Gr 4-6-Schnieper has a solid grasp of her sinuous subject. The concise text describes the physical characteristics and behavior of snakes in general and special characteristics of a variety of world species. Profusely illustrated with excellent-quality, full-color photos, the book depicts approximately three dozen species, most of which are indentified in the captions. The text is clearly written and thorough. While reproduction is discussed, very little is said about courting behavior and it does not explain how snakes actually mate. Sandra Markle's Outside and Inside Snakes (Macmillan, 1995) has a narrower focus, concentrating on anatomy and various bodily functions. Seymour Simon's Snakes (HarperCollins, 1992) and Caroline Arnold's Snake (Morrow, 1991) cover much the same material, but Schnieper's title is better organized, better illustrated, and includes a greater number of species. Minor omissions aside, it compares favorably with the best of the books on the topic.-Karey Wehner, San Francisco Public Library
Schnieper, author of "Lizards" (1990), also in the Nature Watch series, seems to know her reptiles. This clearly written overview of snakes will be perfect for reports. All the expected information is here, organized into logical chapters on such topics as physical characteristics, reproduction, hunting and feeding, and self-defense. One particularly nice feature is the picture gallery of snakes from around the world. Captions are good, and the full-color illustrations, from a vivid sequence showing a snake devouring a mouse to close-ups of physical characteristics, are exceptionally clear and filled with fascinating details. No shock value; just the facts in forthright, useful fashion. Glossary.