Snail and Turtle are Friends, written and illustrated by Stephen Michael King, has been nominated for Book of the Year: Early Childhood by the Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA) in their 2015 awards short list.
Snail and Turtle are Friends is a very simple tale most suited to young children from one to five years of age. As suggested in the title, the two main characters are Snail and Turtle. These two simple characters have a lovely friendship that is not affected by their differences. They like different things and do the same things differently. Snail likes to eat leaves, Turtle prefers flowers. Snail likes to climb and slide whereas Turtle likes to dive and swim. Snail likes to paint swirls while Turtle likes to paint shapes and blobs. But like all friends they enjoy doing things together, whether that be walking, running, hiding, painting or sharing quiet time.
Interestingly, while the minimal dialogue makes a specific point of Snail and Turtle being different from each other, it is also very obvious that they have similarities. To begin with, they both live in shells. They also both like being outdoors, the rain, reading, painting and playing together. So while the emphasis is placed on Snail and Turtle being different, they also have many things in common.
The bright, colourful, animated illustrations are what set this book apart. They effectively capture the affinity, emotion and playfulness within the friendship, as well as the individual personalities of Snail and Turtle. It is ultimately a heartwarming book about friendship and that age old message that being different doesn’t affect the bonds of friendship. Because it is a very gentle story, with the illustrations being central to its charm, it would make a wonderful bedtime story. It even ends with Snail and Turtle both tucked up in their shells asleep beneath the night sky.
Did You Know? Stephen Michael King loves Vegemite toast and sometimes likes to dance like a wild thing! But just like me, he does not like horror movies.