Python

Christopher Cheng, Author, Mark Jackson, Illustrator
Christopher Cheng, illus. by Mark Jackson. Candlewick, $15.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-7636-6396-4
Hardcover - 29 pages - 978-1-921529-60-3
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A day in the life of a blue and yellow diamond python unfurls in the Australian bush. Jackson’s hazy illustrations depict a female python as she wakes in the morning, molts, hunts for food (an unlucky rat), and returns to her nest to guard her eggs. Cheng’s narrative is straightforward but visually descriptive (“Her scales are dull. Her eye scales are cloudy. Her body has no more room to grow inside her old scaly covering. It’s time to molt”), and general facts about pythons are tucked elsewhere into the spreads (“Many pythons have pits just under their lips. These are sensors that help them detect warm-blooded animals”). While snake enthusiasts are a natural audience, an afterword challenges negative preconceptions, noting that female pythons are “wonderful mothers” and that snakes “aren’t slimy.” Ages 5–8. (Feb.)
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