All the Things

A blog by Holly Papa.

Little Skink’s Tail by Janet Halfmann, Illustrated by Laurie Allen Klein

by | Feb 9, 2009 | Blog | 5 comments

littleskinkstailI got this book in the mail last week and my daughter was very excited to help me open the package. I mean really who doesn’t like to open up something in the mail and it was a book! We sat down immediately to read it and then the baby woke up and of course she needed to be fed, which meant I couldn’t read the book right away with her. So I left my five year old on the couch with the book and told her to go ahead and look at the pictures. She looked at the book for 15 minutes, which means two things a) she really likes the book and b) this is a book worth reading.

At the end of the book there is a map of various animal footprints from the story with coordinates to locate them. She loves that kind of stuff (this is the child who insisted on color coordinating her potty-training chart.) She loves to organize things, make patterns and was figuring out how it worked by the time I was able to read it with her. I have to say after reading this book I definitely want to check out Sylvan Dell’s other books that teach math and science with fiction.

From the front flap

While Little Skink hunts yummy ants for her breakfast, she is suddenly attacked by a crow! But she has a trick to escape – she snaps off her tail, and it keeps on wiggling! Little Skink is happy to be alive, but she misses her bright blue tail. Readers will enjoy pretending with her, trying on tail after tail.

This is a really cute book and we liked it. The illustrations done by Laurie Klein are excellent. Interestingly as I was reading the pictures reminded me of a forest scene my dad had painted once in watercolor and then come to find out the pictures are in water color. I really liked them. The text also has some rhyming in it, which is always a plus with little ones.

I could see this book being used in elementary classrooms as a way to study various animals and habitats and why animals have tails – particularly lizards. My daughter was very intrigued that an animal could lose a tail and then grow it back. It also has some fun activities that involve math at the end of the book, which as you know my daughter loved.  I appreciated that the book had also been vetted for accuracy in the way the animals were portrayed. The publisher also has some great online resources in English and Spanish to go with the book including the Footprint Map that captured my daughter’s attention, which you can check out here. Definitely a good read and a nice addition to a home or school classroom.

Other reviews:

Reading Rumpus, Ready Set Read Reviews, Once Upon a Time, Books Ahoy!, Pudy Penguin Perusals. Lori Calabrese Writes (author interview), Mayra’s Secret Bookcase, In the Pages, A Wrung Sponge, Laura Williams Musings

Awards received:

’09 Learning Magazine Teachers Choice Awards, ’09 FPA President’s Best Children’s Book Award and ’09 Mom’s Choice Award


  1. hollybookscoops

    I think this book looks like a lot of fun. My boys love lizards and math, so I’m sure it would be a hit with them too. I think they would get a kick out of seeing Skink try on different tails. We’ll have to put this on our list of books to read!

  2. Janet Halfmann

    Cari, thanks so much for reviewing Little Skink’s Tail. I loved reading about your daughter’s reactions to the book. Nothing makes me happier than when a child is excited about my book. Happy Reading!

  3. Bookie Woogie

    Sounds great! We’ll have to look for it…

  4. caribookscoops

    Holly – I bet your boys would love this book especially the part about the tails.

    Lori Calabrese – I am very impressed with Sylvan Dell. I am planning on checking out more of their books. I hope to find other treasures such as Little Skink’s Tail.

    Janet – You’re welcome! She really liked the book (and so did I). I think we read it about 6 times in two days.

    Bookie Woogie – Definitely a book worth looking into.



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