Children often ask the never-ending question, “Can I have a dog?” “May I have a cat, please?” My own children ask the questions even though they can predict the answer. Daniel Postgate brings a unique and comical twist to this family’s new pet in the book, The Snagglegrollop.
Sam is no different. He asks his mother and father for a dog. Receiving the standard, ‘No’, Sam asks for a “snagglegrollop” , a made up creature. Thinking the creature is imaginary, his parents agree. Boy, is dad ever surprised when Sam brings one home.
“What on earth is that?” exclaimed Dad. “It’s a Snagglegrollop,” said Sam. “You said I could have one, remember?”
“Yes, bu t… no, but … but — oh golly,” spluttered Dad.
Sam starts with his responsibilities of caring for a Snagglegrollop – giving it a bath, brushing his teeth, feeding him. Sam shares his idea with Emily. Emily later appears with a ‘quibblesnuff.”
The story has several deeper themes – friendship, self-confidence, responsibility. Younger children will wonder about where the creatures came from or why they leave.
Nick Price throws in another silent thread woven into the story. At the end of the story, Sam reasks his dad for a dog. At the fence, the dog is looking through the gate. When I turned the page, I noticed a picture on the book jacket of Sam holding the dog. (It makes me wonder if Sam’s parents reconsider the request for a dog.) It sparked a curiosity. I realized I had seen the dog on a couple of other pages. So, I began rereading the illustrations. I found the dog hidden in most of the scenes.
I read this story to a first grade class this past week. They gave me two thumbs up. they asked questions and wondered why events happened. When I showed the dog illustrations, their eyes lit up. They loved it!
Savorings for reading and in writing for The Snaggle Grollop:
- Wondering – why is the Snagglegrollup sad?
- Foreshadowing – the shadow of Snagglegrollup coming through the door
- Emotions – laughed, enchanted, fond of
- Voice – you can hear the father speaking
- Conversation –
- A Boy Read
(Warsaw Public Library)