Home Book Analysis Wrestling With Insecurity with ‘Escargot’

Wrestling With Insecurity with ‘Escargot’

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Sharing this post on social media? Use this description to make it accessible: [Image description: Illustration from ‘Escargot,’ by Dashka Slater & Sydney Hanson. A snail stares hisses in horror at a pile of carrot slices.]

 

Escargot

Recommended for ages 3-7


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Is it offensive for an adorable snail in a picture book…to be French?

Aside from the outfit, and the fact that he’s a gourmand, the book doesn’t reinforce any French stereotypes (so far as I can tell).

So I think it’s…okay? I mean, delicious buttery snails and a salad with a light vinaigrette IS French cuisine, and they are délicieux.

And I really NEED this book to be okay, because I don’t think I can handle it if I have to stop reading it with my kids.

This is, by far, the most adorable, endearing, little book. And the story is HILARIOUS. No book has ever received so many kisses from our family. When Escargot shows off his handsomeness (he’s super body-positive) and tries to scare away a carrot I LOSE IT.

Crying. I laugh so hard I CRY. Every single time.

If you’re actually French and find this book super problematic, I’m open to listening.

BUT ALSO I am crossing my fingers that it’s okay because OH. MY. GOSH. This book is SO FREAKING GOOD.

R2 pulls this book out whenever he’s feeling vulnerable or just needs a good laugh.

I’m pretty sure my terrible French accent for Escargot is problematic, but given France’s history of colonization and genocide and the low rate of hate crimes against French people in the US, let’s consider my linguistic butchering fair play.

Anyhoo – the story is just adorable and lovely. Perfect for those years when kids start to wrestle with self-esteem (around 4+, or forever, if you’re a US president) – including all that comes with it. Insecurity that shows up as obnoxious boasting, desperately needing to be the best, constantly seeking reassurance and praise.

It’s even a bit interactive – Escargot requires the occasional helping hand or reassuring kiss).


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