From School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up-This broad introduction is brimming with information. The lucid, detailed text describes the general physical and behavioral characteristics of all snakes, their evolution, types of habitats, images in mythology and folklore, human encounters with dangerous species, international conservation efforts, and more. The longest chapter, entitled "Snake Sketches," is a mini-field guide to 95 representative world species, grouped by geographical regions, that identifies each species by common and scientific name and describes its special characteristics, geographical range, and average size. An insert of clear, color snapshot-sized photographs depicts about three dozen of these snakes. There are also about two dozen mediocre black-and-white photos and a similar number of good pen-and-ink drawings and diagrams. Tips for dealing with wild snakes that have crept indoors and for keeping the reptiles as pets are appended. The text is well organized and clearly written in a lively style. Many of the topics addressed here, such as snake distribution and snakebite statistics worldwide, are not included in other titles. The anecdotes of scientists' and laypersons' encounters with giant snakes and poisonous species are riveting. However, not all of the scientific terms are defined, e.g., "vestigal," "envenomation," "articular." Sandra Markle's Outside and Inside Snakes (Atheneum, 1995) and Caroline Arnold's Snake (Morrow, 1991; o.p.) are excellent introductions that cover some of the same material for younger audiences. Despite its minor flaws, The Snake Almanac will be a useful resource for students and amateur herpetologists alike.
Karey Wehner, San Francisco Public Library
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
From the Back Cover
Perhaps no creature has been as feared, mythologized, or misunderstood as the snake. The Snake Almanac reveals that the truths about these reptiles are as fascinating as the fictions. There are more than 2,000 species of snakes, and The Snake Almanac gives up close looks at some of the most beautiful, bizarre, and deadly - such as the gliding snake, which can "fly" from trees with the help of skin flaps along its sides, or the hognose snake, which plays dead when threatened, or the powerfully venomous black mamba.Beginning with the snake's evolution, Edward R. Ricciuti goes on to cover the anatomy of snakes and how they move, hunt, eat, breed, and perceive the world around them. He gives a global survey of snakebites - why, when, and where they occur, and the fallacies about treating bites - and examines humankind's attitudes toward snakes, from reviling them as the devil incarnate to revering them as gods.Full of lush illustrations, fact-filled tables and sidebars, and entertaining anecdotes from Ricciuti's experiences as a snake owner and observer, The Snake Almanac is a must-have for anyone interested in nature's legless wonders. (81/4 X 101/4, 228 pages, color photos, b&w photos, illustrations, tables)