cover image Slither McCreep and His Brother, Joe

Slither McCreep and His Brother, Joe

Tony Johnston, Tony Johnson, Terry C. Johnson. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt P, $13.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-15-276100-4

Angered by his brother's selfishness, Slither sneaks into Joe's room and wrecks his favorite toys; both brothers' subsequent remorse leads to an improved relationship. Such events could make for another predictable and preachy tale of sibling rivalry--but in this case the brothers are snakes, a twist that opens the way to reams of comic details that set this apart from other books on the theme. Perhaps because of the popular conception of snakes, however, the book evinces a certain unpleasant edge--the siblings' behavior is often more nasty than funny, and mother's almost total lack of intervention seems odd. Still, an infectious silliness permeates both text and art. In one particularly droll scene Joe watches his favorite rock group--Bal Boa and the Vindow Vipers--on TV, himself turbaned, sheiklike, in a purple sweater he has refused to let Slither borrow because he is ``wearing'' it. Between Johnston's peppy dialogue and Chess's vibrant visuals, reminders about sharing and respecting another's property are enjoyably imparted. Ages 4-8. (Apr.)