Poetry Monday: “Jake the Snake”

Jake the Snake by Renee LaTulippe, illustration by Dave LaTulippe


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About today’s poem:
“Jake the Snake” appears in the early reader What Am I? For this poem, I had to work with a word list featuring long vowel sounds and words with vowel-consonant-e constructions, like snake and glide. Sometimes these things just write themselves. Enjoy (and check out the illustration below)!

Jake the Snake

twist and

I am Jake the Snake.

I can hide in the shade of a rose,
pile up with my pals and pretend to be a hose,
smell a smell and not even use my nose…
can you?

I can scrape my side on a hot broken rock,
shed my skin like a slung-off sock,
make kids gasp and stare in shock…
can you?

slink and

I am Jake the Snake.

I can bend my spine into lots of shapes,
gulp an egg or a bunch of grapes,
chase an insect up the drapes…
can you?

I can make my home in holes and caves,
slink and slide and swell like waves,
scare a brave man while he shaves…
can you?

I am silent, swift, and wise,
my stripes are white and just my size,
my fangs protect me in the grass,
my scales shine in the sun like glass.
I am a snake, I will not hide –
not myself and not my pride!

twist and

I am Jake the Snake.



Jake the Snake illustration by Dave LaTulippe
Jake the Snake ~ Illustration by Dave LaTulippe
Jake the snake, embroidered
Yes, I embroidered the snake












Snake Activities for “Jake the Snake”

Kidzone has all sorts of snake learning activities, printables, and worksheets.
Danielle’s Place has a plethora of adorable snake crafts for all age groups.

Video Location
Scarlino, Italy. In a pine wood by the sea.

See more poems in my poetry video library.

“Jake the Snake” by Renée LaTulippe. Illustration by Dave LaTulippe. Licensed by All About Learning Press, Inc. Copyright © 2010, 2011 All About Learning Press, Inc. All Rights Reserved.  No portion of this material may be copied, retransmitted, reposted, duplicated, or otherwise used without the express written approval of All About Learning Press, Inc.

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  1. Any great one. Not being a fan of snakes I was a little creeped out by some of the imagery. There have been quite a few times that I have thought the hose was a snake and now knowing that Jake enjoys disguising himself as one is disturbing! Do you have snakes where you live?

  2. @Susanna – Thanks – that’s my fave line too!

    @Joanna – Thanks for stopping by again!

    @Natalie – Yes, my meager attempts at teaching myself to embroider. I’ve got a sheep going too — only 5000 more French knots to go!

  3. Renee – I love the repetition of both the “twist, glide” line and the “can you?” line. Lots of fun. I can picture 3 year olds slithering around in their preschool while getting read this poem by their teacher.

  4. It’s so nice to meet you Renee- I’m glad you stopped by my blog!
    The ssssounds in your sssnake poem are wonderful! Jake is also very handsome in both his incarnations. 🙂

  5. Oh this was so good. Don’t like snakes but I did enjoy listening and watching you read the poem, it is a great trademark of your blog, makes a nice change. Great fun, great image Renee.

    1. Hey Diane, thanks a lot for all your kind words. Wasn’t sure about the videos when I started, but I’m having fun with them and hope eventually some kiddies will find their way to them, too!

    1. Hey, thanks for stopping by Russ — glad you liked Jake. And I just popped over to your blog and LOVE what you’re doing! Beautiful illustration, and your profile is hysterical!

      Everyone, go see what Russ is doing at Smiling Otis Studio!

  6. I love Jake the Snake! I am so glad you made the video. This is a wonderful resource for parents/teachers/librarians to share with children. Children love poetry and rhyming words ~ and they are fascinated with snakes. Perfect!

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Juana and Janette!

      Janette, I’m so glad you said so – I’m making the videos just for those people – kids, parents, librarians – and do hope that kids will eventually come by to hear some verse. 🙂

  7. @ Tara – Heh, he is up to something indeed! Glad you liked my novice attempt at embroidery.

    @ Jeannine – Thanks for the welcome – looking forward to more great Fridays with your group!

  8. Hi Renee. I enjoyed your poem, both written and your “performance”. I admit sometimes I am turned off by live readings of children’s poems because I’ve come to hear/visualize them a certain way in my mind and then the author’s performance — no matter if that’s the way he/she intended! — is so different than my own. (Yours was quite close.)

    At some point, I will try to embed some audio/video recordings (Camtasia+Vimeo?) onto my site as well.



    1. Hi Ed – Thanks for the thoughtful comment. I know what you mean about live readings, especially if the reader isn’t so good at it, haha. Poetry is subjective and we all have our own rhythms in our heads, and that’s why I include both the text and a reading — we’ve got options here at No Water River! 🙂 On the other hand, poetry is meant to be heard, and this site is also for parents and teachers, many of whom are uncomfortable with reading poetry aloud; the videos are here to help those folks along by providing a ready-made reading that hopefully shows that it’s really not so hard. That’s why I also try to stick to a fairly low-key reading and not a full-blown performance — the videos need to be accessible to everyone. I’ll be writing a post about this soon. 🙂

      1. I completely agree with your point about many people feeling uncomfortable reading poetry. Obviously it helps if the poems have proper (and identifiable) meter and rhyme to begin with, but even then it can be intimidating for people who are afraid of “reading it wrong.” I think that I will try a recording or two and post them at some point on my site in the next month. If you catch them, please let me know what you think. -Ed

  9. I love all that action that snakes do; the poem captures it precisely-lots of S’s too, slithering and sliding and shining and shedding. No wonder they hiss! I also love the embroidery, must have been inspiring to create Jake this way, too!

  10. Looks like a fun read for kids and parents.

    Have you ever tried on of those over-sized books that are too big for one person to hold when reading to two boys? Good luck on snuggle time.

  11. @Linda – yes, it was fun to embroider Jake! I’ve done a few of the characters from my stories in an attempt to make a baby blanket…boys are almost two and that blanket isn’t done yet.

    @Katya – I see snakes EVERYWHERE, in every long leaf or dried twig!

    @Julie – thanks! The setting is Suvereto, one of my favorite medieval towns. It’s really a jewel!

    @Mary Jo – I have one oversized book, but it usually ends up sliding (or being pushed) off my lap and crushing my toes. Sigh.

  12. My son Jake loves this poem…and so do I.
    Can’t wait to show him this video of it being read. So far he has only heard me read it to him.

  13. Welcome to Poetry Friday, Renee! Glad you slithered in with this delightful poem. I can’t imagine a young reader being able to sit still through it, because he or she would be trying out all of Jake’s moves. ;0)

  14. @ Nikki – I’m going to guess Jake prefers his Mama’s reading, but maybe he’ll enjoy seeing his name in lights anyway — after all, he is a child of the theater! 🙂

    @ Robyn – And glad you slithered in with that fun comment! Thanks for the welcome – Poetry Friday sounds like a fun group.

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