A Puzzle for the Senses

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When you visit your favorite restaurant can you smell the food even before walking inside? Can you feel the difference between the soft fur of a puppy and the cold wet nose? If a bright red bird swoops by, can you identify what kind of bird it is just by color? Should you pay to use your senses?

That is the premise for A Case of Sense; a new book by author Songju Ma Daemicke illustrated by Shennen Bersani. The book opens with a young boy playing outside, and greedy Fu Wang has cooked wonderful Chinese dishes with the smells wafting throughout town. He announces that the townspeople must pay for the smells and when they don’t he takes everyone to court! The judge has a clever way to deal with the case and readers might use a little logical reasoning to figure out the puzzle.

Saturday, Songju will be signing at the ISLMA conference in Tinley Park, IL from 2pm-4pm. In celebration, we have a fun little puzzle in logic and sight that might keep kids coloring for a little while!

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Get out the markers or the crayons and color in the missing spaces. Remember that all the colors will be rows, columns, and squares of 9 without repeating!

Download the printable PDF version! 

Download the answers here!

Getting Batty

It is Bat Week! Did you know that bats are needed to control pests, spread seeds, and pollinate plants? Scientists learn a lot about the welfare of bat populations based on the crops that they help grow. And on October 31st we may be spooked out by the nocturnal winged creatures, but did you know that they help make the chocolate in our trick-or-treat bags?

Bat week is all about helping conserve the more than 1,100 species that live on every continent except Antarctica, and Bat Conservation International has many different ways that you can help bats that live in your neighborhood. Check it out!

If you want to get the facts first, here is an Arbordale booklist that will make you go batty!

HomeCaveHome in the Cave  – by Janet Halfmann, illus. by Shennen Bersani

Baby Bat loves his cave home and never wants to leave it. While practicing flapping his wings one night, he falls, and Pluribus Packrat rescues him. They then explore the deepest, darkest corners of the cave where they meet amazing animals—animals that don’t need eyes to see or colors to hide from enemies. Baby Bat learns how important bats are to the cave habitat and how other cave-living critters rely on them for their food. Will Baby Bat finally venture out of the cave to help the other animals?

LittleBat_coverLittle Red Bat – by Carole Gerber, illus. by Christina Wald

Red bats can hibernate or migrate to warmer regions during the winter. Should this solitary little bat stay or should she go? That’s the question the little red bat ponders as the leaves fall and the nights get colder! Some animals, such as the squirrel, tell her to stay. But what about the dangerous creatures that hunt red bats in winter? The sparrow and others urge her to go. But where? Carole Gerber takes young readers on an educational journey through one bat’s seasonal dilemma in Little Red Bat. Imaginative illustrations by Christina Wald give little red bat charm and personality, and children will be waiting and wondering what will happen next. Will the little red bat stay put or migrate south for safety and warmth?

RainforestPAPERBACK with flapsThe Rainforest Grew All Around – by Susan K. Mitchell, illus. by Connie McLennan

Imaginations will soar from the forest floor, up through the canopy and back down again, following the circle of life. The jungle comes alive as children learn about the wide variety of creatures lurking in the lush Amazon rainforest in this clever adaptation of the song “The Green Grass Grew All Around.” Search each page to find unique rainforest bugs and butterflies hiding in the illustrations. Delve even deeper into the jungle using sidebars and the “For Creative Minds” educational section, both filled with fun facts about the plants and animals, how they live in the rainforest and the products we use that come from the rainforest.

DeepDesert_187Deep in the Desert – by Rhonda Lucas Donald, – by Rhonda Lucas Donald, illus. by Sherry Neidigh

Catchy desert twists on traditional children’s songs and poems will have children chiming in about cactuses, camels, and more as they learn about the desert habitat and its flora and fauna. Tarkawara hops on the desert sand instead of a kookaburra sitting in an old gum tree. And teapots aren’t the only things that are short and stout—just look at the javelina’s hooves and snout. Travel the world’s deserts to dig with meerkats, fly with bats, and hiss with Gila monsters! Whether sung or read aloud, Deep in the Desert makes learning about deserts anything but dry.

batcount_187And Coming in spring of 2017 Bat Count: A Citizen Science Story
by Anna Forrester, illus. by Susan Detwiler

Jojo is prepping for an exciting night; it’s time for the bat count! Bats have always been a welcome presence during the summers in the family barn. But over the years, the numbers have dwindled as many bats in the area caught White Nose Syndrome. Jojo and her family count the bats and send the numbers to scientists who study bats, to see if the bat population can recover. On a summer evening, the family quietly makes their way to the lawn to watch the sky and count the visitors to their farm.

