We Can't All Be Rattlesnakes

We Can't All Be Rattlesnakes

by Patrick Jennings

NOOK Book(eBook)

View All Available Formats & Editions

Available on Compatible NOOK Devices and the free NOOK Apps.
WANT A NOOK?  Explore Now


I am a snake.

No, not a rattlesnake. I just look like one. I'm a gopher snake.

One day an oily, filthy, fleshy human child crossed my path. As luck would have it, he knew the difference between a gopher snake and a rattlesnake. He has imprisoned me in a terrarium. His name is Gunnar. He calls me Crusher. He thinks I'm male. I'm not.

He dropped in a dead mouse and hoped I'd eat it. I buried it. He then dropped in a live one, which he called "Breakfast." I didn't lay a coil on it.

Gunnar thinks I'll be his adoring pet. He's wrong.

In fact, I am planning my escape. I may take Breakfast with me.

Crusher will charm readers in this entertaining, clever novel about a snake in captivity and how she turns the tables on her human captor.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780061985676
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 10/06/2009
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 144
File size: 262 KB
Age Range: 8 - 12 Years

About the Author

Patrick Jennings grew up in a small town in Indiana, where there were no wild, lethally venomous snakes. His family then moved to rural Arizona, where lived many, including seventeen varieties of rattlesnake. Patrick got seriously freaked out. He now lives on the Olympic Peninsula, where there are scarcely any wild, lethally venomous snakes. We Can't All Be Rattlesnakes is his fourteenth book for young readers.

Read an Excerpt

We Can't All Be Rattlesnakes

By Patrick Jennings
Copyright © 2009

Patrick Jennings
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-06-082114-2

Chapter One Call Me Crusher

I had shed a skin the day of my capture. As always, the sloughing left me famished, so I curled up under a shady patch of creosote and eagerly awaited the first rodent to cross my path. Gopher was at the top of my list, though I was so hungry that I'd gladly have settled for even a nasty, gristly little shrew.

A rodent did not cross my path first that morning, however. A lower life form did: a human.

Humans are not difficult to detect. Their footfalls are thunderous. My best hope was to freeze and hope my camouflage would conceal me. The chances of this were good, human senses being so dull.

The creature approached. It was an oily, filthy, fleshy human child. It leaned forward, squinting with malicious eyes.

I was familiar with humans at this point only from afar, but even from there, I found them a pitiable species: scaleless, fangless, clawless, nearly furless, wingless, venomless, witless. I honestly didn't understand how they had thrived so.

This particular specimen was notably on the plump side. Its face and limbs boasted a collection of bruises, scrapes, and scabs. Its splotchy pale skin, pink from the sun, showed beginnings of a slough of its own.

"Cool!" the kid whispered to itself. "Rattler!"

How I wished it were true. One well-aimed shot of venom and this story would have ended on the spot.

Humans often mistake gopher snakes for rattlesnakes, which is reasonable, considering that we happen to be dead ringers for them. This is a good thing when the naive human runs away screaming. It's a bad thing when the human beats the gopher snake to a pulp with a stick. That's when the expression "dead ringer" becomes only too apt.

I stopped playing dead and started playing rattle-snake. I shook my tail. Rattlers aren't the only ones who do this; they're merely the most flamboyant about it. Technically, a rattlesnake's tail doesn't even rattle. It buzzes. My tail rattles. I also started hissing my nastiest hiss. We gopher snakes hiss with the best of them.

The dumb kid moved in still closer.

"Nope, you're a gopher snake," it said.

I had to give it credit. That observation alone probably put it among the greatest minds of its species. Just my luck.

I redoubled my rattling and coiled up into an S. I may not be a rattler, but that doesn't mean I'm an invertebrate or something. I'm big, strong, and mean-and, though not deadly to humans, my bite doesn't exactly tickle.

Apparently I got this across. The kid turned and walked away. Alas, it returned a moment later brandishing a club of some kind.

The time had come to abandon playacting. It was time to flee. Fleeing is not something I excel at. We gopher snakes are the snails of the snake world.

The kid made a grab for me with a pudgy paw. I snapped at it, missing by only a hairsbreadth.

"That's not very nice," the kid said, stepping back, a smirk on its sweaty face.

Humans give me the creeps. They are so slimy.

I inched away. Forget being a rattlesnake. What I wished to be right then was a hare.

The kid dragged the end of the club through the dirt, slid it under my belly, and hoisted me off the ground. A snake has no greater fear than that of falling. It's the lack of limbs. We can do nothing to prevent ourselves from flopping onto our ribs, and a snake is nothing but ribs.

The kid took advantage of my wooziness and gripped me behind the jaws with its finger and thumb. I wrapped my coils around its arm and squeezed. I hissed as I had never hissed before. I nearly scared myself.

"You got a good grip there," the kid said. "Think I'll call you Crusher."

I gave the kid points for knowing I was a constrictor, but I docked it some points for laboring under the common misconception that constrictors crush. We don't. We asphyxiate. We tighten around our victims until they can no longer draw a breath. Then we swallow them. Whole.

I was trying neither to crush nor to asphyxiate the human. I'm not dense. The kid was huge, not to mention unsavory. I was just holding on for dear life.

"Come on, Crusher," it said, grinning. "Come see your new home."

As if I had any say in the matter. It is well known in the des


Excerpted from We Can't All Be Rattlesnakes by Patrick Jennings Copyright © 2009 by Patrick Jennings . Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

We Can't All Be Rattlesnakes 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 22 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A little sad in places but a great read. I liked seeing things from the point of view of the snake. Makes me wonder what my pets think about.
lulubell1 More than 1 year ago
Loved it!!! The three boys are so funny!!! Great ending too!!!!
LarkspurLibrary on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Told from the point of view of a gopher snake who is captured by a boy who collects various wild critters he finds and keeps them imprisoned in cages in his room. The boy is a pretty unlikeable character, who loves to play video games all day. When he loses a game at one point, he destroys his video game console, and is given a new one a short while later by his indulgent parents. The boy quickly loses interest in his newest acquisition when the snake refuses to eat. The snake is able to communicate with the other animals kept in the room though, and learns that others have died from neglect. When the lizard, Rex, dies from lack of food, the snake realizes that she will suffer the same fate unless she is able to escape.
abbylibrarian on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
When our protagonist, the gopher snake, is captured by a human boy and put in a cage, all she can think of is escape. But after studying the habits of boys for awhile and getting to know her mouse companion (whom she affectionately names Breakfast), will Crusher change her mind? Funny and weird, this book is definitely something different. Crusher's observations on human habits are witty and Gunnar's treatment of his pets will definitely make kids think twice about catching wild animals.
phh333 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Book was okay. Did address the problem of children playing video games for too long and the problem of capturing and keeping wild animals as pets (in this case snakes, tarantulas, lizards and turtles). Told from the point of view of the snake.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good funny book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
How many pages i this is it over 200?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The most amazing book i want more!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Best book for young readers like me, also shows to not take animals out of there natural habbitat.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A excellent read very funny
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
So freakn awsem
Rosy Soberanis More than 1 year ago
I love this book. It is really good. I read it in school and it rocked!