A strangely uninformative look at a python’s life and life cycle.
A python (identified in the closing note as an Australian diamond python) slithers from shelter to bask in the sun, shed her skin and nab a rat (after missing a bird). Suddenly eggs appear, as if from nowhere. The python conscientiously incubates them until they begin to hatch, then abruptly departs to let her offspring “start their own lives of smelling, resting, watching…and waiting.” The earnest narrative is accompanied on each spread by additional details in an insufficiently different typeface. Cheng slides past any direct mention of death (“When the rat can no longer breathe, dinner is ready”), drops in a vague reference to unidentified egg “predators” and presents at best a sketchy overview of snake anatomy. Readers wondering how pythons get around, how those eggs came to be fertilized or laid, and like questions will find no answers here—either in the text or in Jackson’s muddy, indistinct painted illustrations.
Not even the relatively lengthy afterword can fill all the holes in this superficial, less-than-compelling profile. (Informational picture book. 6-8)