Written and illustrated by Nic Bishop

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Magnificent, crisply detailed photographs make possible the difficult feat of looking at snakes with unbiased eyes. Nic Bishop, the author and illustrator of the book, does not gloss over the many dangerous snakes that exist; it is just that the photographs show the reader the beauty and diversity of this misunderstood species of reptiles.

Only some snakes are dangerous, but all snakes share basic common features. The author presents this information in an interesting manner. If you were a snake, he tells us, you would be about four times longer than you are now, and only a few inches thick. The book draws in third grade readers with such imagery. “..if you were like many snakes, you would only have room for one large lung.” Wow! How do they breathe with just one lung?

Did you know that snakes have a stealth mode? That they actually have predators who find them a tidy morsel because they have no legs to catch on as they go down? The frightful snake is itself frightened of predators, and likes nothing more than to not draw attention to itself. Its defense strategy includes camouflage, rattling, hissing, brilliant colors. There are even copycat snakes!

Snakes do not have to eat every day. What an interesting titbit of information for a third grader. Eight good meals a year are sufficient. Did you know that pythons can go up to a year between meals? The answer is stated in the book; finding it could provide a good classroom activity. In fact the book is a great read aloud. Each two-page spread gives photos and facts, and teachers can build up on that with discussions and research projects, depending on the grade level.

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  • SnakesTitle: Snakes
  • Author and Illustrator: Nic Bishop
  • Publisher: Scholastic
  • Reviewer: Anjali Amit
  • Hardback: 48 pages
  • ISBN: 978-0-545-20638-9
  • Genre: Picture Book/ Science

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