The Moon and I
by Betsy Byars. (HarperCollins, 1996. ISBN 9780688137045. Order Info.) Nonfiction. 112 pages. Grades 4-9.
With a light and humorous touch, Ms. Byars tells of the way she writes her books. Throughout the account, she also tells of her relationship with a snake, Moon, which she found near her cabin. Her need to learn more about snakes in general and Moon in particular became an obsession that, for a brief time, dominated her existence. That obsession, the reasons for it, and the ways in which she conducted her research are so interesting and helpful that you'll want to read the brief book aloud at the outset of a research project.
The Snake Scientist by Sy Montgomery. Illustrated by Nic Bishop. (2001, Sandpiper. ISBN 0618111190. Order Info.) Nonfiction. 48 pages. Gr 4-8.
This was the first of the amazing "Scientists in the Field" series of nonfiction books. In this volume writer Sy Montgomery and photographer Nic Bishop follow herpetologist Bob Mason to Manitoba, Canada to study the red-sided garter snake. We watch, step by step, as he conducts his experiments. The photographs are beautiful and the writing that accompanies them gives us background on snakes in general as well as the specific information of this species mating, migration, and hibernation habits.
Rattlesnake Dance: True Tales, Mysteries, and Rattlesnake Ceremonies by Jennifer Owings Dewey. (2000, Boyds Mills Press. ISBN 9781563978777. Order Info.) Nonfiction. 48 pages. Gr 3-7.
Here's an interesting way to convey information. Three anecdotes from the author's childhood revolve around rattlesnakes. In the first, she is bitten and nearly dies. In the second, she observes a Hopi snake ceremony and in the third she observes two rattlesnakes in combat. Around these tales, insets give extensive information about the species.
Verdi by Janell Cannon. (1997, Harcourt. ISBN 9780152010287. Order Info.) Picture Book. 56 pages. Gr PreK-3.
Verdi is a proud yellow snake who relishes his life and his bright yellow skin. He dreads becoming lazy boring and green like the older snakes. When he spots a patch of green on his yellow skin, he nearly kills himself to get rid of it. He soon learns the valuable lesson that age is more than skin deep and that he can become a fun-loving elder snake.
- Snakes by Seymour Simon. (2007, Collins. ISBN 9780061140952. Order Info.) Picture Book. 32 pages. Gr 2-9.
Leave it to Simon to make the subject of snakes fascinating to every comer -- even if snakes weren't among your favorite creatures. With his eye on both the curious child and the fascinating species, Simon knows exactly which photographs will grab the eye and offer the most information and which sentences will do the same.
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