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LIZARD LOVE by Wendy Townsend


by Wendy Townsend

Age Range: 11 - 14

Pub Date: April 1st, 2008
ISBN: 978-1-932425-34-5
Publisher: Front Street/Boyds Mills

Grace loved running wild in her grandparent’s woods, playing with frogs and marveling at snakes, until she moved to New York City and left childhood behind. New York’s cement sidewalks and brick buildings depress her, as do other eighth graders, who laugh at her homemade reptile jean jacket. When she stumbles upon The Fang and Claw, a cozy pet shop that caters to amphibians and reptiles, she finds a refuge—and even a pet iguana named Spot. Townsend draws gorgeous portraits of scaly creatures, making their pupils, scents, behavior and coloring keenly familiar. Readers come to share Grace’s appreciation for all things slithering, but few will understand how Grace can hug, kiss and sleep with Spot. Grace’s fierce refusal to accept adolescence seems similarly off-kilter. Natural body changes absolutely repulse her; interactions with the opposite sex leave her spinning; cultivating human friendships is almost impossible. While readers warm up to Townsend's cold-blooded creatures, they never really warm up to Grace. (Fiction 11-14)