Rattlesnake Rules written by Conrad J. Storad is a wonderful picture book that takes the reader on a fun adventure as mother rattlesnake teaches her little ones about the "rules."

Written in rhyme this picture book teaches children fun facts about the misunderstood rattlesnake. It also includes a curriculum guide at the end with more fascinating fact, rattlesnake mysteries, myths vs fact, words to learn and other activites. Rattlesnake Rules is a complete learning tool and is brightly illustrated for even more added fun.

— Sandie Lee

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5 stars

Have you ever seen a rattlesnake? Have you ever heard one rattle? Rattlesnakes have gotten a bad reputation over the years, mostly because they are misunderstood. Yes, they do pose a hazard to people, but they are part of God's creation and serve a useful purpose, part of which is eating rats and mice which can carry diseases harmful to humans. Author Conrad J. Storad, a long time resident of the Sonoran Desert in Arizona, helps children learn more about these fascinating creatures by presenting in poetic form what a mother rattlesnake might tell her young ones about rules for hunting, eating, and warning, and also rules for humans to keep safe. The eye-catching illustrations by Nathaniel P. Jensen, which remind me of Disney snakes like Kaa of The Jungle Book and Sir Hiss of Robin Hood, help to bring the book alive. Can you guess what a rattlesnake uses its forked tongue for?

Storad, a journalist, has long been fascinated by the diversity of plants and animals that live in the desert. Among his previous 32 science and nature books are Meerkats, the Arizona Book Publishing Association's "Arizona Best Book of 2008;" Don't Call Me a Pig! (A Javelina Story); Desert Night Shift (A Pack Rat Story); Lizards for Lunch (A Roadrunner's Story); and Don't Ever Cross That Road (An Armadillo Story). The back of Rattlesnake Rules contains several pages of "Rattlesnake Fast Facts," "Rattlesnake Fun Facts," "Rattlesnake Mysteries," "Rattlesnake Myths Vs. Facts," "Words to Learn," and a useful "Rattlesnake Rules Curriculum Guide" provided by librarian and teacher Jean Kilker with suggested activities that will help parents and teachers reinforce the material in the book. This is a really neat and fun book that should prove to be a good resource in children's science reading.

— Wayne S. Walker
SFC Book Reviews

Whether they live in jungles, oceans, or deserts, all living things have rules — including rattlesnakes. Now readers can eavesdrop on a mother rattlesnake as she instructs her baby snakes on the proper way to hunt, swallow prey, and use their rattles to discourage potential enemies like humans. Along the way, readers learn fun facts about rattlesnakes — including their ability to smell with their tongues and swallow prey in one gulp.

Best known for his picture book Don't Call Me Pig!, which was selected by then-Arizona governor Janet Napolitano as part of her literacy program, science writer Conrad Storad treats his fans to another fun science book for kids that puts the spotlight on the fascinating but frequently misunderstood world of rattlesnakes. [more]

— Michael Jung
Suite101: Science Picture Books for Kids

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"Rattlesnake Rules" is a handy explanatory book for children age 8-12 teaching all about rattlesnakes. Written by award-winning children's author and science editor Conrad J. Storad, "Rattlesnake Rules" comes fully illustrated with humorous paintings and also contains a fact list, glossary, and full curriculum guide written by Jean Kilker, a national Board Certified teacher and librarian in Litchfield Park, Arizona. "Rattlesnake Rules" is an excellent guide for young students to promote healthy understanding and respect for the reality of rattlesnakes and techniques and ways to help keep both rattlesnakes and humans safe.

— James A. Cox
Midwest Book Review

From a snake's POV

Most people who know me know that I am a book lover who gets true pleasure from reading a book. Most recently, I've begun reading and reviewing more children's books and I've found that I love them just as much. The true perk? Sharing my love of books with my second generation of children.

