Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Slithery Snakes

Slithery Snakes

Roxie Munro
Nonfiction Picture Book
For ages 7 to 9
Two Lions, 2013   ISBN: 978-1477816585

Snakes are featured in the mythological stories of many countries. In some tales they are the fearful enemy, in others they are the hero. There are even tales where they have two sides to their personalities; they can be dangerous, but they can be merciful as well. Many people are afraid of snakes and they therefore don’t take the time to see that these creatures are beautiful. In this book Roxie Munro shows to great effect that snakes are extraordinary creatures that they are worthy of our admiration and respect.

   She begins by showing us a close up picture of the patterned scales of a snake. She invites us to guess what kind of snake the pattern belongs to. She gives us a hint or two, telling us that the snake “is named after an article of clothing men once wore to hold up their socks.” We also learn that this kind of snake is found all over North America.

   On the next page we meet the snake with the interesting pattern on its skin. It is the coast garter snake, and the author gives us all kinds of information about the snake’s habits. We learn that these snakes are valued by some humans who, in an effort to protect them, have built “snake tunnels” under roads so that the snakes can safely move around without getting flattened by a vehicle.

   Further on in the book we are show a pattern that consists of red, yellow and black stripes. We are told that this snake species “has venom twice as lethal as a rattlesnake.” We soon learn that this creature, the western coral snake, belongs to the same family as cobras, kraits, mambas, and sea snakes. Once would think such a dangerous creature would be big, but the coral snake is less than two feet long and is “as thick as a pencil.” The good news is that they hunt at night so humans are less likely to encounter them.

   Most of the snakes that we meet in this book have smooth scales, but one of their number is spiny. When we see the snake’s scales with their sharp points, it is hard to believe that they belong to a snake, but they do. These scales cover the body of the spiny bush viper. The venomous snake lives in Africa and prefers to spend its time in bushes and reeds.

   Packed full of interesting facts about snakes, this picture book will fascinate young readers who enjoy learning about natural history. Readers will have a grand time sharing their new found knowledge with friends and family members.