The Snake's Tale

Overview

A highly-acclaimed author and illustrator join forces to bring readers this original folktale, which explains how stories began to be told.

In this folktale, Beno and his sister Allita live in a time before there were stories. One day, they meet a snake who promises to tell them stories in exchange for the berries they've picked. He tells them how the stars once were bees, and what makes a rose smell sweet; he tells stories about what makes the...

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Overview

A highly-acclaimed author and illustrator join forces to bring readers this original folktale, which explains how stories began to be told.

In this folktale, Beno and his sister Allita live in a time before there were stories. One day, they meet a snake who promises to tell them stories in exchange for the berries they've picked. He tells them how the stars once were bees, and what makes a rose smell sweet; he tells stories about what makes the sky blue, and why frogs croak.
The children tell their parents about stories, and about the snake's tales. Like a snake that sheds its skin, this family's life comes alive with color as they learn the value of storytelling.

In the time before stories, two children meet a snake who offers to trade tales for their fruit.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
A smooth-tongued snake takes on the role of tempter and raconteur in a pleasing original story inspired by a Native American folktale. "Once upon the time of no stories," begins Davol (The Paper Dragon), creating and maintaining an appropriately timeless aura. On separate occasions, siblings Beno and Allita are individually sent by their mother to gather fruit for the family. Each encounters a sly snake that offers to tell them stories in return for the fruit they've just picked. As neither child has ever heard a story before, each accepts the snake's offer and is regaled with various myths and dramatic accounts. Mama and Papa, while deprived of strawberries and raspberries, are eventually rewarded with the entertaining fare that Beno and Allita have collected instead. Davol's folktale rhythm and simple imagery are just right for a tale about the origin of story. Heo (One Sunday Morning) creates a smiling, blank-eyed clan that recall wooden dolls. Her cheerfully cluttered pencil-and-oil compositions hum with activity. Drawing her subjects first people, chickens, fireflies, apple trees then painting background colors around them and leaving bits of white paper exposed, Heo gives her work extra pop. Ages 5-9. (Sept.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
School Library Journal
K-Gr 2-Writing in the style of a folktale, Davol employs traditional elements in her phrasing, use of repetition, and sound effects. Papa herds sheep and Mama cooks and weaves. One day, Mama sends her son to pick strawberries in the forest. He meets a hungry snake and the two make a trade-strawberries for stories. Another day, Mama sends her daughter to pick raspberries. She, too, meets the snake, makes a trade, and returns home empty-handed. Still later, the two children together trade some just-picked apples and that evening at the dinner table Papa tells of an unusual sight he came across-a fat, lumpy snake that could hardly move. The children share the snake's stories with their parents, who in turn share them with their friends. Davol credits a traditional Seneca tale, "The Storytelling Stone," as the inspiration for her pourquoi tale, but no specific setting or culture is established. Heo's signature stylized pencil-and-oil artwork is bright and cheerful with a swirling red snake curving through the pages, rounded family members smiling pleasantly, and brown lines suggesting branches and animal legs. A useful way of introducing the oral tradition.-Susan Pine, New York Public Library Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
This original tale was suggested by The Storytelling Stone, a traditional Seneca tale, and explains how stories began. In the time before people told stories, Papa tended goats and played the flute while Mama cooked and cared for two children and wove tapestries. One day she sends the boy to pick strawberries; when his pail is full he sits down on a flat rock where a snake lies coiled. The snake offers stories in exchange for the berries, weaving his tales of how the stars were once bees and why monkeys live in trees. Arriving home with an empty pail, the boy tells his mother a snake ate them. Next, the girl is sent to pick raspberries and the same thing happens. No berries for dinner. When Mama sends them both to pick apples, the snake tells more tales and swallows half the apples. When Papa tells about seeing a strange lumpy snake, the children laugh and retell all of the snake’s stories. The pages are filled with Heo’s (Sometimes I’m Bombaloo, p. 53, etc.) familiar stylized illustrations of pencil and oil, with swirls, circular patterns of images, and dome-shaped trees. The folksiness of the artwork matches the charming story. The double spread with the large, red snake with many lumps will have kids giggling. Ripe for a storyteller’s voice. (Picture book. 5-9)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780439317696
  • Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
  • Publication date: 9/1/2002
  • Edition description: 1ST
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 7 - 8 Years
  • Lexile: AD480L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 10.12 (w) x 10.42 (h) x 0.37 (d)

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