Turtles, Snakes and Other Reptiles is part of an exciting new series of non-fiction books about the natural world. It’s small and compact, but packed full of interesting information and trivia. The first few pages introduce the concept of classification and how reptiles fit into the wider animal kingdom. It then describes how they can be identified and explains their unique characteristics. The main body of the book looks in detail at each of the four reptile groups, which are testudines (tortoises and turtles), squamates (snakes and lizards), crocodilians (crocodiles and alligators) and rhynchocephalians (tuataras, which only exist in isolated areas of New Zealand). Examples are given for each of the groups, with each animal covered having its own Did You Know? information section, as well as a Top Trumps style collection of facts and figures.
I was hugely impressed with the layout of the book, as well as the clear and concise style in which it is written. The text is easily accessible to children across Key Stage Two, but also provides readers with opportunities to expand their vocabulary. The welcome page explains how it is set out and would be of assistance to children trying to navigate this type of book for the first time. The information provided about each reptile will appeal to animal enthusiasts as well as to the more casual reader. I particularly enjoyed learning about the differences between pythons and boas, and about the frightening power contained in the jaws of the saltwater crocodile. It has a high-quality hardback finish, with the strikingly colourful illustrations on each page complementing the accompanying black and white photographs.
It is the kind of text that should be dipped into repeatedly, rather than read from cover to cover, and would sit well in the Natural History section of any primary school library. Having already enjoyed the other book in the series, Whales, Dolphins and Other Marine Mammals, I am delighted that this is of an equally high standard.