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May 26, 2015

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Pick of the Day: Nic Bishop Snakes

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BISHOP, Nic. Nic Bishop Snakes. photos by author. 48p. CIP. further reading. glossary. index. Book cover with green snakeScholastic. Oct. 2012. Tr $17.99. ISBN 978-0-545-20638-9. LC 2011039316.
Gr 3-5–Nearly two dozen close-ups of photogenic snakes are highlighted in this introduction. A lucid text, set either on different colored pages or overlaid on photo backgrounds, briefly describes basic anatomy; major physical characteristics common to all snakes; distinctive characteristics of more than a dozen world species; locomotion; diet; hunting and feeding methods; defense mechanisms; and egg-laying and birth of young. The photographs, a mix of full-page and spreads, are sharply focused, well composed, and expertly lighted so that the reptiles’ beautiful skin colors and patterns are shown to advantage–the shot of a Central American eyelash viper in attack mode is especially good, and a four-page foldout displaying a coiled Mojave rattlesnake is impressive. Picture captions identify the species depicted and offer additional information on characteristics; the degree of magnification employed is indicated. Other snakes shown include the parrot snake, carpet python, and African egg-eating snake. An afterword describes some of the difficulties Bishop encountered in photographing his subjects. This title compares well with such standards as Sandra Markle’s Outside and Inside Snakes (S & S, 1995) and Seymour Simon’s Snakes (HarperCollins, 1992) and offers some new tidbits of information. Bishop’s brilliantly photographed book will appeal both to snake fans and casual browsers.–Karey Wehner, formerly at San Francisco Public Library

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