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

Shells

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

 

Summer 2016 Reading List

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We would like to present a reading list that kids and parents alike would enjoy for this summer. Kick back and relax with these books to explore what this season truly brings. Have fun in the sun while learning about animals from the ocean, salt marsh, zoo, and even your own backyard! Take a look at these books!:

Ocean Life:

bookpage.php?id=Hide   Ocean Hide and Seek

The sea is a place of mystery, where animals big and small play hide and seek! Can you imagine a shark hiding in the light? What about a clownfish in plain sight? Don’t believe it? Then, sink into the deep blue sea with Jennifer Evans Kramer and Ocean Hide and Seek! Surround yourself with the vibrant ocean illustrations of Gary R. Phillips. The ocean is an old, old place, and the exotic animals in the depths have learned to adapt to their surroundings to survive. Can you find the creatures hidden on every page? Or will you, too, be fooled by an ancient, underwater disguise?

bookpage.php?id=Ocean Ocean Seasons

Seasons change in the ocean much as they do on land. Spring brings new plants and baby animals, while summer oceans are aglow with sparkly plankton lights, and autumn winds blow across the open water. In winter the humpback whales migrate to warmer waters, just as some land animals move to warmer climates. In fun, fanciful form, children learn about plants and animals that are joined through the mix of seasons, food webs and habitats beneath the waves. While set in the Pacific, similar changes occur in all the world’s ocean.

bookpage.php?id=Sandbox  Turtles in my Sandbox

Imagine finding turtle eggs in your sandbox! When a mother diamondback terrapin lays eggs in a young girl’s sandbox, the girl becomes a “turtle-sitter” to help the babies safely hatch. She raises the teeny hatchlings until they become big enough to fend for themselves in the wild. Then, with the help of experts, she releases them. Along the way, she learns about these unique animals and that she has made an important contribution to their survival. The “For Creative Minds” section includes terrapin fun facts and a turtle habitat craft.

bookpage.php?id=TurtleTurtle Summer: A Journal for my Daughter

This is a companion book to Mary Alice Monroe’s novel,Swimming Lessons, the sequel to The Beach House. In the novel, the readers witness a young mother, Toy, writing a journal for her daughter, Little Lovie. This is the journal Toy is writing. Using original photographs, this scrapbook journal explains the nesting cycle of sea turtles and the natural life along the southeastern coast, including local shore birds, shells, and the sea turtle hospital. Adults and children will enjoy the images, information and the journal with or without the novel.

Zoo Day:

bookpage.php?id=Fibonacci Fibonacci Zoo

When Eli and his father visit an unusual zoo, they count the creatures in each exhibit. Eli sees one alligator, then one bison, and next two camels. Soon a number pattern emerges and Eli thinks he can predict how many animals will be in the next exhibit. Explore the zoo with Eli as he runs ahead to test his hypothesis.

 

bookpage.php?id=Zoo ‘Twas the Day Before Zoo Day

This delightful adaptation of ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas’, shares zoo keeper and animal preparations for the upcoming “Zoo Day.” But things aren’t going according to plan . . . The llamas won’t quit spitting, the giraffes are drooling, and the zebras aren’t happy at all with their stripes. Meanwhile, the zoo keepers are scurrying this way and that, cleaning up poop, ringing mealtime bells, and trying to get the animals bathed. Will “Zoo Day” go off without a hitch?

bookpage.php?id=NewZooWhat’s New at the Zoo?

Come along on an adding animal adventure at the zoo. Add baby animals to the adults to see how many there are all together. And while you are at it, learn what some of the zoo animals eat or what the baby animals are called. Follow the little lost red balloon as it soars through the zoo. At the end of the day, count up all the animals at the zoo.

Outdoor Fun:

bookpage.php?id=Marsh A Day in the Salt Marsh

Enjoy A Day in the Salt Marsh, one of the most dynamic habitats on earth. Fun-to-read, rhyming verse introduces readers to hourly changes in the marsh as the tide comes and goes. Watch the animals that have adapted to this ever-changing environment as they hunt for food or play in the sun. An activity on adaptations is included in the “For Creative Minds” section.

