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We Can't All Be Rattlesnakes

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3.83 of 5 stars 3.83  ·  rating details  ·  457 ratings  ·  130 reviews

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 terratium. 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

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Unknown Binding, 128 pages
Published January 6th 2009 by HarperCollins (first published January 1st 2009)
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34th out of 269 books — 104 voters
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6th out of 32 books — 12 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 686)
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Betsy
Talking animals. They're great. Where would we be without our Charlotte's Web, our The Wind in the Willows or our Babe The Gallant Pig? Kids like to imagine their pets with rich inner lives. I think the recent success of books like The Warriors by Erin Hunter are evidence enough of that. And titles where kids capture and befriend wild animals? Whether you're talking about Rascal or Wings, we're all familiar with the set-up. Child (usually a boy) finds and adopts a wild animal, usually injured. T ...more
Tami
I had never imagined myself as a reptile. Now I have. And it was a surprisingly intriguing, and not altogether unpleasant, experience for me. I have Patrick Jennings’ book WE CAN’T ALL BE RATTLESNAKES to thank for it!

This book originally popped up on my radar when it was first published in 2009 but somehow it kept getting pushed farther down on my “to read” list. On my latest trip to the library I happened to see it on the shelf, knew it had been on my list for a while and checked it out.

I finis
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Tiffany Neal
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. I love how it is told by the point of view of the snake and how it adds lots of factual information about the animals that Gunnar catches and keeps for pets. The relationship between Crusher and Breakfast is too cute and I laughed out loud every time Breakfast would chirp up and repeat himself over and over again. Too cute. I love when I read a book that has me feeling empathy for the characters, especially when the main characters are a snake and a mouse! ...more
Karen
This is a hilarious book told from the viewpoint of a snake who has been captured by a little boy. We not only learn a great deal about reptiles from this book, but we also learn about the foibles of humans. I am still concerned, however, that authors for young children (elementary age) feel it is OK to put curse words into their books. This book would have been just as effective without the one word thrown in. Thanks Debra RT for recommending. I too, like the ending, and the beginning, and the ...more
Eva Mitnick
After a boy named Gunnar captures her, puts her in a cage, and names her “Crusher,” a gopher snake vows to live free or die. Unfortunately, this is easier said that done, as Crusher’s fellow prisoners – a lizard and a tortoise – can attest. Crusher is just one of many animals that have suffered and even died at the hands of this “slimy” young human, who spends most of his time playing video games when not alternately mauling and neglecting his pets.

Although she refuses out of pride to eat the li
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Ann Moody
A gem of a story told from the point of view of a captive gopher snake trapped somewhere in the desert by a standard issue disengaged preteen boy. This, my good people, is why we troll garage sales for those unexpected delights.

"Crusher" a female snake, is snatched from her idyllic existence in the dry warmth of the American Southwest to be imprisoned in the dark, chilly bedroom of a young boy. As she takes stock of her situation, she finds herself sympathetic to creatures as diverse as a taran
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Grace
This is a wonderful little gem of literature.
My fiance Tyler picked it out at the library, and I was excited to read it.
I've always loved books about animals, especially when written from the animal's point of view.
I thought it was a cool and original concept to write from the viewpoint of a snake!
When we read the inside of the jacket, I thought it was also cool that the author happened to have lived previously in Arizona, our state.
Snakes played significance in my childhood.
My mother was very a
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Jnase1
I reluctantly picked up this book to read. Snake books really aren't my thing, but I thought that I could read it and tell some of my reptile-loving patrons about this book. Just as I started to get into the book, I came across the words "Bite me." Really? Was that little phrase even necessary. And only 7 pages later, a "dammit." Again...really?! What could have been a great book to recommend to third grader readers is now I book I would NEVER recommend. Why do authors think that cussing is okay ...more
Andrea Balfour
We Can't All Be Rattlesnakes is about a snake caught by a young boy who likes to trap and cage small animals in his room. The boy catches a rat snake one day, mistakenly thinking he has caught a rattler, and adds it to his "collection". As we learn from the snake's narration, he can speak telepathically to the other creatures in the boy's room and learns the boy is not interested in science but is rather cruel. The story continues and the snake grows in this new climate, physically and emotional ...more
Maria Carlisle
The author’s purpose in Patrick Jennings’ We Can’t All Be Rattlesnakes is to entertain the readers. This story is about a gofer snake who is taken into the home of a teenage boy, who, it seems, doesn’t have the best idea of how to take care of his pets. The story is told in the snake’s point of view and follows her throughout her time behind glass, longing to be back out in the wild.
The theme of this story is that anyone can change. Crusher, the story’s protagonist, begins her story as a littl
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Ingrid
I am not quite sure what to think about this book. Crusher, a gopher snake is captured by a young boy, Gunnar and kept in a cage in his room. Gunnar is a repulsive child who is cruel to all of the animals that he has captured and kept in his room. Some of them die because he doesn't feed them. You would think that his parents would make him either release these animals or take proper care of them, but they are just as repulsive as their son. Maybe I am being too critical and need to lighten up, ...more
Sara
We Can't All Be Rattlesnakes by Patrick Jennings stars Crusher a Gopher snake that been captured by boy who didn't always treat them well. Crusher is interested in everything about his new environment including the weird looking grass and the magical box that keeps things cold. Crusher who came from outside develops friends inside including a mouse who he names breakfast and a turtle and a tarantula.

