Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Wolfsnail: A Backyard Predator (copy)

If this book had a sound track, it might sound like the theme to "Jaws," duuun dun duuun dun dun dun dun dun dun dun BOM BOM dun dun dun dun dun dun doo dedoo doo dedoo dede doo dede doo dededoo…I am talking about Sarah C. Campbell's highly acclaimed Wolfsnail: A Backyard Predator. This children's picture book, published in 2008, was honored by the American Library Association's newest award.

The Theodor Seuss Geisel Award began in 2006 and has proven a major player in "beginning reader books" for the very young. To be honored is to say that one did not win but came in second. Still, it is a pretty good accomplishment for a Jackson, Mississippi husband and wife team of photographers; especially, since it is their first book ever.

Technically, this book is considered a photo-essay, but that genre title sounds too fussy. By using photographs taken around their home, the couple tells the story of a lone wolfsnail in search of food. The vibrant greens of plants such as hosta and grass, the opalescent brown of the shiny shell, the grainy ground, and the crackly tan of fallen leaves all work together to create a visually stunning story.

A story that could be told without words, but Sarah feeds our imagination with little know facts about the thumb size creature. She begins, "Water from a spring rain runs along the edge of a porch. It falls onto the shell of a wolfsnail. The snail is tucked inside its shell. Today, it is time to wake up and find food. Water seeps into an opening in the shell. The snail begins to move. Its tail comes out first, then its head."

From here the wolfsnail realizes it is hungry and begins to hunt other snails and slugs by following their slimy tracks. It traipses over large hosta leaves where little readers will see the remnants of morning dew. A shadow passes over and the wolfsnail ducks into its home to avoid the mockingbird. When the coast is clear, he emerges from his shell to continue the hunt for a common snail.

Sarah considers herself a teaching author and this book is perfect for a spring day outside with the kindergarten class or a "small creature," themed storytime. If snails gross you out try the new children's book by the duo titled, Growing Patterns: Fibonacci Numbers in Nature. Filled with photographs of pinecones and sunflowers, the book demonstrates how one can find the number pattern (1,1,2,3,5,8,13...) in nature.

More about Wolfsnail and Growning Patterns can be found at Sarah C. Campbell's blog!