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Little Skink's Tail

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Little Skink's TailBy Janet Halfmann
Illustrated by Laurie Allen Klein
Arbordale Publishing, 2007
ISBN: 978-0976882381 (Hardcover)
ISBN: 978-1934359204 (Paperback)
Also available as a Spanish/English ebook
Ages 4-8, fiction picture book

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Listen to me talk about my inspiration and read from the book!


Best Children's Book, plus Gold Awards in Educators' Choice and Animal Kingdom categories: Mom's Choice Awards

Teachers' Choice Award: Learning Magazine

Best Picture Book & Best Overall Book: Florida Publishers Association

Just Read, Florida! Recommended Summer Reading List for K-3: 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015

Chosen by Arbordale Publishing Readers as Most Likely to Be "A Classic"

The Story

While Little Skink hunts yummy ants for breakfast, she suddenly is attacked by a crow! But the little lizard has a trick to escape–she snaps off her bright blue tail, and it keeps on wiggling! Readers will enjoy pretending with her as she tries on the tails of other forest animals. One is too puffy-fluffy; another too stinky! Then one day Little Skink gets a big surprise . . . and she doesn't have to dream of tails anymore! The book encourages children to be comfortable with themselves as they are and also includes lots of science.

A "For Creative Minds" section at the back of the book features a footprint map and a tail-matching activity.

Lots More Free Educational Resources

Go to Arbordale Publishing's website for 25 more pages of teaching activities, Spanish and English audio, interactive reading and math quizzes, alignment to Common Core, state, and national standards, learning links, and more—all FREE!

A Special Surprise

Look closely at the book's art to see another animal changing right along with Little Skink!

The Story Behind the Story

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.


Links to More Lesson Plans



  • "This tale has some funny moments, as well as information. Klein's playful watercolors are vibrant and depict a lively forested world." —School Library Journal
  • "This is a practical read-aloud choice for younger elementary audiences. Recommended." —Library Media Connection
  • "Delightful text, fanciful illustrations, and intriguing page lay-outs fill this book. Young readers will find new things each time they read it or hear it." —Children's Literature
  • "Your children will be mesmerized by the story as well as the beautiful illustrations that accompany this tale of tails." —Front Street Reviews
  • "One of the most scientifically accurate children's fiction I have found and the only account of skink natural history I have ever found combined with a charming story. . . .A must-have title for all of our Herp programs!" —President, Environmental Education Association of Illinois
  • "And what can I say? I'm in love!!! Little Skink's Tail is, by far, one of the cutest books of all time. By and far, this is a story that inspires imagination all the while teaching a great lesson. . . .With gorgeous watercolor illustrations, the incredibly talented Laurie Allen Klein captures perfectly the playful and inquisitive story scenes. The story itself reads like a charm, and incoporates both an entertaining story with a good message." —Ready, Set, Read Reviews
  • "Having worked with elementary children as a school counselor, I believe this book moves beyond the themes of science and nature into the concept of self-esteem as well. I believe that this book affirms that we are always most coomfortable in our own skin." —Tif Talks Books
  • "In my opinion Little Skink's Tail is a homeschool mother's dream picture book. The story on its own is of course entertaining and carries a good message, but there is so much more to this picture book. The illustrations are well done and each page not only helps to illustrate the story but also shares in detail what can be found in Little Skink's natural habitats. . . .Like all Sylvan Dell Publishing books there is a lesson plan in the back of the book—a homeschool mother's dream, you don't have to worry about making up your own!" —Heart of the Matter
  • "I have to say this is one of my favorite children's books. It is one that will be loved by children, as well as their parents/adults. Mixing a wonderfully written story, unforgettable pictures and fun education is a can't miss combination! I highly recommend this book to everyone - and think it would make an excellent addition to any library and classroom!" —Cafe of Dreams

    For more reviews, go to Sylvan Dell Publishing.

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