LAKE OF THE BIG SNAKE by Isaac Olaleye


An African Rain Forest Adventure
by & illustrated by
Age Range: 4 - 8
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Using a grammatical structure that often puts the subject of the sentence after the object, Olaleye gives his prose an unusual flair: “In an African rain forest village called Inisa, lived two boys, Ade and Tayo. Best friends they were.” When the two are instructed by their mothers to do chores and not leave the village, readers sense that these boys will do exactly the opposite. Ade tempts Tayo to venture into the jungle, where they play, and also tempts him to cross the lake where a snake lives, in pursuit of delicious berries. When the water snake appears, trapping them, the boys use their wits to trick the snake and escape, with the only slightly less formidable consequence of facing their mothers. The text is lengthy and the process of Ade and Tayo’s attempts to escape is unnecessarily drawn out. The strong point is the boys’ friendship, which has room for bickering as well as for displays of loyalty. The setting is a delight, richly represented in a wide palette of greens and browns, revealing in many details how a world so different from our own can be home to a child. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1998
ISBN: 1-56397-096-1
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Boyds Mills
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15th, 1998