A small snail wants to eat grapes from the grape tree, but he moves very, very slowly, and he can barely make it. Because of this, he's laughed at and mocked by the water snake and the wide-mouthed frog. But the snail doesn't mind them, and he keeps on climbing up at his own pace. On his way, he meets a caterpillar, some just like him. They both climb slowly together, they play around, and they smell the sweet fragrance of the flowers, and they paint to their hearts content. They wander in the fields, enjoying the breeze and the bright moon, and together, they gaze at the beautiful scenery that others aren't able to see.
The 3rd Picture Book Award Winning Books
- Author：Chih-Yuan Chen
- Illustrator：Chih-Yuan Chen
- Publisher： Heryin Publishing Corp.
- Age Range：4-12
- Publication Date：12 – 2011
The Very Slow Snail is rich in philosophical thinking, but the story is also arranged with many children's favorite elements and games. Those features reflect the author's insight into child-based view and his command of it. Meanwhile, they expand the reader's age range, making it wider than ordinary picture books'. Thus, if the reader is a child, he will find himself and experience precious friendship; if the reader is a teenager, he might have a first glance at love; if the reader is elder, he will be inspired by the philosophy of “slowness.” The philosophy of slowness appears from the materials the author selected. He catches the biological property of snail and compares it with the speeds of snake movement and frog jump. From this, the book shows the fast and the slow along with the success and the failure, and has never been limited to one standard. Besides the philosophy of “slowness,” the author concerns about children, too. Hence, when the very slow snail meets the very slow caterpillar, it unfolds an adventure for which children are most longing in their hearts. As for the mixture of tenderness and passion on the journey of the snail and the caterpillar, it adequately presents the impression and art of slowness.
When the snail and the caterpillar see that there is only a grape almost rotten on the tree, the author reveals his integration of philosophy and child-base view again—the ripened grape can make a sweet sandwich, which can be eaten and played with at the same time, bitten as various animal shapes. After tasting the grape, the snail and the caterpillar plan to have apples. By then, it is supposed to be a meaningful open ending. Surprisingly, the author switches the plot. The snail puts the chrysalis turned from the caterpillar on his back and heads for apples. The length of this picture book is longer than regular ones, but the new chapter fits in with the topic in every aspect. Eventually the caterpillar becomes a beautiful butterfly. While it is carrying the snail and flying to the apple tree, the snail considerably remind him in the air—don't fly too fast!
The Very Slow Snail genuinely provides readers with diverse ways of thinking. Readers from different age groups can get delight and inspiration from it.
Fok Yuk Ying (Associate Professor of Department of Literature and Cultural Studies in the Education University of Hong Kong and President of Children's Literature and Culture Association of Hong Kong)
Chih-Yuan's works have been selected as NCTE Notable Children's Books of the Year in English Language Arts; Top Ten on the New York Times Children's Bestseller List; Best Children's Books of the Year in The Publishers Weekly; Recommended Christmas Gift Books by CNN; Book Recommendations by Le Magazine des Livres; Japan Library Association's Best Children's Book of the Year, and Selected Pictures in Bologna Children's Book Fair. His books have received the following honors: Youth Reading Festival Honor Award in Rouen, France; Taipei Public Library Best Children's Book of the Year; Best Illustration at the Golden Tripod Awards; and Golden Award at the Golden Butterfly Awards.
His publications include Missing You, On My Way to Buy Eggs, Guji Guji, The Best Christmas Ever, The Featherless Chicken, Papa Bear Goes to Work in Another City, Artie and Julie, and The Very Slow Snail. His works have been translated and sold in twenty one languages.