"It was common knowledge that the woods behind my house in Milford
were teeming with the most venomous of vipers. Monstrous
Copperheads lurked behind every rock. Hideous Water Moccasins
slithered through every creek. Big snakes. Poisonous snakes. All banded
together in an insidious reptilian conspiracy, dedicated to the
elimination of ten-year-old boys from the face of the earth."
Connecticut, 1952. School is out for the summer. In a time before
computers, X-boxes, and iPods, the neighborhood kids have to get into
trouble the old-fashioned way-using their imagination.
Ten-year-old Sonny Boy gets the bright idea for a practical joke
involving his mother and a snake. He fears the loathsome reptiles more
than anything in the world, but he figures it will be a great gag that will
make him a hero to his buddies, Charlie and Pudgy-and to a certain
girl. But three bullies harass the boys at every turn, and a battle of wits
ensues. Nothing, however, diminishes Sonny Boy's infatuation for, or
attempts to impress, the lovely Mary Lou.
During that hot summer, Sonny Boy befriends an octogenarian named
Otto, whose wisdom facilitates his introduction to adolescence-and a
final showdown with a snake.