These appealing books correlate strongly with early elementary curriculum standards. They describe where snails live and discuss their daily habits and activities.
The Snail’s Spell by Joanne Ryder + Wolfsnail: A Backyard Predator by Sarah C. Campbell and Richard P. Campbell
In The Snail’s Spell (Puffin, 1988), captivating, detailed illustrations and gentle text written in the second person invite readers to imagine themselves as a snail and experience the world—a garden teeming with wildlife--from that creature’s perspective.
Illustrated with stunning, close-up photographs, Wolfsnail: A Backyard Predator (Boyds Mills Press, 2008) follows the real-life adventures of a wolfsnail as it stalks prey, avoids an enemy, and finally falls asleep. Clear, simple text relays a survival story that encourages young readers discover the wonders of nature in their own backyards.
• Ask students what the books have in common. [Both are about snails and take place in a familiar backyard setting.]
• How are the books different? [One book is illustrated with paintings and asks readers to uses their imaginations; the other features photos taken by the authors]
• Discuss what makes one book fiction and one nonfiction.
• Review the definitions of “predator” and “prey”. Are snails plant eaters or meat eaters? [They can be either.]
• Materials: Notebook, pencilWhen the weather is appropriate, take your students out to the playground and encourage them to look for snails and other small creatures. Have them draw and describe what they find in a nature journal. When you go back indoors, ask students to share their journal entries. Encourage students to repeat this activity at home or at a local park.
• Take your class outside to play Predators and Prey. Choose one child to be the wolfsnail (predator). He or she should stand in the middle of the field. The other children (prey) must run to the other end of the field without getting eaten (tagged) by the wolfsnail. Have students keep track of how much prey the predator eats during each round.