Walker Books, 2012
Hbk., RRP $A29.95
“It is morning in the bush. Python stirs and sleeps out from her sheltered, nocturnal resting place…” She is looking for breakfast, but there are other important things to attend to, and in this beautifully illustrated book we learn so much about this magnificent creature in a way that immediately engages both the young reader and the adult reading to them, as well as those who can read for themselves. It truly meets the tag “suitable for all ages”.
Chris Cheng is the MASTER of a genre I’ve dubbed ‘faction’ – bringing real life to life through story. Even though the story only took place in the author’s imagination, it is so well-researched and accurately portrayed that it could have happened, and, as we read, we get both information and insight into these extraordinary creatures. Television news likes to show images of the bulging belly of pythons that have eaten quite large creatures, but who knew they got inside because the python can unhinge its jaws to swallow them, and then expand their bodies to digest them?
As well as the story, there are interesting facts on each page and absolutely spectacular, detailed illustrations from Mark Jackson. The whole becomes a fantastic package for learning about pythons that is perfect for the younger reader – and as teacher librarians, we all know the fascination snakes have for them. This book will not stay on the shelves. You’ll need two copies – one in the fiction section and one in 597.96. If you are recommending books for the Christmas stocking through your newsletters, this one HAS to be on it. Both parent and child will thank you.
If you are a parent with a youngster who is fascinated with snakes, this is a most charming book that will satisfy the need for a story and the need for information.