Little Skink's Tail
By Janet Halfmann
Illustrated by Laurie Allen Klein
Ages 3-8, Picture Book: hardcover, softcover, e-book, audiobook, Spanish versions
Mom's Choice Awards: Best Children's Book, & Gold Award: Educators' Choice & Animal Kingdom
Teachers' Choice Award
Best Overall Book & Best Picture Book: Florida Publishers Association
Just Read , Florida! Recommended Summer Reading List: 2009 to 2015
Little Skink's Tail is a fun, fanciful story that incorporates lots of science. While Little Skink (a lizard) hunts ants for briefest, she is 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 as she daydreams of trying on tail after tail. The first is too puffy-fluffy, and another too stinky! Then one day Little Skink gets a big surprise . . . and she doesn't have to dream of tails anymore. Little Skink's Tail encourages children to be happy with themselves as they are.
I got the idea for Little Skink's Tail while writing a nonfiction book about lizards. I was fascinated by young skinks, which often have bright blue tails. Like many lizards, a little skink can snap off its tail—and it keeps on wiggling to distract the enemy. And the tail grows back! Right away, I knew this little skink with the bright blue tail had a story to tell.
The inspiration to have Little Skink daydream about wearing the tails of other forest animals came from watching my four children—and now my four grandchildren—play dress-up and pretend. As I wrote, I pictured my granddaughter dancing about, showing off each tail.
I am proud that Little Skink's Tail encourages children to be comfortable with themselves as they are. I did not set out to include this message. It just developed in the process of writing the story.
"For Creative Minds" activity section at end of book
"This tale has some funny moments, as well as information. Klein's playful watercolors are vibrant and depict a lively forested world. The book could be used in a unit on woodland animals, and the reproducible nature activities in the back make it attractive to teachers."—School Library Journal
"Children will enjoy trying to explain why different tails look and work the way they do. The book also touches on themes of individuality and self-acceptance. Author Janet Halfmann's animal characters are personified enough to enliven the story, but this does not detract from the simple biological principles introduced"—Library Media Connection
"Author Janet Halfmann's lively text and illustrator Laurie Allen Klein's rich and realistic pictures bring this story to life. Imaginative and educational, children and adults will enjoy the Creative Minds section where they can lean about animal footprints and why animals have tails."—Midwest Book Review