PPBF: Escargot


Written by: Dashka Slater

Illustrated by: Sydney Hanson

Farrar, Straus and Giroux Books for Young Readers (April, 2017)

Suitable for ages: 4-8

Themes/Topics:   friendship, picky eater, new experiences, gastropods


“Bonjour! I see you are staring at me! I don’t mind. My name is Escargot, and I am such a beautiful French snail that everybody stares at me. Right now I am traveling to the salad at the end of this book. It is a beautiful salad, with croutons and a light vinaigrette. You should come!”

Brief Synopsis:

Bonjour! Escargot is a beautiful French snail who wants only two things:

1. To be your favorite animal.
2. To get to the delicious salad at the end of the book.

But when he gets to the salad, he discovers that there’s a carrot in it. And Escargot hates carrots. But when he finally tries one—with a little help from you!—he discovers that it’s not so bad after all.

Links To Resources:

Make a salad! Here is a link to 20 kid-friendly salad suggestions from Today’s Parent.

Get a pet snail! Here is a link to keeping a pet snail safe and healthy.

Create a snail craft! Here are a dozen cute ideas for making fun snails.

Use the Escargot Activity Kit! Loads of fun ideas to pair with the book.

Why I Like This Book:

Funny, charming and interactive, ESCARGOT was utterly endearing. The illustrations are a hoot and the dry witticisms are perfectly tuned for the ears of little listeners as well as adult readers. The concept of taste-testing feared foods is so subtle and sweet that it will not strike kids as cloying or message-y. Sweet, sincere and tenderly vulnerable Escargot is the most expressive and adorable picture book snail I’ve ever met. Coincidentally, I recently finished reading The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating, an incredible memoir/meditation by Elisabeth Tova Bailey ideal for sustaining or restoring your sense of wonder about the natural world. Also highly recommended!

My favorite line:

“Nobody ever says their favorite animal is the snail.”

For a complete list of books with resources, please visit Perfect Picture Books hosted by the incomparable Susanna Leonard Hill.


About Cathy Ballou Mealey

Picture book addict and autism advocate, author, scone lover. WHEN A TREE GROWS (2019) @SterlingKids. Repped by Liza Fleissig @lizaroyceagency. Reach me via email at cmealey@post.harvard.edu or Twitter/Instagram @catballoumealey
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25 Responses to PPBF: Escargot

  1. Loved the carrot confrontation!!! Great pick!

  2. I am neither fond of snails nor salad…but look at that cute little guy in the beret and the striped boater! Awwww! You’ve won my heart, snail, you’ve won my heart.

  3. Sue Wang says:

    All i can think of is that Escargot is a cooked snail… Very cute 🙂 Thank you for the smile!

  4. Barbara says:

    Oh my goodness, what a cute book!

  5. I must confess that the sight of snails in my garden or on a plate has me cringing, but that little French snail on the cover looks endearing. I’ll be checking out this little treasure.

  6. Wonder if I could use this book to get my son to eat his salad willingly. I promise I won’t ask him to eat escargot…..

  7. Cathy, I just saw this book in the store the other day and fell in love with the cover immediately. I love the snails face & outfit! I remembered a walk with my nephew when slugs and snails were the most interesting thing in the world. Thanks

    • Cathy Ballou Mealey says:

      Snails are a bit rare around here – lots of slugs though! I also thought the lettering on the title was perfect – fancy but legible for little eyes!

  8. The book looks totally adorable (and he sounds like Pepe Le Pew…LOL!). I hope he realizes that he should fear the vinegar more than the carrot. 😉 Like Sue, I couldn’t help but think of escargot in garlic butter sauce… 😬

    • Cathy Ballou Mealey says:

      Oh I never saw the Pepe connection until you mentioned it – brilliant! And yes, the vinegar is très dangereux certainment!

  9. When I saw the title, the picture and the mention of the salad, I thought this story was going in a different direction. I like the theme of picky eaters and learning to test-taste foods. Adorable cover!

    • Cathy Ballou Mealey says:

      Maybe that is a wink to the adult readers that will fly over the heads of young ones? I don’t know. Going to re-read the author’s “The Sea Serpent and Me” and “Dangerously Ever After” to get a better understanding of her approach.

  10. Joanna says:

    Oh my gosh, i was a little worried Escargot was going to end up in the salad. Phew!

  11. wordstoreadbyblog says:

    Looks like such a cute book!

  12. Haha.. Oh this is such a fun story, and gorgeous illustrations. Reminds me of our trip to Paris many years ago and being asked to try the snails. I’m afraid my hubby and I passed on that.

    • Cathy Ballou Mealey says:

      Thankfully there is only salad on the plate in this book Diane! I agree with you – even those special tongs for snail-eating give me the willies!

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