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How Snake Got His Hiss: An Original Tale

How Snake Got His Hiss: An Original Tale

by Marguerite W. Davol

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This fanciful read-aloud will have preschoolers rolling-and eventually slithering-around on the floor in imitation of Snake's movements as he metamorphoses from a round creature to the reptile we know today as a result of his repeated run-ins with other species. Davol's engaging, intentionally repetitive tale also encourages youngsters to chime in as the narrative reiterates the various sounds Snake makes while his shape changes. Along his calamitous course, he manages to splash mud and give the hyena spots; make the lion's hair stand on end, mane-like; incite the monkey to chatter and leap from tree to tree, etc., which lends the story a diverting subplot. A final confrontation with an elephant not only pushes Snake's "puffed-up Hup-Hup air right out of him," creating the title's hissing sound, but also sends him flying, stretching him to his familiar shape. Newcomer McDonald's motion-filled, stylized pastels, whose electric palette boldly defies the connotations of that medium, handily match the tale's exuberance. A whimsical design touch: the words describing the snake's movements and utterances are printed in various type sizes and configurations. Ages 3-7. (Mar.)
Children's Literature - Deborah Zink Roffino
Here's a vibrant pourquoi tale featuring a critter that starts out round as a ball and ends up one long rope. A story that teaches consideration for others, it is full of fancy and blazing colors.
Children's Literature - Meredith Kiger
This is an amusing tale about how snake's interactions with animals around him over the years have caused him to be in the shape that he is today. The story claims that snake started out all coiled up into a ball, but as he carelessly bumped into other animals, these collisions caused subtle changes in snake's character. Surreal illustrations depict snake's confrontation with a hyena, lion, ostrich, monkey and crocodile, which are accompanied by sound effects and a typeface that changes shape like the snake. A modern folktale about animal characteristics.
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
K-Gr 3This original pourquoi story takes a rather convoluted route to explain why Snake is long and skinny and hisses. Originally, he was round and arrogant, so when he wanted to get somewhere he would puff himself up, say "Hup, Hup, Hup!" and roll along, without looking where he was going. However, through a series of chance encounters with other animals-Hyena, Lion, Crocodile, etc.-Snake irrevocably alters their appearances and he, in turn, changes shape after being stepped on by Elephant. As Snake bumbles from one misadventure to the next, the text is full of sounds that beg for listener participation. McDonald's primitive illustrations in bright pastels accompany the text nicely, emphasizing Snake's carelessness and the humor of his mistakes. Although the proffered explanation for the "why" of the story is not as satisfying as in some folktales, the book's read-aloud potential outweighs its weaknesses and makes it a good choice for story times. Judith Constantinides, East Baton Rouge Parish Main Library, LA
Janice del Negro
This original "how and why" story has dynamic forward momentum and a satisfying, cumulative plot line. Snake was once "round as a coconut," so to get from one place to another, he had to puff himself up and roll. His lack of consideration for anything in his path ultimately resulted in the hyena's spots and the lion's mane, as well as the snake's present-day shape and hiss. From catchy repetitive phrases to sound effects, the story has the appeal of oral language, and the stylized illustrations of African animals are large enough to suit group story sessions. McDonald's bright neon colors make the pictures seem to pop off the page, and her use of strong geometric patterns adds energy to an already energetic tale.

Product Details

Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
8.81(w) x 10.35(h) x 0.37(d)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

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