What the Snakes Wrote

Overview

Hurray for snakes!

Rufus the farmyard dog first notices the strangely shaped snakes on the ground outside his house. The word they form with their bodies, DOG, looks oddly familiar. As Rufus goes about his patrol, the snakes follow behind. Soon dozens of snakes join in, until the farmer's field is covered in words. What are the snakes trying to tell Rufus?

The farmer, busy covering up an old well in a far corner of his field, doesn't realize ...

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Overview

Hurray for snakes!

Rufus the farmyard dog first notices the strangely shaped snakes on the ground outside his house. The word they form with their bodies, DOG, looks oddly familiar. As Rufus goes about his patrol, the snakes follow behind. Soon dozens of snakes join in, until the farmer's field is covered in words. What are the snakes trying to tell Rufus?

The farmer, busy covering up an old well in a far corner of his field, doesn't realize that his action will destroy the wintertime home of the harmless snakes. But Rufus's determination helps the snakes find a way to tell the farmer their predicament and save their home.

Tina Holdcroft's illustrations are an energetic and fun-filled complement to a charming story that subtly presents the benefits of literacy as well as the importance of preserving animal habitats. A brief afterword gives young readers additional information about snakes.

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Editorial Reviews

On My Bookshelf
Does it get better in a children's book than adorable pictures, a positive message of cooperation, empathy, and consideration toward the natural world, and educational material?
Resource Links - Stephanie Johnson
The bright illustrations draw the eye and the characters have goofy and cartoonish faces that children will enjoy.
Canadian Children's Book News - Sandra O'Brien
Hutchins has written a tale about snakes that not only encourages children to respect animal habitats, but that is also lighthearted and fun.
Kirkus Reviews
Garter snakes use spelling skills to enlist lifesaving help. Who knew? As the chickens peck nearby and the cat perches in a window, Rufus the farm dog is startled to see three snakes twisted into shapes that "seemed somehow familiar." They are forming the word DOG. Another 28 snakes have spelled out, "Help please Snakes in trouble" (they can spell, but punctuation is harder). Uncertain, Rufus sets out on farmyard patrol. He herds four snakes spelling NEED out of the path of a speeding truck just in time and thinks that all is well--until he notices more snakes spelling out more words. This is a job for the farmer, who's filling a hole. Rufus grabs the shovel and takes off across the field, the farmer in hot pursuit. The snakes have spelled out a new message--"SAVE OUR HOME"--with an arrow pointing the way. The farmer heads to his computer to look up snake facts, then sets to work. With Rufus watching, he redigs the hole, then puts a fence around it. In cold weather, snakes can avoid freezing to death by staying in the hole, he explains. The snakes spell a shoutout for Rufus, who came to their rescue--even though it's not clear whether Rufus can read. Strictly for reptile fans; Hutchins' one-note tale and Holdcroft's illustrations are both rough and unsubtle. Two appended pages of interesting snake facts are the highlights here. (Picture book. 5-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781554514724
  • Publisher: Annick Press, Limited
  • Publication date: 3/5/2013
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.80 (w) x 8.80 (h) x 0.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Hazel Hutchins has written more than 30 books for children and young adults and has received numerous awards for her work. She lives in Canmore, Alberta.

Tina Holdcroft is the author and/or illustrator of more than 40 books for children, including Spy, Spy Again. She lives in Toronto, Ontario.

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