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by Jim Latimer & illustrated by Tom Curry

Age Range: 4 - 8

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1995
ISBN: 0-531-09490-1
Publisher: Orchard

 What could have been mere instruction on the concepts of little and big becomes poetically resonant in the hands of Latimer (James Bear and the Goose Gathering, 1994, etc.) and Curry, who makes his debut. Buffalo and Snail meet on the prairie. Buffalo impresses his new companion with statistics about his size and speed, until Snail wonders if she has any worthwhile talents. She proves that bulk isn't the only measure of greatness in the animal kingdom. Her odd tricks include whorling, siphoning, retracting, and possibly causing lightning and thunder. Curry's illustrations, fresh and primitive, play tricks with perspective that sometimes make Snail look larger than her friend. The story is needlessly complicated by anthropomorphic whimsy (``Snail could speak in Clam, in Mussel, and in Limpetalso Periwinkle'') and by the inexplicable appearance of a reindeer. These intrusions threaten, but never puncture, the magic of the relationship. Definitely on the idiosyncratic side, but a refreshing gambol. (Picture book. 4-8)