Wednesday, October 31, 2012


Snakes by Nic Bishop

I'm about to make a confession.  Are you ready?  I enjoy Nic Bishop (that's not the confession).  I think he's an incredible photographer, artist, and informational writer.  I've looked at many of his books.  I've purchased many of his books for our school library.  He's a name.  He's known.  He's renowned.  Here's the confession part.  I don't think (there I am protecting myself from perjury) that I've ever read a Nic Bishop book cover to cover.  Every word.  Beginning to end.  Now, in the wonderful world of nonfiction, you often don't need to read in a sequential order to garner information, but nonetheless, I'm embarrassed.

With all that said, CYBILS, it's a good thing you picked me, because I have been doing just that.  Reading nonfiction picture books cover to cover and loving every second (oh, wait...there's a book for that) of it.

Anyway, back to snakes.  These are not snakes on a plane.  At all.  These are not snakes in the wild (as I discovered when I read the author's note) but snakes in Nic Bishop's "snake room."  Don't you have one of those in your house?  Because of the nature of snakes: as Nic states, they "...are shy, nervous, and fast.  They do not always want to stay in one place while you take their picture.  And if a snake does not want to do something, it always gets its way."  So, he photographed them in captivity, learning at the same time how to care for them and their needs.  I also learned that Nic B. uses photoshop (or some other form of computer editing) to get the shot he wants.  Just a little tid bit.  Good to know.  Also, given the picture he doctored, he's VERY good at it.  The most remarkable photo (which was not photoshopped) was the one of an African egg eating snake egg.  You may never look at an egg the same way.  The snake's throat has special spines to crack the egg, making it possible to "slurp" the contents and spit out the empty eggshell.  That's certainly one way to get your protein.

Prior to reading this book, I was no snake expert.  I'm not the kind of girl who is afraid of snakes, per se, but I've also never been around a truly scary snake outside of an enclosed, controlled habitat.  All that to say, here are some of my favorite (new to me) fun facts:

  • Egg eating etiquette
  • Snakes can ripple muscles in their underbelly to glide forward without wriggling (while I'm sure I've seen this at some point in time, it didn't occur to me how it was happening).
  • Brumation: long, deep rest
  • Many snakes only eat 8 big meals a year

ISBN: 978-0-545-20638-9
Published 2012 by Scholastic Nonfiction
I borrowed this copy from the public library to read and review it.
I plan to add this book to our school library collection.
It will join:

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