FICTION

Hiss-s-s-s!

2012. 160p. 978-0-82342-415-3. 16.95.
COPY ISBN
Gr 3-6–Omar has found the perfect pet: it doesn’t take up much room, it’s clean, it doesn’t shed. His parents promised him a pet when he was old enough to take care of one, and Omar is a very responsible young man. He gets good grades, does his chores, and babysits his younger sister. He’s also done his research, and knows just what he needs to take care of it. So what’s the problem? The pet is a snake, and his mother loathes snakes. Luckily, Mom concedes on the condition that it stays out of her view. So what is Omar supposed to do when Arrow escapes and can’t be found? What follows is a compelling story of how a child loses a snake and gains perspective on the nature of phobias as well as a lesson in making hard choices. Omar is a fantastic role-model for young readers. He’s bright, responsible, empathetic, and research-savvy. Kimmel does an excellent job of creating realistic, well-rounded characters with solid multicultural representation (Omar is Pakistani/Lebanese, his best friend is Chinese); the family dynamic is particularly enjoyable. With fast-paced prose, relatable characters, and a surprise ending, this is a worthy novel for intermediate (and reluctant) readers.–Nicole Waskie-Laura, Chenango Forks Elementary School, Binghamton, NY
Omar, armed with internet research, convinces his family to get him a pet corn snake despite his mother's phobia. Chaos and hijinks ensue when Arrow gets loose in the house. At times, the book reads like a manual on snake care and a lesson on overcoming phobia, but Omar and his family are likable enough to propel this quick read.

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