Thursday, June 5, 2008

Review of Margot Finke’s ‘Rattlesnake Jam’

Hi everyone out there in Bloggerville. Zebee here.

All I can say is Wow! Today we are here with Mayra Calvani and Margot Finke (some more of my boss Joy’s friends) to share a review Mayra wrote about Margot’s most recent book Rattlesnake Jam.

This is a cute rhyming book that all children will love, but let’s see what Mayra has to say. I’ll be back in a bit.
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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? 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 Finke’s series of rhyming books about animals. Whimsical and amusing, Rattlesnake Jam is one of those books young children will beg their parents to read to them again and again.

Reviewed by Mayra Calvani
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Thanks Mayra.

Oh, Margot wanted me to tell you that if you pop over to her website she has some great treats for you like rattler recipes, a rattlesnake puzzle, coloring sheet of Kevin’s fun art and more. You can also win an autographed copy of the book by entering her writing contest. So what are you waiting for? See you over there. Now, who can I get to write my story of when the rattlesnake got . . .

Margot Finke: Blog:
E-Mail: Autographed copies from this page on my website:

Rattlesnake Jam
By Margot E. Finke
Illustrations by Kevin Scott Collier
Guardian Angel Publishing
12430 Tesson Ferry Road #186
Saint Louis, MO 63128 USA
eBook ISBN 13: 978-1-935137-24-5
Print ISBN 13: 978-1-935137-00-9
MAY 2008
Paperback, 28 pages, $10.95
Ages 4 & Up