Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

The Slug

The Slug

Elise Gravel
For ages 6 to 9
Tundra Books, 2014   ISBN: 978-1770496552

Let’s face it, many of us really don’t like little creepy crawly creatures. Some have too many legs, and mouths that might bite or sting. Others, the slugs and snails, are slimy legless creatures that slither along the ground leaving shiny trails behind them. There is something about these bizarre animals that makes many people shudder. For some reason people are particularly put off by slugs.

   Here’s the thing though. Slugs are actually rather interesting creatures, when you get past the nastiness of their sliminess. They are essentially snails that don’t have a shell. You could even say that they are “naked” snails, which is funny if you think about it.

   There are many kinds of slugs that live in water or on land. Land slugs have two pairs of tentacles. One pair has eyes on them, and the other pair is used for smelling and tasting. If danger threatens, slugs can retract their tentacles. They also produce extra mucus so that they become slippery and therefore hard to hold. If a predator tries to bite a slug it will have a hard time getting a grip on the slippery animal.

   The slime also helps slugs to move and it is sticky enough that slugs can climb up vertical surfaces. When they are ready to find a partner, slugs look for slime trails on the ground to find one another.

   Though farmers and gardeners are not fond of slugs because they eat their crops, slugs are an important player in food chains. They help break down dead organic matter so that it is recycled and so the nutrients become available in the soil.

   Throughout this book a very comical slug character appears on every spread, providing a little entertainment for young readers as they learn about slugs. He/she (slugs are both male and female at the same time) helps us to see that slugs really are rather remarkable creatures, even if they are a bit slimy.