Chameleons Are Cool

Common Sense Media says

Simple yet beguiling look at chameleons.





What parents need to know

Violence & scariness
Not applicable
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that the writing is straightforward, with fascinating information in digestible tidbits. Though it can be excessive in its desire to be hip, the book's artwork grasps readers' interest like a sticky tongue.

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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.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about chameleons. What was the most interesting thing you learned in this book? How could you learn more if you wanted to?

Book details

Author:Martin Jenkins
Illustrator:Sue Shields
Book type:Non-Fiction
Publisher:Candlewick Press
Publication date:May 1, 2000
Number of pages:32
Publisher's recommended age(s):2 - 4

This review of Chameleons Are Cool was written by

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About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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