I received "Rattlesnake Rules" by Conrad J. Storad and read it to my children a few nights ago. This easy-to-read book relays the rules of dealing with rattlesnakes from the snake's point of view. It's genius! I enjoyed the book so much that I've already told three people about it.

My children were really into it as well. It was obvious they liked the book because while I read they asked clarifying questions or pointed out things they noticed and understood. My two middle children absorbed the information about rattlesnakes and also understood the warning to humans regarding what to do if encountering a rattler.

The book is beautifully illustrated by Nathaniel P. Jensen and one of the best features of it is the glossary of information in the back that includes rattlesnake facts, mysteries, myths and vocabulary words along with a curriculum guide.

"Rattlesnake Rules" gets a definite two thumbs up.

— Petula Renee Wright
It's a Woman's World

What a pleasure to read RATTLESNAKE RULES. It's interesting how you can create a "family portrait" like this in such simple language and be educational along the way. Plus, you and Nathaniel complement each other wonderfully in your art.

It's just ssssssssensational! Keep em comin.

— Jeff Worley
Award winning poet and author of "Happy Hour at the Two Keys Tavern"
Editor of Odyssey Magazine at The University of Kentucky

This is a very well done story in rhyme about the life of the rattlesnake. The book relays a lot of information in a storybook format that makes it very easy for the young reader to learn without trying. Reluctant readers usually gravitate toward vibrant material like this because it is easier to absorb and get to the end without getting stuck on the first couple of pages. The artwork compliments this work perfectly with its bright colors and fun, animated rattlers. In the back of the book are factual sections about rattlesnakes and some suggested curriculum-based activities.

Quill says: This book would be a perfect book to read and discuss in the homeschool or classroom setting!

— Feathered Quill Book Reviews

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So where does a rattlesnake P.R. guy come from?

Prior to working at ASU, Storad worked as a reporter, editor, and general manager for The Barberton Herald newspaper in northeast Ohio.

Here is what one of his colleagues, Ed Sylvester, Science & Medical Writer, Professor, Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, Arizona State University:

"My wife and I are unabashed fans of Conrad Storad, as are the many children to whom we've given his books. What always stands out is how he varies each story not just in topic but with an approach that's right for the critters we meet. That's never more true than in "Rattlesnake Rules." Dozens of fascinating rattler facts are woven into this charming tale, but no two-legger will venture too close after reading the rules."

In Rattlesnake Rules, Conrad believes he demystifies the world of rattlesnakes and introduces children to such topics as who, when, and what rattlesnakes eat. His goal is to show folks why rattlesnakes have rattles and what it means if you hear one. You'll even learn how the snakes' forked tongues help them survive. Sounds like some good water cooler fodder to impress your co-workers."

— Scott Wykoff
WBAL Radio news
Baltimore, Maryland

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"Nathaniel Jensen's delightful illustrations capture the beauty and wonder of nature. His renditions of the animal kingdom are done with a good dose of humor and love, suggesting to the viewer that these creatures are to be cared about and respected for the role they play in our world."

— Joseph Hammer
Director of Product Marketing & Licensing Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center Austin, Texas

"My wife and I are unabashed fans of Conrad Storad, as are the many children to whom we've given his books. What always stands out is how he varies each story not just in topic but with an approach that's right for the critters we meet. That's never more true than in "Rattlesnake Rules." Dozens of fascinating rattler facts are woven into this charming tale, but no two-legger will venture too close after reading the rules."

— Ed Sylvester
Science & Medical Writer Professor
Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication

"Conrad Storad's most recent masterpiece, Rattlesnake Rules!, neatly ties together learning, laughter and love in his tale of a mother and her snakelings. Kids will love the way Conrad entertainingly explains the nature of rattlers in his fun-filled, knowledge-packed story! In addition to being a great read, Rattlesnake Rules! is truly a useful tool for those seeking to learn about the lives of rattlesnakes. As with all of Conrad's previous titles, parents will enjoy reading this to their children, as much as kids will enjoy hearing it or reading it themselves! Rattlesnake Rules will surely bring a smile to any reader's face."