New in Nonfiction: Animal Legs

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Bend your knees or jump up and down, how do you use your legs?

Compare how your legs work with the action of a frog’s legs or the webbing of an otter’s feet in Mary Holland’s new release Animal Legs. This is the third book in the Animal Anatomy & Adaptations series, and a perfect place for young readers to find amazing facts about the lives of animals found in their backyard.

We asked Mary Holland about her inspiration for Animal Legs and here is part of that interview.

A: Whose Animal Legs do you find most interesting?

MH: I’m afraid this is too hard a question to answer, as I find the many different ways that animals use their legs equally interesting.  One of my favorites is a mole’s front paws. They look just like paddles to me, and the perfect tools to dig with. I also find the flap of 12-hairy-tailed-moleskin that goes from a flying squirrel’s front legs to its back legs and allows it to glide through the air a remarkable adaptation. The fact that katydid ears are on their legs is pretty amazing, too!

A: Is there an animal/fact that you wish you could have included in the book or series but it just didn’t fit? 

MH: There are so many animals that have such interesting feet and legs that I can’t even begin to count them, but one group that may have the most is insects. I could only fit a few of them in the book.  Grasshoppers “sing” by rubbing their legs against their wings!  Have you ever looked closely at a cicada’s front legs?  They are pretty scary looking!  Butterflies taste with their feet!

A: What is the most unusual predicament you have faced photographing an animal? 

MH: I got very close to a young skunk in order to photograph it, and before I knew it, I was covered with skunk spray.

I once was trying to find a porcupine at night that was up in a tree, screaming its head off, and suddenly it fell to the ground about three feet from me.  I almost had a head full of quills!10-striped-skunk

I was tracking a bobcat in late spring that had crossed a beaver pond, and the ice, which had started to melt, gave way (I weighed a lot more than the bobcat) and I fell through the ice into the cold water with snowshoes on.  Fortunately, I could touch bottom with the tips of my snowshoes and managed to get out of the pond!

A: What would you like to share with young children about your love for nature? 

MH: I feel so very lucky, as each day I get to discover something new. I never know what I’m going to find.  I head outdoors, and go on what is to me very much like an Easter egg hunt – I look for animals and their signs and rarely do I come home without having found something new to observe and admire.

A: What do you have coming up next? 

MH: I am working on two books.  One is called Naturally Curious Day by Day.  It describes two or three different animals or plants that you might see each day of the year.  I am also writing a book called Otis the Owl, about a young barred owl.

Otis the Owl will fly onto bookshelves in the spring of 2017.

 Learn more about Mary’s new book Animal Legs on Arbordale Publishing’s website. For daily updates with amazing animal facts and photos, follow Mary’s blog Naturally Curious with Mary Holland.

Celebrate After A While Crocodile!

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Do you want to spy a reptile?

This week we celebrate the release of After A While Crocodile by Dr. Brady Barr and Jennifer Keats Curtis with illustrations by Susan Detwiler.

In the book, a young girl, Alexa, raises an American crocodile with her class in Costa Rica. The story is her science journal of the experience as the crocodile hatches, grows, and swims off after he is released.

Dr. Brady Barr knew he wanted to work with reptiles after spotting his first alligator in the Florida Everglades. Since, he has traveled the world seeking out lizards, snakes, and other creatures to learn more about the 24 different species. In fact, he is the only one to have afterwhile_page_03captured all 24 species in the wild. Readers can watch Brady Barr comb the jungles, forests, and rivers seeking out reptiles on his Nat Geo Wild show Dangerous Encounters with Brady Barr that airs on Saturdays at 10:30.

Co-author Jennifer Keats Curtis is most often found in the wild classrooms of Maryland talking with students about animal conservation and how she helps wildlife by telling stories.

Susan Detwiler’s illustrations bring Jefe and Alexa to life with her detailed realistic style. Like Jennifer, Susan is often found in classrooms talking about her art and love for children’s books.

If you want to spy your own crocodile, a trip on a plane might be in order. Get a copy of After A While Crocodile, download the For Creative Minds section to find out where these crocs live, and educators we have a teaching guide for you too! Visit the book’s homepage for all these downloadable extras. If you just can’t wait to start the croco-fun here is a simple craft for the little ones.

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Simply use popsicle sticks and pipe cleaners. Paint the popsicle stick green, and then start in the middle and wrap one pipe cleaner toward the front leaving enough to bend for legs and feet. Then wrap the second pipe cleaner from the middle to the back, also leaving enough room for legs and feet. On the front glue googly eyes and cut teeth from some white paper and glue that to the end. Now you have a crocodile buddy!

