Verdi, by Janell Cannon

            Verdi is a young python snake who can not understand why the older snakes do not want to have fun and play with him.  He decides he will never get old even though his body grows and changes. 


  • Snakehead
  • Alphabet sort board and letters/those with tails, those without tails
  • Pattern cards for any manipulative you have
  • Plastic Easter eggs
  • Plastic snakes, rubber fishing worms or strips of thick yarn


  • Zigzag (\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/)
  • Jungle ( Like a woods/forest but really hot and wet)
  • Fidgeting ( wiggling )
  • Molt (loosing of a snakes skin)
  • Plummeting ( falling fast from something high)

Before Reading the Story

            Show the front cover and tell the children that the story to today is about a snake.  Ask the children what they know about snakes.  Begin a list that you can add on to as the children learn more about snakes.   Tell the children that many people are afraid of snakes but snakes also help people.  The eat mice and rats. 

Science/Scientific Knowledge; expands knowledge of and abilities to observe, describe, and discuss the natural world, materials, living things, and natural processes. AND Language Development/Speaking & Understanding; develops increasing abilities to understand and use language to communicate information, experiences, ideas, feelings, opinions, needs, questions; and for other varied purposes.

Reading the Story

            Read the title and introduce the book. Tell the children that the story is about a kind of snake called a python snake.  Pythons live in the jungle which is like a really hot and wet forest/woods.

Literacy/Book Knowledge & Appreciation; progresses in how to handle and care for book; knowing to view books one page at a time in sequence from front to back; and understanding that a book has a title, author, and illustrator.

After Reading the Story

            Ask if the children learned anything new about snakes, add these to your list.  Find several pictures about snakes that live in your area.  Talk about snakes and snake safety (Snakes will bite if you get too close.  Some snakes are poisonous and can make you really, really sick. Never try to pick up a snake, move away slowly if you see a snake on the ground).  It is important to talk to the children about how to be safe around a snake but not frighten them. 

Physical Health & Development/Health Status & Practices; builds awareness and ability to follow basic health and safety rules such as fire safety, traffic and pedestrian safety, and responding appropriately to potentially harmful objects, substances, and activities.


            If you’re lucky, a forest ranger, park, might have a snake skin that you can borrow.  Put out with a magnifying glass.  Bring books and pictures of real snakes for the children to examine. Help the children to notice all the patterns on snake skins.

Science/Scientific Skills & Methods; develops increased ability to observe and discuss common properties, differences and comparisons among objects and materials.

Music and Movement

Down in the Grass

Down in the grass, curled up in a heap,

Lies a big snake, fast asleep.

When he hears the grasses blow,

He moves his body to and fro,

Up and down, in and out,

See him slowly move about!

Now his jaws are open so-

Snap!  He bit my finger! Owh!

Use one arm resting on a table or leg to represent the snake.  Make his head by touching the thumb to the fingertip.  Act out.

Creative Arts/Music; participates with increasing interest and enjoyment in a variety of music activities, including listening, singing, finger plays, games, and performances.

Tell the children that moving like a snake takes strong muscles.  Have the children pull their arms inside their shirts and lay down on their stomach.  Tell them to pretend to be snakes and try to move forward, no feet allowed!  Have them try to lift their heads and shoulders up and forward to look around.  Being a snake takes strong muscles!

Physical Health & Development/Health Status & Practices; participates actively in games, outdoor play, and other forms of exercise that enhance physical fitness.


            Show the children how to make a pattern using blocks (square, rectangle, square, rectangle or triangle, triangle, rectangle, triangle, triangle, rectangle).  Ask them to make it long like a snake.

Mathematics/Patterns & Measurement; enhances abilities to recognize, duplicate, and extend simple patterns using a variety of materials.


            Tell the children that you are going to make a class snake and need their help. Give each child a piece of yellow or green construction paper.  Let them decorate it.  Help each child staple their paper into a cylinder.  Punch a hole at each end of the cylinder.  String these all together to make a long snake.  Cut out the snake head and attach at one end.  Hang your snake from the ceiling.  (We used alphabet stamps to decorate and also pattern rollers with paint).

Creative Arts/Art; begins to understand and share opinions about artist products and experiences.

Sand and Water

            Explain to the children that Snakes lay eggs and make nests in the dirt. Add sand or dirt into the table along with plastic Easter eggs and rubber snakes.  Rubber fishing worms could be used as snakes (take the hooks out).  Hang a picture of a snake nest on the wall for the children to see while they play.

Science/Scientific Skills & Methods; develops growing abilities to collect, describe, and record information through a variety of means, including discussion, drawing, maps, and chart.

Library and Writing

            Show the children the alphabet sorting board.  Let them use the copies of letters or magnet letters to sort letters with tails and those without.

Literacy/Alphabet Knowledge; shows progress in associating names of letters with their shapes and sounds.

Dramatic Play

Math and Manipulatives

            Put out pattern cards and manipulatives for the children to follow and make patterns. If you do not have patterns cards you can easily make these by representing a color pattern using circles or square the same color as your manipulative toy. (counting bears, rubber butterflies, unifix cubes, one-inch squares, etc.).

Mathematics/Patterns & Measurement; enhances abilities to recognize, duplicate, and extend simple patterns using a variety of materials.


            Play snake.  Have all the children hold hands.  The teacher should be the leader first to help the children get used to moving as a group.  While holding hands, begin to walk around the playground.  Weave in and out of equipment, trees, and each other. Explain to the children that they are going to have to walk slowly and stay in line for the snake to not be broken.

Social & Emotional Development/Self-Control; develops a growing understanding how their actions affect others and begins to accept the consequences of their actions.


Remind the children that in the story, Verdi changed from a little boa constrictor into a big boa constrictor. Ask the children tho think of things that they can do now that they are bigger that they could not do when they were little. (I can ride my bike, I can get dressed all by myself, I can write my letters, I can jump from the climber).

Social & Emotional Development/Self-Concept; Begins to develop and express awareness of self in terms of specific abilities, characteristics, and preferences.


About Kerry CI am an Early Childhood Educator who has seen daily the value of shared book readings with my preschoolers. I use the book theme in my centers and can daily touch upon a variety of Early Childhood Domains which makes assessing the children easy and individualized.