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The Snail and the Whale

4.31  ·  Rating Details ·  3,671 Ratings  ·  234 Reviews
A snail longs to see the world and hitches a lift on a whale's tail. Together they go on an amazing journey, past icebergs and volcanoes, sharks and penguins, and the snail feels very small in the vastness of the world. But when the whale is beached in a bay, it's the tiny snail who saves the day.
Paperback, 32 pages
Published March 1st 2005 by MacMillan Children's Books (first published 2003)
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Claire Russell
Jul 10, 2012 Claire Russell rated it it was amazing
The Snail and the Whale is a heart-warming story about how friendship can come about in the most remarkable way.

A snail stuck on his rock yearns for adventure and to see more of the World. The whale who is passing by offers the snail a chance of adventure and together they set sail seeing: towering icebergs; far off land; huge waves; the enormous sky and so on. The snail is awestruck by all the things he sees and feels his place in the World is very small. That is until the whale gets beached a
Jul 14, 2012 Laura rated it really liked it
The Snail and the Whale by Julia Donaldson is a fantastically written story which outlines the random travels of an unlikely duo. Through Axel Scheffler's use of colourful illustrations, the catchy rhyming and alliterations throughout the story, we get to see all of the places that the pair encountered on their travels, including the "towering iceberg", "far-away lands" and " golden sands".
When the whale loses his way and they both wash up on a beach, there is instant panic as the big whale and
Dec 21, 2015 Gerry rated it really liked it
The creators of 'The Gruffalo' have come up with another winner in 'The Snail and the Whale' for it is a delightful little story with exquisite illustrations.

The snail, with an itchy foot, lived on a black rock close to a harbour and was always wishing that travel was on the agenda. But much as ships sailed in and out regularly, our friend the snail was island-bound. 'How I long to sail,' she was often saying.

She then decided that she should take action and so she left a silvery trail on the sid
Ross Oates
Oct 04, 2011 Ross Oates rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Snail and the Whale by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler is a wonderful rhyming story about a sea snail that is eager to travel the world. The rest of the flock are not so enthusiastic about the idea but one day the snail meets up with a whale that invites her to join him as they travel the world. Together they go on an amazing journey, past icebergs and volcanoes, sharks and penguins, the little snail feels so small in the vastness of the world. However when disasters strikes and the whale ...more
I liked many things about this engaging story about a little snail who longs to see the world, and the kindly whale who agrees to give her a ride on its tail. At first, the story is one of awe and discovery and friendship. But, seeing so many amazing things in the big, wide world, the snail feels so very small... Then, it becomes an environmental cautionary tale as the whale is upset by speed boaters and ends up beached. The little snail has a chance to do something BIG and save her friend. And, ...more
May 01, 2012 Lana rated it it was amazing
While I agree that The Gruffalo is undeniably a fantastic children's book, The Snail and the Whale is by far my favourite of Donaldson's. I found my nursery class on SEB absolutely adored this book and I ended up reading it to at least 2 of them in the book corner every day!

An unlikely friendship occurs between a tiny snail and an enormous humpback whale, together they go on all sorts of adventures on their round the world cruise, they see icebergs and volcanoes, sharks and penguins. But disaste
Aug 06, 2010 Sarah rated it liked it
Yet another picture book about how the smallest of us can save the day, and how we shouldn't discount the efforts of those who we may think are too small.
Jun 07, 2012 Elys rated it it was amazing
In this delightful story, a tiny sea snail with wanderlust hitches a ride around the world with a huge humpback whale. Their journey takes them across the globe, where they see all sorts of landscapes and creatures. Overwhelmed by the vastness and beauty of the world, the snail declares, “I feel so small!” When the artificial noise of speedboats causes the whale to lose his way and beach, it is the resourceful little snail who seeks help from local schoolchildren by writing an SOS message on the ...more
Laura Dowsett
May 08, 2012 Laura Dowsett rated it it was amazing
"The Snail and the Whale" by Julia Donaldson tells the story of an unlikely friendship between a snail and a whale. The snail wishes to travel, seeing all of the exciting things around the world. One night, the snail meets a whale and the whale offers to let the snail sail around the world with him on his tail.
Travelling around the world together they see many exciting things (including volcanoes and icebergs). The snail begins to notice how small he is in comparisson to all of the things that
Evelyn Armstrong
Dec 14, 2011 Evelyn Armstrong rated it it was amazing
This is such a cute book! I really enjoyed reading it to my daughter.

