Wolfsnail: A Backyard Predator Hardcover – May 1 2008
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About the Author
Sarah Campbell is a writer and photographer with degrees in journalism from Northwestern University and years of journalism experience. She lives in Jackson, Mississippi, with her husband, Richard, and three sons.
Richard Campbell is an executive vice president of a financial institution in Jackson, Mississippi. In his spare time, he is a partner in creative pursuits with his wife, Sarah, specializing in photography, design, and technology.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
What is this Euglandia searching for? "The wolfsnail eats meat" (p. 9), and by meat, the authors mean other snails and slugs, hence the "cannibal snail" moniker.
The search is on for prey, and "The wolfsnail leaves behind an empty shell" (p. 24). It's then off to a safe hiding place to rest until another day.
Pages 30 and 31 contain facts and factoids about Euglandia, and page 32 is a glossary of "snail words" (vocabulary used throughout the text and the descriptions of its natural history).
The text and story is written for both pre-readers (children being read to) and readers probably to the 2-4 grade level. The factoid pages are more sophisticated.
The Campbells write "State agricultural officials in Hawaii imported wolfsnails in 1955 to try to control another invader, the giant African snail [imported illegally for starting a food snail industry], which was eating farmers' crops. But the wolfsnails ate native Hawaiian snails instead. Wolfsnails have wiped out many of the native snail species" (p. 31).
The native snail species on Oahu (genus Achatinella) are all listed by the US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) as endangered. The FWS states "The most serious threats to the survival of O`ahu tree snails are predation by the introduced carnivorous snail (Euglandina rosea), predation by rats, and loss of habitat due to the spread of nonnative vegetation into higher elevation forests." Half the species are now extinct.
One of my relatives introduced Euglandia rosea to Oahu from Florida, and received accolades from all for combatting the giant African snail. Sadly, Achatinella snails were not on the radar screen as a concern at the time. We should be wary of all current relocations and introductions for all species, since what seems to make sense today may be a model of folly tomorrow.
This is a wonderful book to teach young readers about predators. The photos follow a wolfsnail's entire day and we learn that the wolfsnail eats meat--meaning other snails and slugs. Learn how the wolfsnail was brought into Hawaii to control the population of the giant African snail, but instead ended up eating native Hawaiian snails instead. Because of it, wolfsnails have wiped out many of Hawaii's native snail species.
The back matter includes a photo of the tiny wolfsnail true to size and has a list of amazing facts to fill you in on even more details of the Wolfsnail. There's also a glossary to fulfill your need for everything 'snail.'
A book that manages to be just-the-facts-ma'am in tone and yet still somewhat anthropomorphic, Wolfsnail: A Backyard Predator proved to be a little too advanced for the bean (currently at seventeen months), but not too far out. The page-sized photographs are lovely, if nothing special, and the text should be perfect for kids who love watching nature docos on the National Geographic channel; this is the same, just on a mirco scale. ***