by Margot Finke
(Oregon - USA)
Explore books for children. Here is one which is hilariously funny picture book, Rattlesnake Jam, especially for boys and reluctant readers.
It is about an old couple who share an irresistible affection for rattlesnakes.
There’s only one problem: While Pa would rather have the rattlesnakes turned into fritters or pie, old Gran prefers them turned into jam… disgustingly green, sweetened, gooey rattlesnake jam!
So no matter how cold the weather is, there goes brave Pa hunting after the snakes. And as he hunts them, he fantasizes about the various ways Gran could cook them—hot on a plate, fried, sliced on white rice, hmmm… But no way will his dreams ever become a reality, for as readers will learn “…snake cooked for Pa was not in Gran’s plan. She dreamed of them sweetened and made into jam.”
Though Gran swears her special jam can cure colds, gout and wheeze, not to mention “troublesome knees”, everyone dislikes the taste of her ghastly creation. Will Gran ever stop? And what would happen to Pa, if she ever did?
Colliers’s colorful, wacky illustrations complement Finke’s humorous rhyme perfectly. Gran is grossly comical with her toothless grin, warts, bell pepper nose, and tough exterior. The reader will feel sorry for Pa, who seems completely under Gran’s control.
The book has 28 pages in all, and each story page has an illustration with a short text at the bottom—a two or four line rhyme, like this one:
Drop in chunky slices, stir well with a spoon.
Add mysterious spices! Gran hummed a wild tune.
The way to Gran’s heart was through rattlers galore—
Making rattler jam bubble, ‘til it flowed on the floor.
The song-like cadence will be enjoyed by kids and adults alike.
Snakes are reptiles that inspire both fear and fascination, especially in children, and it was clever of the author to use them as victims instead of villains in this book. This is a fine addition to Margot Finke's series of rhyming books about animals.
Whimsical and amusing, Rattlesnake Jam is one of those books for children, which young children will beg their parents to read to them again and again.
Reviewed by Mayra Calvani - author and reviewer
Illustrations: Kevin Scott Collier
Guardian Angel Publishing
e-Book ISBN 13: 978-1-935137-24-5
Print ISBN 13: 978-1-935137-00-9
Paperback, 28 pages, $10.95
Ages 4 & Up