We Can’t All Be Rattlesnakes

by Patrick Jennings (2009)

Imagine a life as a gopher snake. They look ferocious. They appear to be aggressive. But really that’s just because they often get confused for rattlesnakes.

Crusher, the gopher snake, would love to be a rattlesnake.  Instead, she is unexpectedly captured by a human child, and becomes a pet.  She soon realizes that, as a pet, a snake is just a snake. Or even a toy.  Until author Patrick Jennings poses the more daring question – can she also be a friend?

Crusher is an appealing narrator.  She is sharp, witty, even sarcastic.  Readers are catapulted into her environment where it’s hard to make friends with her master’s other pets because they’re all in separate cages. Crusher worries about her predicament, her fate, and the risks of proper and improper pet care.  But, she somehow manages to convey a humorous and joking perspective throughout.

Readers will learn about the animal world and receive a dose of helpful information about how best to care for – and how NOT to care for – pets. Owning a pet can be tricky, but is usually worthwhile and always entertaining!

We Can’t All Be Rattlesnakes has plenty of hijinks to entertain readers. Laugh as Crusher’s owner’s mother feverishly chases an animal escapee around the house with a broom. Smile as Crusher befriends an unlikely companion.

But what makes this book special, what takes it to a deeper level, is the ethical choice Crusher has to make: whether to escape back to the wild or stay with her owner forever.  Readers will cheer as Crusher mulls and ultimately makes up her mind.