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The Biggest House in the World

really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating details ·  430 ratings  ·  45 reviews
A young snail dreams of having the biggest house—or shell—in the world. Then one day, his wise father tells him the story of another snail with the same dream. He grew and grew, adding bright colors and beautiful designs, until he found that his house came at a terrible cost. The young snail decides that a small, easy-to-carry shell might be best for a life of adventure an ...more
Paperback, 32 pages
Published August 12th 1973 by Dragonfly Books (first published March 12th 1968)
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really liked it Average rating 4.00  · 
Rating details
 ·  430 ratings  ·  45 reviews


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Hilary
A nice story about a snail who creates an impressive shell only to find the weight of his impressive home is taking it's toll. The snail decides that less is more and is happy with his lot.

The illustrations are very beautiful, you can see these have really had some time spent on them.

Read on open library.
Shiloah
2019 update: what a great reminder about simplifying while we are preparing for an overseas move.
Anna
Jan 15, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: preschool-lit
Leo Lionni's "The Biggest House in the World" rivals Shel Silverstein's "The Giving Tree" for the "Saddest Children's Book Ever" Award.
ABC
Jan 22, 2011 rated it liked it
Leo Lionni seems to love to write message-laden books. In this book, a snail wishes for a big house. His father tells a story about a snail who got a big, beautiful house. But then the snails fades away and the house crumbles. (Meanwhile, my son is saying, "Fades away????? What does that mean?????" Uh....)

Anyway, the point is that a small house is good because we can be free, free, free. Personally, I think a small house sucks and I want a big beautiful house. I asked my son and he wants a mediu
...more
Guinevere Johansson
Dec 18, 2007 rated it it was amazing
When I was a child this book stirred my imagination like no other. Living in the woods, as we did at the time - I would search for magical colors wherever snails had been. The illustrations posses a sophistication reminiscent of the etchings from "Cabinet of Curiosities."
Kim
Feb 22, 2010 rated it it was amazing
another kids' winner. simple, timeless lesson about material things and how they weigh you down in life.
Anthony
A young snail tells his father, that he wants to have the biggest house in the world when he grows up. His wise father shared the tale of a snail who had the biggest house in the world, and how it lead to a tragic ending. The young snail went out into the world and saw many wonderful sights, and when asked why his house was so small, he shared the tale with others that his father shared with him.
Laurie Clary
Nov 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Be careful what you wish for...ha ha. Young snail wants his shell to be the biggest shell house in the world. He learns a wise lesson from Father Snail in this book and realizes his shell is the perfect size for him. I like to use this book when I present my Leo Lionni author study. Lionni uses rich vocabulary in his tales such as awe, distant, cathedral and designs.
Adorable Alon
Mar 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I wish I had the biggest house in the world because I could put anything I want in it. But because of the story, I can’t get the biggest house in the world. I like the story, it taught me about not getting the biggest house in the world. (Alon, 6)
Rainey
Jan 15, 2018 rated it liked it
Is the message, "be happy with what you have" or "possessions are less valuable than experiences?" I don't know.
E.B.
Sep 28, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: dead-pets
Well, that was a bummer.
Giacinta Shidler
Nov 12, 2018 rated it liked it
Good moral, the story doesn't grab you though
Wetdryvac Wetdryvac
Mar 20, 2019 rated it it was ok
I liked this as a kid, but seriously, it also reads as, "If you get above yourself, or try to have really nice things, you'll die and fade to nothing." Oy.
Kyrstin
Dec 23, 2019 rated it it was ok
Cute little moral...but just okay.
Dagmar
May 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
The Biggest House in the World is the story of a snail who wants to have a huge house. His father tells him a story about another little snail who was advised by his own father to "keep his house light and easy to carry". The little snail in the story figures out how to twitch and make his shell grow and grow and grow until, of course, he can no longer move.

