Sunday, January 22, 2006

Chameleon, Chameleon

Cowley, Joy. 2005. CHAMELEON, CHAMELEON. Ill. by Nic Bishop. New York: Scholastic. ISBN 0439666538 [Suggested Grade Levels K-2]

When the chameleon wakes up from his nap, he wakes up hungry. Thus begins his slow journey through the trees and across the forest floor to find some food. Along the way, the chameleon meets a scary-looking gecko and a tiny tree frog. Neither of which are dangerous, but “what’s this? A scorpion! Watch out, chameleon! The scorpion’s stinger is poisonous.” Eventually, he finds a tasty snack and makes a new friend. The story is straightforward and direct, and the text is appropriate for a slightly older audience.

Set on backgrounds of greens, yellows, and oranges, the layout of the print and pictures enhances the story. The pictures used in CHAMELEON, CHAMELEON are crisp, sharp photographs featuring close-up shots of the various animals described and the actions that the chameleon takes. The process used to take the pictures is also described in “how the photographs were taken.” To get the necessary shots of the extremely shy chameleons without causing them stress, Bishop limited his photographing to thirty minutes a day. After many months of allowing the chameleons to adapt to various scenes and capturing the desired pictures, “the reward was great, especially to be able to provide for young readers an intimate introduction to these extraordinary and engaging animals.”

Have children imagine what it would be like to be a chameleon and to fend for themselves in a forest. What obstacles would they encounter? Who are their friends and who are their enemies? What foods do they eat? When would they change colors? Young children can practice crawling like chameleons and sticking their tongues out like chameleons.

Other books by Joy Cowley and Nic Bishop:

Other books about chameleons:
Knudsen, Michelle. COLORFUL CHAMELEONS! ISBN 0375806652
Stefoff, Rebecca. CHAMELEON. ISBN 0761401180

By Mary D. Buckalo

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