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Verdi Hardcover – April 1, 1997


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 10 years
  • Grade Level: Kindergarten - 3
  • Lexile Measure: 620L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 56 pages
  • Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers; 1st edition (April 1, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0152010289
  • ISBN-13: 978-0152010287
  • Product Dimensions: 10.3 x 10.3 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (73 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #12,505 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

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
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.

More About the Author

Janell Cannon's picture books have won many awards and are beloved around the world. Before she became a full-time creator of books for children, she designed and produced summer reading programs at her local public library. Born and raised in Minnesota, Ms. Cannon now lives in Southern California.

Customer Reviews

A wonderful children's book.
doc peterson
While checking on another book, I decided to see if I could find a replacement.
Kay Roberts
Sweet stories and beautiful illustrations!
tcase3

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By doc peterson VINE VOICE on December 21, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Verdi is a young yellow python who doesn't understand why the adult (green) pythons are such killjoys. He is playful and daring, until he hurts himself doing a stunt. The older pythons help nurse him back to health, while Verdi learns that once they, too were young and wild like he was.
The book is marvelous. It is extremely readable for young (3 - 6) year olds, and the art work is beautiful, with vivid colors and expressive characters (even for a snake!). Best of all, the story line is appropriate, with a message that is easily understood (be yourself; we were all young once) without being preachy. A wonderful children's book.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By watersnake@hotmail.com on August 10, 1999
Format: Hardcover
It's about time someone wrote a kids book where the snake is a hero, not a villain! (There have been others, but they are few and far between)...Verdi was the best kids snake story I've ever read. Being a reptile keeper, I really appreciate this little story! What a great idea for a story PLUS snake facts at the end, teaching kids about the green tree python. More books like this would be excellent. Kids need to learn to appreciate snakes, and stories like this show that snakes aren't bad guys!! A++++++++++++++++++!!!!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Jacqueline Fabbi on May 29, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Reading some of the other reviews on this book, it's been interesting to get some other perspectives on the story.
Fundamentally the story is simple. Verdi the baby snake zipps around happily, bored by the big green (complaining) adults. In his amusing quest to remain yellow and striped (young) he gets injured. The greens (adult snakes) take care of him by straping him to a branch so that he can heal. During his forced convalescence, he notices for the first time some of the magical beauty about him. He also learns that the big greens were once young and reckless also. Their response to the injuries that they had suffered was to want to live "the quiet life". By the time that Verdi heals, he too is big and green. At the end of the story he comes across a couple of fidgety young yellow snakes (very much as he was) and ends up playing with them (although being a bit more cautious). After all, he may be big and green, but "I'm still me".
This is a great book on several different levels. First, putting the snake as the protagonist is a refreshing change. The snake is a creature with a home, the jungle, and the portrayal makes for a less scary oportunity for children to learn some snake facts. The illustrations also help with the educational aspect, being so inviting that you are really drawn into them. Also, it is a story about growth and choices.
The language is indeed very direct and simple. In reading the comments of another reviewer, I noted the reviewer's estimation of the writing as being not up to par. I would have to dissagree, although from a less experienced perspective as the reviewer. I feel that the voice of the snake is appropriately somewhat "young".
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 2, 1999
Format: Hardcover
As an education major, I have utilized many books in my quest to become a teacher. This book has received the greatest response from my pre-service teaching of students. The book is full on educational, and moral building material. At the end of the book, the author has included a two page fact sheet about snakes.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 4, 1998
Format: Hardcover
i work in the public library system here in st. louis, mo, and i almost never get a chance to put "verdi" on the shelve. why? because it's ALWAYS checked out! both parents and children love this coming of age story about a young snake who, like everyone else in life, is afraid of becoming "old" and "boring". once he realizes that with age comes wisdom, he's much happier as an older, greener snake than a younger, more yellow snake. i read this book whenever i get a chance, and because of the kids at the library, that's not very often!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By S. Schell VINE VOICE on October 16, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In the heat of the tropics, several small eggs hatch and tiny 8-inch snakes slither out, swiftly making their way out to the forest to explore and learn. One of them dilly-dallies, mesmerized by his colorful body and confused by his mother's encouraging words to "grow up big and green - as green as the trees' leaves." The Peter Pan of reptiles, "Verdi" is the charming story of a little snake who refuses to grow up.

Once a featured title on the popular children's program "Reading Rainbow", "Verdi" begins by introducing the reader to a just-hatched green tree python who after seeing how crotchety and lazy his elders are decides not to become like them, which means fighting off his inevitable maturation. Born with an eye-catching pattern of black markings littering his canary yellow scales, Verdi is a spry snake that flings himself about the trees, a little too adventurous for his own good. While fretting over the color change in his scales and slithering about, Verdi gets himself into a heap of trouble and is rescued by the adults. As he recovers from an incapacitating injury, he learns some interesting things about his peers and discovers that getting older isn't such a bad thing after all, so long as you remain young at heart.

Cannon's story slyly schools us on morelia viridis while dazzling us with her beautiful illustrations done in acrylic paint and Prismacolor pencils (and I can vouch for that brand, as I own a large set of them - they are EXCELLENT). Her excellence at rendering the anatomy of her star reptile comes from thorough, hands-on research with the help of Clay Garrett, a herpetologist at the Dallas Zoo and Robert Brock of the San Diego Zoo.
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