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‘We need the literature of other countries to expand our
horizons and stimulate our ideas. Without it, we are not only
diminished, we are starved’
(The Times, Magnus Linklater 29/06/05)
Story of a Snail who Discovered the Importance of Being Slow (The)
by Luis Sepulveda
Age Range: 9-11
A colony of snails live happily under the leaves of the Calycanthus leaves in lush Dandelion Land. A young snail is incredibly curious and can’t stop asking his friends awkward questions. He wants to know why snails are so slow and why they don’t have individual names. The other snails become rather exasperated with him and finally banish him from the snail community forcing him out into the wide world alone. As he explores in his ‘oh-so-slowly’ way the snail makes new friends, including a tortoise called Memory, who gives the snail the name ‘Rebel’, and gains wisdom from every new encounter. When he discovers that his friends are in danger from human development he decides to hurry home to warn them, but will they listen?
Award-winning Chilean author Luis Sepúlveda’s story, translated by Nick Caistor, is a wonderful ode to our environment. The constant ‘human’ need to develop land that unavoidably has a devastating impact on the nature and wildlife around us is subtly alluded to. As with Sepúlveda’s The Story of a Seagull and the Cat who Taught her to Fly, also published in English by Alma Books and translated into over 40 countries, this is a simple modern-day fable. By choosing one of nature’s slowest creatures for his unlikely hero Sepúlveda is able to celebrate the importance of being slow in a world obsessed with speed while at the same time demonstrating, not only the difference and diversity of the natural world, but also its unity. The author’s text is accompanied by delightful black and white drawings by acclaimed illustrator Satoshi Kitamura.
This is another Sepúlveda title to savour.