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Snails are fascinating creatures that are often overlooked. When I discovered the children's book Snails Are Just My Speed! by Kevin McCloskey on a list of great science and nature books from 2018, I knew I needed to get my hands on it.

Part of the Giggle and Learn series, this title combines fun illustrations with serious information about snails.

The first thing I love is that Keven McCloskey put the eyes where they should be, on the eye stalks or tentacles. Yes!

The second thing I love is that he puts in a lot of mucus for the "ick, gross" factor, but also adds useful information, like humans make mucus too, but it is mostly on the inside.

The thing I love most? The awesome lesson on how to draw a snail in the back! (Turn the page for useful tips for parents and teachers about "How To Read Comics With Kids.")

The books in this series are marketed as beginning readers, which may discourage some older children from picking them up. That would be too bad because they have potential to appeal to a larger range of ages.

Snails Are Just My Speed! should fly off the shelves. Check out a copy today!

Age Range: 4 - 7 years
Publisher: TOON Books (May 1, 2018)
ISBN-10: 194314527X
ISBN-13: 978-1943145270

Snails can be humorous? Yes, they can.

This is me on Monday morning.

Do I have to get up?

Argh, it is too bright out.

Okay, if I must get up I will.

Now, where did I put my coffee?

If you want some more serious science try our previous posts:

Adult readers might be interested in the memoir that Kevin McCloskey says inspired him, The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating by Elisabeth Tova Bailey. It reveals how her long recovery from a devastating illness was helped by observing a snail.

 

Publisher: Green Books; Later prt. edition (September 1, 2010)
ISBN-10: 1900322919
ISBN-13: 978-1900322911

Have you ever looked closely at a snail shell?

The shell can be many colors, but it is usually opaque.

When I downloaded this photo, I was surprised to see the channels on the inside of the shell. Can you see the vein-like, branching structures I'm talking about?

Let's zoom in:


It turns out that in young land snails like this one -- with a thinner, more transparent shell -- it is possible to see the interior vessels of the mantle and mantle cavity (lung).

In fact, if you look closely you might see some of the other internal organs, as well.

Cool!

Do you like snails? See our previous post about snails:

Snail Q and A and fiction picture book, Escargot

A writing friend recently introduced me to the cutest fiction picture book about a snail, Escargot by Daska Slater and illustrated by Sydney Hanson.

You can see for yourself. Sophia reads the entire book in this video:

Although I usually feature nonfiction, fiction children's books like this one may also inspire us to investigate scientific questions.

For example:

Do snails eat carrots?

Yes, they do. When we raised them years ago, our brown garden snails ate carrots. It was easy to find videos of other kinds of snails eating carrots, too.

What is a snail's mouth like?

A snail scrapes off food with a radula, which has teeth like a saw blade.

Do snails really have eyes?

Yes, but not where they are shown in the book.

The snail eyes are the black spots at the ends of the upper feelers or tentacles.

What are those other things sticking out of a snail's head?

The lower feelers or tentacles help the snail taste or smell its food.

Where do snails come from?

 

Adult snails lay eggs.

Tiny baby snails hatch out of the eggs, complete with tiny shells. Their shells get bigger as they grow.

Would a snail really like vinaigrette on its salad?

No, the vinegar in the vinaigrette could harm a snail.

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Did reading the book Escargot give you any questions about snails? If so, we'd love to hear them.