ISBN 0590407619 - Returning from summer camp is exciting, and for Hank Jenkins, it seems extra exciting because he's bringing home Puffy. Puffy is a snake, and a harmless one, a hog-nosed snake that puffs himself up and hisses. Puffy can even play dead, and Hank is very sure that his mother won't mind. Well, almost very sure. To give himself some time, he drapes his sweater over Puffy's cage until they get home. Is it love at first sight between Puffy and Mrs Jenkins? Absolutely not!
Mrs Jenkins insists that Puffy's got to go, and go he does. After a couple unsuccessful attempts to find Puffy a new home, Hank is about to give up. Not only has his mother's time limit - the first day of school - arrived, but Hank's sister Liz has told him that his new teacher is really strict. Imagine his surprise when Miss Tucker agrees that Puffy can come live in the Science Room! Puffy is saved and Hank will get to see him all the time! All is well, until Hank gives a presentation to his younger brother Benjy's first grade class and Puffy goes missing shortly after. Will they find Puffy before something bad happens to him? And just how DID Puffy get out of his cage?
This book is well written, has superb black and white illustrations and has one of the best things a kids' books could have - siblings who pick on each other, yell at each other and HELP each other. Liz, the oldest, helps Hank with his spelling and Hank helps Benjy when Benjy doesn't feel well. When you finish this one, follow it up with a little research into puff adders - might as well teach them something while you have their attention!
(from the back cover):
When Hank Jenkins proudly brings his pet snake home from camp, his mother is horrified. Puffy has to go. Luckily, Hank's fourth-grade teacher is willing to let Puffy stay in the school's science room--on trial. But one day, Puffy mysteriiously disappears from his cage. HELP! A SNAKE LOOSE IN SCHOOL! Hank is in for a lot of trouble....