Snailsleap Lane was written and illustrated by Beshlie in 1977. At the time she and her husband Dominic Reeve, also an author, were living the itinerant life. Beshlie draws on her experiences to describe and depict the life of itinerant traders but she portrays them as various animals andamphibians rather than human beings.
Each chapter is headed by a beautiful colour illustration of the character featured and there are also one or two black and white illustrations within the text. The detail is wonderful, from the clothes on the characters to the insects and the plants surrounding them. I particularly enjoy searching for the numerous beetles, spiders, caterpillars and butterflies which are resting on leaves, crawling along the ground or climbing up stems, I'm still not sure I've seen them all. Having seen how the wild flowers are depicted in their vivid colours, the next time I am weeding my garden I shall be more selective about what I throw out, as they look every bit as good as the garden plants I grow! The endpapers of the books are also superbly illustrated - it's just like looking at a wild verge, a mass of intertwining plants with detailed foliage and colourful flowers and, of course, a few insects to spot.