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THE GREAT SNAKE by Sean Taylor


Stories from the Amazon

by Sean Taylor and illustrated by Fernando Vilela

Age Range: 8 & up

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 2008
ISBN: 978-1-84507-529-3
Publisher: Frances Lincoln

This unusual presentation of folktales, both in format and focus, has a “great” title and is dramatically illustrated with handsome woodcuts and rubber-stamping. From a boat traveling up the River Amazon, the reteller sets the scene for each of the nine stories, most of which are pourquoi tales particular to the region. “The Tortoise and the Vulture” relates how the tortoise tricked the vulture, who is still chasing him today; “The Legend of Jurutai” explains how the River Amazon was formed. A trickster jaguar, a slooow-moving sloth, variations of Rapunzel and a male selkie in a snakeskin convey cultural characteristics amid the mysteries of the rainforest. The provenance that Taylor provides from each phase of his boat trip will intrigue storytellers, and the strong voice in the tales begs sharing. Vilela’s textured artwork, which evokes the setting beautifully, and the singular focal point make this an atypical collection of special interest to storytellers and folklorists. (glossary, origins of stories, author’s note for rainforest support) (Folklore. 8 & up)