Sugar and Snails
Sugar and Snails
“Let’s see. A little sugar, a pinch of spice, just like that old rhyme about sweet girls like you.”
“…Okay, so boys are made of cookies and spice… and jump-roping mice?”
Sugar and Snails is the latest book from award-winning author Sarah Tsiang. German illustrator Sonja Wimmer has contributed her skills to provide pictures for the work.
Sugar and Snails is a delightful story bent on disrupting the common assumptions one may make when thinking of “girls” or “boys”. The story is centered around a brother and sister who are spending an afternoon with their grandfather. Grandpa brings up the fact that boys are made of “pirates and dogs and noisy bullfrogs” (p. 6) and that girls are made of “dresses and sweets and everything neat.” (p. 7). Grandpa’s rhymes are met with swift admonishment by the children: “I don’t wear dresses!” says the girl. “And I don’t like frogs!” complains the boy. (p. 8) This disagreement leads to a discussion on what girls and boys are really made of – are girls made of “boats and whales and dinosaur tales”? (pp. 14-15) Could boys be made of “marbles and fish and all things that squish?” (p. 24). The charming prose rhymes with a gentle ease; the story flows nicely as the three characters discuss what girls and boys could be made of. In the midst of this, Tsiang is making an excellent point – girls and boys cannot be stereotyped or confined to expectations of gender.
Sonja Wimmer’s illustrations are whimsical and full of life. That one can see the expression on the characters’ faces adds to the depth of the story. Both adults and children alike will be enthralled by the soft lines, bright colors, and creative depictions of lightning, whales, and more.
Sarah Tsiang’s Sugar and Snails is a work that serves not only to entertain readers but also to drive home the point that everyone is different and unique. Readers of all ages can appreciate the tone of the writing as well as the book's non-didactic message and the beautiful illustrations throughout.
Nikita Griffioen is a high school teacher in Abbotsford, British Columbia. When she is not too busy teaching, reading, or playing sports, she writes and illustrates her own stories which she hopes to have published one day.