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The Gum Chewing Rattler
The Gum Chewing Rattler
The Gum Chewing Rattler
by Joe Hayes
Illustration by Antonio Castro L

Do rattlesnakes chew bubble gum? Of course rattlesnakes chew bubble gum. Joe Hayes says they blow bubbles too!

Age: 4 Year-olds | Title: The Gum Chewing Rattler  |  Author: Joe Hayes  |  Publisher: Cinco Putos Press

Do rattlesnakes chew bubble gum? Of course rattlesnakes chew bubble gum. Joe Hayes says they blow bubbles too!

This highly entertaining story feels like your dad or grandpa is sitting right in the room with you telling the tale. It is told in the first person by the author, as though it really happened to him as a child. However, it is up to the reader to decide if they believe it. The first page shows a man with silver hair and glasses telling this story to a group of eager children. The pictures are extremely detailed, with creases in hands, distinguishable hairs, and even visible grain on the wood tables and floors. Although the impressive pictures are certainly a unique highlight of this book, be warned - such a realistic looking angry snake may be scary for some little ones. Please be sure to give them fair warning of what is to come. Some children, of course, will thing it's even 'cooler' because of the scary snake.

Your little one will inevitably study the pictures, perhaps taking a few moments to determine if they are photos or drawings. The main character's facial expressions will also be a source of entertainment, as they are hilarious! In the back of the book, you can learn that the illustrator actually used the author's grandson as a model for the facial expressions to assure he captured the feelings and emotions. Your child may also be able to relate to the narrator's annoyance of being asked to spit his gum out by adults, or getting in trouble by his mom for leaving gum in his pockets before they are washed. Your child will likely have many questions about this story, such as where Arizona is, if you have snakes near your home, and if a snake could really chew bubble gum. Be ready with some answers!

I read this with my niece, Emily, when she was four. She definitely was afraid of the snake and didn't like the picture of it trying to attack the narrator; however, she enjoyed the facial expressions of the narrator throughout the book immensely. She immediately imitated each one. After we finished the book, she put on an impromptu skit about what she would do if a snake attacked her. It was rather involved, so I'll just say involved screaming, whacking it with a stuffed animal, and a few ninja kicks.


Joe Hayes is one of America's premier storytellers. He grew up in a small town in southern Arizona where he learned Spanish from his classmates. As he got older, Joe began gathering old stories from the Southwest. Joe has earned a distinctive role as a bilingual storyteller.

Antonio Castro L was born in Zacatecas, Mexico and has lived in the Juarez-El Paso area for most of his life. He has illustrated dozens of childrens' books.

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