Snail and Worm was a CCBC Book of the Week for June 6th, 2016!
Three short stories in chapter format describe the initial meeting of Snail and Worm and two episodes in their friendship in a droll offering with a delightfully deadpan quality in the humorous interplay between the straightforward dialogue and the offbeat illustrations. In the opening chapter, “Meet My Friend,” Snail and Worm meet while playing with their respective friends Bob the rock and Ann the stick. In “Snail’s Adventure,” Worm provides support and encouragement as Snail scales a tall flower, although neither he nor Snail notes the flower has bent low to the ground under Snail’s weight. (“Wow! They look like ants down there!” exclaims Snail from no more than an inch off the ground as several large ants march by.) “Meet My Pet” has Worm looking for his lost pet, whom he describes as brown and furry with sharp teeth. Terrified Snail is convinced it’s a spider, even after Worm’s lost pet, Sam, shows up and is clearly a dog. Meanwhile Rex, Snail’s dog, is clearly a spider. Playful contradictions give readers and listeners a lot to notice and to laugh about in a book perfect for beginning readers or as a read-aloud. The deceptively simple and expressive art shows great thought and sophistication in its design and execution. ©2016 Cooperative Children’s Book Center, 6/6/16
Two new friends—neither, let’s say, in danger of winning a MacArthur Genius Grant anytime soon—star in three cheerfully screwy stories from Kügler (In Mary’s Garden). In the first, Worm meets Snail while the gastropod is playing tag with a rock. “I win! I am fast. You are slow,” Snail taunts the immobile rock, its eyestalks almost seeming to cheer in delight. Snail scales a tall flower in the equally funny second story, reveling in the amazing views while ignoring that its weight has caused the flower to bend down to the ground. “Wow! They look like ants down there!” Snail raves, staring at actual ants. “Wow! I can see my house!” Snail adds, looking at the shell affixed to its body. The friends show off their pets in the third story—a dog Snail thinks is a spider and a spider believed to be a dog. Snail and Worm’s direct, simplified dialogue is perfect for beginning readers, and their unabashed dopiness—equally evident in their conversations and in Kügler’s mixed-media cartoons—delivers a steady stream of laughs. Ages 6–9.
—Publisher’s Weekly, 2/15/16
When Snail meets Worm, Snail has been blithely playing with his friends Bob and Anne, a rock and stick, respectively. Happily, Worm isn’t bothered by Snail’s inanimate buddies and joins right in. Next, Snail wants to climb a very tall flower. Like a good buddy, Worm cheers him on all the way to the top. Readers will be tickled when they see where Snail ends up, particularly when he looks back at his shell and exclaims, “I can see my house!” In the closing vignette, Worm describes his big, furry, brown pet, but Snail thinks it sounds like a scary spider. Kügler’s cartoonish creatures, rendered simply in thin lines and soft colors, each have comically googly eyes and cheery expressions, which add plenty of fun visual punchlines and context clues to the short, direct sentences making up the easy-to-read text. Thanks to Kügler’s large-format illustrations, early readers should handily pick up on the gently humorous miscommunications between Snail and Worm. The heartening message about accepting a friend’s quirks is a cozy bonus. –Sarah Hunter, Booklist, 3/15/16
In three brief stories, Kügler introduces new readers to two unlikely pals. “Meet My Friend” begins with eager-beaver Snail trying to organize a game of tag:
“Hello! Want to play?…Can you catch me? No! No! No!” It’s no surprise the gastropod has the upper hand: Snail is talking to a rock (and not even a sentient one at that). When Worm approaches, curious about the game, a new friendship is formed. They bond over small victories (Snail climbs a flower while Worm acts as cheerleader in “Snail’s Adventure”) and common interests (“Meet My Pet” reveals that they both have unusual pets). Like lots of easy-reader duos—Frog and Toad, Elephant and Piggie, Bink and Gollie, to name a few—there’s an odd-couple dynamic at work: Worm is down-to-earth (which seems fitting), while Snail is more of a dreamer. Unlike the similarly levelheaded Toad, Gerald, and Gollie, however, Worm doesn’t suffer from know-it-all-itis. The invertebrate remains sincere, loyal, and guileless throughout, even when Snail is being very silly. Kügler’s simple text, all in color-coded dialogue, includes some good jokes that rely gleefully on the mixed-media illustrations to hit their punch lines: Snail, from atop the flower, eyes on shell, says, “Wow! I can see my house!” Though the pictures almost all take place on the same patch of ground, their variety of format—panels, spots, full pages, spreads, thought bubbles—keeps things lively while helping direct the eyes of readers looking for a laugh.
–Elissa Gershowitz, The Horn Book, May 2016