Sneed Collard evolved over a life changing career in children’s literature while on his way to becoming one of the today’s leading children’s authors. Sneed Collard’s first book, Sea Snakes, was published in 1993, and since then he has published over forty-five books for children, including the award winning A Platypus, Probably; Beaks!; Animal Dads; One Night in the Coral Sea; and The Prairie Builders—Reconstructing America’s Lost Grasslands, winner of 2006 AAAS/Subaru/Science Books & Films Prize for Excellence in Science Books.
In 2006 Sneed’s body of work was honored with The Washington Post‘s Children’s Book Guild 2006 Children’s Nonfiction Writer of the Year Award. Sneed’s school visits focus on bringing the natural world to students in fun and engaging ways. With his extraordinary, award-winning non fiction, Sneed is showing young children the world that is all around them, yet which they otherwise might not experience so thoroughly. In addition to writing and visiting schools, Sneed also conducts teacher workshops and enjoys playing frisbee with his border collie Mattie.
The Governor’s Dog is Missing!
This is the first of the “Slate Stephens” mystery series. Slate and his best friend, Daphne, have recently moved to Helena, Montana where their fathers work for the University of Montana as research geologists. When Slate comes across a news story that the governor’s prize Border collie has gone missing, they get involved in their own brand of research. They embark on a mission to recover the lost dog. Visiting the capitol building, they meet the governor, his chief rival, and begin piecing together the details of the day the dog, named Cat, disappeared. Throughout their research, readers are treated to facts and details about Montana’s capitol city, cultural and tourist spots, and finally a geological description of Glacier National Park. Slate is also aware of his growing attraction to Daphne. They have been together for almost ten years as their fathers have researched in the field, but now, Slate realizes that he is flustered in her presence and jealous at the way she engages conversation with the Governor’s aide. Slate is not all that smooth and kisses Daphne’s ear in an awkward moment. The two banter back and forth as best friends do and in the end they work together very well. The detailed setting of Montana promises to make these mysteries an engaging social studies lesson as well. As such, the series will be a clever informative addition to middle school libraries. 2011, Bucking Horse Books, $16.00. Ages 9 to 12. Reviewer: Janis Flint-Ferguson (Children’s Literature).
Sneed B. Collard III’s Most Fun Book Ever about Lizards
Which are the most common reptiles on earth? Lizards! Kids may be surprised to learn that there are over five thousand species of these intriguing saurians; Collard demonstrates his enthusiasm in reader-friendly text and his own striking color photographs. (Several from remote areas like the Galapagos Islands have been contributed by others.) Lizards, he explains, have scaly skin; a versatile tail; territories for mating and hunting whatever they can swallow; and are mostly heat-seekers to keep themselves mobile. Aspiring herpetologists will meet some spectacular species like the huge ten foot, 300 lb. Komodo dragon that can actually eat people–fortunately for us they are confined to six islands of Indonesia. Other lizard stars include the orange and black Gila monster of our Southwest, and the long-tongued panther chameleon, who resembles a brightly beaded and jeweled artifact. Using many strategies to catch insect prey, some land lizards eat cacti as well (shown in a close-up of a spiky iguana crunching on tough spines), while marine lizards dive for algae. Most are well camouflaged, demonstrated by Sneed’s photo of a large basilisk, almost invisible among forest leaves. Since heat is necessary to “thermal regulators,” kids discover that no large lizards live in cold climates, while many of the smaller ones prefer deserts or tropical habitats. Sneed describes with gusto rare saurians that can fly, swim, and walk on water (basilisks), even some that have no legs and live underground, like the eastern glass lizard. As with most wildlife today, lizards suffer from hunting by humans, loss of habitat, and capture as exotic pets; the author is especially vehement about not keeping them for pets. Full of detailed information, fascinating photographs, and Montana-native Sneed’s particular brand of puckish humor, this appealing book will make a popular addition to any reptile collection. 2012, Charlesbridge, $7.95. Ages 8 to 13. Reviewer: Barbara L. Talcroft (Children’s Literature).
The World Famous Miles City Bucking Horse Sale
Fantastic action photographs accompany this delightful book about the Miles City Bucking Horse Sale held the third weekend in May in Montana. Carefully researched, Collard’s book explains the history, development, and present day excitement surrounding this annual event. Taking the reader through the details of these three days of events, Collard captures the unique community strength and genuine Western pride that goes with the lifestyle of the cowboy and the adventures of rodeo. The sale beings with two men who wanted to sell off ranch horses that were unruly. It eventually turns into a rodeo where the horses are ridden by cowboys and as each dismounts or is bucked off, the horse is then auctioned to the highest bidder. Other events have been added, and the details of each challenge are vividly described. For those unfamiliar with rodeo and riding, terms are defined in the margins, and the book includes references for further study, a glossary of terms, and an index. Although it is listed for ages 8–14, this fascinating account with beautiful photos is a fun book for all ages, and captures a unique part of American life and culture. 2010, Bucking Horse Books/Mountain Press Publishing Company, $18.00. Ages 8 to 14. Reviewer: Donna Ashcraft (Children’s Literature).
Sneed says about his school visits:
My school presentations focus on teaching children about the natural world in fun and stimulating ways. Even with large groups I try to make the talks interactive and get kids to think as well as observe. The talks are entertaining, employing humor, color slides and other visuals. An added bonus to my talks is that they cover reading, writing, and science so you get triple-duty out of me!
A day in a school depends on your needs, but usually consists of three full presentations plus book signing. My presentations run about 45-50 minutes including questions and answers and I like to start early in the day when students are fresh. I speak to all ages and offer different presentations for different age groups. Group sizes of up to 250 are no problem, so I can usually cover an entire elementary or middle school in a day.
Sneed’s pricing schedule is as follows:
- $1800/day for one or two days (3 or 4 presentations/day)
- $1500/day for three or more days (3 presentations/day)
To learn more about Sneed and his publications, please click here.