Verdi is a proud python, flourishing in the flower of his youth. He loves to swiftly slither around the forest, brandishing his bright yellow skin, and can't fathom why anyone would want to be sleepy and green like the adult snakes he knows. Verdi insists, as so many youngsters do, "I will never be lazy, boring or green!" Despite his resolve to stay young, one day he notices a patch of green spreading down the length of his body. Verdi does everything he can think of to erase this first sign of the inevitable tide of age. But in his frenzy of youthful, Icarus-like bravado, he nearly kills himself. Finally, Verdi learns that even though he can't stop the aging process, green skin won't keep him from being a fun-loving, young-at-heart, figure-eight-forming snake.
Janell Cannon's illustrations are exquisite. As in her award-winning Stellaluna, not only are the animal drawings painstakingly accurate, they are also awash with movement and beauty. The countless shades of greeny-yellow and yellowy-green have the effect of a cool eye compress for the reader--calming, inviting, and enticing readers to reach into the lush environment of the pages. Verdi's lesson is never didactic, always compelling, and pleasantly surprising. (Ages 4 and older)
From School Library Journal
Grade 1-3?Verdi, a python hatchling, is born a splendid, vibrant yellow with zig-zagging stripes and is determined not to turn green, as all his folk eventually do. His jungle-green elders seem boring and lazy to Verdi, who loves flinging himself from the treetops. He gets himself out of one scrape and into another, until a bad injury sobers him. He comes to enjoy the camouflaging green that eventually creeps over him, but he's still "Verdi"?maybe a little more sedate, but never dull. Cannon's layout and illustrations are similar to those in her popular Stellaluna (Harcourt, 1993), with stunningly realistic and vibrant pictures in acrylic and pencil that feature bright greens and yellows. Each full-page, color illustration faces a white page with text and a black-and-white spot drawing and border. Some double-page spreads provide breaks in the generally well-paced story. Verdi is an easy-to-like character, and the pictures convey his exuberance and carry the story where the text occasionally falters. A page of "Snake Notes" at the end provides background information. A great read-aloud or read-alone.?Nina Lindsay, Vista School, Albany, CA
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