 

bookpage.php?id=HabitatSpyHabitat Spy

Let’s spy on plants, insects, birds, and mammals in 13 different habitats. Told in rhyming narrative, Habitat Spy invites children to search for and find plants, invertebrates, birds, and mammals and more that live in 13 different habitats: backyard, beach, bog, cave, desert, forest, meadow, mountain, ocean, plains, pond, river, and cypress swamp. Children will spend hours looking for and counting all the different plants and animals while learning about what living things need to survive.

bookpage.php?id=BackyardIn my Backyard

Baby dogs are puppies and they belong to a litter, but what is a baby skunk and what is the name of its group? This clever, rhythmic story tells us just that! Counting from one to ten, familiar backyard animals are introduced by baby and family group name. Each stanza also tells a bit more about each animal by providing clues as to what they eat, how they sound or where they live. The “For Creative Minds” section includes more animal fun facts, information on keeping a nature journal and how to watch for wildlife in your own backyard.

Woodland Life:

bookpage.php?id=CoolSummerA Cool Summer Tail

When summer heats up, animals find ways to stay cool. In A Cool Summer Tail animals wonder how humans stay cool too. Do they dig under the dirt, grow special summer hair, or only come out at night? This companion to the popular A Warm Winter Tail features many of same animals but this time, with their summer adaptations, offering an important “compare and contrast” opportunity.

bookpage.php?id=FerdinandFoxFerdinand Fox’s First Summer

Follow this young fox as he explores the world around him during the first few months of his life. He’s about a month old when he first comes out of the den. Watch as he explores the world around him, learning how to hunt through play and by using his senses. See the changes as he grows from a young kit to a young fox. After all, by the next summer, he’ll have children of his own! Naturalist photographer and environmental educator Mary Holland has captured Ferdinand’s First Summer in a way that is sure to grab children’s hearts.

Desert Life:

bookpage.php?id=DeepDesertDeep Desert

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.

bookpage.php?id=DesertBaths Desert Baths

All animals bathe to keep their bodies clean and healthy. Humans might use soap and water, but what do animals, especially those living in dry climates, do to keep clean? Darcy Pattison and Kathleen Rietz team up again to explore the desert to find out how snakes, spiders, and birds bathe. This surprising book teaches children about hygiene and how some exciting desert creatures manage to stay clean without the help of soap and water.

Tapping into Tornado Safety

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A tornado in action.

Summer time is right around the corner! You may want to imagine the sun, sand on the beach, and fun doing outdoor activities. However, the dangers of tornado season continues on. In the United States, tornado season typically occurs from March through June depending on the region. The South and the Midwest are the areas where tornadoes occur the most often. Other countries around the world also endure these storms such as South Africa, Argentina, China, and the United Kingdom. Our book Tornado Tamer takes on the re-imagining of the tale, “The Emperor’s New Clothes” where a weasel weaver tricks a whole town into believing an imaginary cover can protect them from tornadoes. Though it is a hilarious situation within our book, tornadoes are a serious danger in real life. Tornadoes can go up to 300 miles per hour and can last up to 1 hour. The wind speeds alone can cause a lot of destruction including the loss of homes, businesses, and the lives of people and animals. To keep you informed and aware, these safety tips are important to know what to do in case the need to use them arises.

Before a Tornado:

  • Practice tornado drills to know what to do in case one comes.
  • Listen to local news or radio outlets to stay informed about tornado watches and warnings.
  • Pick a safe room in your home or nearby building. Preferably a room that is underground without windows. An example is a basement.
  • Board up windows if at your home and secure any items outdoors such as trash cans and furniture that can be picked up by the high speed winds.
  • Prepare a disaster kit for your home or car if travel is necessary: First aid kit, flashlights, food, water, and a battery-operated radio/television if the electricity goes out.

During a Tornado:

  • Go to the safe room that was chosen that is windowless.
  • Get under a sturdy piece of furniture such as a table.
  • Do not stay in mobile homes or cars because they offer minimal protection and immediately find shelter in a sturdy building.
  • If stuck in a vehicle, keep your head down with the seat belt on below the windows and keep yourself covered with your hand.
  • If stuck outdoors, find a low-lying area and lie flat away from roadways.
  • Stay away from damaged areas.

After a Tornado:

  • Check on others that are with you for injuries.
  • Use the phone only for emergency situations.
  • Stay tuned to news/radio outlets for updates and new information.
  • Stay inside until it is reported safe to come out.
  • Avoid power lines that were knocked down or submerged in water.
  • Use a flashlight to inspect your home or building for damages.

