The Singing Snake


40 pages
ISBN 0-920534-97-X
DDC jC813'.54





Illustrations by Stefan Czernecki
Reviewed by Jean Free

Jean Free, formerly an elementary-school teacher-librarian, is currently
a library consultant in Ontario.


The Singing Snake is a retelling of an Australian aboriginal folk tale
in which Snake makes Lark an unwilling partner in a singing contest with
the other animals. Finally, Lark escapes and Snake is ostracized by the
animals for his treachery.

The legend explains the creation of the didgeridoo, one of the oldest
musical instruments in the world, and also the origins of the term used
by Australians in reference to a treacherous person.

This beautiful story, with its intricate designs from Australian
aboriginal art, its vibrant, burning colors reflecting the country of
its origin, and its stylistic animal drawings, would be a dazzling
addition to a folklore collection. Youngsters ages 4 to 7 would enjoy
examining the unique art, learning about the extraordinary Australian
birds and animals in the story, and perhaps retelling the tale itself
for a storytelling unit.

Czernecki and Rhodes collaborated on two earlier books: The Sleeping
Bread and Pancho’s Piсata. Hyperion Press is to be congratulated for
producing this informative and elegant series of children’s books,
which includes The Fish Skin. Highly recommended.


Czernecki, Stefan, and Timothy Rhodes., “The Singing Snake,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 15, 2024,