Danny Diamondback

Overview

Danny Diamondback is a young rattlesnake who slithers into the world on his own and tries to make some friends. But two jackrabbits, a family of sparrows, and a whole town of prairie dogs run from the mere sight of him. You see, Danny's ma and pa never told him he was a deadly poisonous snake!

But when one fearless little prairie dog discovers that Danny's tail provides just the beat his band is missing, Danny is invited to join the Hoppin' Jalapeños. Danny has finally found ...

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Overview

Danny Diamondback is a young rattlesnake who slithers into the world on his own and tries to make some friends. But two jackrabbits, a family of sparrows, and a whole town of prairie dogs run from the mere sight of him. You see, Danny's ma and pa never told him he was a deadly poisonous snake!

But when one fearless little prairie dog discovers that Danny's tail provides just the beat his band is missing, Danny is invited to join the Hoppin' Jalapeños. Danny has finally found some friends—at least until his disguise goes flying and the audience runs away in fear! Will anyone ever see beyond Danny's rattles, or will he be a lonely snake forever?

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

In his picture book debut, Jackson (a film production designer whose credits include Shrek) puts on a cowboy drawl to tell a very tall tale. Danny Diamondback, a naïve young rattler, does not realize he is a venomous snake. His attempts to befriend jackrabbits and birds come to naught until he happens upon Pablo, a nearsighted prairie dog. Pablo invites Danny into his burrow and plays him some Latin jazz on the trumpet: "Downright dazzled, Danny wanted to clap, but since he couldn't, he unfortunately did something else. He rattled his tail." After Pablo fends off an attempted intervention by his horrified grandmother, Danny ends up joining the family's music-making, and before long he-wearing a huge sombrero to put the audience at ease-is playing maracas (i.e., his tail) in Pablo's interspecies band, the Hoppin' Jalapeños. Jackson's hyperreal illustrations of slightly anthropomorphized animals resemble digital-animation stills, with crisp foreground images, glossy black shadows and gauzy, out-of-focus backdrops. His panoramic desert scenes suggest holograms, with blurred details when Danny rattles his tail or startles furry mammals. Fans of Happy Feetand Ice Agewon't mind suspending disbelief for the outlandish story, with its cinematic visuals and stereotypical Tex-Mex situations. All ends happily, with the snake cozy in the prairie dog colony, although one question remains: What in tarnation does Danny eat? Ages 5-7. (Jan.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Children's Literature - Phyllis Kennemer
When Danny was very small, his parents slithered away to watch a movie, were captured, then placed in a zoo. They had not told Danny that he was a poisonous snake, so when he ventured out of his hole he did not understand why the other animals ran away when they saw him. Eventually he met a nearsighted prairie dog who had lost his glasses. Danny went underground with Pablo and listened to him play a tune on his trumpet. Wanting to join in, Danny began rattling his tail. When the big grandma prairie dog arrived, she recognized Danny as a rattlesnake, but Pablo convinced her that Danny was his friend. After that Danny realized that his rattles disturbed other animals, so he tried playing different instruments to be part of Pablo's band. None worked. Finally, they put a cowboy hat on Danny as a disguise and let him play his tail. The traveling Hoppin' Jalapenos were a big hit until one night Danny's hat flew off and the audience fled in terror. Danny was alone. An old tortoise told him about his rattles and his poison. Using his new found power, Danny returned to the prairie dog town and negotiated a deal with the coyotes. If they would stop eating his friends, he would not strike them with his poison. The delighted prairie dogs welcomed Danny back into their midst as a musician, a protector, and a member of the family. Full color illustrations on mostly dark backgrounds show the emotions of the various animals, making this a good choice for story times. Reviewer: Phyllis Kennemer, Ph.D.
School Library Journal

PreS-Gr 2- Unaware that he's actually a "deadly poisonous snake," an orphaned rattler searches for companionship among the desert wildlife, to no avail. Finally, the affable snake is taken home by Pablo, a visually impaired prairie dog who thinks that Danny is a lizard. The truth comes out quickly enough, but not before a friendship-and a musical band-has been formed. The Hoppin' Jalapeños hit the road with Danny playing maracas (his tail, of course) and disguised under a big sombrero. He feels as though he finally fits in. Then one night, he becomes lost in the music, and his hat goes "a-flyin'" as he dances with "fangs a-gleamin' and tail a-rattlin'." His true identity revealed, Danny finds himself alone again, until his prairie dog pals are threatened by coyotes and he saves the day. Jackson's narrative has a Western twang that doesn't always ring true. Filled with dropped g's, numerous "y'all's," and the habit of using "them" instead of "the" ("them birds"), the folksy tone seems a bit put-on. However, the story's theme has universal appeal and the cinematic illustrations, which mix slick realism with cartoon exaggeration, are entertaining and will play well to a crowd. Constant shifts in viewpoint add drama, there's plenty of humor, and Danny's face is appropriately expressive. An adequate addition where friendship tales are needed.-Joy Fleishhacker , School Library Journal

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061131844
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 1/2/2008
  • Pages: 40
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 10.00 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 0.25 (d)

Meet the Author

Barry E. Jackson works as a designer, director, and writer. His screen credits include films such as The Prince of Egypt, The Nightmare Before Christmas, and The Grinch, and he was one of several production designers for Shrek. Prior to his movie career, Jackson created art for album covers, posters, and magazine editorials. He lives in Studio City, California, with his wife and two children, Rachel and Weston. Danny Diamondback is his first children's picture book.

Barry E. Jackson works as a designer, director, and writer. His screen credits include films such as The Prince of Egypt, The Nightmare Before Christmas, and The Grinch, and he was one of several production designers for Shrek. Prior to his movie career, Jackson created art for album covers, posters, and magazine editorials. He lives in Studio City, California, with his wife and two children, Rachel and Weston. Danny Diamondback is his first children's picture book.

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