Though it introduces a new set of characters, Bethanie Deeney Murguia's new picture book, Snippet: The Early Riser comes across very much as a companion piece to her earlier book Buglette: The Messy Sleeper. Snippet is an ordinary young snail, drawing on the sidewalk, chewing leaf sculptures, and getting piggyback rides from his parents. Snippet's problem is that he wakes up much earlier than the rest of his family. Desperate to have his family members to play with, Snippet tries everything his friends can think of to wake his family up. He finds, however, that the solution lies in understanding what his family members really love.
I love Murguia's understated humor. Like this (after Snippet fails several times to rouse his family):
"Hmph. How did I end up with a family of slugs?" wondered Snippet.
"I could stink them out," offered Stinkbug.
"We'll have none of that," declared Caterpillar. And then he turned back to his breakfast.
The text and illustrations together enable the reader to completely inhabit Snippet's snail and insect world. Snippet draws on the sidewalk by making slime trails (though Murguia renders them in white to make them more visible). He makes leaf sculptures by chewing patterns into the leaves. A pill bug gets used as a soccer ball. Murguia does a great job of taking some real attribute and then making it fun and quirky, and completely kid-friendly.
Murguia's distinctive illustration style (Snippet is clearly a book-sibling to Buglette) completely works for this story. The plants and leaves are over-sized and realistic, while the insects and snails are charmingly quirky. Snippet himself wears a patchwork shell. His mother's is flowered. There is plenty of white space in the illustrations, but also enough greens and yellows to make the reader get a sense of the outdoors.
Snippet is funny, creative, and lacking in didactic messages. I hope that Murguia and Random House add more to this semi-series. I also adore Murguia's Zoe Gets Ready (with a human protagonist), and look forward to the coming sequel, Zoe's Room: No Sisters Allowed. Snippet: The Early Riser is a great choice for preschoolers and up, for home or library use. Recommended!
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers (@RandomHouseKids)
Publication Date: March 12, 2013
Source of Book: Review copy from the publisher
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