Author: Kimmel, Eric A.
When a Muslim American boy named Omar finally convinces his family that he should have a pet snake, it escapes and Omar learns why his mother is so scared of them.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 3.70
Points: 6.0 Quiz: 153327
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: 3-5
Reading Level: 3.20
Points: 11.0 Quiz: 58553
Common Core Standards
Grade 3 → Reading → RL Literature → 3.RL Key Ideas & Details
Grade 3 → Reading → RL Literature → 3.RL Craft & Structure
Grade 3 → Reading → RL Literature → 3.RL Integration & Knowledge of Ideas
Grade 4 → Reading → RL Literature → 4.RL Key Ideas & Details
Grade 4 → Reading → RL Literature → 4.RL Range of Reading & Level of Text Complexity
Grade 4 → Reading → RL Literature → 4.RL Craft & Structure
Grade 4 → Reading → RL Literature → 4.RL Integration & Knowledge of Ideas
Grade 4 → Reading → RL Literature → Texts Illustrating the Complexity, Quality, & Rang
Kirkus Reviews (-) (08/15/12)
School Library Journal (10/01/12)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (11/12)
Full Text Reviews:
Bulletin for the Center... - 11/01/2012 Middle-grader Omar is so convincing with his pleas for a pet snake that his ophidiophobic mother finally acquiesces, allowing Omar to proudly bring home a beautiful corn snake. Trouble ensues when the snake inevitably escapes and Mom ends up heading to the hospital after hitting her head as she recoiled in fear upon discovering a reptilian surprise in her purse. Now aware of the acuteness of his mother’s phobia, Omar sadly decides to return the snake to the breeder, but his mom instead insists that the snake stay so she can confront her fear head on. Although the densely packed small print of the text may intimidate some readers, those who get past that will find a rewardingly informative pet story. The subtly included details of Oregon-dwelling Omar’s Lebanese heritage add a fresh twist to this old story of an unwelcome pet; particularly powerful is his mother’s revelation at the book’s end that her snake phobia stems from the snake tattoo on the arm of a militiaman who invaded her Lebanese childhood home during a civil war. The colorful local snake breeder (“Snake Dude”) and Omar’s equally lively buddy, Samkatt, add further interest and humor, but the focus here is clearly on practical snake care information and the serious commitment that pet ownership should require. Fans of pet-themed fiction, as well as those who wouldn’t touch a book about puppies but might pick up one about snakes, will find Omar’s story quite sssatisfying. JH - Copyright 2012 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.
School Library Journal - 10/01/2012 Gr 3–6—Omar has found the perfect pet: it doesn't take up much room, it's clean, it doesn't shed. His parents promised him a pet when he was old enough to take care of one, and Omar is a very responsible young man. He gets good grades, does his chores, and babysits his younger sister. He's also done his research, and knows just what he needs to take care of it. So what's the problem? The pet is a snake, and his mother loathes snakes. Luckily, Mom concedes on the condition that it stays out of her view. So what is Omar supposed to do when Arrow escapes and can't be found? What follows is a compelling story of how a child loses a snake and gains perspective on the nature of phobias as well as a lesson in making hard choices. Omar is a fantastic role-model for young readers. He's bright, responsible, empathetic, and research-savvy. Kimmel does an excellent job of creating realistic, well-rounded characters with solid multicultural representation (Omar is Pakistani/Lebanese, his best friend is Chinese); the family dynamic is particularly enjoyable. With fast-paced prose, relatable characters, and a surprise ending, this is a worthy novel for intermediate (and reluctant) readers.—Nicole Waskie-Laura, Chenango Forks Elementary School, Binghamton, NY - Copyright 2012 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.