It is a general fact that kids are fascinated with snakes. I know I was as a child. (Actually, truth be told, I am still quite fond of snakes and spend a great deal of time photographing them, reading about them and just watching them). If you throw a few books of different subject in a pile and tell a group of children to pick one to read, chances are the snake or dinosaur books will be the first to be grabbed up.
Like several other readers here, I am a big fan of this Eyewitness Readers series, and of DK books in general of all levels. The Eyewitness Readers come in for levels; Beginning to read, Beginning to read alone, Reading alone and Proficient readers. The book being reviewed here is level two...for beginning to read alone readers. It contains longer sentences and increases the vocabulary and has little information box inserts found throughout which is great training for this age group. (Grades 1-3).
The information in this little work is quite interesting and valid and the photography is rather amazing and well done. It goes perfectly with the text. And example of the test is as follows:
"Not all snakes live on the ground.
Some live in trees.
Snakes may not have legs,
but they can still climb.
A snake has scales
on its belly
that are larger
than the ones on its back.
These scales grip the tree.
The snake uses
its strong muscles
to pull itself up the tree."
Not too difficult, but difficult enough to the challenging to most of this age group. If you find your child reads these with too much ease, you can always go up a level. If the child has problems, then you can go down a level.
For only 32 pages there are a lot of facts included in this work; all presented in such a way as to make them quite understandable. It is also designed to create opportunities for questions and conversations with the child.
Good book in a good series. I do very much recommend this one.
on August 31, 2008
They're simple. They're informative. They're cheap. If your child is too young to read, they're perfectly good read-aloud books.
What more can you ask for when stocking your kid's library?
This book is filled with stunning pictures of snakes being snakes - so if you're squeamish, avoid it. If you're not, though, you're sure to love the snakes eating rats :)
One problem I *do* have with it is that not all the information is well-integrated into the text. There are too many little "fact boxes" on the pages. These just distract from the main text, and make the book harder for beginning readers. All information should have been written as a cohesive unit, not as a page with a separate little box of information.
on September 21, 2009
Slinky, Scaly Snakes! by Jennifer Dussling is the most fascinating book I've ever read about the creatures. Of course I realize that as a Level 2 DK Reader designed for children who are beginning to read alone, it's written for a much younger audience (my children think it's neat too). The high-interest, action-filled photographs of snakes going about their business make this one title not to miss in your collection of readers.
Featuring large, easy to read print, DK's Level 2 readers contain a simple index, longer sentences with increased vocabulary, and information boxes full of facts. Each page typically contains two to four sentences of Dussling's narrative that accompanies bright, bold photography of snakes at work. The blend of 70% pictures and 30% text helps young readers move ahead without getting bogged down.
Not for the faint of heart, but excellent for the morbidly curious (this means little boys, my nature-loving daughters, and me), Slinky, Scaly Snakes! goes where few books have gone before. Not only are photographs of a variety of species present, along with the necessary snapshots of shedding skin, but also fascinating step-by-step photo montages are also included of snakes devouring their prey.
A boa constrictor is shown swallowing a rat in stages; a rattlesnake is shown injecting poison into its prey; a rock python is captured in the act of swallowing a gazelle; and another snake is shown squeezing a small rodent to death. I'm firmly convinced that these fascinating -- if somewhat macabre -- photo spreads are what will keep young readers returning to this book time after time.
A series of photographs depicts each step of the egg-eating process, from the monumental feat of swallowing an egg whole, to displaying the distended body of the snake, and best of all -- the shell and snake-spit that are ejected once the egg breaks inside the snake and is consumed. Hard to find pictures of a snake laying eggs, baby snakes hatching, and a snake playing dead round out the terrific selection of "up close and personal" snaps.
Dussling doesn't focus entirely upon the bodily functions of snakes (however fascinating they may be). She also briefly explores the role snakes play in the ecosystem, and in the development of medicines. Snake habitats, method of locomotion, camouflage, and senses are all covered in the text, with additional facts included on the "Snake Facts" page at the book's end. One brief mention of an evolutionary theory presented as fact is included in one of the call-out information boxes.
With such high-interest photographs revealing the fascinating world of these slithering reptiles Slinky, Scaly, Snakes! is a perfect choice for engaging reluctant readers who have a fondness for creepy-crawlies. While certainly not for young and old sufferers of ophidiophobia (fear of snakes), this fascinating title has certainly found a permanent home in our collection.
on September 23, 2006
My son is 7 1/2 and just getting to the point where reading is less of a chore. This book has many of the skills he needs to practice and does so in an informative, engaging way. Lots of the words end in "silent E" or "ing"...I'll have him read a couple of pages a day and these small, consistent efforts are really yielding fruit. I should warn the squeamish that there are pics in there showing snakes eating rats and other animals. But 7yo boys are notorious for finding such stuff cool (so do I). Highly recommended.