Reviews for Verdi

by Janell Cannon

Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Ages. 5^-8. A python baby leaves his mother and enters the tropical world. "Grow up big and green," she calls after him, but Verdi much prefers his snazzy yellow skin with stripes, finding the big green snakes boring and sedentary. He determines to keep both his yellow skin and his adventurous, fast-moving lifestyle, and he goes zinging about the rain forest until eventually--"Whippety, whappity, fwip, fwap, WHAM!" During his recovery, Verdi grows to appreciate slowing down enough to notice things, but when a couple of cheeky, young yellow snakes come along, he proves that he can still have fun. The rich greens and shiny yellows of the jacket art are sure to entice youngsters, and Cannon's acrylic-and-pencil illustrations look almost three-dimensional with the blend of plain gray pencil and brightly colored paints. As she did in her very popular Stellaluna (1993), Cannon blends natural science with story, providing a double-page spread of added information on snakes. Even if the pace drags in places, Verdi is both an endearing youngster and an admirable elder. --Susan Dove Lempke

School Library Journal
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Gr 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 (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publishers Weekly
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Cannon (Stellaluna) is on a roll, her gift for creating memorable characters and scenes on glorious display in this tale of a feisty python hatchling. Vowing never to turn "lazy, boring, or green" like the older pythons, Verdi zips through the jungle, launching himself from tree branches in an attempt to outpace the inevitable and keep his bright yellow skin and sporty stripes. His elders fear Verdi's recklessness will be his undoing ("At this rate, he'll be lucky to make it to his first molt," bemoans one) and they watch his antics with alarm?and with a drop of nostalgia for their own glory days. Adulthood eventually catches up with the young hothead, of course, but in a resolution that is both wise and funny, Verdi comes to terms with maturity while maintaining his zest for life ("I may be big and very green, but I'm still me!"). Cannon's finely tempered prose is as exquisite as her luminous artwork. Here, each jewellike vista is marked by careful attention to detail and brilliant use of color?Verdi's jungle world is a symphony of green, from the delicate shade of a newly unfurled fern frond to richer tones of emerald and pine. Sharply focused foreground objects fade into slightly hazy backdrops, giving the acrylic-and-colored-pencil illustrations an almost three-dimensional depth. As a bonus, the book concludes with a graceful two-page note on snakes. Ages 4-10. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved