This children’s picture book, Little Boy and Mr. Scary Snake is an allegorical tale meant to help children open up to adults about their own fears, and to remind adults to listen seriously to their children.
Little Boy lives with his mother and her pet snake. All is well in Little Boy’s life until Mr. Snake begins to come into Little Boy’s room late at night “and do scary things.” The snake says that no one will believe Little Boy if he tries to tell them about Mr. Snake’s behavior.
Little Boy tells his mother, his teacher, and even a cafeteria worker about his fear of Mr. Snake, but no one believes him, just as Mr. Snake has said. Finally, he tells the school nurse, who sends a policeman to his house. Little Boy hides while the policeman talks to Mr. Snake. When Little Boy emerges, he finds that his mother is very sorry for not believing him. He is also relieved to find that Mr. Snake has become a worm and has disappeared, never to be seen again.
While these are certainly important lessons, this book should be used with caution, since it contains illustrations that might trouble children with active imaginations and metaphorical language that can make it difficult for children to understand and/or relate to the story. In addition, although the adult reader is given three questions to ask aloud to help children navigate the story’s metaphors, there need to be many more for it to be truly interactive.
This is a book with admirable intentions; however, it requires a very attentive adult reader, who should be prepared to ask and answer many more questions than the text directly provides.
Also available as an ebook.