Sophie firsts meets her little yellow snail in the garden. Her brothers are having snail races, and she wants to play, too. Although the yellow snail Sophie selects is smaller than her brothers’ snails, it finishes the race first. She decides to keep it, and her mother gives her a matchbox for her new pet.
Later that night when Sophie is brushing her teeth, the little yellow snail washes down the drain. Sophie is heartbroken and has a bad dream about an empty snail shell. She gets out of bed to go to the bathroom, and her snail is crawling out of the drain. Sophie immediately takes the snail outside and sets it free in the garden.
Sophie decides she wants to be a farmer. When her parents tell her that a farm will be very expensive, she takes up a collection in her piggy bank. Her parents and brothers all contribute, and when her Great-Great-Great Aunt Alice comes to visit, she gives Sophie two whole pounds. Aunt Alice helps Sophie start the next closest thing to a farm with animals.
Sophie lovingly tends the bug zoo she amasses first in the garden under rocks, and then in the garage in boxes.
When a neighbor girl comes over in a frilly dress with a pink pony, she stomps on one of Sophie’s wood lice. Sophie stomps on the pink pony in retaliation, which gets her in big trouble with her parents. She has to use Aunt Alice’s money to but the girl a new toy.
One day, her father is stuck lying on the living room floor with a hurt back. Sophie brings many games and spends the whole afternoon entertaining her father. When the doctor finally comes, she goes back to her bugs. As much fun as all her bugs are, even her new caterpillar can’t keep Sophie from thinking about her little yellow snail.
Magically, when Sophie opens her window one night, the yellow snail is sitting there on the sill as if it is waiting or Sophie. Sophie is very glad her snail is still alright, so she talks to it but does not bring it inside again.