A story about a snail who wanted to sail the sea but because she was so small, she couldn't. The snail left a trail to ask for a lift. A whale came out one night and offered a lift. They went through a mighty adventure. Through icebergs, mountains, golden sounds, through crashing waves and far off land. They swan through sharks, experienced thunderstorms, lightening and blue skies. Unfortunately, the whale lost his way and beca
Louise Bunting
Apr 29, 2013 Louise Bunting rated it really liked it
The Snail and the Whale by Julia Donaldson is a wonderful picture book which I feel would be suitable for use in EYFS and key stage 1. The story follows a snail who takes a ride around the world on the back of a humpback whale. He sees mountains, golden sands and even goes under the sea. However, the whale gets confused by people on speedboats and accidentally beaches himself. The snail helps the whale by leaving a trail on the blackboard in the school saying 'save the whale'. The children and o ...more
Chloe Avery
Jan 18, 2012 Chloe Avery rated it really liked it
The Snail and the Whale by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler.

This book is about a small snail with big plans to travel the world. However, the snail has no one who wants to travel with him. The snail then meets a whale who invites him to sail on his tail. Together they visit volcanoes, icebergs and the jungle.
The snail starts to feel small in comparison to the world around him. Yet when his friend the whale becomes beached on a bay he is the one who comes to the rescue to save him. The snail
Oct 30, 2012 Sarfraz rated it really liked it
This is an adventure of a snail and a whale. The snail longs to travel and see the big wide world where luck has it, he is able to hitch a ride on a humpback whale. They travel together and explore until suddenly the whale get stuck on the beach; surprisingly the tiny snail comes to the rescue.

I like the way how a simple story can portray such a powerful message, no matter how small or insignificant a person may think they are, a little bit of effort and determination, and anything is possible.
Orla Dennehy
Feb 15, 2014 Orla Dennehy rated it really liked it
Julia Donaldson describes an unlikely friendship between a snail and a whale. The snail lives on a rock but wishes to see more of the world. The kind whale offers the snail a lift on his tail so he can travel the world with him. They set out on an adventure together seeing many different things in the world, such as penguins, volcanoes and icebergs. The snail begins to reflect during his journey and notices how small he is to the rest of the world. Yet it is he that saves the huge whale in the e ...more
Nov 27, 2010 Michelle rated it it was amazing
Shelves: wishlist
I loved this book! I thought it was clever and cute, educational and entertaining. I checked it out for our ocean day in preschool and the kids loved it too. It's a great story about not being too big or too small to do great things and be a good friend. I plan to own this one.

Funny side bit: I was reading it to my kids at bedtime and they were seeming to really enjoy it. My oldest daughter was so excited to see little characters do big things, and then we got to the last page. I end the story
Kyran Delaney
May 27, 2012 Kyran Delaney rated it really liked it
The Snail and the Whale is a beautifully illustrated book, with tongue twisting rhyme and strong themes. The snail wants to explore the world and does so by making an unlikely alliance with a humpback whale. After exploring far away and vast lands, the snail concludes that he feels very small indeed. The snail symbolizes young children who are curious about their world, and how they can feel insignificant in the world. However, the smallest creature can make a difference, as in the story the sma ...more
Lisa Smith
Jun 24, 2012 Lisa Smith rated it really liked it
This book is great! It shows you that anyone can become friends with each other. In this book, a snail and a whale become friends and travel together. When trouble arises, the snail becomes the hero. This book is great for young children showing them that if you put your mind to something, you can accomplish anything even how small you are.
The illustrations are beautiful and there are many lessons which can tie in with the books themes; travel, friendship, rhyming etc.
A lovely story which is esp
Aug 21, 2012 Faye rated it it was amazing
The Snail and the Whale is a wonderful adventure about a snail who wanted to see the world so he caught a lift on a whale's tail and together they went off on an exciting journey... until the whale got dis-orientated and ended up beached on the shore.