This is a great book that looks at pet ownership from the side of the pet. Crusher comes from out
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Valerie Baber
Patrick Jennings took a fun and educational approach to children’s story telling in his book We Can’t All Be Rattlesnakes. Employing first person narrative, Jennings speaks through the story’s main character, Crusher. Crusher, a female Gopher snake (not to be confused with a Rattlesnake) is found in nature by a schoolboy named Gunnar, who brings her inside to live in a cage that he has lined up near the cages of his other “pet” reptiles, Speedy, a turtle, and Rex, a lady lizard. Not only does cr ...more
Christiane
I loved this book! Narrated by gopher snake Crusher (who is a girl) it tells of her capture and imprisonment by "an oily, filthy, fleshy human child", Gunnar, who keeps her in a cage in his room with the rest of his "pets". Crusher's plans to escape are hampered by her slow, unexpected development of sympathy for her fellow prisoners, her prey (she refuses to eat the mouse Gunnar calls "Breakfast" and drops in her cage) and even (just a little) for her captor. Crusher's snake-eye view never falt ...more
Katie
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mary
When a female gopher snake is captured by a human child given the name of Crusher, she is understandably upset. As she gets to know the other captured animals in the boy's room and learn more about human customs, she becomes more and more set on escape. However, her captivity also exposes her to emotions she hasn't previously experienced, such as sympathy, and her thoughts of escape become more and more confused.

This title is a book with illustrations appropriate for grades 3-6.

This book would b
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Lora
Told from the point of view of gopher snake, We Can't All Be Rattlesnakes, is a unique story that many children will find interesting and hilarious.

The human, Gunnar, captures the gopher snake and promptly mistakes the snake for a male and names him Crusher. The snake is not too happy about this considering she doesn't even crush, she asphyxiates.

Gunnar takes Crusher home and introduces her to a whole new world that she just doesn't understand. There are boxes all over with other animals in them
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Dolly
Oct 14, 2012 Dolly rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: children starting to read longer chapter books
This is an entertaining story about pets, told from the pets point of view. The pets are found and then kept in aquarium cages until Gunnar tires of them and sets them free or they die. The story includes a lot of science into the plot, with one of Gunnar's friends being much more aware and kind to animals than he or his other friends. Children will learn about how to properly care for these kinds of pets, and will hopefully learn more empathy for them and concern for their well-being. Most time ...more
Cathy Hall
I picked up this book, thinking it would make a good comp for a book I'm working on. That meant I'd just do a speed reading through it, for comparative analysis purposes. BUT. But this is a little gem of a book.

I really liked the voice of the rattlesnake. She was imperious without being too preachy. And I liked that Jennings was able to tell a story through her viewpoint and make it a tale packed with emotion and conflict and... well, just about everything I'd think a kid would want in a good st
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Melissa
A boy captures a gopher snake and adds it to his collection of pets of which include a turtle, a tarantula, and a lizard. The pets are not well cared for and "Crusher" plans his escape.

