Let’s Talk About Nonfiction

AnimalAnatomySeries

Learning is great! Learning is fun! So today we feature one of our continuing nonfiction series that is growing season by season!

Did you know…

“Dragonflies have two compound eyes that can see in all directions at the same time.” – Animal Eyes 

“Most frogs don’t have any teeth on their lower jaw” – Animal Mouths 

This month we add another fact-filled book to Mary Holland’s series, Animal Tails!

Like the others in this series, Mary uses her vast knowledge to show young readers why a tail might be useful. From warding off predators to dangling from a tree, each page features a new use for this unique appendage!

striped-skunk

Learn more about each book in this series:

Animal Tails
Readers will be fascinated by the many ways animals use their tails: to move on land, swim, warn others, steer, hold on to things, keep warm, balance, fly, attract a mate, and even to defend themselves! Apparently, tails are not just for wagging when happy. Following Animal Eyes, Animal Mouths(NSTA/CBC Outstanding Trade Science Award-winning book), and Animal Legs, Mary Holland continues her photographic Animal Anatomy and Adaptations series by exploring the many ways animals use their tails.

AnimalEyesThe sense of sight helps an animal stay safe from predators, find food and shelter, defend its territory and care for its young. We can tell a lot about an animal from its eyes: whether it is predator or prey, whether it is more active during the day or night, and sometimes even its gender or age. Award-winning nature photographer and environmental educator Mary Holland shares fascinating animal eyes with readers of all ages.

AnimalLegsCan you smell with your feet? Do you dig your claws into a river’s muddy bank to climb up and bask in the sun? Animals’ legs are different from humans’ in so many ways! Find out why strong talons suit a raptor, or webbing is perfect for water dwellers as author Mary Holland continues her photographic Animal Anatomy and Adaptations series by exploring the ways insects, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals move and explore their world.

AnimalMouthsWhat are some things we can learn about animals from the shape of their mouths, beaks,
or bills? What can we infer about animals with sharp teeth compared to large, flat teeth? Are there any animals that don’t have mouths? Following in the footsteps of Animal Eyes, award-winning nature photographer and environmental educator Mary Holland shares fascinating animal mouths with readers of all ages.

We hear Animal Ears will arrive Spring 2018 learn more about it too! 

AnimalEarsHearing is an important sense for animals’ survival. Ears give animals vital information to help them find food or listen for predators ready to attack. This continuation of Mary Holland’s award-winning Animal Anatomy and Adaptations series features a wide variety of animal ears and how animals use them. Did you know that some animals have ears on their legs? Like the eyes, mouths, legs, and tails featured in previous books, animal ears come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes—a perfect match for each animal’s needs.

 

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Tricks or Treats!

Nature has a way of being cruel and being kind, here are a few fun facts where you can decide, if it is a trick or treat!

-Bats are the only mammals that can flyLittleBat_Pic5

-A flamingo can only eat when its head is upside down.

-If a kangaroo’s tail is lifted off the ground it is unable to hop. They use their tail for balance.

-A baby shark is ready to go fast when it is born, so that the mother shark doesn’t eat it.

-An owl can’t move its eyes, but it can turn its head 270 degrees.

cassowary-The cassowary is a beautiful bird and is predominately a vegetarian, but it can tear holes in flesh like Swiss cheese.

-The orca has no natural predator in the sea and they hunt in groups just like wolves do on land.

-Rhinos amble through the African Savanna and thickets of dense plants filled with ticks that attach to the rhinos and make them itch! The tick bird rides along while eating the tasty treat!

-The vampire squid is a creepy ocean creature that squirts glowing goo from its arms.

Find these facts and many more in Arbordale’s For Creative Minds sections! Take a look while you are eating your trick or treat loot!

One Strong Bug: Monarch Butterflies

butterfliesIt is official fall is here! Time for pumpkins, changing leaves, apple cider and cozy sweaters, but one tiny insect is working hard to make it to their winter home in Mexico. The great migration of monarch butterflies is mysterious to many researchers, but this week a group of scientists have identified genes that may be the key to why certain monarchs are better suited to make this long journey.