There is a beautiful underlying message that even the smallest of people can make a difference and emphasises an 'anything is possible' attitude when a little determination is applied. Through vivid illustration and evocative rhyming this picture bo
Apr 12, 2010 Renee rated it it was amazing
Had to add one of my favorite children's book reads :) Not sure who gave this to us but somehow it ended up on our bookshelf after a summer of travel. This book literally makes me cry -- it teaches a really valuable lesson about how a small, insignificant snail can make a huge difference.

Written in rhyming poetry, the alliteration is amazing and the tale is beautifully illustrated. Catches your attention from the opening paragraph (that I have memorized by heart):

"This is the tale of a tiny snai
Sharon Green
Dec 01, 2008 Sharon Green rated it it was amazing
grades K-4
shared reading/read aloud
animal tale
adjectives,emotional intensity, colorful illustrations
fantastic book for reviewing literary elements or word solving
it's loaded humorous & fun
snail wants to travel the world and hitches a ride on a humpback whale
the whale gets beached and the snail gets the community to help rescue him.
chbyoungreaders Changing Hands Bookstore Kids Team
Tag along with the tiny snail on an adventure around the world with her friend the humpback whale! Experience the world from the ocean bottom to island volcanoes and learn that even the very small can help in very big ways. This amazing story has everything you look for in a great children’s book: 1) Beautiful illustrations, 2) Lovable characters, 3) A valuable lesson.
Ellen Ramsey
Feb 11, 2013 Ellen Ramsey rated it really liked it
A delightful verbal romp—I loved traveling with the whale and the snail.
It's a splendid read-aloud--
"These are the waves that arched and crashed,
That foamed and frolicked and sprayed
The tiny snail
On the tail of the whale."

The rhythms propel you through the story, and the illustrations are vibrant and amusing—perfect for the tone of the story.
Jul 23, 2010 Jeff rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
This is the delightful tale told in verse of a little sea snail that wants to see the world and the humpback whale that provides for him a ride on his tail. After seeing many amazing sights the climax comes as the humpback swims a little too close to shore and finds himself beached. I won't give away the ending, but this is definitely a heart warming, whimsical summer bed time read.
Blythe Jewell
Feb 19, 2012 Blythe Jewell rated it it was amazing
Great bedtime book, with a sweet story and a fun adventure. So many kids' books seem to be about the pictures, with the poetry really lacking... this was an exception. The artwork is wonderful but the poetry is also beautifully written, and great to read aloud.
Apr 13, 2009 Stacey rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
We gave this book to our whale loving 2 year old for Easter. It is a pleasure to read--especially considering he normally picks and sleeps with non-fiction books about sea life. I like the rhyme when I am sometimes lulling myself to sleep as well.
Jan 07, 2013 Elisabeth rated it really liked it
What a delightful way to begin a new year of books!
Sep 08, 2008 smetchie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children
sweet snail!
Sep 01, 2010 Amanda rated it really liked it
Shelves: kid-s-books
This author/illustrator team is pure magic. The verse in this one isn't quite as fun as Gruffalo, IMHO, but the story is very cute and I think my son enjoyed it.
Oct 26, 2016 Hilary rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-book
What a fun story! Lots of great pictures too, as expected.
Sunday Cummins
Read this aloud in Pre-K through 2nd grade for enjoyment first and then again and again to teach. Students can lean in to small group conversations to discuss questions like "How were the snail and whale life-changing friends?" and "How did the snail show its determination?" Teach vocabulary that's in the book like slithered, gazed, sighed, enormous, towering, far-off. Play with rhyming language. "Let's think of more words that rhyme with sea and free" and "Let's think about the difference betwe ...more
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Growing up
I grew up in a tall Victorian London house with my parents, grandmother, aunt, uncle, younger sister Mary and cat Geoffrey (who was really a prince in disguise. Mary and I would argue about which of us would marry him).

Mary and I were always creating imaginary characters and mimicking real ones, and I used to write shows and choreograph ballets for us. A wind-up gramophone wafted out Cho
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