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. (suggested resources, glossary, index) (Nonfiction. 9-13)