Sunday 24 July 2022

Snakes Awake

Snakes Awake by Jarrod Paine & Shannon Boland (Ford Street Books) PB HC RRP $24.95 ISBN 9 781925804935 

Reviewed by Karen Hendriks

Come and explore the bush with Pip and her mum. Pip hopes to spot her favourite creature – a sensational snake. This book is about all the beautiful things about snakes and how to behave around them if you spot one in the wild.

Jarrod Paine is an author, teacher and licensed snake catcher. His passion for education and wildlife is cleverly combined in this text. We always wear boots and long pants, so we don’t get scratched or stung or bitten. The word-efficient text ensures the story flows as it takes the reader on a real snake adventure. A snake in the wild is exciting and knowing how to stay safe around them is important. Mum and I go to the river to see what we can find.

Pip narrates the story and shares her knowledge. We walk on wide-open tracks that we know. Mum always goes first. This story is warm, friendly, and inviting. The simple sentencing reads smoothly and keeps reader engaged. Respect for the environment shines through and the endpapers have both snake facts and first aid for snake bite. I think when an author writes about something they really love it shows in their words.

Illustrator Shannon Boland lives in the mountains of Victoria, and she loves the bush. This is her debut picture book. Her colour palette of green, earthy tones are great choices that feel natural, just like the bush. Boland plays with the perspective which adds to the wonder of looking at the bush through a child’s eyes. You’ll find some Australian animals peeping or hiding on some of the pages. This adds to the story and makes the book a fun read. The snakes are portrayed naturally, not as being friendly or scary. I really this. Pip and her mum show kids how to be smart in the bush and have fun too. The illustrations display how they keep a safe distance, wear the correct clothing, and don’t handle the snakes. The text and illustrations work well together.

Snakes Awake is a picture book for children aged four and up. The topic choice of snakes has kid and teacher appeal. Snake loving children will find this book fascinating. Parents and teachers will appreciate the educational and safety aspects shared. This is a book that will happily sit on a family, school or library shelf. Snakes really are incredible creatures.

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