A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
What's the story?
This simple yet beguiling introduction to one of the world's most wondrous and strange (and, inexplicably, endearing) lizards ably describes the reptiles, covering their more peculiar behavior and their distribution. The book is vividly illustrated by Sue Shields in the fanciful colors chameleons prefer.
Is it any good?
You have to hand it to Martin Jenkins for creating a natural-science book that can be successfully deployed with preschoolers. The text emphasizes chameleon facts that grab kids' interest -- changing colors, wild rotating eyes, and just plain wild noses, their grumpiness, and their slow approach, followed by a lightning-quick zap of their quarry -- while the illustrations are as Technicolor bright as the tropics.
One slight drawback is Jenkins' occasional pandering to readers, starting with "Chameleons are cool." The inclusion of a young boy in the artwork, in aviator glasses and with his hat on backward, also seems a bit obvious. When this book was read to a library class of 5-year-olds, they immediately began to act grumpy and stick their tongues out at one another. Obviously, chameleons and 5-year-olds share much in common.