Get Crafty – Summer Fun

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Did you escape to the beach for a little summer vacation? We did and brought home a few souvenirs from our walks on the beach. Now that our prize shells are sitting on a shelf collecting dust, it’s time to put them to use with a fun craft idea.

Shell Animals! This is a perfect activity for a rainy day or before a trip to the zoo. You can get as creative and detailed as you want while learning about different traits of the animal that you want to create.

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We kept the supplies simple – of course, shells are the number one ingredient, although we would suggest some larger ones for young children, ours are a little smaller than we would have liked. To decorate your shells you will need, some construction paper, scissors, markers, paint or both. You can also add googly eyes and pipe cleaners for more detail. We made a peacock, a tiger, and our bear came in the perfect color straight from the ocean!

Share your favorite shell creatures with us; tag @arbordalekids on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or Tumblr! We will send a matching book to our top favorites!

 

Science & Celebration – Happy 4th of July

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Independence Day is here; this weekend fireworks will light up the sky around the nation in celebration. But…how are fireworks made? And…who thought to send brightly colored explosions into the sky?

For Arbordale celebration and science go hand in hand, so here is a quick history chemistry and physics lesson in fireworks!

History

The Chinese were experimenting with exploding tubes of bamboo as early as 200 B.C., but it wasn’t until 900 A.D. that Chinese chemists found a mix that when stuffed in bamboo and thrown in a fire produced a loud bang. Over the next several hundred years experimentation lead to the first rockets, but as fire power began to fly in the air, celebrations also began to light up the sky.

Soon firework technology began to spread across Europe to Medieval England. The popularity of celebrating war victories and religious ceremonies with fireworks displays grew. The Italian pyrotechnic engineers are first credited with adding color to their fireworks in the 1830’s. The Europeans brought their knowledge of fireworks to America, and the first recorded display was in Jamestown in 1608.

fireworks1John Adams predicted that fireworks would be part of the Fourth of July celebrations on July 3, 1776 with a letter to Abigail Adams where he said, “I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.”

And so on the first anniversary of the country and each year we celebrate with Pomp and Parade, ending the day with Illuminations!

The Science

The Chinese put bamboo in the fire and the air pocket would make a bang when it was heated to a certain temperature. Today we have much better technology and fireworks are a little more complicated. The basic science has not changed, but the delivery methods have gotten much more accurate and high tech giving celebrators a bigger better show.

We know a tube is our vehicle, but how does it travel to the sky?

A mix of combustible solid chemicals is packed into the tube, along with neatly arranged fireworks3metals. The metals determine the color (copper=blue/green, calcium=red), and the arrangement determines shape (circle, smiley faces, stars).

When the heat activates the chemicals, the excitement begins. The reaction is started by either fire or electricity through a fuse. As the heat begins to travel into the tube the chemicals become activated that reaction produces other chemicals such as smoke and gasses. The chemical reaction creates the release of energy; the energy is converted into the heat, light, sound and movement that we see up in the sky.

Physics takes over!

The Conservation of Energy Law says that the chemical energy packed inside that tube is equal to the energy of the released plus the energy left after the reaction. A professional firework in a large tube packed with chemicals creates a much bigger light show and bang than a tiny firecracker that jumps with a small bang.

The fireworks fly because of Newton’s Third Law. “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction” When the gasses are released from the chemical reaction they shoot down with force cause the firework to lift up into the air.

Finally, Why are fireworks always symmetrical?

fireworks2Conservation of Momentum says that momentum must be the same before and after the explosion. In other words, when the explosion occurs the movement must be balanced.

Now that you have learned a little about the science behind fireworks enjoy watching them on this Independence Day. But remember, fireworks are dangerous and best left to the professionals!

Welcome Summer

MoonToday is the summer solstice and the official first day of the season for those of us in the northern hemisphere. This year, the full moon known as the strawberry moon or honeymoon lands on the longest day of the year. The events last shared the same date in 1948.

What is so special about this day, and this moon?

Today the sun passes across the sky at its highest point. Likewise the moon crosses the sky at its lowest point creating a seemingly larger moon than the usual full moon. Because the summer air is humid and thick, the June moon can look like it has a yellow hue or halo around its perimeter, and possibly the reason for the name honeymoon.

The name strawberry moon comes from the Algonquin tribe, because the June full moon signaled that it was time to harvest the ripe berries in the Great Lakes and Canadian region where they lived.

Tonight the Farmer’s Almanac will be broadcasting a live high-powered telescope viewing of the moon. See that here, or just read some amazing facts about the special phases of the sun and moon http://www.almanac.com/blog/astronomy/astronomy/summer-solstice-full-moon-june.

Now head outside and enjoy the long days and warm weather while it lasts, there are only 184 days until winter!

Astronomy