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Saturday, October 10, 2015

I Don't Like Snakes, written by Nicola Davies and illustrated by Luciano Lozano. Candlewick Press, Random House. 2015. $19.00 ages 5 and up

"So when I said, "I really,
really, REALLY don't like
snakes!" they all said,

"Because," I said,
"they slither!"

"Snakes HAVE to slither,"
said my mom. "They don't
have legs, so they bend ... "

I love the way Nicola Davies tells stories that allow her readers to learn a great deal of factual information. She has done it before (One Tiny Turtle, 2001, Dolphin Baby, 2012, Just Ducks, 2014) and we can only hope that she will do it again ... and soon!

In this girl's family the pet of choice is the snake.  She is not inclined to be a part of the admiration society. For every reason her family members have for loving them, she can think of a conflicting theory and an absolute reason for not doing so.

Following the above interaction, Ms. Davies clearly explains how slithering works.

"Snakes slither in different ways....

Concertina slithering

The snake grips the ground at its tail lend with the scales on its underside and stretches forward with its head end. Then it grips at the head and pulls the tail end forward, and starts all over again.

Serpentine slithering

The snakes uses its scales for grip and presses against the round and against objects on either side with the curves of its body, to push itself forward.

Caterpillar crawling

When a snake needs to move without any side-to-side wiggling, the scales under its head and neck grip the ground while its tail end scrunches upward and forward, like an inchworm."

Hmmm! For every single argument she has against liking the slithery things, her family have expert reasons to dissuade her. Some of her beliefs have no basis in fact, while others are exactly right. They do slither! Funny at times, and positively scary at others, this exceptional nonfiction picture book will entrance and inform readers with accurate information.

Luciana Lozano uses mixed media to introduce us to snakes as they live in the family home and in the wild. Often close-up and very detailed they are sure to impress those who share the family's love of these oft-reviled reptiles, and may even convince some of us to reconsider our strongly held opinions concerning their need to be in our natural world.

There is a lot to learn here, not the least of which is how they 'kill their prey'.

"Some snakes use POISON. They have fangs that are hollow, like a doctor`s needle, which inject venom. They strike like lightning, killing with just one bite. Their dinner dies in moments.`

Combining research and quality writing, Nicola Davies adds this book to a long list of exceptional reading for children. Thank you!

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