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Snake Alley Band Hardcover – August 10, 1998


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 and up
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Doubleday Books for Young Readers (August 10, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385323239
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385323239
  • Product Dimensions: 10.1 x 8 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,250,382 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Nygaard debuts with a musical overture about nature sounds made by birds, frogs, crickets and, of course, snakes. Near a lake, in a woodland called Snake Alley, the snakes gather to perform. "They hissed: Shhh Shhh Shhh. They bopped their tails: BOOM BOOM BOOM. Shhh-BOOM Shhh-BOOM Shhh-BOOM." The author never explains how a whiplike tail can make a booming bass thump, but makes the point that snakes prefer the company of other snakes, regardless of their monotonous melody. The turning point comes when the littlest snake meets some other noisemakers, among them a bird ("Tweet-tweedle-dee-deet") and a frog ("cha-BOP cha-BOP cha-BOP"). He notes that reptiles aren't the only ones with rhythm and, rejected by his peers, forms the multispecies Snake Alley Band. The parable ends with the hero jamming in harmony with the other wildlife. Nygaard suggests that diversity offers plenty of possibilities, but never resolves the subplot about the segregationist snakes. Lewin (Yo, Hungry Wolf!), too, keeps the tone light with her loosely drawn images. She hints at a wetland setting with cattails and animal tracks in the mud, but her pen-and-ink and watercolor images may seem to some readers more like sketches than finished art. The story has more to do with onomatopoeia than with social skills, falling short in both style and substance, and lacking a note of finality. Ages 4-8.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

PreSchool-Grade 2-This picture-book tribute to doo-wop is pure fun. Down in Fox Woods, on a skinny piece of land that juts out into the lake, a snake band is singing ("Shh-BOOM Shh-BOOM"). As fall approaches, the littlest snake curls up under a log to sleep. When he awakens in the spring, his fellow vocalists are nowhere to be seen. He begins to look for them and meets a chirping cricket ("Chew-up chew-up"), a croaking frog ("Cha-BOP cha-BOP cha-BOP"), a fish ("POP-POP-DOO-WOP"), a bird ("Tweet-tweedle-dee-deet"), and a turtle ("TA-TOOM TA-TOOM TOOM"), all of whom want to be in the band. Little Snake is accustomed to the "Shh-BOOMs" of his own ensemble and refuses to croon with the clamorous animals. Finally, he locates his group in the woods and soon realizes that it is missing the musical variety the others offered. Returning to the lake, he convinces the other critters to join him and together they serenade the sunset. Lewin's cartoon illustrations deftly bring the animals to life through facial expressions and movements. The artist's use of deep backgrounds for the evenings and sunsets adds color to the scenes. The alliterative text is meant to be read aloud and will inspire listeners to chime in. Pair this with Thacher Hurd's Mama Don't Allow (Harper, 1984) for a rip-roaring, hip-hopping storytime.
Angela J. Reynolds, West Slope Community Library, Portland, OR
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 15, 1999
Format: Hardcover
From the first "Chew-up, Chew-up" to the last "Shh-Boom", this book gets kids involved. They can't wait for the next character to pop in with the line "Did someone say band?", because they know the next cool sound is coming up. (The fish's "Pop-Pop-Doo-Wop" is a favorite with four year olds.) The hidden subtext teaches that it takes all kinds of sounds to make a band - everyone makes their own specal contribution. A nice way to teach about harmony, both musical and otherwise - the book teaches without preaching. This is a book that even parents will look forward to reading night after night - book fatugue has not set in after reading Snake Alley Band for a solid month!
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 30, 1999
Format: Hardcover
One of the pleasures of this book is reading to groups of children. As each band member is introduced, a new sound is added to the mix. Children love joining in at the end, each with their own animal sound. And they learn that even though we might each be a little different, we all contribute to "THE SOUND". I love reading this book alound
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 28, 1999
Format: Paperback
The story has a wonderful fun rythum. When you read the story aloud, you can almout hear the music the animals make.
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