Blake the snake just might be the most spectacular pet of all time.
Dad brings home a very long, bright-green snake to the delight of his son and the dubious reluctance of Mom. But this snake quickly proves to be highly unusual and extremely talented. He twists his body to form the letters of his name in beautifully realized cursive writing, adding reassuring words to calm Mom’s fears. Blake goes on to become a valued member of the family. Some of his talents are definitely snake-appropriate, like catching flies and licking dishes clean. But he also cooks, finds lost items, helps with homework, walks the dog, and offers protection against bullies. Although there are some situations that are a little dicey, as when his simple presence scares other passengers on an airline, all in all Blake is a “perfectly polite, delightful snake.” Siegel’s unnamed boy narrates the tale joyfully and enthusiastically, making Blake’s oddities completely believable. The language is breezy and quirky with lots of goofy dialogue and some hilarious and very apropos homework questions and answers. Bloch’s deceptively simple black-line cartoons are placed on long, narrow pages with lots of white space with bright greens and pinks bleeding beyond the lines. They evoke a mid-20th-century visual sensibility that honors Crictor, that other famous pet green snake, while perfectly complementing the text.
Clever, laugh-out-loud fun. (Picture book. 3-8)