Kali likes catching snakes with his father, best in the Irula tribe of India. But he doesn’t like going to school, where children of other villages have made friends with one another and left Kali out.
If he failed his classes, then Kali could leave school and work with father to catch cobras and take out their poison for anti-venom serum to save people who were bitten by the deadly snakes. But no, the teacher praises Kali’s schoolwork, even when he tries not to do well.
During English lesson, the students start leaving their desks! What could make them disobey the teacher like that? What’s up there in the classroom rafters? A rat snake! And it’s so long!
Kali is an Irula boy, and Irula people never run away from snakes – they run to catch them! Rat snakes aren’t poisonous, but that big mouth can make a painful bite. Can Kali catch such a large snake by himself?
Exuberant watercolor paintings and swift charcoal sketches take readers into the one-room school in the jungles of India where Kali’s classmates learn a lesson that’s not on written on their slates.
Recommended by: Katy Manck, Librarian-at-Large (retired academic/corporate/school librarian), Gilmer, Texas, USA