January 22, 2010

Snakes! by Melissa Stewart

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , , at 4:34 pm by suebe2

Snakes! (AR 3 .2 )

by Melissa Stewart

In this case, you can judge a book by its cover which is no great surprise when the cover says National Geographic Kids.  Vibrant photos and fascinating facts fill this early reader.

Readers will learn all about snake anatomy, where they live, snake babies, how they get around, what they eat and snakes as pets.  My son thinks snakes are beyond cool so I know a lot of snake trivia, but I still learned some new facts:

  • Snakes that give birth to live young live in cooler climates and the puff adder can give birth to up to 150 babies at a time!
  • Snakes with round pupils hunt in the day time and those with slitted pupils hunt at night.  My son was not surprised by this.  “Like a cat’s eye, mom.”  Uh, yeah.  Just like that.
  • The long belly scales that grip the ground and move the snake forward are called scutes.

This book is a Level 2, for children who are reading independently.  The font is large and the text is broken up enough that it shouldn’t intimidate — but any kid who is fascinated by snakes will be drawn in by the photos.  I’m a little iffy on snakes myself — they’re compelling and totally creepy at the same time — but I couldn’t put the book down.  Even in a paper back, the photo quality lets you see the texture of the scales and the amazing range of colors.

The one spread that might not be for the faint of heart is “Snake Snacks.”  It is one thing to read about a snake chowing down on a frog or an antelope but it is quite another to see it in glorious color.

If you’ve got a boy who is reluctant to pick up a book, give him this.  You might even leave it open to “Snake Snacks” or “Snakes All Around,” which shows a pile of hibernating garter snakes.  The creep factor is high enough to get his attention and would have definitely pulled my son in.

This is one of the best beginning readers I’ve ever read.  Slither on out and get it for the young reader in your life.


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