Rio: Snakes Alive is a fun little graphic novel released by Papercutz that aims to connect the first Rio film with its sequel. The plot is pretty simple. Blu, the scaredy cat (make that scaredy bird), has found love with Jewel, the wild macaw from Rio de Janeiro that he charmed in the first film with his adorkable awkwardness. And, as one might expect, they now have hatchlings in their nest! Three, to be precise. Meanwhile, Blu’s other “family,” the human Linda, has settled into life at the bird sanctuary with Rio native Tulio and their adopted son, Fernando. All seems well enough until Blu overhears that Tulio and Linda are in danger of losing their land unless they raise money. Desperate to help, Blu and family seek advice from the street-savvy bulldog Luiz, who knows a legend of an ancient tribe that created an elixir which could regrow hair on animals and feathers on birds! If Linda and Tulio find this potion, the sanctuary could be saved.

Blu and Jewel set out to find the ruins of this mysterious tribe, but bad egg Nigel (the avian villain from the first film) is still bitter that his last run-in with Blu and Jewel sent him through the propellers of a plane, rendering him bald. Lurking in the shadows, Nigel aims to get revenge for his misfortunes. Better still, if Nigel can get a hold of this mysterious elixir, maybe he can once again be a pretty bird! After some comical run-ins with Nigel, a family of bats, and one very large snake, Blu and family find what they are looking for–sort of. In the end, their efforts do help Linda and Tulio, thus saving the bird sanctuary and the day.

Movie tie-ins are usually not thought of as high art and this one does nothing to challenge that notion. It is a simple story about Blu and his new family, meant to whet the appetite of young fans who enjoyed the first movie. That said, Snakes Alive is pretty darn cute, and Blu’s fear of the wild in this story feels true to character. Snakes Alive might not be groundbreaking, but if there is a strong Rio fan base at your library, this will fly off the shelves.

Rio: Snakes Alive! Part 1
by Stefan Petrucha
Art by James Silvani
ISBN: 9781597075077
Papercutz, 2014
Publisher Age Rating: 4-8 Years

  • Jessikah Chautin

    Past Reviewer

    This reviewer is not longer actively working on our site, but we would not be here if not for our many dedicated contributors over the years. We thank all of them for their reviews, features, and support! Jessikah graduated with her MLS from The Palmer School of Library Science and has been working at the Syosset Public Library as a children’s librarian since 2003. She enthusiastically developed a children’s graphic novel collection for her library and enjoys developing programs around some of her favorite titles. As a child, Jessikah grew up on a healthy diet of Matsumoto, Toriyama and whatever anime series she could find. She often had a hard time deciding if she would prefer to be recruited as a Mahou Shoujo (Magical Girl) or a Gundam Pilot, a debate that still plagues her to this very day. If she could have any power it would definitely be telekinesis.

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