Friends: Snake and Lizard
Written by Joy Cowley
Illustrated by Gavin Bishop
Remember Frog and Toad? Now we have Snake and Lizard, and they are just as entertaining. The first book in this series, Snake and Lizard, won the 2008 New Zealand Children’s and Young Adults Book of the Year Award. This sequel is destined for similar accolades. It was named to several reading lists in New Zealand, having been published there in 2009. But it was too good to keep to one country. It’s now hit the United States and Japan.
The story follows Snake and Lizard as they share an oversized burrow in the desert as a result of a collapsed wall. Of course, they have very different needs and very different ways of looking at things. While Lizard enjoys the curtain a spider has graced them with over one entrance, Snake enjoys the taste of the spider in her tummy. But they also find much to agree on. They generally enjoy helping other desert creatures. And they enjoy their withers together, which would be walks if Snake could actually walk.
Although this a good book for fifth graders, children much younger will enjoy the gentle humor. The good friends have long discussions about the monsters that traverse the river of death, and only by the context and a very subtle illustration will the reader know at first they are talking about vehicles on the highway. They strive to understand the “human thing” in the belly of the monster and the ones staying in the yellow burrow by the river (people in a tent).
Good biographies of the author and illustrator are available on the publisher’s website ( http://geckopress.so.nz/default.aspx. The author’s website (http://www.joycowley.com/) is also excellent, containing many tips on school projects, reading activities, and writing. The illustrator’s website (http://www.gavinbishop.com/) is as delightful as are his illustrations.