My Pet Rattlesnake by Joe Hayes, illustrated by Antonio Castro L.
“When I was a kid, I was what you might call a desert rat,” begins renowned American Southwest storyteller Joe Hayes’ latest picture book from boutique indie Cinco Puntos Press. Once upon a time, that desert rat-kid stumbles on a rattlesnake trapped under a rock and releases it, earning the serpent’s eternal gratitude.
So thankful is the rattler that he follows the boy all the way home. “‘Well … we’ve never had a rattlesnake for a pet before,'” the boy’s father reacts with little surprise. “‘You can keep him for a while. We’ll see how it works out.'” The snake turns out to be “the nicest little pal you’ve ever seen,” always careful to keep his venom to himself except when he battles the screen door. The problem, of course, is the fear he causes the nosy neighbors. Dumping him (thankfully) proves impossible – even 35 miles of separation can’t keep him away from home for long. His return, of course, proves fortuitous for the whole family.
That said, he’s still a rattlesnake and, as Hayes warns, he didn’t train his reptilian buddy as well as he should have. What happens …? Well, you’ll have to read the book yourself to find out. Let’s just say you’ve got some major guffaws ahead. As fun as the first 95% of the book is – artist Antonio Castro L.’s expressive, playful illustrations are especially entertaining (watch that snake carefully!) – you’re gonna be ROTFL-ing by that final page! Watchdogs move aside, watch-rattlesnakes are slithering into our hearts … not to mention squeezing our funny bones, too!