Friday, June 16, 2017

Do You Have a Shimmery Trail?

Picture Book: Escargot
Author: Dashka Slater
Illustrator: Sydney Hanson 
Summary: Escargot, the snail who narrates and stars in this hilarious book, doesn’t mind you staring at him. 
He knows he is beautiful and he so wants to be your favorite animal.
A race with the reader to the salad (“with a few croutons and a light vinaigrette”) at the end of the book is the tres magnifique plot device,
along with some cleverly placed French phrases. 
The race is slow as Escargot confesses that he doesn’t like to hurry, but if he wants to, he can run like a cheetah, like the wind. 
Escargot knows that when he wins the race to the salad, he is sure to be the reader’s favorite animal, explaining that sadly “no one ever says their favorite animal is a snail.”
Along the way, Escargot encourages compliments, 
offers opportunities for kisses, 
and confesses his disdain for carrots. 
Escargot argues that snails are not slimy. Au contraire! The trails he makes are “shimmery trails of…shimmery stuff.” 
Then he asks, “Do you make a shimmery trail?” 
Escargot explains that he is “quite fierce!” This is the face he makes when confronted with wild lions, boars, or carrots that should not be in his salad. 
Then he asks for a fierce face from the reader.
When reader and snail arrive at the salad, Escargot declares that both are champions and suggests celebrating by eating the salad until...
 the carrots are discovered!
When the carrot doesn't respond to his fierce face, Escargot bargains with the reader to have some carrot too. Then he will try it. He takes a small bite.  
It is delicious! So delicious Escargot eats them all.

Escargot worries that he won't be the reader's favorite animal since he didn't share the carrots. 
C'est la vie, Escargot does not give up. Affirmations and kisses end the story as we finally see the human reader. 
Escargot announces the reader is HIS favorite animal and gives a kiss. Mwah!
Hanna’s Comments: By the end of this book, Escargot very well may be your favorite animal (character). A French accent was so prominent in my head as I silently read this delightful book. If you can, find someone who can pull that off when reading it to your audience for full effect and laughter. My theatrical son has a decent French accent so I loved his reading.
You might say, "Such a silly book could never offer anything for ministry." Au contraire! Besides the desire for loving relationship, which is at the heart of all faith families, you have here a flurry (make that a trickle-this is a snail after all) of affirmations. Affirming someone is a magnifique spiritual practice to teach any faith family. In the middle of this tale, you'll find this marvelous question: “Do you have a shimmery trail?”
Explore that idea with children or adults. Do you affect the world in a positive way? Even bigger, will your life help to bring forth the kind of world God desires? Have fun with those ideas. Want some more? check this out
Original Publisher & Date: Farrar Straus Giroux, 2017
Age & Grade Appropriateness: 4 and up, Pre and up
Formats other than Book: Tablet
Scripture Connections: Abraham and his legacies are blessed to be a blessing (Genesis 12); Learn to do good; see justice; correct oppression; bring justice to the orphan; plead the widow’s cause (Isaiah 1:17); What does the Lord require of you but to do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with God (Micah 6:8)
Idea(s) for Application: Read Escargot’s story and then explore the spiritual practice of affirming others or the idea of leaving “a shimmery trail of shimmery stuff.” 

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