Cowley, J & Bishop, N. (2005). Chameleon, chameleon. New York, NY: Scholastic Press.
Summary: A chameleon discovers his tree no longer serves him as it is out of food, so he travels through the jungle in search of a new tree that will provide a tasty bite to eat. Along the way he meets several harmless reptiles and amphibians and one dangerous insect. At last, he arrives at a new tree and makes an unexpected friend.
Impressions: I laughed throughout this entire book. Bishop’s way of capturing this chameleon’s personality paired with Cowley’s short sentences had me almost in tears as I read it.
“The Blue Ribbon-winning duo of Cowley and Bishop (see Red-Eyed Tree Frog, BCCB 3/99) returns to their format of gleaming photographs and brief lines of text to chronicle the slow progress of a chameleon from one tree to another in search of food. The sentences are vigorous phrases (“What’s this?/ A scorpion!/ Watch out, chameleon!/ The scorpion’s stinger/ is poisonous”) presented in large font for easy reading; they occasionally trail across multiple pages, matching the action of the photographs and forming a narrative that develops the primary chameleon into a sympathetic character. In luminous stills that capture the journey moment by moment, two startlingly hideous geckos, a garish tree frog, a tiny chameleon, and a hostile scorpion disturb the main character’s equanimity as his telescopic eyes swivel to evaluate all potential threats. The reptilian traveler is shown in postures that point up the drama of his expedition (his refined tiptoeing past a scorpion is choice), creating by their visual continuity a sense of movement usually found in film. An impressive series of photos show the chameleon using its powerful tongue to snatch a caterpillar off a distant branch, then chewing and gulping its prey before being menaced by a defensive female chameleon. Youthful nature buffs will be entranced by the vivid photography, enticed into reading by the attractive brevity of the energetic text, and intrigued by the surprising facts about chameleons and the photographer’s methodology related in the informational pages at the end of the book.”
Card, T. (2005, April). [Review of the book Chameleon, Chameleon, by J. Cowley & N. Bishop]. Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, 58(8), p. 332.
Library Uses: This book could be read before an library petting zoo. I have worked in several libraries where reptiles were brought during summer reading.