Escargot wants to cook something new, so he’s at the library looking for a French cookbook. As he travels to the cookbook section, he chats with the reader about their favorite books and questions why no book has a snail hero (there are dog heroes and flamingo astronauts, but no snails :-(. Escargot decides that the reader should write a heroic snail tale, and he will help. He explains that writing a book is like following a recipe, “Add the ingredients, mix them together, and voila! A perfect story!” (12). As Escargot leads the reader through the heroic snail tale, he gets to the cookbook section and finds The Art of French Cooking. He thinks about what he will learn to cook, green beans, a soufflé, or ratatouille, but first Escargot must get to the book. He “flies” down to enact the resolution of the story he is writing with the reader: find a recipe so that he is no longer bored with salad, but as he flips through the recipes Escargot comes across a recipe for escargot. He is worried that a French chef will see him and decide to make escargot, so Escargot eats the recipe so that no one can cook him!
THOUGHTS: This is an adorable story and fabulous read-aloud! I love the breakdown of the fourth wall and inclusion of the reader in the story. Each page allows for conversation between reader and listener and Escargot. The use of French terms provides a basic introduction and may encourage readers to learn more French. The illustrations are gorgeous and combine old (watercolors and pencil/crayon) with new (digital) to give the book a true feeling of being one with the story. I loved A Book for Escargot, and I can’t wait for more from Dashka Slater and Escargot.
Picture Book Erin Bechdel, Beaver Area SD