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.

 

It’s time to celebrate Π!

3.141592653

pi

Not only is today PI day and the celebration of the ratio used to calculate a circle’s circumference or diameter, this PI Day has a special significance. Set your clocks and experience a moment that only happens every 100 years.

On 3/14/15 at 9:26:53 the country will experience a pi second where the first ten digits of pi line up perfectly with the time. A statistician in Toronto has even calculated the pi instant where all the digits of pi line up exactly with time.

So to commemorate this special event we are making a blackberry pie, and reading Blackberry Banquet!

If you would like to do the same here is a recipe from Allrecipes.com

4 cups of blackberries
½ cup of white sugar
½ cup all-purpose flour
9 inch double pie crust (store bought) or recipe
2 tablespoons milk
¼ cup white sugar

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).
  2. Combine 3 1/2 cups berries with the sugar and flour. Spoon the mixture into an unbaked pie shell. Spread the remaining 1/2 cup berries on top of the sweetened berries, and cover with the top crust. Seal and crimp the edges, and cut vents in the top crust for steam to escape.
  3. Brush the top crust with milk, and sprinkle with 1/4 cup sugar.
  4. Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes. Reduce the temperature of the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C), and bake for an additional 20 to 25 minutes, or until the filling is bubbly and the crust is golden brown. Cool on wire rack.

Banquet_187

And read Blackberry Banquet with us today for FREE online!

Swimming with Sharks at the Tennessee Aquarium

How does an aquarium take care of such a wide variety of aquatic creatures?

Well, the Tennessee Aquarium shares with us videos from the volunteers that work to keep their aquatic animals clean happy and healthy.

Retired TV weatherman Thom Benson is lucky to work at the Tennessee Aquarium; but, even a job there doesn’t guarantee a dive. He shares that honor with 175 volunteer divers who also deliver educational programs, help feed some of the animals and maintain exhibits. He usually only dives once a month during regularly scheduled “scrub nights.” “The volunteer divers are the ones who really deserve praise for what they do to support the Aquarium,” Thom noted.

Shark diving:

Arapaima:


Feeding Red Tail Catfish:  

Feeding Giant Australian Freshwater Stingrays:  

Author Jennifer Keats Curtis worked with the Tennessee Aquarium and four other Aquariums to show young readers what daily life is like under the water and behind the scenes.

For more information about the book visit the book’s homepage at Arbordalepublishing.com

Also, visit the Tennessee Aquarium’s website to learn more or visit!

Whale Sharks Move to a New Home

The new book Animal Helpers: Aquariums, due out in March, is great for teaching children about the many creatures that can be found in local aquariums. Aquariums are a wonderful place to learn and gain hands-on experience with all of the different types of marine animals. But have you ever wondered how they get all of those huge whales and sharks in there?

Two whale sharks can be found swimming around in the tanks at the Georgia Aquarium. These large whale sharks were originally from Taiwan. So, just how are these massive creatures transported halfway around the world?

Like most things, they were shipped through UPS. Of course, not many boxes could fit a whale shark and they probably also wouldn’t fit in any UPS trucks, so they had to make a few exceptions. A team of specialists loaded the whale sharks into separate tanks that weighed about 25,000 lbs each. To accommodate the whale sharks on the 30-hour long flight to Atlanta from Taiwan, they raised the temperature inside of the plane to 75 degrees, which is the same temperature as their familiar oceanic environment.

Once the plane landed in Atlanta, they were still far away from the aquarium. The sea giants were greeted with a police escort and slowly made their way through the busy streets of the city. When they finally reached the Georgia Aquarium, the whale sharks and belugas were happy to get out of their tanks and swim freely within their new aquatic habitat.

Book Launch 2014

A New Year and New Book launch is just around the corner. Spring 2014 is the largest launch in company history with nine new books coming to bookshelves! Meet our new authors, and discover fun facts at sylvandellpublishing.com, but first see the new collection here!

AH_Aquariums_128Animal Helpers Aquariums
by Jennifer Keats Curtis
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.

BeaversBusy_128A Beaver’s Busy Year
By Mary Holland
Along a stream a dam pops out of the water. Beavers are busy at work! These aquatic mammals have unique traits that aid them in building the perfect lodge to raise young beavers and keep predators away. Mary Holland’s vibrant photographs document the beavers’ activities through the course of a year. Do these beavers ever take a break? Follow along as they pop through the winter ice to begin the busy year of eating bark, building dams and gathering food just in time for winter to come again.

CoolSummer_128A Cool Summer Tail
By Carrie A. Pearson, illustrated by Christina Wald
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.

Daisylocks_128Daisylocks
By Marianne Berkes, illustrated by Cathy Morrison
Daisylocks needs a home that is just right. She asks Wind to help her find the perfect habitat to spread her roots, and he accepts the challenge. Wind blows Daisylocks to the plain, the mountain and the wetland. She objects to each place one by one—too cold, too hard, too wet. Daisylocks is not ready to give up! They try the humid rainforest and then the warm beach; those are not just right either. Will Wind find the perfect climate and soil for Daisylocks to place her roots and grow into a beautiful flower?

FirstFire_128First Fire: A Cherokee Folktale
By Nancy Kelly Allen, illustrated by Sherry Rogers
Why are ravens black? Why do screech owl eyes look red in light? How did we get fire? You’ll find the answers to those questions in this retelling of a Cherokee pourquoi folktale. The earth was cold and dark but the animals could see fire coming from the tree on the island. They tried to fly or swim to the island to bring back the fire heat and light. What happened to some of the animals? Which animal brought it back and how?

