Snake Charmer



Snake Charmer book cover

Vishnu dreams of being a snake charmer like his father.  He already knows how to handle cobras and is learning to play the special flute.  He longs to go to the city to charm snakes while the tourists watch.  But his father thinks that education is more important, so Vishnu must stay home.

Life in the village is never dull, though.  There are plenty of games and chores to keep everyone busy, and then there's school, which is taught outdoors.  And every few weeks Vishnu's father--and the snakes--return home for a visit.

Publisher: Henry Holt & Co., 2002



"The life of a snake charmer in northern India is revealed through the eyes of a son who hopes to follow in his father's footsteps.  Through full-color photographs of young Vishnu, his father, and the cobra, children will step into life in this country, experiencing a bustling village, the boy's school, and his chores that include feeding the snakes. . . With its attractive introduction to the country, plus details about the intricacies of a unique profession, this title is sure to charm young readers."

--School Library Journal

 "This book would make a good addition to a theme of occupations around the world and brings the reader a little closer to the lives of those in a developing country that is very much in the news today."

--Children's Literature

 "It is not the exotic nature of snakes nor the lure of the charmer's flute that Ann Whitehead Nagda focuses upon.  Rather, hers is a very realistic portrayal of the many problems the snake charmers face as they eke out a living from a dying profession. . . Using vivid descriptions and excellent photographs, Nagda reveals Vishnu's world with all its grinding poverty, fascinating rituals, and memorable characters.  Even while providing a lucid and detailed description of the history of snake charming, Ms. Nagda maintains the mystery of this fascinating profession.  Children may not desire to charm snakes after reading this account, but they will certainly gain invaluable and intimate insight of one very real boy's life in faraway India."

 --Pacific Reader, published by the International Examiner


Awards and Honors

A Bank Street College Best Book of the Year, 2003

A Parent's Guide to Children's Media Award Winner

A Great Lakes Great Books Award Nominee