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Monday, November 12, 2012

Nic Bishop Snakes, by Nic Bishop. Scholastic, 2012.$19.99 ages 5 and up

"But snakes are more than just fearsome hunters. They are strange, secretive, and surprising. Sea snakes with paddle-shaped tails dive 300 feet beneath the ocean. Flying snakes flatten their bodies and glide like ribbons from rain forest trees. Some snakes live hidden underground, like large, shiny earthworms. Others slither in the sunlight, as colorful as rainbows."

It is definitely a cliche to say that Nic Bishop has done it again...but, he has! I do believe I say that every single time I see another of his fabulous nonfiction books...and I would guess that it will remain the same until one or the other of us stops writing. He creates amazing books for children and their adult friends, and I am blessed to be able to tell you about this newest
one from Scholastic.

I have something in common with Indiana Jones. It's not good looks, or a sense of adventure that might end my life; it's not even a quest for some archaeological relic that will earn accolades and frequent mention in college classrooms. Nope! It's an aversion to snakes.

As he has done in previous books, Nic Bishop presents these terrifying creatures in a way that actually intrigues and informs my fears and renders me less likely to be immobile in their presence. That's a good thing, right?

I will say that the more than twenty close-up photographs show beauty in their color, their scales and their amazing feats. The text is full of new learning and describes their anatomy, those things that are common to every species, the way they move, the food they eat and how they eat it, the places they inhabit and how they defend themselves. The fold-out at the center will come as no surprise to ardent Bishop fans. He is able to capture the most amazing images for each of his exemplary books.

Their habits for capturing their prey are varied and often, extremely patient:

"Some ambushing snakes jiggle their tails to look like juicy grubs. Hungry lizards might be tempted to come close. But most snakes stay absolutely still. Only their senses are alert, waiting. They may wait for weeks, but that is no problem. Eight big meals a year are enough for many snakes. Pythons have been known to last more than a year between meals."

Each double page spread features incredible images, informative text and a photo caption to ensure that readers know what snake is shown and what is happening in that photo. A theme sentence is highlighted to help further understanding of the information being shared.

Always willing to speak about the work that goes into creating his award-winning books, in an afterword Nic Bishop shares some of the difficulties he faced in capturing the snakes that make their debut in this lively book:

"But one did bite me hard. It was one of the first snakes I ever photographed, called a brown tree snake.It leaped from a branch and nearly swallowed my hand in its jaws before I could blink. Luckily, brown tree snakes are not very venomous, but this one left some of its teeth buried in my hand. Snakes lose and replace their teeth all the time, so it was not harmed by biting me...."

While all this learning sets me in a better mood to think about snakes, I cannot say that I would be any less squirmy if I were convinced that a visit to Narcisse, MB in the spring to watch the thousands of garter snakes found writhing there is the field trip of a lifetime for me. Be sure to watch this video so you can see what I mean:"

Now you can go to to see what everyone else is reading. It'll be fun! Thanks to Lizann for hosting this week.

1 comment:

  1. I'm no snake lover but they are fascinating creatures and I can look at fabulous photos like the ones in this book for hours. I love that this book helps show kids the beauty of this creature. Thanks for sharing with Nonfiction Monday.