Sneed B. Collard III’s Most Fun Book Ever About Lizards
Sneed B. Collard III, author
Sneed B. Collard III has been a biologist and a computer scientist. He’s put his knowledge and experience to use by writing more than thirty children’s books, including Many Biomes, One Earth; Beaks; and Teeth. He is the 2006 recipient of the prestigious Washington Post–Children’s Book Guild Nonfiction Award for his writing achievements. He lives in Missoula, Montana.
Read more about Sneed B. Collard III.
- An NSTA/CBC Outstanding Science Trade Books for Students K-12, 2013
With a pleasant, conversational text and ample, fascinating photographs, this book will engage readers from beginning to end. Those already enamored of lizards will find much to like, while those less charmed may just catch some of the author’s enthusiasm for his scaly subjects. Collard’s playful style is reminiscent of a captivating nature program, complete with excellent pacing—each section ends with a cliffhanger drawing the reader onward. The many close-up photographs, often showing the lizards with what seems to be almost mammal-like expressions, are appealing, though readers are strongly cautioned against getting lizards as pets. The design of the book is also impressive: well-captioned photos are strategically placed and balanced with appealing blocks of text. A short glossary and list of further reading is included. Fans of Nic Bishop Lizards (2010) who are looking for more information on the topic will especially appreciate this title. —Randall Enos
This lively, information-packed introduction to the world of lizards describes their surprising variety and life in the wild and offers cautions from a long-time reptile fan for those who want to keep lizards as pets.
Collard, who introduced middle-grade readers to Mesozoic reptiles with Reign of the Sea Dragons (2008), turns his attention here to modern-day lizards. After presenting an exemplar, “Joe Lizard,” a western fence lizard, he goes on to describe other well-known species, including Komodo dragons, Gila monsters, chameleons and iguanas, as well as some with unusual talents, including “religious lizards” that can walk on water. He covers eating and being eaten, the ways saurians keep warm and reproduce, and threats to their survival. His information is solid and clearly organized but conveyed in a relatively lengthy, chatty narrative whose occasional exaggerations may surprise some readers, who will need his warning, “Just kidding.” Sentences trail off into ellipses, encouraging readers to keep turning the pages. Most of the appealing and well-reproduced photographs were taken by the author. Close-ups show lizard characteristics (the break line for a new tail, a monitor’s forked tongue); longer shots show them in their natural habitat. Captions and sidebars add further information.
For readers intrigued by Nic Bishop Lizards (2010), this may lead to true lizard-love.
New York Journal of Books
Sneed B. Collard III’s Most Fun Book Ever About Lizards is a welcome addition to nonfiction resources for curious kids.
This 48-page book includes a glossary and index plus chapters that explore how the average “Joe Lizard” lives, eats, and reproduces.
One chapter is devoted to the Stars of the Lizard World such as the 10-foot Komodo Dragons or Oros that can weigh over 300 pounds, and the poisonous Gila Monsters of the American Southwest.
Another chapter discusses the Lizard Olympians, where the reader learns about basilisks who can run on their hind legs across water as well as geckos with special loose skin that allows them to glide from tree to tree.
There is a section devoted to Keeping Lizards As Pets that explains why the author believes this is generally not a good idea; Mr. Collard also points out the requirements of those creatures that are kept in captivity.
A good balance is maintained between text and illustration. The text is kid-friendly and conveys lots of information in an easily accessible style while serving up generous doses of humor. There are excellent captions and factoid boxes to highlight especially interesting details.
The amazing color photographs, some taken by the author, reveal details not only about the animal but about its habitat as well.
Sneed B. Collard III’s Most Fun Book Ever About Lizards is highly recommended and will greatly appeal to young naturalists. - Phyllis J. Perry
School Library Journal
The author’s quirky sense of humor is an unusual element in this solid introduction. The text, written in a breezy, conversational style, describes the physical and behavioral characteristics of a typical species (the western fence lizard–dubbed “Joe Lizard” here); profiles four of the best-known varieties–Komodo dragons, Gila monsters, chameleons, and iguanas; and presents overviews of the reptiles’ diets and feeding methods, defense mechanisms, regulation of body heat, and courtship and egg-laying behavior. The last few chapters outline threats to saurian survival, survey about a dozen different species, and discuss popular lizards’ unsuitability as pets. Joking comments, usually anthropomorphic in nature and silly enough to coax a chuckle from even the most serious of readers, appear frequently. (“During courtship, males put themselves on display. They drive fancy cars or flash wads of cash. Sometimes they wear gold jewelry. Just kidding.”) Well-composed, sharp color photos of representative species illustrate the text on almost every page; many are close-ups. Sidebars with additional information on characteristics, habitats, etc., are scattered throughout. Collard’s title offers more detail on feeding habits and temperature control than other introductions to the subject, and its warnings about the pitfalls of choosing lizards as pets are particularly valuable. It will be a good companion to Nic Bishop’s less-detailed, but beautifully photographed Lizards (Scholastic, 2010), aimed at a somewhat younger audience. –Karey Wehner, formerly at San Francisco Public Library
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Page count: 48
10 x 8