Gnu and Shrew
When Gnu says that there’s a cave filled with diamonds across the river, Shrew is intrigued. But Gnu seems to be all talk, fantasizing about riches yet dismissing all of Shrew’s suggestions. As Gnu dreams his days away, tossing out one big idea after another, Shrew spends his nights trying to make those dreams a reality. Can Gnu’s big ideas and Shrew’s hard work make something remarkable happen?
In this entertaining spin on “The Ant and the Grasshopper” that values the roles of both dreamers and doers, author Danny Schnitzlein’s deadpan storytelling is perfectly complemented by illustrator Anca Sandu’s humorous artwork.
What I loved: The illustrations were quite interesting, and I loved the use of color. Much of the images is yellow, which adds a bright and intriguing dynamic to them. The animals are cute, and their personalities shine through each page.
What left me wanting more: The story is very lengthy, and it felt like there was intended to be some morals in there, but they did not quite come across. Was it supposed to be about people who dream vs those that take action? In the end, Shrew has left his family behind to come dream again with Gnu, so it was not clear if that was it. Gnu also does not seem unhappy to have stayed behind and dreamed. It is unclear if it is also about friendship, because Gnu is not a very good friend to Shrew, putting him down about his size and ability and yet, Shrew still comes back for him and wants to spend time with him. The book felt like it should have had a moral to it, but the themes were not entirely clear.
Final verdict: GNU AND SHREW is an intriguing read that features two unusual friends who set out to capture gemstones. Unique illustrations make this an interesting picture book to look through.