Here's to the continuation of one unlikely friendship.
In this New Zealand import, sequel to Snake and Lizard (2008), the reptilian buddies become impromptu advisors to their colorful, desert community (Snake and Lizard, Helper and Helper). The pair's natural instincts and sensitive egos can get in the way of their relationship—it doesn’t help that Snake’s sibling devours lizards for lunch or that Lizard's haughty demands pick apart Snake's poor manners. Lizard's bossy demeanor collides with Snake's vulnerable side (don’t mention her late mother). Though misunderstandings temporarily cause friction, the friends rise above them. “Love is a word for friends to share. Don't you agree?” asks Lizard. Slightly macabre punchlines capture an amusing reality with unexpected charm, such as when Lizard's client (a mute frog) turns into Snake's tantalizing prey: "Snake curled her tail over the bulge in her stomach. He's croaked now, she thought…" The buddies' innovative use of language influences their sense of perspective; “human things” demonstrate their inferiority to the cold-blooded cohorts when seen to shed their “skin” before an outdoor dip, for instance. Rendered in rustic reds and muted tans, Bishop's watercolor-and-ink scenes grace the episodic chapters and add their own layer of humor.
Though a little dryer than in the first book, this duo's opinionated banter still packs a rib-tickling punch. (Animal fantasy. 7-10)