Six-year-old Hazel tends her colony of shoebox snails while observing, with varying degrees of understanding, her father's illness and final decline. Impending loss forms the heart of this story, but it's charming and funny, too.
Richly rewarding and cleverly layered, adults will be as drawn to it as children. Nan Blanchard's assured eye is a rare quality in a new writer; seldom has the world of a young child been so delicately or acutely observed. Hazel and the Snails takes you straight to the heart of childhood's mysteries and delights.