— Michael Moorehead
Author of "The Student From Zombie Island:Conquering the Rumor Monster

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"Conrad Storad does it again. He continues to bridge the wonder and curiosity of being a child with the importance of education. The author is equally engaging and entertaining as a guest on my radio show. Rattlesnake Rules is a must for any classroom and an enjoyable book to share with my own young children. Storad's latest will join his other books in our family collection like Don't Call Me Pig, Desert Night Shift and Lizards for Lunch. As an advocate for Arizona, and more importantly as a typical parent, I promise that you will love Rattlesnake Rules. Coil up and enjoy!"

— Dave Pratt
Author of "Dave Pratt: Behind the Mic, 30 Years in Radio"

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"As a mother of five--who happens to live in rattlesnake territory--it's important for me to teach my children to respect the world around them. What better resource for young children than Conrad Storad's latest picture book, Rattlesnake Rules? Rattlesnake Rules provides children with essential lessons about rattlesnakes and their habitat in a fun and engaging way. And Nathaniel Jensen's illustrations are some of the most vibrant I've ever seen!

Because we do encounter rattlesnakes, literally in our own backyard, my kids need to be aware of how these fascinating but potentially deadly creatures behave. From a very young age, they also need to know how to react appropriately if they see one, and I appreciate Conrad Storad's efforts to lay out the ground rules and provide instruction in a nonthreatening way. To stay safe at our house, we have to review the rattlesnake rules every day!"

— Jennifer S. Christensen
Utah Public Radio/Deseret News correspondent

Conrad J. Storad's newest book, Rattlesnake Rules, is a highly entertaining and educational window into the world of the much maligned snakes. This book can help change that, for much of our fear about these reptiles has arisen from our ignorance about them. The illustrations by Nathan P. Jensen will bring alive the story for young readers and for the adults fortunate enough to read this book to them. I believe children, parents, teachers, and librarians will agree that Conrad, who has a long list of popular educational children's books to his credit, has scored a homerun with Rattlesnake Rules.

— Paul M. Howey

"Why should an armadillo NEVER cross a road? Because he may never get to the other side! In this delightful book, a teacher armadillo tells his class about their prehistoric ancestor—a glyptodont weighing nearly two tons. He describes where armadillos live, how they spend their time, and what they like to eat for lunch. And he cautions them about the dangers of crossing the road. But one student in a red baseball cap isn't listening—or is he? The book features an armadillo fact section, and a "Words to Learn" glossary. Don't Ever Cross That Road! is packed with information. Conrad J. Storad's musical verse and Nathaniel P. Jensen's charming pictures make this book a special treat for every young reader."

— Amazon.com

Absolutely delightful...

"Don't EVER Cross That Road! is a sweet story you won't mind sharing with your child again and again. The illustrations are first rate. Each page has its own color palate as the story progresses from evening to dawn (armadillos are nocturnal, after all!). My three year old has a new best friend! The publishers also did a great job on the printing. The images are crisp. The colors jump out at you. This is a great book for kids or for adults who are collectors of picture books."

— Joseph H. Tait
Austin, Texas

Great story. Great illustrations...

"Not only is this delightful book instructional but it is also great fun for both children and adults. Kids really respond to the illustrations which animate the story. Definitely a keeper -- one you will want to read and look at over and over."

— A reader from Austin, Texas

A wonderful science lesson…

"This book by the author of Don't Call Me Pig! (A Javelina Story) and Lizards for Lunch (A Roadrunner's Tale) is a wonderful blend of whimsical rhyme and natural history lesson. Young readers (or listeners) will love following the antics of a red-capped armadillo student as his teacher armadillo lectures a restless class all about their history, biology, habitat, and most importantly, the dangers of crossing the road! Bringing the words to life are Nathaniel Jensen's delightful illustrations--the expressions on the little armadillo's faces are priceless."

