by Janell Cannon (Author)

Reading Level: 2nd − 3rd Grade
Young Verdi doesn't want to grow up big and green. He likes his bright yellow skin and sporty stripes. Besides, all the green snakes he meets are lazy, boring, and rude. When Verdi finds a pale green stripe stretching along his whole body, he tries every trick he can think of to get rid of it--and ends up in a heap of trouble. Despite his efforts, Verdi turns green, but to his delight, he discovers that being green doesn't mean he has to stop being himself. "Cannon is on a roll, her gift for creating memorable characters and scenes on glorious display in this tale of a feisty python hatchling."--Publishers Weekly

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Publishers Weekly

Cannon (Stellaluna) is on a roll, her gift for creating memorable characters and scenes on glorious display in this tale of a feisty python hatchling. Vowing never to turn "lazy, boring, or green" like the older pythons, Verdi zips through the jungle, launching himself from tree branches in an attempt to outpace the inevitable and keep his bright yellow skin and sporty stripes. His elders fear Verdi's recklessness will be his undoing ("At this rate, he'll be lucky to make it to his first molt," bemoans one) and they watch his antics with alarm--and with a drop of nostalgia for their own glory days. Adulthood eventually catches up with the young hothead, of course, but in a resolution that is both wise and funny, Verdi comes to terms with maturity while maintaining his zest for life ("I may be big and very green, but I'm still me!"). Cannon's finely tempered prose is as exquisite as her luminous artwork. Here, each jewellike vista is marked by careful attention to detail and brilliant use of color--Verdi's jungle world is a symphony of green, from the delicate shade of a newly unfurled fern frond to richer tones of emerald and pine. Sharply focused foreground objects fade into slightly hazy backdrops, giving the acrylic-and-colored-pencil illustrations an almost three-dimensional depth. As a bonus, the book concludes with a graceful two-page note on snakes. Ages 4-10. (Apr.)

School Library Journal

Gr 1-3--Verdi, a python hatchling, is born a splendid, vibrant yellow with zig-zagging stripes and is determined not to turn green, as all his folk eventually do. His jungle-green elders seem boring and lazy to Verdi, who loves flinging himself from the treetops. He gets himself out of one scrape and into another, until a bad injury sobers him. He comes to enjoy the camouflaging green that eventually creeps over him, but he's still "Verdi"--maybe a little more sedate, but never dull. Cannon's layout and illustrations are similar to those in her popular Stellaluna (Harcourt, 1993), with stunningly realistic and vibrant pictures in acrylic and pencil that feature bright greens and yellows. Each full-page, color illustration faces a white page with text and a black-and-white spot drawing and border. Some double-page spreads provide breaks in the generally well-paced story. Verdi is an easy-to-like character, and the pictures convey his exuberance and carry the story where the text occasionally falters. A page of "Snake Notes" at the end provides background information. A great read-aloud or read-alone.--Nina Lindsay, Vista School, Albany, CA
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Publication date
April 19, 1997
Age Range
4 - 7 years
Bluebonnet Awards
Winner 1999
Georgia Children's Book Award
Winner 2001
Buckeye Children's Book Award
Winner 1999
North Carolina Children's Book Award
Winner 1999
Louisiana Young Readers' Choice Award
Winner 2000

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