A RIVER OF DUST Written by Jilanne Hoffmann Illustrated by Eugenia Mello (Chronicle Books;…
In a picture book, any scenario you can imagine – and even those beyond your wildest dreams – can come to life. In What the Snakes Wrote ($9.95, Firefly Books, Ages 5-8), a farm dog named Rufus befriends a big family of snakes that slither and arrange themselves into letters and words to send messages. Rufus, being the friendly, helpful canine that he is, runs to the rescue of the snakes as they post different messages calling for help. He even tries to get the attention of the farmer when the snakes need more assistance than he alone can give. But the farmer is busy and just doesn’t notice what’s going on. When the snakes are in real deep trouble, will Rufus be able to save the day?
The story, by author Hazel Hutchins, is original and the message is one of literacy. I like the fact that even though the story is not reality (i.e. snakes cannot write and dogs cannot read) in the back of the book the author provides two pages of interesting true facts about snakes. The cheerful illustrations are cartoon-like, and I love the way illustrator Tina Holdcroft depicts the snakes as they form words.
Reading What the Snakes Wrote with your children, is the perfect time to broach the subject of the importance of being able to read and communicate. It also opens the door to further exploration of the fascinating world of snakes. And it is just a really cute story.
– Reviewed by Debbie Glade