The End of the Beginning: Being the adventures of a small snail (and an even smaller ant) by Avi Age: 7-10 Genre: Fiction / Animal stories Harcourt, 2004 ISBN: 0152049681 / 143 pages Find this book at your local library
After having read a number of happily ending adventure stories, Avon the snail decides to set off on an adventure of his own. Along the way, he befriends Edward the Ant, who joins him on the journey.
I’m not sure where to start with this book. It’s a mix of The Phantom Tollbooth, all Roald Dahl books and Winnie the Pooh books. Its witty, funny, cute, and a very quick read. The book itself is short and squat at only 143 pages. Avi is already a well-respected, Newberry medal author, so it’s no surprise that this title is well written. I love the conversations between Avon and Edward. It’s as if Piglet and Winnie the Pooh set off on an adventure. It mostly the story of the heroic quest of leaving home to find home. It would make for a perfect bedtime read, I think this is one parents will enjoy just as much as the kids.
“I’ve such a terrible memory,” said Avon as he and Edward were going along. “What have you forgotten?” asked Edward. “That’s just it,” said Avon. “I’m not sure at all. Have you any ideas?”
By the way, it was not easy looking for a quote to pluck from this book. I think this book is a perfect read for 3rd readers. Its one step up from the Easy Readers (ie Magic Tree House, Judy Moody, Mercy Watson). It’s a light, fun read, but also a bit more challenging. I think kids who like this book will like Stuart Little, The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, Phantom Tollbooth, Winnie the Pooh, Roald Dahl, and possibly Betty Birney’s Humphrey books. It’s definitely the word play, puns and quips in this book that make it stand out. Although Avon and Edward don’t actually go on adventure, they form a very strong and healthy friendship with each other.