CBR14 BINGO: Snake Square (BINGO! Snake to Elephant)
(Again, another literal one: Snake in the title. One of the main characters is a cottonmouth snake.)
Aside from the joy it brings my non-athletic yet competitive spirit, I love CBR Bingo for all of the books it brings into my life. Keyword bingo square Google searches have introduced me to different authors and books that I may have never found otherwise. Like this one.
The story takes place in two worlds: Earth and the Reflecting World. In the Reflecting World, “animal people” can shift between their true (animal) and false (humanoid) forms.
On Earth: Nina, a member of the Lipan Apache tribe, lives with her family above the bookshop that they own in a small Texas town. Her father is busy with the store and caring for nearby elderly relatives. Her mother is a translator on a research ship and is often gone for months at a time. An only child, Nina is left with a lot of time on her hands. To keep herself entertained, she watches online storytelling channels and makes her own video diaries. When her multiple great grandmother is dying in the hospital, Nina begins to record her stories and histories as well. Unfortunately, they are spoken in an old language that Google translate and her parents cannot help Nina to completely decipher.
In the Reflecting World: Oli, a cottonmouth snake, is worried about his frog friend, Ami, who has suddenly become ill. Sickness, in the Reflecting World, is a reaction to what is happening on Earth. To save Ami, Oli enlists his other “animal people” friends, two sister coyotes with a flashy fashion sense and one very clever hawk, to travel to Nina’s world to discover the cause of Ami’s ailment.
This is a unique story that reads very much like an oral folktale (and the book jacket indicates that it follows Lipan Apache storytelling structure). Little Badger poses interesting questions about the intersection between the environment and technology. It’s an interesting blend of traditional and modern storytelling: the campfire vs the screen.