Saturday, November 21, 2009

Review: Jake the Snake

If you're looking for a purely fun Christmas story for a 5 to 8-year-old, I've got one for you...

Jake the Snake and the Stupid Time-Out Chair is written by Shelly Faith Nicholson and illustrated by Colleen Konieczny. The story was inspired by Shelly's son Jacob (and I know several kids who could definitely inspire a similar book). You can find this 63-page paperback for purchase at, though I'd recommend visiting for a discounted price and lots of extras including a coloring page and a book trailer video.

Here's an excerpt from the press release: "Jake the Snake and the Stupid Time-Out Chair is about a rambunctious kindergartner who is always getting into mischief! And when that happens, he is sent to the “stupid time-out chair.” Jake the Snake is scared Santa Claus is watching and will bring a stupid lump of coal for Christmas. ’Cause Christmas isn’t far away! When Jake the Snake drowns his brother’s pet lizard in chocolate sauce, he is really afraid. But things only get worse when Jake the Snake goes to the mall to visit Santa and barfs in the mall elf’s hat! Will Jake the Snake get a stupid lump of coal for Christmas? Or will Santa forgive him for all the naughty things he’s done all year?"

Can you imagine one kid getting into so much mischief? Especially when he's simply a kid who wants to be good, but has all kinds of brilliant ideas that just keep getting in the way!

The book is written from Jake's 1st-person perspective, which I love as I also try to get in my own daughter's head on this blog. Jake's favorite words are "Except" and "'Cause," with "Plus" following close behind, as everything ties together and relates in his five-year-old mind. It's fascinating to think about how those things we perceive as being so "naughty" may have very simple explanations behind them.

This book references some Christmas traditions (Santa and the lump of coal), but I would label it a secular book that celebrates the value of family ties as Jake discovers how much his family really loves him, in spite of all the time he's spent on the time out chair...

The black-and-white illustrations add interest to this chapter book. Even though its main character is a five-year-old and it would probably entertain a mature kindergartener, I'd probably recommend it for a 7- to 10-year-old reader.

Thanks to author Shelly Faith Nicholson for the review copy of this book!


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