Traditional Thursdays: Verdi

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970061Verdi is a picture book by Janell Cannon, the author of Stellaluna. It tells the story of a young python, Verdi. Verdi is young and small, proud of his yellow skin and black stripes. He isn’t ready to grow up and become boring and lazy like the older green pythons he knows. Instead of laying in the sun like these pythons, he spends his time racing around the jungle, hurling himself through the air, and narrowly avoiding being eaten by a fish.

As he plays around, he realizes he’s starting to turn green. He tries to rub it off, cover himself in mud, and hurl himself toward the sun in hopes of staying yellow. When he injures himself as he comes crashing back down, he is cared for by several of the green snakes. As he heals, he listens to them recount their glory days of adventures, and realizes they aren’t so different from him. Once he’s fully healed, he spends several days contemplating his life, now fully green. Two younger pythons come by and make fun of him, and Verdi goes to race around the jungle with them, finding a balance between a crazy life and a nice one.

This book tells a sweet story of accepting change, and the illustrations are beautifully done. They’re incredibly colorful, done in colored pencil and acrylic, and very realistic. The pictures are on separate pages from the text, and the pages with text are ornamented with a border of vines and black and white illustrations. The pages with illustrations are rich and bright, showing Verdi’s adventures and gradual color change.

This book tells a sweet story with a lesson that’s easily accessible for children, while also sharing some information about green tree pythons (including a page of notes at the end of the book). It’s well worth the read!

-Kate Tarne

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