A STEM Related Book

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Rolling Readers Space Coast, Inc. Commentary:

Herpetology is the study of amphibians like frogs, toads, salamanders, lizards, and snakes. With its tropical climate, marshlands and swamps, Florida is home to many amphibians, especially snakes, so for this month we chose to focus on snakes for our READ ALL ABOUT IT – STEM topic. Our highlighted book this September 2017 is The Gum Chewing Rattler – written by Joe Hayes and illustrated by Antonio Castro Lopez. This book is fictional and what would be considered a ‘tall tale’ in literacy circles. Realistically, a rattlesnake would not be seen chewing bubble gum as the cover implies! The author was a little boy when he encountered a rattlesnake and since he was always getting fussed at by his mother for chewing so much bubble gum and leaving wads of it everywhere, most recently in his shirt pocket, he came up with a funny story about his snake experience. A fun story, but is it real? That’s how ‘tall tales’ work – they keep you guessing on their authenticity. We actually chose this as our ‘give-away’ book for the 2015-16 school year; giving it to all 2nd grade students participating in one of our literacy programs. Students and teachers alike enjoyed the story and the colorful illustrations. Recipient of the 2005 Talking Leaves Award from the National Storytelling Network for his storytelling, Joe Hayes weaves a great tale-well worth the read.


GrK (with support) to Gr3

From School Library Journal:

“Hayes spins a yarn purportedly derived from his boyhood in a small town in Arizona. The story involves his penchant for chewing wads of bubblegum, his mother’s exasperation with the resultant messes, and an encounter with an angry rattlesnake. The large, two-page illustrations depict the exaggerations of this tall tale perfectly with varying perspectives on the child’s encounter with the creature, bright shades of gold and turquoise, and an emphasis on pink (of course). Endpapers repeat the bold pink with splashes of a paler hue, framing a fun book for just about any kid; boys, especially, will love it.”

Judith Constantinides, formerly at East Baton Rouge Parish Main Library, LA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

“Hayes himself appears at the beginning and end, recalling to a small group of listeners how, as a lad, he changed his mother’s irritated tune about keeping bubblegum in his shirt pockets.…Castro exaggerates the expressions on his human characters and gives the rattler a fiercely intense air of menace for this brief and thoroughly believable (right?) tale.

-Kirkus Reviews

Brevard County Library link to locate this book: Click here to locate this book

A couple additional books about snakes:


“Young Verdi doesn’t want to grow up big and green. He likes his bright yellow skin and sporty stripes. Besides, all the green snakes he meets are lazy, boring, and rude. When Verdi finds a pale green stripe stretching along his whole body, he tries every trick he can think of to get rid of it–and ends up in a heap of trouble. Despite his efforts, Verdi turns green, but to his delight, he discovers that being green doesn’t mean he has to stop being himself. “Cannon is on a roll, her gift for creating memorable characters and scenes on glorious display in this tale of a feisty python hatchling.”–Publishers Weekly – Grade K-3 –

Brevard County Public Library link for this book:  Click here to locate this book 


“In this story, a little boy really does not like snakes! It creatively gives facts about snakes while using rhyming text. The text often slithers across the page in the form of a snake.” – Grade K-2 –

Brevard County Public Library link for this book:  Click here to locate this book