Children’s Book Reviews

Children's Book Reviews: Sugar and Snails

Publish March 27, 2018

Sugar and Snails, by award-winning poet Sarah Tsiang, cleverly turns a common, stereotypical aphorism on its head. While putting a little sugar and a pinch of spice into a cup of breakfast tea, a grandfather is reminded of the traditional rhyme about ‘sugar and spice and everything nice…’ Not buying into that limited notion of a girl, the granddaughter gives her grandfather a suspicious, side-eye glance, and the grandson pipes up and asks, “What about sweet boys like me?” The elder then freestyles some fabulous, alternative rhymes like, “Girls are made of snails and rocks and butterfly socks” and “boys are made of lightning and newts … and rubber rain boots.”

Sonya Wimmer’s mixed-media illustrations are a surreal and fantastical treat. The little girl morphs into a blue whale, a three-layer lemon chiffon dessert, and a race car (complete with a chin-strapped front wheel and license plate). The little boy sports bumblebee wings and hair made of flowers, zooms through the kitchen on a piece of toast, and becomes a fish in a china cup. At the end of the imaginative playtime, the grandfather asks, “I give up. What in the heck are you made of?” The siblings gleefully jump into their costume trunk for more ideas that tickle their fancy, and then unravel the stitching on the embroidered, gender -specific sampler, because the possibilities are endless.

Sugar and Snails

Sarah Tsiang
Illustration EN: Sonya Wimmer
Annick Press
ISBN 13: 978-1-77321-005-6

Linda Ludke
Linda Ludke

Linda Ludke is a librarian at London Public Library.  Her reviews have appeared in Quill and QuireSchool Library Journal and CM:  Canadian Review of Materials.  When she’s not reading and writing she also loves searching for vintage treasures.

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