cover image My Snake Blake

My Snake Blake

Randy Siegel, illus. by Serge Bloch. Roaring Brook/Porter, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-59643-584-1

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)