[Kennedy's] prose style and the way she tells stories seem unspectacular at first—a series of genuinely odd observations on the world, conducted by unhappy people—but through the strength of her emotional accuracy and an idiosyncratic, often profound sense of humor she creates absorbing entrapments. After entering Kennedy’s world, it’s hard to find a way out, except through the final pages ... There seems to be no situation, however awkward or mundane, in which Kennedy can’t discover humor and humanity. In The Little Snake, the swift emotional slippages click along, one after another, sentence after sentence, like an intricate concatenation of rainbow-bright dominoes. Funny, surprising and unexpected, her individual sentences seem to follow inevitably from the equally surprising sentences that precede them ... Kennedy’s prose—like the endlessly unreeling speculations of her most interesting characters—is simultaneously logical and illogical, sad and funny, simple and profound, turning over and over in endless permutations, like an elegant small snake wrestling against the constraints of its own shiny and menacing skin.
[An] enchanting modern fairy tale, or more accurately, fable...like all good fables, this is a tale with a serious moral to impart ... Kennedy inflects a traditional storytelling voice with her own wry humour ... a little book with a big scope, encompassing in a deceptively simple tale of true friendship, the misery inflicted by war and corrupt leadership, the vacuity of unbridled capitalism and the tragedy of human greed and selfishness. This is a fable for our time, full of quiet warnings ... Kennedy’s humour and lightness of touch serves to underscore her serious intent: an urgent reminder of the small and great things that actually give life its meaning.
Another example of [Kennedy's] versatility ... becomes more than a children’s story. Kennedy’s subtle allusions to real-world events are striking and sad without ever preaching to us or hitting us over the head with morality lessons ... Kennedy’s skill lies in the deceptive simplicity of her language here. Nothing is overly verbose or extraneously descriptive, yet abstract and profound ideas are pondered. It is this that makes The Little Snake work on several levels. For younger readers it will be enjoyable as a mythical story that is funny, sweet, and emotive. For an older audience, the novella presents a moving allegory of life, death, perseverance, and kindness. It is philosophy disguised as fairytale.