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Giant native snail unlikely hero of new children’s book


Date: 28 August 2013

Giant native snail unlikely hero of new children’s book – launch on 4 September

LIANZA award shortlisted author/illustrator team Gay Hay and Margaret Tolland are releasing Watch Out, Snail!, a new picture book for children, on 4 September 2013.

For their second collaboration, author Hay chose a carnivorous native snail, the Powelliphanta, as the book’s unlikely hero.

Powelliphanta are giants in snail terms, with shells up to 9cm across.

But this hunter can easily become the hunted, and Tolland’s beautiful illustrations in Watch Out, Snail! capture the beauty and danger of the snail’s surroundings, and include a dramatic worm-­versus-­snail showdown.

Hay and Tolland’s previous collaboration, Fantail’s Quilt, was a surprise hit selling out its initial print run in six weeks and was shortlisted for the LIANZA illustration award.

Watch Out, Snail! has received advance praise from award-­winning author Kate De Goldi, who said: “This quietly thrilling story of our hidden, nocturnal world is visually splendid, beautifully designed and written with an ear alert to the poetry, precision and adventure of language."

Hay and Tolland are producing a series of picture books that focus on native New Zealand creatures, both the iconic and the lesser-­known.

They are now working on their next book, Go, Green Gecko, showcasing the Wellington green gecko. Te reo Māori editions of their picture books are also available.

Te Papangarua a Pīwakawaka (Fantail’s Quilt) was published earlier this year.

Kia Mataara, e Ngata! (Watch Out, Snail!) will be launched alongside the English edition.

Respected author and Māori language advocate Piripi Walker translated both books.

As educators, Hay and Tolland’s goal is to encourage children to realise the importance of conservation.

Watch Out, Snail! includes engaging illustrations, facts about the book’s hero and an English-­to-­Māori glossary of terms.

“I want to bring attention to an endangered native creature that isn’t as well-­known as the kiwi or the kākāpō,” says Hay.

“The Powelliphanta is fascinating and beautiful in its own way."

“The Powelliphanta snail is an amazing wee creature,” Tolland says.

“It is a determined predator with razor-­ sharp teeth that slurps up worms almost the same size as itself."

Tolland describes the Powelliphanta hunting down its next meal as “an epic battle on a tiny scale”.

Watch Out, Snail! will be launched on 4 September 2013 at Pataka Art + Museum, Porirua, 5:30 – 7:00pm.

Title: Watch Out, Snail!

Author: Gay Hay

Illustrator: Margaret Tolland

Publisher: Page Break Limited

RRP: $22

Available: September 2013 from all good bookstores or from

ISBN: 978-­0-­473-­22644-­2


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