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Discover the Secret Lives of Snakes

By Nic Bishop
Scholastic, $17.99, 48 pages

If you could transform into a snake, you’d be only a few inches thick, have no arms or legs and have a long backbone with hundreds of ribs and thousands of muscles. Few people have the chance to get up close and personal with a snake. Sure, you may own one as a pet, but you’d have to travel a lot to see the more than 3,000 kinds of snakes found all over the world. Budding biologists, young naturalists and anyone interested in learning more about snakes must read Nic Bishop’s new book Snakes. Larger-than-life photographs, foldout pages and fascinating facts make this book a fun and educational read.

Meet the African horned bush viper, the South American emerald tree boa and the Australian carpet python. Young readers will learn the meaning of vocabulary words like predator, venom, scales, molting, prey and ambush. Did you know that snakes do not have ear holes, so they don’t hear sound like we do? Instead, they feel vibrations through the ground using bones in their jaws! Bishop’s photography is stunning. Readers can see details like the multicolored hues gleaming off the skin of the South American rainbow boa and study how the African Gaboon viper is camouflaged to look like a leaf on the forest floor in order to hide from prey. A warning for parents – one picture shows a half-swallowed mouse. This photo isn’t for the squeamish, but it does help kids understand how snakes survive in nature.

Reviewed by Elizabeth Franklin

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