Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Children's Book Review: 'Snippet the Early Riser' by Bethanie Deeney Murguia

Snippet the Early Riser
by Bethanie Deeney Murguia
Alfred A. Knopf, 2013

Snippet is a snail who likes to draw doodles on the sidewalk, make leaf sculptures, play soccer, and wake up early. His family likes to sleep in. He tries to wake his parents by knocking on their shells, hollering, turning on the shower and climbing on their backs, but he's stuck with a "family of slugs."

He enlists the help of all of his bug friends, but in spite of their numerous attempts, his family continues to sleep on the bottom of a leaf until Snippet is inspired by Caterpillar to start chewing...

The family wakes up to "breakfast in bed", but by that time Snippet  is growing tired himself and promptly falls asleep... until early the next morning!

Murguia's illustrations are simple pen and ink drawings with colorful details that perfectly capture the quirkiness of Snippet and his family. A sidebar featuring images of Snippet awake and asleep (rolled up in a ball) is a particular delight. End pages include additional monochrome drawings of snails with fun facts (e.g. "Snails sleep a lot." "Snails wake up very, very slowly." etc.).

I read this story to a class of first grade students who could probably relate to Snippet's dilemma of waking up before his parents. They liked watching the snails' piggyback rides and the way they finally "plunk" onto the ground. But they wondered why Snippet spent so much time trying to wake up his family once the other bugs arrived, asking, "Why didn't he just play with his friends instead?"

In spite of this one minor flaw in child-logic, Snippet the Early Riser provides a pleasant glimpse into a charming and magical bug world.

Bethanie Deeney Murguia is not the earliest riser in her household. She loves to draw, paint, and whenever possible, sleep in just a little longer. Bethanie earned her MFA in illustration from the School of Visual Arts in New York City. These days she can be found in California. Visit her at aquapup.com.

Renée Vaillancourt McGrath has worked at Montana Public Radio as a program host since 2002. Her background is in librarianship and she currently works as a freelance editor, blogger, and website developer. Check out more of her book reviews at reneesreads.com.

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