The Snail and the Whale is the story of an adventurous snail that hitches a ride with a whale. 

Children can easily relate to this story – small and powerless, the snail is very much at the mercy of the whale, much like the way a child is with parents. However, when the whale finds itself beached in a bay, it is the small and powerless snail that manages to summon help to save his friend.

In addition to being a wonderful, touching story, this book has great rhyme that makes it easy for young children to follow and read along.

Also the beautiful illustrations make each page vividly come to life for your child.

Tips for Parents

  • A little long for newborns, this story suits preschoolers and older children.
  • The snail and the whale travel through many different regions of amazing scenery from Antarctic seas with icebergs to tropical islands with volcanos, through big waves to underwater caves. It is interesting to discuss with your child how the snail could have stayed on his rock and not seen any of these wonders.
  • You can discuss with your child the plight of the humpback whale. Talk about how it is one of the biggest animals in the world but was almost hunted to the point of extinction. Also that if people are not careful we might lose this magnificent creature.
  • There is a page in the book that features people on speedboats that create so much ‘earsplitting roar’ that the whale swims ‘too close to the shore’. This is another interesting topic to cover with your child – the impact people have on wild animals.
  • The tiny snail manages to save his friend the humpback whale by writing a message to ‘save the whale’. A valuable, moral lesson to discuss with your child – no matter how small you are, you can make a big difference to what happens.
  • Discuss the beautiful images with your child. Each double page spread is illustrated with great detail and has lots of points you can discuss. Try to find time to stop and point out the details to your child.

Julia Donaldson

Prize-winning author Julia Donaldson has been writing children’s books for over 20 years. She grew up in London and her career also included singing and songwriting.

She has written over 160 books, the first of which was ‘A Squash and A Squeeze’. This book (originally one of her songs for television), plus the popular ‘Snail and the Whale’ and ‘The Gruffalo’ were all illustrated by Axel Scheffler.


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