The Great Snake: Stories from the Amazon

by Sean Taylor and Fernando Vilela

A tropical travelogue for school-aged children, Sean Taylor’s journey along... read more

A tropical travelogue for school-aged children, Sean Taylor’s journey along the Amazon River is recounted in the tales from this collection. The vivid voices of the storytellers he met are brought to life in his retellings, stunningly illustrated by the bold and colorful woodcuts of Fernando Vilela. Animal folktales, love stories, ghost stories, and trickster tales take place in the roaring waters and dense forest of the Amazon. Between each story, the author explains the tale’s significance in the context of his travels. For example, “The Tortoise and the Vulture” comes from a mix of cultures—native Brazilians, European settlers from Spain and Portugal, and Africans brought to South America in the slave trade. The author writes, “Sometimes I think the people tell so many extraordinary stories because they are surrounded by so many extraordinary creatures. Sometimes I think it is because so much mystery lies in the water and the rainforest.” Whatever the reason, these stories bring a richer understanding of this incredible region. (Ages 5–10)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2009

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