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!

rainbow-sudoku

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!

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.

Book Launch: Tornado Tamer

TornadoTamer

The truth has a funny way of coming out! In Terri Fields newest picture book Tornado Tamer, a town plagued by tornadoes hires a tornado tamer to build a cover. The weasel builds a cover, but tells the town that only those special and smart enough will be able to see the cover.

If this story sounds familiar, it is. This adaptation of The Emperor’s New Clothes incorporates tornado facts throughout the book and in the “For Creative Minds” section readers can even make their own tornado!

After researching tornadoes author Terri Fields wanted to share some amazing stories with readers:

tornadotamer_pic5The most extreme tornado winds can get up to 300 miles per hour. These fierce winds can destroy homes and buildings. They can uproot trees and plants. They can lift cars, trucks, and even trains. The wreckage tornadoes leave can be more than a mile wide and up to 50 miles long. No doubt, these wicked winds can create tremendous damage, and yet, there have been some amazing stories of what tornadoes did not destroy. To celebrate the release of the new picture book The Tornado Tamer, by Terri Fields, here are just a few of those stories.

  • In Charlotte, North Carolina, strong tornado winds tore three young children from their beds. Their house was knocked to the ground and torn apart. Amazingly though, when the three kids were found tossed far from their home, they had only a few minor cuts.
  • Tornado winds in Minnesota ripped off the roof of a house and sent it flying. Those same brutal winds caused heavy furniture to overturn. However, the homeowners found the cat bowls had not moved at all, and the water and the food in them were fine too.
  • In Kansas, a tornado plucked the feathers right off a flock of chickens.
  • An Alabama man was hurt in a tornado so badly that he was unconscious for three days. When he finally awakened, he remembered that he’d left his pants in his closet with $600 in a pant pocket. Since the house had been destroyed, he had little hope of seeing the pants or the money again. But his son found the pants stuck in a nearby fence, and all the money was still in the pocket!
  • In Oklahoma City, a woman went out to a parking lot to see that most of the cars had been smashed into each other, but to her delighted surprise, her car was fine. It was even still in the same parking spot she’d left it. There was just one difference; the tornado had stripped her car of its paint.
  • In Huntsville, Alabama, a woman was trying to get into her house, but the tornado struck before she could open the door. She pushed herself against the door and hoped for the best. After the tornado passed, she peeled herself from the door, only to see that her house had been destroyed, but the front door was still standing.

Get your own copy of Tornado Tamer, enter to win our Goodreads giveaway!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Tornado Tamer by Terri Fields

Tornado Tamer

by Terri Fields

Giveaway ends February 29, 2016.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

Book Launch: Once Upon an Elephant

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On the African savanna Elephants are gentle giants that have an incredible impact on the ecosystem. Once Upon an Elephant by Linda Stanek debuts this week, and the amazing facts about elephants are sure to make any child want to know more about how they can help this important animal.

Learn how this book came to life from the author Linda Stanek:

lindastanekIt’s funny how researching one thing can lead to something else. While working on a book for the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium about their baby elephant, Beco, elephant expert Harry Peachey mentioned the words “keystone animal” to me. Keystone animal? I was embarrassed to admit that I didn’t know what that was. When he explained that these are animals so critical to maintaining their ecosystems that without them, other species would die, I was shocked. This was important stuff! How did I not know about it? If didn’t know about this, then who else didn’t know as well? And what an important concept to share those who would inherit this fragile Earth—our children.

That was the beginning of Once Upon an Elephant. What if, I thought, elephants were only “Once Upon a Time?” It was a heartbreaking thought. And if they did, indeed, become extinct, what else might become once upon a time as well?

After writing this manuscript, I shared it with my friend, Harry and got his thumbs-up. Then, I sent it to a handful of publishers. Within two weeks (which is quicker than lightning, in publishing-time) Arbordale made me an offer. And even more quickly, I accepted.

Two days later, I got an offer for Once Upon an Elephant from another publisher. “Drat!” my sister said. “You could have an auction!”

But I was satisfied. I knew that Arbordale produces beautiful books. And, I onceelephant_pic3appreciate that they place their books not only in bookstores, but in museum, aquarium, and zoo gift shops as well—where interested readers are likely to be found. When they signed Shennen Bersani to illustrate it, I was even happier. She crafted the amazing images to make this book complete, allowing me to share with children the concept of the keystone animal, and my love of elephants.

Learn more! Teaching activities, quizzes and other printable activities are available on the book’s homepage, check it out!

Enter to win your own copy of Once Upon an Elephant on Goodreads!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Once Upon an Elephant by Linda Stanek

Once Upon an Elephant

by Linda Stanek

Giveaway ends February 29, 2016.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

Hooray, it’s Independence Day!

Fourth-of-JulyToday is a day to celebrate our great country and the wonderfully unique heritage and history that makes up the United States.

Many of us will celebrate with picnics and fireworks, outdoor games, festivals and other celebrations, but it is also a great day to learn a little more about the country you live in…so here is a fun little activity to learn more about the states and their symbols.

Fill in the blanks with either the state name or the plant or animal. Helpful hint: Visit Arbordalepublishing.com to find the animals in each of the books listed.

It took a magpie to help Maine’s state animal (___________)  to learn to tell jokes in Moose and Magpie.

Ohio’s state bird the _______________ fills the apple tree planted by Nicholas and Grandpa Santos in Christmas Even Blizzard.

12-t Felina is Florida’s state animal and when she meets Felix; this ____________ learns that she is very special and rare.

In North Carolina the state flower___________________ may attract a bear just like in The Tree that Bear Climbed.

Mandy __________ (Washington’s state land mammal) joins Peter Pika to find the Mountain Monarch in The Glaicers are Melting!.

New York’s state animal, the _____________, won’t be found watching fireworks from the empire state building, but you can read about their incredible building ability in The Beaver’s Busy Year.

If you visit Texas, be sure to try the state snack ___________________. You can even get a recipe to make your1-t own from Burro’s Tortillas.

In Prairie Storms, Kansas’s state animal the _____________ stands strong in the cold wind and snow.

Maggie’s sandbox was not the ideal spot for Maryland’s state the ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­______________________ to lay her eggs in Turtles in my Sandbox.

If a Dolphin were a Fish star Delfina would swim over to this state (_____________), that has named the bottlenose dolphin as their state marine mammal.

If you visit Alabama be sure to try the state fruit, blackberries all of the animals in this book _____________________ love them too!

If you are in Minnesota, follow Hope’s lead and raise this state insect ________________ in your own garden.

The national bird and a symbol of liberty, ____________; this bird tries to help Marcel find food in Whistling Wings.

fireworkWe hope you enjoyed this fun Fourth of July activity and learned a little too! For more information on state symbols we did our research at State Symbols USA. Or learn more about the books mentioned here at Arbordale Publishing.