Who likes wriggly snakes? Squirming masses of them? Bob Mason the Snake Scientist, that's who! And his amazing helpers, who together are learning some interesting facts about the huge numbers of garter snakes that mysteriously congregate in Manitoba, Canada. This Scientist in the Field book is a little simpler than others I've read/reviewed. The sentence structure is definitely aimed at younger readers, maybe upper elementary, but the content and excellent writing will attract readers of all ages. Nic Bishop's photographs are, of course, amazing. They portray the fascinating world of snakes without being too frightening or icky, if you're a non-snakes lover.
One of best elements of this book is its emphasis on how the profiled scientist ended up doing this job - his childhood interest, education, and how anyone can do it! Snake Scientist especially does a great job of debunking the mysterious scientist myth, showing Bob Mason as an ordinary guy who worked hard to follow his interests, even when he was told he couldn't do it. The narrative also emphasizes the importance of questions and curiousity in science and even has a list of questions in the back that the snake scientists are still working on.
Verdict: An excellent nonfiction for reading aloud, reluctant readers, or anyone interested in science or snakes.
ISBN: 978-0395871690; Published March 1999 by Houghton Mifflin (later editions still in print); Borrowed from the library; Purchased for the library (not by me)