Sunday, April 13, 2008

The End of the Beginning.

Avi. 2004. The End of the Beginning: Being the Adventures of a Small Snail (And An Even Smaller Ant).

Originally published in 2004, The End of the Beginning has just recently been published in paperback. (Harcourt for those that are curious). The book is small. (144 pages). The book is charming. And delightful. And funny. I think it's a book that is good for a wide range of ages. I thought it was charming and funny enough that it might just delight adults, and I hope that it would work equally well on children. (I'm not a child. I can only remember my own childhood, and put myself back there when I'm reading. But I think this book would have worked on me then as well.) What makes it so delightful (for me) is that it reminds me in a vague way as being Alice-like and Pooh-like. Something about the humor. Something about the storytelling. It just works. (Alice-like referring to Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. Pooh-like referring to Winnie the Pooh and House at Pooh Corner by A.A. Milne).

Avon, a rather small snail, read a book every day. He loved to read because books told him all about the things that creatures did when they went on adventures. Now, Avon had noticed that when creatures finished their adventures, and when the stories ended, the creatures were always happy. Because Avon had never had an adventure of his own, the more he read, the sadder he became. It was absolutely necessary, he decided, to have adventures for himself. Only then would he be happy.

So Avon, once encouraged, seeks out his own adventures. But he's not alone. No, he takes as his companion Edward the ant. The two become the best sort of friends. And adventures are sure to follow, right? Well, you'll see. A snail's kind of thrilling adventure may not be the typical variety. But it is always in good fun.

I love the writing. I love the humor. I love the friendship. I think The End of the Beginning would make a great read-aloud. And it's a book that I'll be happy to share with my family now that I'm finished reviewing it. Required reading if you will.

© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


Carl V. Anderson said...

I read a book of Avi's short stories last year and really enjoyed them. This sounds fun in the way that I enjoy Kate DiCamillo's stories.

Anonymous said...

This is a great book! It is kind of boring and predictable. You always know what is going to happen next. But in a sense, that's a good quality for a book to have because that way it's not too confusing. It is also easy to grasp and understand. That makes it a fun but quick read. All in all, it is great reading material for all ages and very well put together!