Friday, June 16, 2023

If you lived in a shell...

 A Shell Is Cozy 
by Dianna Hutts Aston; illus. by Sylvia Long 
‎ 40 pages; ages 5-8
Chronicle Books, 2023

theme: shells, mollusks, nature

 A shell is cozy … a cozy, bony shelter that keeps the soft, delicate parts of the shelled animal safely tucked inside.

A shell can be spiny or smooth, showy or plain, but it has to be strong and protective. This book shows how shells are formed and how the mollusks that make them eat, sleep, and go about their lives.

What I like about this book: This is a great book to take to the beach or even to the desert, because Dianna includes terrestrial snails as well as seashells. I love that she includes tree-climbing snails and cave dwellers, and uses comparison and contrast to help readers understand more about mollusks. She also highlights how humans have used shells through the ages, as tools and weapons, and I like how she brings the book to a close by emphasizing shells as cozy homes – even if the inhabitant is not the original builder. And I love that the end pages are filled with a diversity of shells.

Beyond the Book:

Go on a shell-looking walk. Whether you’re at the shore or in a garden, look for animals with shells. What kind of shell-wearing mollusks do you find? Draw what you find, or take a photo. Remember to be respectful and just watch.

Draw a shell that you find at a beach – or a nature center or museum. If there is no animal inside it, you can examine it closely. What sort of texture does it have? Note its color, size, and shape. Can you figure out what sort of creature lived inside? 

Learn more about how shells are made. Here’s an article from Woods Hole about seashells, and one from the Smithsonian about snail shells.

Today we’re joining Perfect Picture Book Friday. It’s a wonderful gathering where bloggers share great picture books at Susanna Leonard Hill's website. Review copy provided by the publisher.


  1. I love all of Diana Aston and Sylvia Long's work in this series. Such beautiful images and rich, lyrical language contain so much information for kids to absorb. It's no wonder these books are popular.

    1. I love all their books, too! So I'm always eager to dive into a new one. This is a perfect take-along to the shore, too.

  2. Sue, I adore your resources and this sounds like a book I am going to love! Thank you!