A study published in the journal Nature found that the collagen gene which dictates structure, connective tissue and muscle is a distinguishing factor in migrating and non-migrating butterflies. They also found that migrating butterflies were able to efficiently use their oxygen, where the non-migrating butterflies rapidly used oxygen when tested in 20 minutes of flight.

In the past few years the migrating monarch population has declined, but this year reports or migrating butterflies seem to be moving in a positive direction. A St Louis weather team’s radar picked up a cloud of butterflies instead of rain in September.

Do you want to learn more about butterflies? Here is a sample of Arbordale Books that feature the strong, winged creatures.

Ten For Me
ten for me coverTwo friends take off on a butterfly hunt, only to find themselves tangled in a mathematics net! Written in rhyme, award-winning author Barbara Mariconda takes you along as the narrator Rose and her friend Ed race to see who can catch the most butterflies on this addition adventure. “How many in all? Let’s add them again!” shout the butterfly hunters. Who will win? Ten for Me makes math fun, easy, and entertaining, while adding a touch of the natural world into cross-curricular education.

On the Move
OnTheMove_187Imagine seeing hundreds of the same type of animal gathered at the same place and at the same time! Right here in North America many animals gather in huge numbers and can be seen at predictable times and locations. Not all migrations are tied to seasonal food changes—some are tied to life cycles and the need to gather in huge numbers. Certain birds, reptiles, mammals, amphibians, fish, and even insects migrate during spring, summer, fall, or winter. Travel along with them as you learn about what puts these animals On the Move.

A Butterfly Called Hope
ButterflyHope_187The colorful flowers in Mama’s garden reveal a strange-looking creature. “What is it? Does it sting, does it bite?” Join in this photographic journey as the young girl and her mother care for the caterpillar. Watch as it transforms into a chrysalis and then emerges as a beautiful monarch butterfly. How can the young girl “claim” the butterfly as her own but still let it go free?

Multiply on the Fly

Multiply on the FlyFrom pirate bugs to spittlebugs to lovely Luna moths, children will love learning about the world’s insects in Multiply on the Fly! Following in the footsteps of What’s New at the Zoo? and What’s the Difference, this rhythmic book teaches multiplication in a way that will make children “bug” you for more. Teeming with fun facts, readers will multiply a variety of insects, including daring dragonflies, hungry honeybees, and stealthy walking sticks. The “For Creative Minds” section in the back of the book keeps the fun rolling with facts about the insect life cycle, matching insect activities, and multiplication guides to make anyone a multiplication master.

 

Science News: Elephants Get the Point!

elephantNew research has shown that humans and (some) dogs are not the only animals that understand hand gestures. Researchers Richard Byrne and Anna Smet from the University of St. Andrews in Scotland have discovered that African Elephants can actually interpret human gestures without any training. Byrne pointed out that the elephants’ accurate response to human instructions could explain why elephants have used as work animals, such as circus performers, for centuries. New research has also shown that it is possible that elephants are actually capable of responding to pointing gestures with their own, using their trunks instead of fingers.

The study began with 11 African Elephants that had been held in captive to give tourists rides near Victoria Falls on the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe. Smet would place two buckets at opposite ends, one containing food and the other empty, and would point towards the bucket with food. Smet recalls that the elephants seemed to understand and chose the bucket she pointed towards nearly every time. The elephants seemed to understand where Smet was pointing every time, and could even interpret where they were supposed to go by following the direction of her gaze. Byrne made sure to note that the elephants were only trained before at the tourist camp to follow vocal instructions, never by hand gestures.

Phyllis Lee, a professor from Scotland’s University of Stirling, has conducted past research on African elephants and their understanding of human instruction and is not surprised by Bryne and Amet’s findings. Lee told National Geographic that after many experiments and observations of elephants, it appears that they do in fact understand gestures like pointing, and might even be responding to certain motions with their large trunks! Lee believes that elephants are actually pointing or gesturing with their trunks sometimes and not just raising them for smelling. Byrne notes the importance of these findings because most while some animals can understand pointing, elephants might be the only ones who are capable of pointing back.

This research shows that animals are capable of so much more than we give them credit for! To see more of the experiment about elephants and pointing, check out these videos of Byrne and Amet’s study:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NJaILHLSgfE

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gbt4cd5ToCo

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KapV_unEzqE