Surprise birthday party? Check. Fairies? Check. Inoffensive follow-the-line conceit? Check and check!
One evening a brown-skinned fairy awakens to find the following invitation: “Follow the silvery snail. / You’ll find a surprise at the end of the trail.” Intrigued, Felicity pursues the unexpectedly speedy gastropod as its silvery slime zigzags through spiderwebs, foxgloves, and even beehives. Insect friends come along at Felicity’s invitation, and when the final spread is revealed, it is (you guessed it) a surprise birthday party for Felicity. Putting aside the quibble that the entire conceit of the book rests entirely on the fact that the protagonist and readers are following a line of glittery snail mucous, the real star of the show isn’t the text (which is sufficient, if a bit pedantic) but rather the clever patterns created by the snail’s residue, which is indicated with embossed sparkles. The art itself is a digitally sweet confection that never quite tips over into the saccharine. Children with a penchant for follow-the-line books and fans of any and all things fairy will find these needs met, if only just.
Sparkly mollusk fluid aside, expect a book that hits its own sweet spot fairy-ly well. (Picture book. 2-4)