— Southwest Book Girl — Phoenix, Arizona

Author's Comments:

The deserts of the American Southwest are home to some of the most unique and interesting creatures and plants found on Planet Earth. The feisty little Roadrunner is one of those creatures. Forget the ostrich-looking bird that many people grew up watching on Saturday morning cartoons. That's not a Roadrunner. About the size of a skinny chicken, real Roadrunners are clever creatures that are not afraid to tangle with rattlesnakes, tarantulas, scorpions, or any of the many species of lizards found in the desert. My book gives you the real scoop on this fascinating bird. I tell you the story straight, but in rhyme, to make if fun for everyone. In the back of the book, parents will find two pages of natural history facts about the Roadrunner. Read those pages and you'll become a Roadrunner expert in five minutes. Artists Beth Neely and Don Rantz bring my words to life with their brightly colored and wonderfully detailed illustrations. Their water color paintings provide readers a true feel for the beauty of Arizona's portion of the Sonoran Desert. Together, Beth, Don, and I have tried our best to provide children and parents with a visual feast as well as an ample supply of brain food. Enjoy!

— Conrad J. Storad, Author

From "Best of Southwest Children's Literature":

"This is a wonderful informational book about both the javelina and the Sonoran Desert. Conrad J. Storad is able to integrate humor and information within rhyming text. The book describes the javelina's habitat as well as their favorite foods, habits, and social interaction. In the back of the book a detailed information page provides specific details about these hairy, pig-like animals.

"The illustrators, Beth Neely and Don Rantz, did a wonderful job of bringing Storad's text to life. They use watercolors enhanced with pen and ink to create illustrations that are animated, humorous, colorful, and detailed. The illustrations are mainly double spread and realistic with some expressionistic art designed to enhance the text. This book is great to read aloud with an entire class or with individual students."

To see an interview with the author Conrad J. Storad, go to:

Southwest Children's Literature

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Author's Comments:

Arizona's portion of the Sonoran Desert is home to some of Planet Earth's most unique and sometimes bizarre creatures. The sharp-toothed, bristly haired javelina is just one of them. It's also one of the most misidentified creatures in the desert. It is not a wild pig! Stop calling it a pig! Javelinas are not even related to pigs, unless you go back more than 60 million years. Javelinas are peccaries. Pigs came to North America with the Spanish explorers in the 1500s. Javelinas have their own story. My book gives children the straight scoop, in rhyme. Older readers (and parents) will find the last two pages chock full of javelina facts and natural history. While the kids are running around the house or classroom screaming "Don't Call Me Pig!" parents and teachers can spend five minutes to become experts on these interesting creatures. Artists Beth Neely and Don Rantz bring my words to life with their richly colored, superbly detailed, and whimsical illustrations. One thing is certain, after you read this book, you will never, ever refer to a javelina as a pig again. Enjoy!

— Conrad J. Storad, Author

A valuable primary classroom resource...

"As a teacher of second and third graders I am constantly looking for resources that my students can use while researching science and social studies topics. One of our course of study requirements is to study animals and their habitats. Since we live in Ohio, it is difficult to find information about the desert. Little Lords of the Desert provides accurate information written at an appropriate reading level. My students also gain information from the realistic drawings of the animals. This is a valuable resource that should be a part of every primary classroom library."

— Elementary school teacher from Tallmadge, Ohio

Author's Comments:

Little Lords of the Desert is a coloring/learning book that describes 26 insects and spiders that make their home in southwestern deserts. The book features high-quality illustrations of each creature along with informative text. The book is bound like an artist's notepad and printed on recycled paper. My partner on this and three other coloring/learning books is illustrator Donna S. Atwood. She is an award-winning artist and graphic designer with over 25 years of professional experience. Atwood has owned her own design studio for more than 20 years. Her work has won dozens of design awards. She also illustrated and published Rhode Island A to Z, a coloring/learning book all about our nation's 13th state.

