One of the (many) privileges of living in Queensland Australia is that each year starting in July we get to experience the Humpback whale migration as they move along the coast. On a clear day we can be lucky enough to see them playing just off the coast, without even needing binoculars. I don’t know if it’s their size or their playfulness but these magnificent creatures are truly fascinating.
The fascination is captured beautifully in The Snail and the Whale by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler.
It's a wonderful adventure story about two very different creatures, a tiny Sea Snail and a ‘gray-blue humpback whale’. The little Sea Snail has lived her entire life on a rock in the dock, but she's not like the other snails – she has an itchy foot!
One day she works up the courage to write on her rock ‘Ride wanted around the world’. That night, a humpback whale comes to answer the call - and together they set sail.
The whale takes the snail ‘to towering icebergs and far-off lands, with fiery mountains and golden sands.’ This great big adventure in a great big world causes the tiny snail to feel quite small.
But when things go wrong and the whale loses its way, it’s only the courage of the tiny snail that can save the whale.
This is a beautiful book, not just because of the lyrical words that paint such vivid pictures and make me want to go sailing, but also because it’s chock full of wonderful themes:
— The world is beautiful and it’s out there waiting to be explored.
— Seeing the world and experiencing different things can change your perspective.
— We (people) have an effect on the environment. (It’s the jet skis and speed boats that make the whale lose it’s way.)
— If we have courage to follow our dreams we can inspire others.
— No matter how small or insignificant we may feel, we have the ability to do great things.
And it's a great lead-in to discussions about things like courage and friendship.