Wisely, the first little snail realizes that a small house is really the way to go. This is a cautionary tale, but one my students really en
...more
Fjóla
This is sort of a harsh one. Although I agree that we should apply moderation in our life, not give in to vanity or let things get out of hand, I really felt for the little snail as he "faded away". He really put a lot of effort, ingenuity and artistry into building his wonderful house: " ... by squeezing and pushing, and by wishing very hard, he was able to add bright colors and beautiful designs." By simply "wishing" he pulled off all these things, it seems there must have been some purpose to ...more
Chak
Jul 17, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kid
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sam
Oct 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
The Biggest House in the World by Leo Lionni, published in 1968.
Genre: Fiction
Format: Picture Book
Plot: A young snail tells his father he wants a big house and his father tells him the story of a snail who did get the biggest house in the world. This snail's shell was huge and very pretty, but when all the food was gone he could not move his heavy home to follow the other snails and he and his shell faded away. The young snail determines to never do this and to keep his house small so he can tra
...more
Argott
Jan 30, 2009 rated it it was amazing
When my kids ask me to read to them, they are torturing me. Except when it is a Leo Lionni book. This book however is problematic. I see snails on the sidewalk sometimes. Snails don't really talk. And they don't really have shells that are gigantic. If you intend to read this book be prepared to put up with all kinds of anatomical nonsense and additional scientific inaccuracies. Good writing should have an air of plausibility that this work lacks. Sorry Leo. I have to call 'em like I see 'em.
Phoenix
Jul 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
This book is perfect as recently Phoenix and her friends have been playing with the snails in the front lawn and not treating them nicely. When I saw what they were doing to the snails I made up a story on the spot about the snails having a mom and dad and how there will never stop crying because their baby never came home. It was a great performance I have to say but then the author/illustrator was recommended in a book club, so it was perfect! I'm not sure she really understood the main idea s ...more
Kell*
Nov 21, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: 1-2
Shelves: picture-book
The biggest house in the world is the story of a snail who wishes to have the biggest house in the world, as he travels he creates a large shell, a colored shell and a spiky shell. Sadly his home becomes so heavy that he can travel any longer.
I enjoy this book because of the colorful illustrations and the theme learning how to survive without having the biggest and best of things. Simple is best.
Lucero Hernandez
A little snail with a small shell longs for a bigger home. The father tells the little snail a story about a snail who also wanted a bigger home, the shell became too big that the snail could not search for food or move. Finally, the little snail decides that a small shell is not so bad after all. This would be a great book to introduce size to students. What is big or small in relation to this object? The book has great illustrations.
Laura
Mar 18, 2009 rated it liked it
This story had a good message and I liked the way it was told. I also loved the illustrations, especially how Leo drew the little snails, they were just so cute. I would recommend this book.

*Taken from my book reviews blog: http://reviewsatmse.blogspot.com/2009...
...more
Alyssa Garrison
Science:

This story follows the life of snails and shells, the biggest houses in the world. The story would be enjoyable for kids because all kids love shells and they often yearn to learn about animals. The story is fiction since the animals talk, this adds element of innocence, fun, and lightheartedness to the story.
Christy
Apr 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A young snail dreams of having the biggest house—or shell—in the world. Then one day, his wise father tells him the story of another snail with the same dream. He grew and grew, adding bright colors and beautiful designs, until he found that his house came at a terrible cost. The young snail decides that a small, easy-to-carry shell might be best for a life of adventure
Ayoca
Sep 07, 2008 rated it really liked it
Can be used with grades K-4 to teach about sizes during Math. It's about a snail who wishes that he had the biggest house in the world. But he later found that this might not be such a great idea. He finds out having a big house will be a disaster for him.
Melanie
A father snail tells his son the story of a snail who made his house so big and bulky he couldn't move around. So the snail with the biggest house in the world withered away because he couldn't find food. The small snail understood the story and vowed to keep his shell at a movable size.
Emerson and Theodore
Jan 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: library-books
Extremely excellent! The little snail wants to have the biggest house (shell) in the world. Until him daddy tells him a cautionary tale about a snail who got similarly greedy. Very good life lesson. I love leonni.
Magda
Nov 06, 2008 rated it did not like it
Some things are better small.
J-Lynn Van Pelt
A snail wants to build the biggest house ever, but when his father tells him a story about a snail who built a house so big that he couldn't move to new food, the sanil is happy with his tiny shell.
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Leo Lionni wrote and illustrated more than 40 highly acclaimed children's books. He received the 1984 American Institute of Graphic Arts Gold Medal and was a four-time Caldecott Honor Winner--for Inch by Inch, Frederick, Swimmy, and Alexander and the Wind-Up Mouse. Leo Lionni died in October of 1999 at his home in Tuscany, Italy, at the age of 89.

Leo Lionni has gained international renown for his
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