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Nic Bishop Snakes - Nic Bishop Bishop's franchise uses a boilerplate technique that works well for an informational series. It's hard to argue with large full-color close-up photos of animals in action. Bishop's photos are extremely powerful manipulations of light and color, and the design of the text and facing pages is done to complement the photo work. Kudos to designer Nancy Sabato, who paid close attention to doing something on every spread to make it all work. Many other designers who pay this close attention would clutter things up. It's very simple, streamlined design. The intense photographs are what makes this book better than wikipedia.

Bishop clearly points me to his web site for information on the making of the book, and further sources. However, the web site is disappointing. Instead of a deep and rich set of sources that couldn't go into the book, it's like 2-3 other sources beyond the ones in the book, and then a boilerplate description of how he does his books. For an NSTA award book it feels like Bishop rides his PhD credentials more than describing his research and sources--is authority what NSTA respects, or science method? In his description of method, he makes the point that his photography is what forces him to do close observation and that he learns more this way than from books. But it's not books I want him to source--I want him to show me for a book on snakes that he's gotten as close as he reasonably can to the current research in herpetology.

Two types of differentiated words: 2-3 sentence captions (with a scale guide for the size of the snake); and about ten lines of body text. One type of visual--the close-up photo focusing strongly on featuring the distinctive heads of each type of snake. The one fold-out page is clearly a gimmick, because on so many of the other doubles, Sabato let the photo take the whole spread across the gutter. So there was no 'need' for a foldout. But it's one of the gimmicks we like in info books. When is the foldout actually strongest in its function as opposed to providing just an extra tactile thing to do?