Monday, February 4, 2013

Non-Fiction Monday: Nic Bishop Snakes

by Nic Bishop. 48 p. Scholastic, Inc., October, 2012. 978-545206389. (Purchased.)

Full disclosure here: I cannot be objective about Nic Bishop. His books are pretty much an automatic purchase for me. The man is a god with a camera. My first Nic Bishop experience was way back in 2005. I had ordered Chameleon, Chameleon by Joy Cowley, which was photographed by Nic Bishop and chose to read it aloud to my K - 2 classes. With each reading, I came to appreciate just how ingenious this book was. It was easy to read, beautiful and contained most of the essential information about the chameleon. A quick check of the catalog revealed that I had been purchasing both Bishop and Cowley, first, as the aide at my library, then, from 2001 on, as the school librarian. I just hadn't really sat down and read any. I certainly hadn't chosen any as a read aloud. 

I pulled Red-Eyed Tree Frog off the shelf to join Chameleon, Chameleon and built a lesson for the students in grades 6 - 8.  My motto has always been, "one is never too old for picture books." And, my middle school students were rather used to me reading them a story when they arrived for their weekly class. That was the first time that I realized how hard it was to write an informational picture book for the very young and how such a project would be cool to try in middle school. To me, the ultimate synthesis of knowledge is the ability to distill and simplify it. Brilliance.

Bishop not only loaned (lent?) his photographic prowess to several Scientist in the Field books (and, we all know my love for THAT series), but branched out as author as well with his Nic Bishop series, Frogs, Butterflies, Lizards, Butterflies, Spiders and Snakes.

Each of these gorgeous volumes, boasts not only spectacular full-color photographs with several gate-folds, but at least two levels of text in addition to informative captions. Most of the photos are shown several times the actual size but all feature such incredible detail and just leap off the pages. In Snakes, the author speaks at the end about the challenges of photographing snakes in the wild and so, most of the snakes featured here were photographed in captivity. A page containing the index, a short list of further reading and short glossary concludes the book.

Visit the author's web page,, for more information. And don't miss this, or any other book associated with him.

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