My Snake Blake

Overview

What's green, and slithery, and smooth, and ...smart? My snake Blake, that's who! When my dad brought him home, he curved and twisted his body and spelled out "hello."

 

And when my mom was worried he might bite, his response was "relax."

 

This hilarious story about the friendship between a boy and his rather exceptional pet is brought to life by the simple yet delightful drawings of award-winning ...

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Overview

What's green, and slithery, and smooth, and ...smart? My snake Blake, that's who! When my dad brought him home, he curved and twisted his body and spelled out "hello."

 

And when my mom was worried he might bite, his response was "relax."

 

This hilarious story about the friendship between a boy and his rather exceptional pet is brought to life by the simple yet delightful drawings of award-winning artist Serge Bloch.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In a loving salute to the unconventional pet heroes of an earlier era (think Lyle the crocodile or Crictor the boa constrictor), Siegel (Grandma’s Smile) and Bloch (The Enemy) tell the story of a “super-long, bright green snake” who wows the young narrator by helping him with his homework, eating rejected Brussels sprouts, and fighting bullies. “He’s a perfectly polite, delightful snake,” the boy says. When the family’s father brings Blake home, the snake uses his long, supple body to spell words in graceful cursive, calming the narrator’s anxious mother— “ ‘Relax,’ he scribbled. ‘Really?’ said Mom. ‘Really,’ he answered.” The father swells with pride: “I paid extra for that,” he says about Blake’s writing ability. Bloch’s cartoons, with their loopy lines, sparing use of green and red, and exaggerated facial expressions, show Blake engaged in a series of charmingly unsnakelike activities: he cooks, finds lost keys, and enjoys cuddling on park benches. The narrator’s saucy voice and a couple of adult-aimed jokes make rereadings a treat; parents may find themselves arguing about a trip to the pet store. Ages 3–6. (June)
From the Publisher
"Blake the snake just might be the most spectacular pet of all time."—Kirkus, starred

 

“…a loving salute to the unconventional pet heroes of an earlier era…”—Publishers Weekly

 

"Apart from its title, ‘My Snake Blake’ isn’t creepy at all. Blake the snake is a little boy’s perfect friend right out of the birthday-present box….The illustrator, Serge Bloch, has taken Randy Siegel’s silly, slim text and served it up as a dish straight out of 1960….He draws in the loose, bamboo –pen scribble that thrived in those days. Channeling artists like Saul Steinberg, Robert C. Osborn and Jules Feiffer, he gets the wry, relaxed humor just right. His boy is adorable, as is his snake.”—The New York Times

 

  “Blake is a very lovely shade of green, but his best virtue is that he can write! He uses his body to form words which comes in very handy for things like communication and homework help. Just be careful; children get wonderful ideas from books and yours just might ask for a pet snake.”—Kiwi Magazine

 

“Engaging.”—BCCB

 

“…charming…”—Booklist

 

“Serge Bloch's marvelously economical drawings sustain a feeling of high good humor throughout this appropriately long-and-narrow picture book for 3- to 8-year-olds.”—The Wall Street Journal

Children's Literature - Mary Hynes-Berry
The world seems divided into two camps—those who think snakes are super, like the young boy who narrates this story and his father—versus those who fear snakes and their poisonous bite, like the boy's mother. In this charming story, the snake proves to be so flexible and resourceful he wins everyone over as he twists himself into a cursive spelling of his name (Blake) and the greeting "Hello" and then goes on to help out his young owner in a wide variety of ways ranging from eating his dreaded Brussels sprouts to scaring off a bully to writing out the answers to trick questions such as "Which poet wrote the Songs of Innocence and Experience?" (Blake of course). Children aren't likely to catch all the wry humor but the adults reading the book will. And everyone will enjoy the line drawing illustrations—black and white except for the green of the snake and touches of red on his young owner.
School Library Journal
K-Gr 2—A boy's early birthday present from his father is a bright green snake that communicates by twisting his long sinuous body into single words. Blake cooks like a chef, catches flies, and walks the dog. As their friendship develops, he helps the boy with homework by answering difficult questions involving Kenya, the poet William Blake, and the Oakland Raiders quarterback in the 1977 Super Bowl (Kenny "The Snake" Stabler). Though he would never bite anyone, Blake does frighten a mean kid at school and most of the passengers aboard a plane when the family goes on vacation. The boy feels lucky to have him, "the best snake, by far, in the whole world." The long, narrow shape of the book is appropriately snakelike, and the black line drawings are mostly colored with red and green against white backgrounds. The charming cartoon illustrations are rich in body language and facial expressions. They lightly suggest an urban setting, perhaps New York City. This story is reminiscent of Tomi Ungerer"s Crictor (Harper, 1958), sharing a similar artistic style and the same wry humor. A fun selection for storytime.—Mary Jean Smith, formerly at Southside Elementary School, Lebanon, TN
Kirkus Reviews
Blake the snake just might be the most spectacular pet of all time. Dad brings home a very long, bright-green snake to the delight of his son and the dubious reluctance of Mom. But this snake quickly proves to be highly unusual and extremely talented. He twists his body to form the letters of his name in beautifully realized cursive writing, adding reassuring words to calm Mom's fears. Blake goes on to become a valued member of the family. Some of his talents are definitely snake-appropriate, like catching flies and licking dishes clean. But he also cooks, finds lost items, helps with homework, walks the dog, and offers protection against bullies. Although there are some situations that are a little dicey, as when his simple presence scares other passengers on an airline, all in all Blake is a "perfectly polite, delightful snake." Siegel's unnamed boy narrates the tale joyfully and enthusiastically, making Blake's oddities completely believable. The language is breezy and quirky with lots of goofy dialogue and some hilarious and very apropos homework questions and answers. Bloch's deceptively simple black-line cartoons are placed on long, narrow pages with lots of white space with bright greens and pinks bleeding beyond the lines. They evoke a mid-20th-century visual sensibility that honors Crictor, that other famous pet green snake, while perfectly complementing the text. Clever, laugh-out-loud fun. (Picture book. 3-8)
The New York Times Book Review
Serge Bloch has taken Randy Siegel's silly, slim text and served it up as a dish straight out of 1960…He draws in the loose, bamboo-pen scribble that thrived in those days. Channeling artists like Saul Steinberg, Robert C. Osborn and Jules Feiffer, he gets the wry, relaxed humor just right. His boy is adorable, as is his snake.
—Paul O. Zelinsky
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781596435841
  • Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
  • Publication date: 6/19/2012
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 546,719
  • Age range: 2 - 6 Years
  • Product dimensions: 11.20 (w) x 6.10 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Randy Siegel is the author of Grandma's Smile for Roaring Brook Press, which Publisher'sWeekly called, "a wry and contemporary reality check on the going-to-Grandma's genre." Siegel has written for newspapers and magazines around the country and works for Advance Publications in New York City.

 

Serge Bloch is a Society of Illustrators Gold Medal winner and the recipient of France's Baobab Award. He illustrated Susie Morgenstern's A Book of Coupons, named an ALA Batchelder Honor Book, and has written and illustrated numerous books for children and young adults. He lives in Paris.

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 5, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Brilliantly entertaining story.

    When you’re a kid and it’s nearly your birthday it takes a very special dad to buy you a bright green snake, especially when mom doesn’t approve. But not just any snake, this one’s extra smart. Incredibly, he announces his name is Blake, writing it with his very long body which is excellent at spelling! He’s brilliant at homework and so very useful that before long he’s manages to make himself invaluable to the whole family, even his mom. Snakes might not be the most popular of pets, but in this kid’s book, Blake is the best in the world. A great story beautifully illustrated.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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