Kali_128Kali’s Story: An Orphaned Polar Bear Rescue
By Jennifer Keats Curtis, illustrated by John Gomes
Follow the rescue of orphaned polar bear Kali (pronounced Cully) from the Inupiat village of Kali (Point Lay in English) to the Alaska Zoo in Anchorage to his new home at the Buffalo Zoo in New York with Luna, a female polar bear. This photographic journey beautifully captures the remarkable development of the cub, who initially drinks from a baby bottle, sucks his paw for comfort, and sleeps with a “blankie” as he rapidly grows into the largest land carnivore on earth.

PolarPenguins_128Polar Bears and Penguins: A Compare and Contrast Book
By Katharine Hall
Polar bears and penguins may like cold weather but they live at opposite ends of the Earth. What do these animals have in common and how are they different? You might see them near each other at a zoo but they would never be found in the same habitats in the wild. Compare and contrast these polar animals through stunning photographs.

SeaSlime_128Sea Slime: It’s Eeuwy, Gooey and Under the Sea
By Ellen Prager, illustrated by Shennen Bersani
Snails and sea slugs use Sea Slime. But, did you know that coral and clownfish need slime too? Marine scientist Ellen Prager takes us deep into the sea to introduce us to fascinating and bizarre animals that use slime to capture their food, protect themselves from harm, or even move from place to place in their underwater environment.

ShapeFamily_128The Shape Family Babies
By Kristin Haas illustrated by Shennen Bersani
Mr. and Mrs. Shape are expecting a baby, but they are surprised when three arrive! The first is just like Mother Rhombus, the other just like Father Rectangle, the third baby is a different shape. What should her name be? Go on a geometry naming adventure as all the shape family relatives weigh in. Will Cousin Triangle, Aunt Hexagon or Grandma Rhombus have the right angle?

Pre-order online today and get ready for fun this February with new activities and online events! www.sylvandellpublishing.com.

A Summer of Sharks!

When heading to the beach, the last thing I want to hear about is a shark close by, but it seems like sharks are taking over aquariums, the big screen, and bookshelves all across the country. Even in our office, we have all fallen in love with our newly released spring title Shark Baby by Ann Downer, illustrated by Shennen Bersani.SharkBaby_128

Shark Baby follows one little shark as he embarks on his ocean-wide journey to find out what kind of shark he is. This book includes other fun sea inhabitants such as various shark species, sea lions, an octopus, and a “mermaid?” Shark Baby will melt the heart of any reader regardless of their original feelings about sharks.

SB page 1SB page 13

An article from the Wall Street Journal recently reported the new trend in aquarium attractions, diving with sharks! Aquariums all across the globe are beginning their own diving programs including  Australia, Hong Kong, Malaysia, New Zealand, Thailand, Singapore, and South Korea. There are even a few aquariums in the United States where shark diving is offered such as Cleveland and Denver. The Georgia Aquarium offers divers a chance to swim with the biggest fish species in the world, the whale shark. This up close and personal encounter with sharks does have a few perks. The environment is more controlled, thus sharks are well-fed and used to the presence of divers. Also, it cuts down on the logistics of traveling to distant dive sites and guarantees a face to face meeting with these creatures. Although this seems like an exciting adventure, I don’t think I will be including it on my bucket list any time soon. You can read the full article by following this link:

http://blogs.wsj.com/scene/2013/06/05/swimming-safely-with-sharks/

If diving with sharks is too much for you, select cities are showing theIMAX 3D film Great White Shark, released May 24. The film supports conservation efforts for the Great White Shark and hopes to tell the “true” story about this often misunderstood creature. This film was three years in the making and takes viewers all over the world to different Great White hot spots including: Los Angeles, New Zealand, South Africa, and Guadalupe Island. Filmmakers hope to show their audiences that the Great White Shark is becoming an  endangered species, and that they are not monsters, rather they are just trying to fulfill their position at the top of the Ocean’s food chain. You can check out the trailer for the film using the following link:

http://greatwhiteshark3d.com/trailer/

shark

After looking at the shark craze that is taking over the summer, I still hope I don’t come face to face with a shark anytime soon. Shark Baby‘s illustrations are the closest I want to be to a shark. For the more courageous individuals, I definitely recommend checking out your nearest aquariums for shark exhibits, Great White Shark showings, or dives! Other suggested titles on this topic from Sylvan Dell Publishing: The Most Dangerous and Ocean Hide and Seek.

*Author: Ann Downer and Illustrator: Shennen Bersani just finished two book presentations and signings this past weekend in Cambridge, MA at Porter Square Books and in Mystic, CT at the Mystic Aquarium. Bersani will have another signing June 29 from 11-1pm in Center Harbor, NH at Bayswater Book Company.

National Zoo and Aquarium Month

June is National Zoo and Aquarium Month! 

The zoo is a fantastic place for children to get up close to animals that live on all ends of the earth where learning and exploration is fun even to an adult. However, there is so much more to a zoo or aquarium than meets the eye.  What you don’t see is the rehabilitation programs where zookeepers work with injured animals, animal behavior research and endangered species research to keep these animals around for us to enjoy.

These are the people that help our authors, research the animal behaviors featured in Sylvan Dell books, and check the For Creative Minds sections for accuracy. We would like to thank all the wildlife specialists for their help through the years, and encourage Sylvan Dell readers to support and visit their local zoos and aquariums this month and throughout the year!