Eye candy for the lovers of lizards and frogs

Reptiles and amphibians

by ryu Uchiyama

Chronicle Books

101 pp., $12.95

They're slimy, scaly, and very scary. And they're staring you right in the eye.

The chameleons, Gila monsters, pythons, bull frogs, and Komodo dragons featured in "Reptiles and Amphibians," by Japanese photographer Ryu Uchiyama, seem close enough to give unsuspecting readers a kiss on the cheek.

Uchiyama captures more than 90 weird members of the amphibian and reptile world - from the adorable painted-belly monkey frog to the terrifying black-headed water snake to the stoic Asian horned toad.

Even though they're of scaly snakes and spiny lizards, the photos aren't icky. In fact, they're so dazzling and colorful, they would make even the reptile-squeamish appreciate the beauty of these cold-blooded wonders.

Many of the species Uchiyama showcases are found only in remote areas - and others are seldom seen at all. At the back of the book, he includes brief, but helpful information about all of his models.

*John Christian Hoyle is a freelance writer in New Orleans.

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