Sunday, June 15, 2008

Review of Rattlesnake Jam, by Margot Finke


Rattlesnake Jam is a hilariously funny children’s picture book 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?

Colliers’s colorful, wacky illustrations complement Finke’s humorous rhyme perfectly. Gran is grossly comical with her toothless grin, warts, and bell pepper nose. 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. Whimsical and amusing, Rattlesnake Jam is one of those books young children will beg their parents to read to them again and again.
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