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WE CAN’T ALL BE RATTLESNAKES by Patrick Jennings

WE CAN’T ALL BE RATTLESNAKES

By Patrick Jennings

Age Range: 10 - 12

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-06-082114-2
Publisher: HarperCollins

Like a Dick King-Smith tale with a bit more bite—and a certain amount of biting—this animal-narrated episode casts a satiric light on human behavior but leaves room for compassion, too. Captured and plunked into a bedroom tank by Gunnar, a horrible child given to tantrums, a gopher snake he dubs “Crusher” struggles to comprehend her weird new world while determinedly setting her mind on escape. Rejecting the resigned claims of the tortoise and the lizard in adjacent tanks that death is the only escape, Crusher resolves to play “tame” and bide her time. Proud of her wildness, though, she also goes on a hunger strike—which is severely tested when Gunnar drops “Breakfast,” a live white mouse, into her tank. In time Crusher is surprised to realize that Breakfast has become more than just prey to her and that even Gunnar (“dumb as a duck” though he may be) deserves an occasional flicker of sympathy. Readers will enjoy her snake’s-eye view of human foibles and cheer her on her way when a chance for release comes at last. (Fantasy. 10-12)