Disclaimer: This post was written by a person who unabashedly loves both snails and all things French-y, so she may be a tad bit biased towards books with adorable French snails for main characters. Continue reading the following gushfest at your own risk. You have been warned.

Escargot: the tale of a little French beret-rocking snail in search of the perfect salad.

I mean, you guys, I just can't. This book was made for us.

Sweet little manipulative Escargot is on a mission to both make you love him and to get to the other side of the table where the salad of his dreams is waiting. He tries every method imaginable from showing off to telling sob stories to convince you that he is indeed the best kind of creature on the planet. Let me tell you, his tactics worked on me.

You win, you cute little guy! You're the best! Je t'aime Escargot. Now come here and let me huggle you. (Not a typo--that's just our special word for a snuggle with extra hugs 💗)

I really love snails. I had a pet snail my senior year of high school. One of my friends worked in a plant nursery and she saved him from impending doom (snails are not welcome where there are plants for sale apparently, who knew? 😉) and gave him to me in a little hermit crab house with a purple lid. I named him Mikey Chaos, and while I refused to touch him, I loved him. Those little tentacles, man! They're just SO cute.

Just in case the premise and these incredibly swoon-worthy illustrations weren't enough to make you run at top-speed to the bookstore or library to snatch up your copy, I should mention that Escargot is one of those cool interactive books. He encourages you to stroke his shell when he's sad, show off your fiercest roar for him and then coax him out of his shell with smooches. I'm not kidding you when I say it's over-the-top cute!

It just didn't seem enough to share this book on Instagram, write a blog post about it and also to shout, "Run and get Escargot, you guys! Best picture book of the year, so far!" from the highest mountaintop in Ohio. I thought we also needed to express our undying love the way we do it best: with a craft. And what better craft than a perfect paper salad straight out of a snail's dream?

I had Kinley help me get started on some veggies. She's been totally into cutting lately, so she was super stoked to get started on shredding paper cheese with her scissors. She also tore all of the lettuce and decorated the eggs, cucumbers and tomatoes. Didn't she do a fabulous job? The eggs are my favorite part.

I cut a big giant plate out of some scrap white poster board we had laying around and drew an edge line and a lip line with a Sharpie and then I handed that puppy over to K to get started concocting the salad masterpiece. I had such a hard time convincing her to glue that salad down because she was just having too much fun tossing it all around in the big pink bowl and dishing it up into our art project wooden bowls. I think I'm gonna have to cut her up some more paper veggies just for pretending with!

After we got all the veggies assembled, I offered her a bottle of white glue to squirt on for pretend ranch dressing, but she refused. In the book, Escargot wants a salad of lettuce, croutons and a light vinaigrette, and absolutely no carrots. He eventually learns to like carrots, and Kinley thought it was okay to put a bunch of different veggies on his salad for him to learn to like, too. But switching vinaigrette for ranch dressing was out of the question. Nope. No way. Not happening. I wonder if this was because she is a stickler for sticking to the story, or if it has more to do with the fact that she detests ranch? Or possibly she just really doesn't like squirting glue? Ha. We'll never know, but I do know that it turned out even better than I had imagined!

Don't you just wanna grab that fork and get to eating?! I mean, YUM. Escargot looks pretty dang happy. Mission accomplished!

This salad has been hanging on our art line in the schoolroom for the last couple of days and it's got me craving salad and wanting to read that sweet story again every time I walk in there.

I'd love to hear what you think of Escargot by Dashka Slater if you give it a read, and if you make a paper salad, you absolutely have to tag me (@raising.kinley) just because I wanna drool over yours, too! 😊

Happy (slimy) trails! 😉

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