiny bite with him… and lo and behold, Escargot discovers that the carrot was in fact delicious!
If you liked this, then check out:
- Touch the Brightest Star and Tap the Magic Tree, both by Christie Matheson
- Don’t Touch This Book! and Don’t Push the Button! both by Bill Cotter
- Press Here, Mix It Up!, and Let’s Play! all by Herve Tullet
- Crunch, the Shy Dinosaur by Cirocco Dunlap
Keep in mind that my girls LOVED Escargot even with me reading in my regular voice. Think about how appealing this book could be if you’re a talented storyteller who can rock a French accent! Or if your kids are just more open-minded and supportive of your attempts…? Give this one a try, and I promise you won’t be disappointed!
What are your favorite interactive read-aloud books?