To learn more about and/or to order our books and other products, be sure to visit Donna Atwood's Web site at http://atwooddesign.com.

— Conrad J. Storad, Author

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From School Library Journal:

Written for pre-teens, teens, and young adults. The books is focused on the biological effects of the HIV virus on the human immune system, Storad offers a detailed scientific perspective on the disease that one does not find in other books on the subject. Whereas most titles tend to view the disease as more of a social problem and concentrate on how it can be combated and prevented, this one presents an in-depth study of the characteristics of the virus and how it invades and destroys the immune system. The author begins with a brief history of the AIDS epidemic, tracing its beginnings in the 1980s through 1995 statistics. The next few chapters explore the virus, how the disease is transmitted, and how it attacks the immune system. Effective but rather gruesome photographs show the outward physical effects of AIDS. There are also numerous color diagrams that outline the structure and characteristics of the HIV virus. The book concludes with a discussion of the different methods of preventing the spread of AIDS and a look at the latest developments in treatments and the search for a cure. The most recent information Storad includes on these developments is from 1997, and he does a good job of explaining technical facts clearly and concisely. A useful update.

— Edward Sullivan -- New York Public Library
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From The Horn Book Guide:

Inside AIDS provides a thorough explanation of HIV and AIDS for younger readers.

Author's Comments:

Life is an unending series of choices, some easy, some quite difficult. Young people need to arm themselves with as much information and knowledge as they can hold...then learn how to choose wisely. In the end, each of us is responsible for the choices we make. HIV, the human immunodeficiency virus that causes AIDS, does not discriminate. It kills everyone it infects, some quickly, some only after many years of suffering. This book is the result of almost five years worth of research, writing, and rewriting. I reviewed thousands of pages of scientific research and talked with many dedicated medical researchers. The information is as up to date as I could make it before the book went to press in December 1997. Research continues around the world. But the road to an effective treatment or cure for AIDS still looms long into the future. Each of us needs to think about the choices we have. Each of us has the power to prevent HIV from infecting us or the ones we love.

— Conrad J. Storad, Author

Much more than a coloring book...

"I thought I knew a lot about the natural history of the Sonoran Desert until I read this book. As a longtime former Arizona resident I spent many hundreds of hours hiking the Sonoran Desert backcountry, often with the author himself. There's not much text in this book, but Storad has packed it with interesting facts. And Donna Atwood's illustrations are both technically accurate and artistically pleasing. I wish they made coloring books like this when I was a kid."

— Steve Koppes — Science Writer, University of Chicago

Teachers, put this book to work in your classrooms...

"I love this book! The descriptions are really good, and the illustrations are incredible. My daughter is drawn to its pictures and we're able to use it like flashcards to identify animals here in the Southwest. To call it a coloring book is an injustice. Teachers should use this book in their classroom."

— Bill Fessler
Publisher, Phoenix, Arizona

Author's Comments:

Sonoran Desert A to Z is a coloring/learning book of 26 plants and animals that make their home in the Sonoran Desert. The book features high-quality illustrations of each plant and animal along with informative text. It can be used as a beautiful coloring book, a useful classroom learning tool for young readers. or as an inexpensive field guide for desert explorers. The book is bound like an artist's notepad and printed on recycled paper.

In 1999, Sonoran Desert A to Z won the Glyph Award from the Arizona Book Publisher's Association as "Best book from new Arizona publisher."

— Conrad J. Storad, Author

From School Library Journal:

"Clear full-color photos on each page and crisply informative texts with simple sentences are the signatures of Tarantulas and other titles in Lerner Publications' Early Bird Nature Book series. All of the books include a section for adults on related activities. …The high "ick-factor" of these hairy arachnids creates a heavy demand for titles, and a previous dearth of material makes a new book helpful indeed. Attractive, informative, and useful."

