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THE GUM CHEWING RATTLER

by Joe Hayes
illustrated by Antonio Castro L.
Currently out of stock.
$16.95


2011 Storytelling World Resource Award (Young Listeners, honor)
Do rattlesnakes chew bubblegum?Of course rattlesnakes chew bubblegum. Joe Hayes says they blow bubbles too!

Product Details

10-digit ISBN0-938317-99-7
13-digit ISBN9780938317999
FormatHardback
LanguageEnglish
Also Available InPaperback
Page Count32
Product Dimensions8.5" X 11"
Publication DateSeptember 1, 2006
Starred Review1 Stars - see reviews
RightsAll Rights Available
Respected storyteller Joe Hayes is built for tall tales—he’s got the world’s longest legs! And Joe—who travels all over the United States telling stories to kids—says that The The Gum-Chewing Rattler is the perfect tall tale for kids because it combines so many familiar experiences—chewing lots of bubblegum, getting in trouble in school, driving your mom crazy—with the wild, impossible claim that a certain rattlesnake chewed gum and blew a bubble with it. Couple that with kids’ natural fascination with poisonous snakes, and The Gum-Chewing Rattler turns out to be one of Joe’s most-requested stories. Joe’s been telling this wild story for years, since before 1980, when he took those long legs of his out on the road to tell stories. But now that old gum-chewer is here for the first time in a picture book with full-color illustrations by Antonio Castro L.

Here’s how Joe’s story goes. When Joe was a boy, he chewed lots of bubblegum. His mom got so mad—the gum in his shirt pocket made a terrible mess in the wash! But this wad of bubblegum just happened to save Joe from a rattlesnake’s fangs!

Really! Don’t worry—his mother didn’t believe the story either.



Watch Joe Hayes tell The Gum-Chewing Rattler in this free, online video, part of the Joe Hayes Storytelling Collection.

Midwest Book Review 1 Stars
An upbeat and playful story, perfectly accentuated by the wry yet realistic art.
- February 3, 2007 
full review >>
School Library Journal
Kindergarten-Grade 3—Hayes spins a yarn purportedly derived from his boyhood in a small town in Arizona. The story involves his penchant for chewing wads of bubblegum, his mother's exasperation with the resultant messes, and an encounter with an angry rattlesnake. The large, two-page illustrations depict the exaggerations of this tall tale perfectly with varying perspectives on the child's encounter with the creature, bright shades of gold and turquoise, and an emphasis on pink (of course). Endpapers repeat the bold pink with splashes of a paler hue, framing a fun book for just about any kid; boys, especially, will love it.
Kirkus Reviews
An anecdote from the youth of a veteran Arizona storyteller makes its first appearance in print, matched to a Mexican artist’s warmly humorous, photographically exact scenes. Hayes himself appears at the beginning and end, recalling to a small group of listeners how, as a lad, he changed his mother’s irritated tune about keeping bubblegum in his shirt pockets. It seems that one day he stepped on a rattler’s tail, and when the snake whipped up to bite him, its fangs sank instead into a cache of gum. So big is the resulting bubble, that when it pops, the snake goes flying back and hits his head on a rock, knocking him out. Castro exaggerates the expressions on his human characters and gives the rattler a fiercely intense air of menace for this brief and thoroughly believable (right?) tale. (illustrator’s note) (Picture book. 6-8)
New Mexico Magazine
Storyteller Joe Hayes is deservedly famous for his tall tales. Take The Gum Chewing Rattler. It starts with the young Joe, growing up in Arizona, just loving to chew bubblegum. Of course, this habit was loathed by his teachers and even his mother, who hated the fact that he forgot to take the offending gum out of his shirt pocket before washing.

But one day, something happened to change all that. Joe meets a rattlesnake. In fact, he steps right on the rattlesnake's tail. Rather than spoil what happens next, you'll just have to read The Gum Chewing Rattler. Suffice it to say, a heroic struggle ensues, with Joe's life saved by the bubblegum. Do you believe it? Well, Joe's mother didn't either.

Cinco Puntos Press has long been producing some of the liveliest Southwestern children's books around. This one is enhanced by dynamic and colorful illustrations by Antonio Castro L., who also is a muralist. His illustrations of a rattlesnake blowing pink bubbles are memorable, as is the story. The book is sure to become a "read it again" favorite.
- Miriam Sagan, 
El Paso Scene
“The Gum-Chewing Rattler,” by Joe Hayes, illustrated by Antonio Castro L. Southwest storyteller Joe Hayes takes a slightly different edge on his beloved tales by placing himself in the center spotlight. In this “true story,” Hayes justifies his bubblegum-chewing passion as he recounts his experience with an angry rattlesnake. One of Hayes’ most requested stories during his live storytelling sessions, the story is just plain cute. The accompanying illustrations by Antonio Castro L. add to the light tone of the story as well as add that element of suspense. Not recommended for anyone squeamish of snakes ... or bubblegum.
Children's Literature
Veteran storyteller Hayes masterfully spins a kid-pleasing tall-tale from the Arizona desert. From the first line, "When I was a kid growing up in Arizona, I used to love to chew bubblegum," he shows his gift for connecting with young readers, who will completely accept his report of gum-inspired scoldings from a stern teacher and gum-caused laundry woes, and then—why not?—his story of how his trusty wad of bubblegum saved him from a rattlesnake: the snake's fangs get entangled in the gum and then the snake blows the world's biggest bubble which explodes in the world's biggest pop. Mexican artist Antonio Castro's hyper-realistic illustrations complement the text perfectly. Young Joe is depicted with such meticulous attention to detail, from the gum bulge in his cheek to the hole in the bottom of his boot, that the gum-chewing rattler seems just as convincing: if a snake did chew bubblegum, this would be exactly how he would look. A brief illustrator's note at the end shows how Castro uses models to achieve his realistic effects. A surefire storytime pleaser.
Albuquerque Journal
Tall tale or not, “The Gum Chewing Rattler” makes me want to heed Hayes and pack up the Bazooka or the Bubblicious the next time I set foot in the Arizona desert.
full review >>
El Paso Inside & Out
Certain to keep you in stitches the whole way through, the wonderfully absurd The Gum Chewing Rattler is an extremely tall tale that author Joe Hayes has been telling for more than 25 years. With all the crucial elements for a book fit for a mischievous little boy, this book tells the tale of an older man’s younger years, taking the reader back to the days when chewing gum occupied his childhood fantasies and irritating his mother was common practice. But to his mother’s dismay, it is that annoying chewing gum habit that saves his young life from the jaws of an enraged rattlesnake.
Proud Grandmother
Isaiah is 3 years old and one of his favorite night time books is The Gum Chewing Rattler. He calls it "Bubblegum Snake." He turns the pages and knows the story word-for-word. Thank you for contributing to the literacy of my grandson! Michelle Cothrin Shelton
full review >>
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