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UNCLE SNAKE by Matthew Gollub


by Matthew Gollub & illustrated by Leovigildo Martinez

Age Range: 5 & up

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 1996
ISBN: 0-688-13944-2
Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

 A murky, captivating tale based on the culture of Oaxaca, Mexico, from the team behind The Moon Was at a Fiesta (1994). Martinez's delightfully comic illustrations place readers solidly in the enchanted world of a tale that explains the origin of lightning. A boy who has ventured into a forbidden cave from which strange lights flicker during storms discovers the fate of former curious children--they have turned into snakes with human heads. When this happens to the boy, no curandero can heal him, but a nahual, a shape-shifting magic worker, gives him a mask to wear and outlines a 20-year program of prayer and dance, the successful completion of which will enable the boy to ``show the world something new.'' The resolution of his troubles will bedazzle even impatient youngsters, weary of the story's many arbitrary shifts. (Picture book/folklore. 5+)