Graeme Base is the author of Animalia, The Eleventh Hour, My Grandma Lived in Gooligulch, The Sign of the Seahorse, The Discovery of Dragons, The Worst Band in the Universe, The Waterhole, Jungle Drums, Uno's Garden, TruckDogs and Enigma.
K-Gr 4-Wilbur's favorite story is about a snail that takes the shape of a golden galleon when it sails through the Magical Realm. Captured by the Grand Enchanter, the Golden Snail must obey his commands for 100 years, after which it is banished to the Ends of the Earth until a new master can claim it by reciting the magical spell. Wilbur decides to find the Golden Snail, and, packing an odd assortment of things, he and his faithful cat set off in a small sailboat. The story follows the pattern of many traditional folktales. As Wilbur travels, he comes upon creatures in need of help. Though he feels he is being distracted from his mission, his kind heart prevails, and each of those odd items proves to be just what's needed. His watering can helps quench the thirst of the wilting blossoming butterfly bush, etc. In turn, each rescued creature comes to Wilbur's aid when he is in trouble. With his mission finally accomplished, Wilbur decides it is better to be a Gallant Captain than a Grand Enchanter. While the story is nothing new, the telling is fresh, with many original and inventive touches, and Base's writing is well-paced and lively. The real standout is the artwork: well-composed, large paintings that are rich in detail but never look cluttered. As is usual with Base, there is a game to be played, this time finding a golden snail and crossbones in each picture. This beautiful book is sure to be a hit with the author's fans and cultivate new ones.-Grace Oliff, Ann Blanche Smith School, Hillsdale, NJ (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
A fantastical nautical adventure unwinds seamlessly in Base's (Animalia) sumptuous, large-format picture book. Wilbur's favorite storybook-a miniature facsimile of which is attached to the title page-tells of a giant snail transformed into a "golden galleon: a Snailing Ship." Legend has it that a Grand Enchanter put the snail under a spell and later banished it to the Ends of the Earth, where it awaits a new master. Determined to be that person, Wilbur and his cat set sail ("Back in a hundred years," he tells his mother), wearing a piratelike hat bearing a "snail 'n' crossbones," an image Base hides in each painting. Along the way, Wilbur helps eccentric creatures in distress (such as lantern fish with actual light bulbs), who guide him on his perilous mission in return. Characteristically, Base's art steers the journey, alternating between action scenes and spectacular seascapes that reveal Wilbur's tiny vessel alone on a vast ocean, against dazzling skies. With a denouement that's in keeping with Wilbur's oft-demonstrated kindness, this is a beguiling excursion for adventurers of any age. Ages 4-8. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.