4 out of 4 stars
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Sojourne Snail’s Sounding Saga by Christine Schonewald follows the adventures of Sojourne, a Pacific sideband snail. After seeing her reflection in a pool, Sojourne is proud of how much she’s grown and believes herself to now be a wise adult snail. However, she is not, and what follows is a series of struggles in which Sojourne discovers how much she still has to learn.
This is one of the most adorable and informational books I’ve read in a long time. Sojourne’s tenacity and persistence make her a great role model for young readers. From the beginning, Schonewald uses a simple but elegant tone to explain how snails exist. I learned what Sojourne uses the various parts of her body for (sensing, moving), and I found out just how dependent snails are on slime for everyday life. All of this is delivered with as many “s” or “sh” sounds as possible. The result is a bit poetic, and it was very fun to read.
Schonewald didn’t stop at body parts and slime. She also described Sojourne’s cerebral ganglion. My initial response when I came across this word was that it was too advanced for the rest of the book’s reading level. I needn’t have worried. The very next words in the book were a definition of the cerebral ganglion (a snail’s brain). In fact, all potentially difficult terms were dealt with in this clear manner, minimizing confusion.
One of my favorite parts of this book was Sojourne’s stomach. It talked, loudly proclaiming its hunger. I also loved the “snail boxes,” which were QR codes embedded into some of the pictures. If kids (or adults, for that matter) wanted to know more about the animals in the book, they could scan the code with a smartphone and be brought to a site with additional information. This was such a great way to incorporate technology into the story. There were also links at the back of the book for further reading on the topics not covered by “snail boxes.”
This is also one of the best-edited books I’ve read recently. I noted not one error. This combined with the beautiful storytelling and writing mean I could award Sojourne Snail’s Sounding Saga nothing less than 4 out of 4 stars. There was nothing I disliked, and I never thought to give it 3. I recommend this book for kids between ages 6 and 9. Slightly younger readers might enjoy this story and it’s pictures with the help of an adult. For me, Sojourne’s story was a fun romp into the animal kingdom, and I would pick up more of Schonewald’s work without hesitation.
Sojourne Snail’s Sounding Saga
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