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from Sophie's Snail

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By Jo

A photo of Jo Wigley holding a snail in her right hand and the book Sophie's snail in her left hand

Reassuring me that it was okay to wear grass-stained dungarees, and have messy hair and dirt under my fingernails, Sophie was the mirror image of my seven-year-old self. We even had the same stubborn frown.

Our shared love for snails and the outdoors meant that, as soon as my fish died, I de-algaed the fish tank, chucked out that tacky plastic castle and turned the tank into a snail farm.

Like Sophie, I’d plod around the garden looking for fresh dock leaves for my snails. And when I saw one mount another, I just thought they were playing. Until my naivety came away at the corners like a worn-out Iron On patch.

My garden was full of decollate snails, the cannibalistic type. So my fish tank/snail farm rapidly deteriorated into a shell cemetery. Who knew?

But that’s beside the point. The point is Sophie was an extension of me. An illustration of how I saw myself at seven years old. And for that, Dick King-Smith, I thank you. But just answer me this: when’s the book about adult Sophie coming out?

The 26 writing group has worked with The Story Museum as part of its 26 Characters exhibition. The group have produced a collection of poems, and couldn’t resist being part of the gallery of favourite characters.

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