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The Snail and the Whale

4.34  ·  Rating details ·  5,289 ratings  ·  341 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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Teddy Yes
They do become good friends

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4.34  · 
Rating details
 ·  5,289 ratings  ·  341 reviews

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Sophia Triad
Jan 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children
"The sea is deep and the world is wide!
How I long to sail!",
Said the tiny snail.

This is a story about a snail with an itchy foot and a humpback whale who helped the little snail to travel around the world.

From the creators of the Gruffalo, a wonderful inspirational book with beautiful environmental messages.
Nov 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I don't usually rate children's books here on Goodreads, but this one is insanely good. The poetry is playful, but also has a certain driving quality that makes it rare among children's books. "These are the waves that arched and crashed, / That foamed and frolicked and sprayed and splashed / The tiny snail / On the tail of the whale." Wow! I just love the sheer sophistication of the language here, how it's for children but it isn't dumbed down: "These are the caves / Beneath the waves / Where c ...more
Oct 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
More fun and another lovely story from the respective writing and illustrating pens of Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler!
Oct 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Another one that my son just giggled all the way through.
Oct 28, 2018 rated it liked it
I have to admit I'm normally sort of allergic to children's books that rhyme, because so many children's books handle verse poorly and because, when I read books that rhyme, my brain has trouble turning off the impulse to judge them as poetry and keeps piping up with nitpicks like, "'Golden'? Couldn't the author have chosen a less cliche adjective?" Still, The Snail and the Whale is quite winsome, particularly in its use of subtler/more complex poetic effects such as internal rhyme, alliteration ...more
Rory Wise
Nov 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful story! Loved the suggestion that brilliant friendships do not necessarily have to be between two similar individuals. In this story the two characters are brought together, and aid each other, with their differences, not similarities.
Claire Russell
Jul 10, 2012 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 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
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
Mar 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I like how the book rhymes. I also liked how the snail and the whale both helped each other. E (Age7)
Ross Oates
Oct 04, 2011 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
May 01, 2012 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
Feb 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing
We are huge fans of Julia Donaldson in this family. I think this is my absolute favourite of hers - it's such a touching, beautiful story that always tugs at my heartstrings. Plus, I never get tired of rhymes.
Aug 06, 2010 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.
Emily Moss
Nov 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was given to me by my SBT1 class to say thank you- so I love it very much. Written fully in rhyme the beautiful picture book tells the story of a tiny snail who travels around the world on the tail of a whale. I really like how repetition is used throughout the book, meaning children could potentially learn and perform sections of it easily. The illustrations are detailed and there is lots to look at and analyse which could be interesting to do with a class.
Elle Hatley
Sep 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
The Snail and the Whale will always be my favourite picture-book, both to read aloud and when teaching reading. The beautiful, colourful illustrations, the rhyming couplets which makes the story flow so well when read, and the simple story which nevertheless tugs on the heartstrings - Honestly an amazing picture-book!
Carys O'Neill
Sep 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A very well known and popular book but still one of my favourites! I really love how friendship is such a strong theme in this book and the illustrations of different animals/ sea creatures are lovely discussion points
Feb 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Lots of rhyme and colourful illustrations, could be used with years one to three.
Jan 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
Lovely illustrations and story written in a poetic style with lots of rhyming.
Seema Rao
Jan 21, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: childrens
An unlikely friendship spawns a big adventure for a small invertebrate.
Mar 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children
I love, love, love this book. Such a great message about how we can support one another's disabilities by relying on our otherwise overlooked and under-appreciated abilities. One of Donaldson's best, methinks.
Oct 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The pictures are very nicely drawn and make you feel like you're on an adventure at sea. Highly recommended!
Oct 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book and the illustrations. It's a very cute story of a snail and a whale who do good things for each other. Our Grands will love it too!
Sahar Pirmoradian
Jul 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children
Beautiful story and poetry. Suitable for toddlers too.
Dec 21, 2015 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
Jun 07, 2012 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 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 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 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 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
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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