A Snake Falls to Earth

Levine Querido. Oct. 2021. 352p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781646140923.
Gr 7-10–Little Badger’s sophomore effort is an atmospheric, world-straddling, dual-narrative tale laced with themes of climate change, family, and identity. Nina is a Lipan girl living in Texas, a budding documentarian working to find her voice. As she hones her videos over the years, she also works to decipher tales of her family’s history—stories full of animal people and the Reflecting World. Oli is a young cottonmouth, sent away by his mother to find his own way. Lost and beset upon by monsters, he eventually makes a home on the banks of a bottomless lake, where he befriends a frog and two coyote twins. When Oli’s frog friend and Nina’s grandmother are endangered because of climate troubles on Earth, their lives intertwine. Magic and monsters combine with internet stardom and hurricane warnings to create a wonderful fable set in modern-day Texas. Following traditional Lipan Apache storytelling structure, this is an entertaining and illuminating look at how traditions and magic can exist in the modern world. Oli and his friends are delightful to read about, while Nina’s human concerns and love for her grandmother shine.
VERDICT A modern-day fable with real-world significance, perfect for magical realism fans and fantasy lovers alike.

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