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Rattlesnake Dance

Rattlesnake Dance

by Jennifer Owings Dewey

Boyds Mills Press publishes a wide range of high-quality fiction and nonfiction picture books, chapter books, novels, and nonfiction


Boyds Mills Press publishes a wide range of high-quality fiction and nonfiction picture books, chapter books, novels, and nonfiction

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Kristin Harris
This is a fascinating book that grabs your attention immediately. The author tells of being bitten by a rattle snake when she was 9 years old and living in New Mexico. In vivid detail, she describes the long and tedious horse ride and drive into town that she had to endure to get to a doctor, only to be told that there was no anti-venom available. What followed was four days of drifting in and out of consciousness and a summer of recuperation and skin grafts. Interspersed with this gripping tale are fascinating illustrations of rattlesnakes and a lot of very interesting information about where they live, their fangs, their heat sensing pits, some Native American beliefs about snakes and other interesting information about human saliva and rattlesnake venom, which have some things in common. In addition to the story of the author's snake bite experience, she tells of seeing a Hopi snake dance, also as a child, and seeing a rattlesnake dance/fight between two males. Highly recommend to all who have an interest in snakes.
School Library Journal
Gr 3-6In a simple, compelling text, Dewey invites readers to share three of her personal experiences with rattlesnakes in her native New Mexico. The first is a traumatic, life-threatening episode involving a snakebite at the age of nine. The second describes her awe at a Hopi rain dance, watching the dancers handle snakesincluding rattlerswith seeming impunity. The third, years later, depicts her wonder at observing two male rattlers jousting for dominance. These engrossing memories are embroidered with informative boxes of scientific facts and folklore about rattlesnakes, and the whole is handsomely enriched by Dewey's elegant, exquisitely detailed pencil illustrations and scientific diagrams. Two problems exist: one small, one not so small. In a listing of rattlesnake enemies, vultures are not mentioned, but one is depicted in the drawing. A distribution map of "Species of Rattlesnakes" includes the cottonmouth and the copperhead. Both of these snakes belong to the family of pit vipers (Crotalidae), which includes rattlesnakes, but they are not members of a rattlesnake genus, and have no rattles. Otherwise, a fascinating read.Patricia Manning, formerly at Eastchester Public Library, NY
Patricia Twohey
The author tells of her near fatal snakebite at age nine, the time she and her father watched a Hopi rain dance with snakes, and how she witnessed two male snakes "dancing" for power. Woven between these true stories are fascinating scientific facts, exquisitely detailed illustrations and compelling folklore about the creatures known as rattlesnakes. Faint-hearted readers, beware!
Bookbag Magazine
Kirkus Reviews
Dewey (Stories on Stone, 1996, etc.) intertwines three autobiographical reminiscences of rattlesnakes and a wealth of snake fact and lore in this thoroughly illustrated book that will appeal to a wide range of readers. In the first of three brief chapters, she retells the compelling story of how she was bitten by a rattlesnake when she was nine, and survived—an incident so vividly rendered that it will make a fine read-aloud. Also included are reflections on a Hopi snake dance she attended as a child, and her observation of two rattlesnakes battling in the desert years later. The narrative is illustrated with colored pencil; there are copious, detailed diagrams and spot drawings in the sidebars. The text in these is precise and scientific, if difficult: "Some venoms [sic] have a gyrotoxic effect, which causes prey to twist and spin in chaotic circles." A map of the US indicates states in which the 17 species of rattlesnake live. Interesting and attractive.

Product Details

Highlights Press
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
9.35(w) x 12.32(h) x 0.57(d)
AD890L (what's this?)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

Jennifer Owings Dewey is the author of Wildlife Rescue, a School Library Journal Best Book of the Year and NCTE Orbis Pictus Honor Book. She lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

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