Stay safe out there and use these tips!

Find out more about tornadoes and other kinds of storms with these books!:

bookpage.php?id=TornadoTamer

Tornado Tamer

In this adaptation of “The Emperor’s New Clothes”, Mayor Peacock declares he will hire a tornado tamer to protect the town. After a long search, Travis arrives to fill the position and this weasel has a plan. He will build a very special, transparent cover to protect the town. Travis’ magical cover is so transparent that only those smart enough and special enough can even see it. Mouse is doubtful, but his questions are brushed off. Months later, the cover has been hung and Travis has been paid a hefty sum, but a tornado is in the distance and the town is in its path. Will the magic cover protect the town?

bookpage.php?id=ReadySet

Ready, Set, … Wait!

Hurricane . . . just the word brings to mind the power of these natural disasters. Humans watch the news and know of impending arrival. We board up windows and gather supplies. We might huddle in our homes or go inland. Then we wait for the storm to arrive. But what do wild animals do? Do they know when a storm is coming? If so, how do they prepare? This book explains how nine animals sense, react, and prepare for a hurricane. Based on research or observations, the brief portraits are explained in simple, poetic language for children of all ages.

bookpage.php?id=PrairieStorms

Prairie Storms

Cozy up for this great rainy day read! Prairie Storms gives you a front row seat to learn about a year of ever-changing prairie weather, and how the animals living in these grasslands adapt and survive in this harsh climate. Each month, read about a new animal, and learn about everything from how a prairie grouse can survive the January snows to how an earless lizards escapes the harsh, unrelenting drought of August. Told in lyrical prose, this story is a celebration of the great American prairies. See more about Prairie Storms at http://prairiestorms.com/.

Helping the Helpless Animals

Spring is here, and it’s a time of year when many baby animals are emerging from their winter hiding place. Some of those babies may be a little different.

Recently, Antler Ridge Sanctuary in New Jersey rescued a litter of eastern gray squirrels, but one of those squirrels had a pure white coat. The rare white fur means that the squirrel has a form of albinism.

A white coat with red eyes mIMG_0833 (1)eans that the animal is an albino. Some animals are leucistic;
these white-coated animals have their natural colored eyes but their lack of color makes them stand out from the other animals of the same species. Other animals are piebald; they have patches of albino white mixed with patches of their natural color.

The lack of color puts these special babies at risk. In a world of browns, greens, and greys the pure white is very hard to disguise from predators. Often albino animals, especially small prey animals such as squirrels are targeted by larger animals and don’t make it in the wild for very long.

Of course not all white animals have albinism, for example arctic animals such as polar bears and arctic foxes are white to blend with their surroundings.

However, without the help of rescuers many albino animals would have been lost in the wild, some of these animals are rehabilitated and then live out their days in zoos or aquariums.

To learn more read about the albino squirrel read the article here!

And…find out more about animal rehabilitators and the work zookeepers and aquarist in these books by author Jennifer Keats Curtis with the help of organizations around the country.

AnimalHelpersRehab_187Animal Helpers: Wildlife Rehabilitators

Like humans, animals can get sick or hurt. People see doctors. Pets have veterinarians. What happens to wild animals when they are injured, become ill, or are orphaned? Often, wildlife rehabilitators are called to their rescue. This photographic journal takes readers “behind the scenes” at four different wildlife rehabilitation centers. Fall in love with these animals as they are nursed back to health and released back to the wild when possible. This is the first of a photographic series introducing the different ways and the many people who care for a wide variety of animals.

AH_Zoos_187Animal Helpers: Zoos

Zoos are amazing places to see and learn about the many native and exotic of animals that inhabit this world. Some animals are plentiful while others are threatened or in danger of extinction. Zookeepers not only feed and care for these animals, they may also be helping to conserve and protect whole species through breeding and “head start” programs. Follow the extraordinary duties of these unusual animal helpers in this behind-the-scenes photographic journal.

AH_Aquariums_187Animal Helpers: Aquariums

Where else could you stay dry while visiting aquatic animals from around the world? Only in an aquarium can you visit and learn about all these different local and exotic animals. Aquarium staff care for and teach about these animals, as well as work to conserve and protect threatened and endangered species. Follow this behind-the-scenes photographic journal as it leads you into the wondrous world of aquariums and the animal helpers who work there.