I really didn't care for this book. The spoiled boy in the story ended up learning nothing from his terrible ways. And we are actually supposed to believe a snake would starve itself rather than eat a mouse from a pet store?? I just don't think snakes are that great.
Jen Selinsky
Crusher is a gopher snake who just lost her freedom. She was captured by a boy called Gunner. As soon as Crusher is placed in her prison, a cage in the boy’s bedroom, all she can think about is getting back to her natural world outside. Crusher soon starts to talk to the other animals in Gunner’s room, and they tell her any chance of escape is slim. Will Crusher return to her natural habitat? Read "We Can’t All be Rattlesnakes" to find out.
Michael Jones
A gopher snake is not a rattlesnake, but it looks a lot like one. The gopher snake in this book, unfortunately, is spotted by a boy who knows the difference, and who likes the idea of having a pet gopher snake. He captures her, and the book goes on to tell the story of her time finding out about things like refrigerators, video games, and glass terrariums, and plotting her escape. She also learns something about friendship with other species... a lizard, tortoise, and white mouse who would have ...more
Jennifer
The voice of the snake - actually, all the reptiles - is kind of pretentious. I really like the struggle the snake has to go through, and it's a nice story that makes it clear a wild animal really only belongs in the wild. The vocabulary seems like it might be challenging depending on the kid, too. On page 2 there was "malicious," "specimen" and "flamboyant." Maybe it's just me.

IL: MG - BL: 3.9 - AR Pts: 3.0
Annie
Love this story, told from the point of view of a gopher snake captured by an overzealous little boy and brought into a room of cages that hold other animals. Crusher, as the boy calls her, is a great character, as are the other animals that make up the boy’s zoo. If you can ‘do voices’ this would be a great read-aloud. Despite the fantasy aspect of a snake narrator, it’s a real, probable story and raises the question of the morality of holding wild animals captive. Gunnar, the boy, and his frie ...more
Jonah
This book is about a rattelsnake that gets cought by a kid named gunner. gunner is a viedo game loveing kid that has a lot of pets. He has a turtle,lizerd,trantuchula and a new snake. He named the snake crusher. Crusher refuses to eat something he diddint catch. When gunner gives him a frozen mouse he does not eat it. Latter in the story gunner gives him a live mouse but he does still does not eat it. The fallowing day his friends come over and they tried to give crusher a egg but they drop it o ...more
Karen
My 7 y.o. brought this home from the school library for me to read aloud to her. I was disappointed by some of the language the author decided to use in the book and was glad I could edit for her. The story itself was cute, but swear words, even minor swear words should be left out of children's books.
Kelly
If you've ever wondered what your pets really think of you, then We Can't All Be Rattlesnakes by Patrick Jennings may be just the book you're looking for. It's told from the perspective of a gopher snake captured by a young boy. The snake--mistaken for a male and named Crusher--is eager to get back to the wild, but she is also curious about the other animals "imprisoned" by the boy. As Crusher plots her escape, she also wonders why the boy does the things that he does, especially why he spends a ...more
Vicki
Great little story about a gopher snake (rattlesnake lookalike) captured by "an oily, filthy, fleshy human child" who adds her to his collection of reptiles and insects and names her "Crusher". Crusher wages her own silent protest by refusing to eat first the dead mice that Gunnar tries to feed her, then the live mouse that she names "Breakfast". Crusher's sarcastic wit is what turns this ordinary tale of a child's indifferent interest in the pets he has captured and placed in cages, into the al ...more
Lisa
Good lord. Not to belittle the horror of being imprisoned in a Siberian gulag, but We Can't All Be Rattlesnakes is a little bit like One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich from the caged animal perspective.
Laura
When a gopher snake is captured by a young boy named Gunnar, he learns a lot about being a snake and being a part of the world. Named Crusher, the snake meets a lizard, tarantula, and gopher turtle who become his friends. Crusher refuses to eat a small white mouse, names him Breakfast, and forges a sweet and unlikely friendship. Jennings finds an authentic voice for a snake and reptile-lovers will be charmed by Crusher.

*Spoiler* Crusher is released into the wild, finds a unique way to save Brea
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why sanke is scary 3 5 Jun 16, 2013 09:22PM  
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“Through the window, I saw the beautiful world outside: the sky, the sun, the cacti, the rocks, and the dirt.
How I longed to return to it! I licked at the air, trying to smell the desert's delicious dusty scent, but could not. How was I able to see it without smelling it? Did humans control scents as well as the temperature and the waters?
Is that what windows were for, to keep out scents? Why did they wish to put invisible barriers between themselves and the world?”
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“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.”
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