— Patricia Manning
Eastchester Public Library, New York

From The Parent Council:

"Tarantulas and other titles in the Early Bird Nature Book Series are sturdy, informative chapter books. They are good reference books for young readers. Sharp photographs and large easy to read text make these books super kid-friendly."

From School Library Journal:

"The information in Storad's books is carefully and logically organized."

From Appraisal:

"The titles in the Early Bird Nature Book series are beautiful and useful resources for students interested in animals and unusual plants. Adults and children will find much interesting information about these appealing creatures here. . . . Scorpions, Tarantulas, Saguaro Cactus, and other titles in the series are thorough, well-written, and extremely interactive."

Outstanding Book for young readers...

"I am a third-grade teacher who ordered this book for my class. I live in the warm climate of Morocco, where dangerous scorpions are very common. My kids are absolutely fascinated by this book, and it is one of the most popular books in my class. Scorpions is one of the best animal books for children that I've ever seen, as are all the other books in Lerner Publications' Early Bird Nature Series. In 48 pages, there are 42 outstanding, full-color photographs. The enlarged text is perfect both for reading to a child, or for a child to read to himself. The language and book design are perfect for a child between Grades 2 and 4, but quite interesting even for me, an adult! I highly recommend this book for your child. It will give you hours of fascination reading together. It would also be an excellent edition to any school library. I purchased the library-bound edition, which is both attractive and tough."

— A teacher and reader from Marrakesh, Morocco

Author's Comments:

Scorpions rule the desert night. Complete with a venomous stinger-tipped tail and powerful pincers, scorpions love to feast on insects and other members of their own kind. Dangerous? They can be. A bit of common sense allows humans to coexist with these ancient creatures, as they have for thousands of years. Learn more about an amazing arachnid that has crawled the Earth in all kinds of habitats for millions of years. Use my book as brain food. These creatures are worthy of respect, not to be feared. Photographer Paula Jansen's images give the reader an up-close and personal look at several species.

— Conrad J. Storad, Author

From School Library Journal:

"Written for readers in grades 3-5. Saguaro Cactus is an excellent introductory guide to an amazing plant. The book is inviting in appearance, fun to read, and the information is carefully and logically organized. Starting with a map and a short list of scientific terms, Storad gives a vivid picture of cacti in general, with an emphasis on how they adapt to their seemingly inhospitable environment. The chapters describing the life cycle and longevity of the saguaro are particularly effective. The text is illustrated with clear, full-color photographs. A "Notes to Adults" section gives tips to parents and teachers about ways to use the book with children."

— Steve Matthews -- Foxcroft School, Middleburg, VA
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.


Arizona is a place that lives by its myths and legends. Our rivers are drier and our temperatures are higher; our canyons are grander and our deserts are sandier; our cactus is stickier and our skunks are ickier; our burros are lazier and our tales are crazier. We are truly a land of anomalies and tamales.

Who says learning about Arizona can't be bushels of fun? "Arizona: WOWW" is guaranteed to entertain and educate at the same time. You'll find mind-challenging but fun games and crossword puzzles, coloring pages, crafts and all kinds of amazing little facts.

You'll even find Dutch oven recipes for biscuits, cobbler and green-chili cornbread. You'll also find recipes for tostadas, enchiladas, salsa and rice pudding.

There's corny humor too, such as "What kind of cheese is not yours?" Nacho cheese of course. Corngratulations if you got it right.

In the midst of all these fun games and wacky tales there's a whole lot of good factual information in WOWW. Just like Mary Poppins said, "A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down."

Having been an educator since 1961 I've always believed teachers should always attempt to find humorous teaching tools to hold the attention of their youngsters. I attribute much of my success as a teacher to using humor. I continue to receive letters from former students, now in their 40s and 50s who say they've forgotten most of the serious history of Arizona but remember fondly the wacky tales they heard so many years ago. Youngsters love to have fun while they learn and by having fun they retain what they learned.

— Review by Marshall Trimble, Official Arizona State Historian
Read the full letter at the link below:

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