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A Rattler’s Tale (review)

Miscellaneous Friends
On Conflict (January 2023)
A Rattler’s Tale
written by Nancy Hicks Marshall
illustrated by Lauran Sarantopulos

This children’s book by Nancy Marshall of Phoenix Friends Meeting was published in September 2021. Several Friends from Intermountain Yearly Meeting have written to praise it:

I think Nancy Marshall’s latest book is my favorite so far. Through (sometimes embellished) true-life encounters between wildlife and a family of humans who regularly get away to a cabin in the woods, kids can learn about a variety of Arizona wildlife and how to safely interact with them – or avoid them if that is the better path. The narration is by an Arizona Black Rattlesnake, so the reader gets an animal’s point of view. The wonderful illustrations by Lauren Sarantopulos are whimsical and yet realistic enough that children will have no problem identifying the real critter if it crosses their path. For those who want to dig deeper, the book includes a glossary, a taxonomy chart, and a “Resources for the Curious.”

– Cindy Yurth, Durango Friends Meeting

An Arizona Black Rattlesnake speaks, “First things first. Who lives in these hills and valleys year-round? From the desert to the mountains, this land is my land. It belongs to me and a lot of other animals. Humans are definitely the invasive species.” The rattlesnake tells us tales of wild animals in the National Forests, and their occasional encounters with humans.

Our Rattler speaks in middle-school kid-talk, and explains how things really work in the forest. He understands some of the things that humans do, but is mystified by others. Luckily, his ghost-writer is Nancy Marshall, who explains some of the mysteries to us, even though they remain incomprehensible to Rattler.

Nancy’s friend Lauren Sarantopulos illustrates the tales, capturing the animals even better than a camera could do. Of course, Rattler is the star of the show, and his pictures are the best! Rattler tells some pretty funny tales of a
ring-tailed cat caught in the human’s bathroom, a raccoon who eats something new, and a deer who is nearly invited to lunch by a mountain lion! Rattler’s neighborhood humans love wildlife, and learn much from their encounters with the forest’s true residents. A sweet story!!

– Kathi Atkinson, Flagstaff Friends Meeting

I have already read A Rattler’s Tale several times in my classes, and it started great conversations with all groups.

– Kay Bordwell, Flagstaff Friends Meeting

This book is so nice to read at any age and my whole family enjoyed it. The stories are so well laid out and the illustrations tie it all together! I highly recommend this book for everyone and anyone.

– Fernando Rios, Phoenix Friends Meeting


Children's books environment animals

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