Lucas, S(2007) Mad about snail books. Price £5.99
Mollusc World 16; pg 26
Strange things are afoot in the village of Newton. Mysteriously overnight every house that hasn’t already got them has a delivery of two giant African snails in a little fish tank with a small bag of peat, a stick of cucumber and a letter with instructions on how to keep them, all wrapped up in a cream bag with a pink bow on top! Nine year old Amy, who already has pet snails, and her friend Charlie, both detectives in the making, set out to try and find out who sent the snails, and why. The girls go hunting snails on Zig-Zag Common where they find a big surprise. They coerce Jack from their school class into helping but this causes even more trouble when he goes missing. Finally of course the secret is discovered but not before the plot has taken plenty of twists and turns.
This delightful book, written as a result of some of the events happening in real life to the author and her daughter Amy, will appeal to children of all ages, from 9 to 90. There are some nice descriptive passages such as the chapter about Zig-Zag Common: ‘the smells are the smells of the soil – rich and damp – of the blushing blackberries in autumn and of freshly-fallen snow in winter-time’, and Amy gives an informative lesson on how to keep African Land Snails in her class show and tell at a level appropriate for the average nine year old. Towards the end of the book the girls make a discovery which puts the story firmly in the realm of fiction, but nonetheless the overall message is informative and educational. The real Amy Lucas did most of the illustrations in the book, which are as charming as the text.
You can find out more about the book and the author by visiting the website, www.madaboutsnailbooks.com as well as sixty-six slithering facts about snails. The sequel, ‘Snails Don’t Burp’, is due out in 2008.
A letter from the author of Snail Trail
The Promotion of Molluscs
I am looking to promote molluscs to a younger community and write to seek help from Members of the Conchological Society of Great Britain and Ireland. I have written five children's fiction books all based around a pet African Land Snail called Old McSlithers, with whom my children have grown up. The first of these books, Snail Trail was published in November last year and has been very successful (please see the book review in this newsletter). The second book, Snails Don't Burp! is due out on April 26th. Whilst the books contain some elements of pure fantasy, I have aimed to get my facts on African Land Snails as accurate as possible to ensure that children learn something new whilst enjoying a good read (Jane Bonney, former Hon. Gen. Secretary of the Society has already been of tremendous help here)**. The purpose of this letter is to extend an open invitation to any member of the Society who might be prepared to read through the second book, Snails Don't Burp!, to check for accuracy of snail facts, particularly the details relating to the poisoning of a snail by pyrite, or Fool's Gold and Pryce Buckle, Honorary Treasurer of the Society, has already given me some good pointers here. If you are a Member of the Society and are reading this letter with some interest, then please do visit my website for further background information - www.madaboutsnailbooks.com. You should bear in mind that although the heroines Amy and Charlie are nine years old, the books are suitable for reading by 7-11 year olds and for bed-time reading to 5-7 year olds, depending on academic progress. In fact these books were written to be read aloud and do make fun reading in schools. I am visiting schools to promote my books and African Land Snails, so any help your members can give me would be gratefully received.