Hiss-s-s-s!

Overview

Omar wants a snake more than anything, but his mom is unenthusiastic to say the least. However, the family strikes a compromise: Omar can get a corn snake, but the pet, which he names Arrow, must stay inside his room, where his mom will not have to set eyes it. So when Arrow escapes, Omar has got to keep it a secret. But with an inquisitive little sister, and parents mindful of odd behavior, Omar is having a time of it. When Arrow makes a surprise appearance, it couldn't be a worse moment—yet the incident that ...
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Overview

Omar wants a snake more than anything, but his mom is unenthusiastic to say the least. However, the family strikes a compromise: Omar can get a corn snake, but the pet, which he names Arrow, must stay inside his room, where his mom will not have to set eyes it. So when Arrow escapes, Omar has got to keep it a secret. But with an inquisitive little sister, and parents mindful of odd behavior, Omar is having a time of it. When Arrow makes a surprise appearance, it couldn't be a worse moment—yet the incident that becomes a catalyst for Omar to gain a new understanding of his mother and her childhood in war-torn Lebanon.
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Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
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
Kirkus Reviews
Ophidiophobes beware! Readers who aren't genuine snake lovers will likely find it difficult to sink their fangs into this tale. In this predictable story that often reads like a how-to manual for first-time snake owners, Kimmel tells the tale of Omar, a fourth-grader who desperately wants a pet snake. Unfortunately, his mother is deathly afraid of the creatures. After painstaking negotiations with his parents, plenty of research and an afternoon with the Snake Dude, Omar is finally allowed to bring home a pet corn snake. Of course, it isn't long before the snake escapes, and Omar must race to find it and spare his mother from coming face to face with her biggest fear. Even if readers aren't put off by the excruciatingly detailed conversations about what makes a suitable reptile habitat, including rheostats, substrate, hides and heat sources, it is difficult to ever warm to Omar. The omniscient, third-person narration feels remote and often preachy, and the children's voices never ring true. With a disappointing lack of emotion and humor, the story feels less like a boy's adventure with his first pet and more like a manual on how to (and how not to) care for a pet snake. (Fiction. 7-12)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780823424153
  • Publisher: Holiday House, Inc.
  • Publication date: 8/28/2012
  • Pages: 208
  • Sales rank: 359,446
  • Age range: 8 - 11 Years
  • Lexile: 540L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Eric A. Kimmel is a popular author of children's books who is admired especially for his lyrical renditions of stories from around the world and for his humor. A former teacher, he is Professor Emeritus of Education at Portland State University. He and his wife, Doris, live in Portland, Oregon, with a cat named Doug and a snake named Pirate.
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