Python Reviews

Here is a snip of what folks have said about Python….

A book of close observation and faithful to its wildlife reality. Mark Jackson’s mixed media depictions are painterly but also echo nature documentaries or photography with their arresting close-ups on charged moments, …Christopher CHeng’s passion for animals is integral to the authenticity of his telling, and he uses ths tory to counter certain myths which seem to have gained currency through fear. Jackson’s skill lifts this study into a visually spectacular life journey …What might have been a narrative of stasis insteads pulsates with suspense and realism.
– Tali Lavi in Magpies (volume 27)

There is a plethora of information books on animals out there, but when I road-tested some of those on offer for the CBCA Claytons short list, three out of four early childhood readers chose this title from the Nature Storybook series – a narrative/non-fiction series by Walker Books which is innovate and engaging. ‘Python’ is indeed a book that will be loved in homes, classrooms and libraries. … Highly recommended for any nature-smart kid or as a perfect bedtime read- they‘ll love the ‘real’ language, the hint of danger as the plot is revealed and the uncluttered, descriptive illustrations.
– by Fiona Eastwood in Children’s Book Daily

…narrative is straightforward but visually descriptive; …While snake enthusiasts are a natural audience, an afterword challenges negative preconceptions, noting that female pythons are “wonderful mothers” and that snakes “aren’t slimy.”
– by Publisher’s Weekly

…Verdict: Buy this one for those snake-themed outreach visits to kindergartens and first grade classrooms. Unless you have less squeamish parents than I do, I’d think twice about using it in storytime, although the picture where the python eats the rat isn’t really that gruesome.
– by Jennifer Wharton (Youth Services Librarian of the Matheson Memorial Library, Elkhorn) in Jean Little Library

… This gorgeously-illustrated book is part of Walker Books’ Nature Storybooks, a fascinating up-close-and-personal peek into the life of a serious of animals. In Python, Chris Cheng has drawn kids’ into the python’s world, offering snippets of fascinating factual info along the way (provided in differing fontface, separate to the text). I like how this text is provided alongside the narrative to avoid being ‘missed’ in addendum pages. Mark Jackson’s luscious, landscape-heavy illustrations showcase this amazing animal and its best, not to mention the gorgeous Australian bush. Vital for schools and libraries – and for nature-lovers.
– by Tania McCartney for Kids Book

… in this beautifully illustrated book we learn so much about this magnificent creature in a way that immediately engages both the young reader and the adult reading to them, as well as those who can read for themselves. It truly meets the tag ‘suitable for all ages’. …Chris Cheng is the MASTER of a genre I’ve dubbed ‘faction’ – bringing real life to life through story. …a fantastic package for learning about pythons that is perfect for the younger reader – and as teacher librarians, we all know the fascination snakes have for them. This book will not stay on the shelves. You’ll need two copies – one in the fiction section and one in 597.96.
– by Barbara Braxton for Read Plus and Book Week for Beginners

This book is both a nature story with handsome mixed media art and a science book. …This is an example of good nonfiction for young children. Show your child the index at the back of the book and talk about how to use an index.
– by Raising Readers (Story County)

Stickered Python

Stickered Python

This book was a good introduction to snakes for younger children. … I liked that the text did not shy away from the fact that pythons catch prey such as birds and rats, but presents the matter in a factual manner. The mixed media illustrations by Mark Jackson bring to life the python and it’s Australian home in shades of green, brown and yellow. … a nice introduction to non-fiction for young children.
– by Catherine Coyne, Ames Free Library, Easton in Youth Services Book Reviews (Massachusetts)

… Python is a most informative book. …Although the targeted audience for the book is as young as age five, I think it’s important for readers to understand how animals in the wild survive even when it’s a bit unpleasant. The watercolor illustrations by Mark Jackson are terrific. And in the back of the book is a page of fascinating facts about these snakes. I love the fact that readers are introduced to so many words they’ve probably never seen before. …Python is so informative as well as interesting to read and look at with its wonderful pictures. I am sure this book will get many kids interested in learning more about snakes in general and other critters that lurk in the wild.
– by Debbie Glade for Good Reads with Ronna

Pythons are beautiful. Who knew? …Python as a topic will instantly appeal to many kids. …Without anthropomorphizing Python, we see that when she is hungry she hunts, when she is cold and she finds a way to get warm, and when she lays her eggs, she cares for them. What she thinks about all of this, we don’t know, but we can see actions parallel to other animals and to us. This book will fit in well to studies of reptiles in second or third grade and will make a wonderful read aloud, helping to diversify the science curriculum that often focuses on animals with fur and feathers.
– by 3rd Grade Reading

I love nature and all the biology that goes with it—from predation to survival to reproduction. This book does a fantastic job of introducing the python and it’s “nature.” I think the author’s opening sentence for each spread is a superb lead into the descriptive text that follows.And, I am captivated by the colorful sketch-painterly multimedia illustrations with the burnt sienna outlines.
– by Kirsten Carlson in Good Reads

This beautiful picture book has deservedly been shortlisted for this year’s Children’s Book Week awards. …The illustrations are vibrant, emotive and with just the right amount of hidden details to spark wonderful discussions. Python is sure to be a favourite with children who love learning about animals, but also reads beautifully as a story to share during story times. A real delight!
– by the Book Crowd (Newcastle Regional Library)

Written as a narrative about one female snake-Python-this brief introduction to the species offers basic information such as how and what she eats; how she keeps warm; scales and molting; and incubation and hatching of eggs. Two to six sentences of text and a related fact or two appear on each double-page illustration. For example, on the spread about molting, the accompanying facts state: “Python’s sleek scales are made of keratin-just like human fingernails. Snakes don’t have eyelids, so they can’t blink. Their eyes are covered by a single scale.” Jackson’s carefully composed, mixed-media illustrations, heavily detailed in rust-colored pencil, have an open, sketchy look that attractively and effectively shows the large snake in its habitat-the Australian bush. The artist shows it twining around tree branches; warming itself on a sunny rock; and hunting small prey from a coiled position in the wild grass. A paragraph of information about pythons and an index of key words in the text are appended. This attractive and readable book is an excellent introduction to informational literature and to a fascinating creature.
– Susan Scheps, formerly at Shaker Heights Public Library, OH (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. From School Library Journal

One morning in the Australian bush, Python warms herself in the sunlight before shedding her old skin. She glides up a tree and almost catches a bird with her sharp teeth, but it gets away. After night falls, she coils around a rat, constricts its breathing, and then swallows it whole. Some time later, she lays eggs and guards them until the snakelets hatch, leave their shells, and slither away to start their own lives. The main text offers an episodic, lightly fictionalized account of the python’s days, while related facts about the snakes appear in smaller type on most double-page spreads. An afterword fills in a bit of added information about pythons. Impressionistic rather than highly detailed, Jackson’s mixed-media illustrations are most effective when seen from a little distance. An attractive, matter-of-fact picture book on a topic that will interest many young children. Grades K-3,
–Carolyn Phelan in Booklist