Sam asks his parents if he can have a pet, but Dad thinks he would have to keep taking a dog for walks and Mum is afraid a cat will leave bits of fur all over the house. Sam asks if he can have a snagglegrollop; he tells his parents he made the name up, so they say he can have one.
The next day Sam’s Mum and Dad are amazed when Sam comes home with an enormous, weird-looking creature. He tells them it’s a snagglegrollop, so they have to let him keep it because they said he could have one. Dad stresses, however, that Sam will have to look after his new pet himself. This turns out to be quite a chore, what with bathing the snagglegrollop and drying its hair. The creature has a huge appetite, of course, and uses an enormous amount of toothpaste.
Fortunately, there are advantages to having a snagglegrollop as a pet: his jokes have the whole family in stitches and he takes them out for adventurous trips at weekends. The family love their unusual pet, but he isn’t always a bundle of laughs. At night he sits on the roof of the shed, staring sadly up at the starry sky. Things change very quickly, however, at the park one day. Sam’s friend Emily comes along with her pet quibblesnuff just when Dad, Sam and the snagglegrollop are playing hide-and-seek.
The quibblesnuff is a beautiful female creature, and the snagglegrollop immediately falls in love with her. After telling jokes and dancing together, the creatures fly up into the sky, wave goodbye and disappear forever. The story ends with Dad agreeing that Emily can come to visit Sam at home, and it sounds as though Sam may be allowed to have the dog he wanted.
“The Snagglegrollop is a story book that is full of fun and is just the right length for very young children.”
Author Daniel Postgate has created an enchanting story with The Snagglegrollop. Young children find his name hilarious, and they also love the sound of quibblesnuff. The idea of Sam thinking up a creature with a ridiculous name, then actually finding one and being allowed to keep it captures the imagination of young listeners. Postgate astutely points out the responsibilities that go with having a pet as well as the fun side. The story does end rather abruptly, but there is that feeling that Sam may well get his dog, and he does at least have a friend in Emily.
The text of The Snagglegrollop is set in a large font, with certain words extra large for emphasis. Throughout the story the text appears on a light-coloured background which makes for easy reading, and there are never more than six lines per page. This is essentially a book for reading aloud rather than one for a young child who is learning to read. It might, however, appeal to a young independent reader who would appreciate the humour in the story.
Nick Price has really gone to town with his illustrations for The Snagglegrollop. They are very colourful and exaggerate the humour in the story. The Snagglegrollop himself is an enormous green creature with pink limbs and ears, horns, tusks and a pink and blue snout. Most of the time he has a wide-eyed grin, but when he is moping on the shed at night he is a sorry sight. The quibblesnuff is a pale pink dragon-like creature with grey wings and tail. Her appeal is obvious, with her shiny red lips and her co-ordinated green handbag and fur-trimmed boots. How could the Snagglegrollop resist her?
The Snagglegrollop is a story book that is full of fun and is just the right length for very young children. Although the creatures are enormous, they are illustrated in a way that isn’t at all frightening. As a read-aloud book The Snagglegrollop should appeal to children as young as three, but a seven-year-old would probably still enjoy the story as an independent reader. I have read it to groups of three- and four-year-old children, and they always love it. Postgate and Price have created a highly imaginative tale here that the youngest members of a family are sure to enjoy time and again.
The Snagglegrollop by Daniel Postgate (author), Nick Price (illustrator)
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