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Danny Diamondback    by Barry E. Jackson order for
Danny Diamondback
by Barry E. Jackson
Order:  USA  Can
HarperCollins, 2008 (2008)
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Daninhirsch

The thing that struck me first about this new picture book is the fantastic illustrations. The author is an artist and designer, having worked on films such as The Ant Bully, and his artwork reflects his talent. In fact, the pictures in the book look strikingly like computer-generated stills such as you would see in digitally animated movies.

The story revolves around a rattlesnake named Danny Diamondback, who does not realize he is capable of poisoning people and animals. As a consequence of what he is, everyone fears him.

Danny's parents are taken away to a zoo, and he is left orphaned and homeless. Danny searches for a new family, but most desert animals run away from him before they can get to know him. A prairie dog named Pablo - who can't find his glasses - thinks Danny is just a lizard, and invites him to his home. Soon, though, Danny scares enough desert animals that he is on his own again. 

Danny ultimately must learn to conquer stereotypes and prove to everyone that rattlesnakes, despite their reputation, are not all bad. The power of true friendship is also explored in this unusual book.

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