Math in Flowers

April showers bring May flowers, and this month there are a few flower centered days to celebrate with a math lesson.


Public Gardens Day is May 8th.
Mother’s Day is on May 10th.
May 15th is Bring Flowers to Someone Day.
And, May 30th is Water a Flower Day.

With all these days to give or enjoy flowers, this is a good month to visit the Fibonacci numbers and learn more about math patterns in nature. You may notice the makeup of a flower begins in a spiral pattern. In addition to this being an efficient way to grow, this spiral will always result in a Fibonacci number.

We demonstrate that with a pinecone! As we trace the spirals with paint, the purple spiral is the 13th! Using this pinecone pattern we have an easy craft where little ones can create their own Fibonacci flowers, but first, you might want to visit Fibonacci Zoo to master the number pattern.

Fibonacci Zoo by Tom Robinson, illustrated by Christina Wald

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. Visit the book page, or download the “For Creative Minds

Now, Let’s Make Flowers!

Flowers made of pinecones

To make the flowers you will need:
Craft paint and paint brushes
Garden clippers, or a saw

If you want to make a bouquet, you also need:
Floral wire
Floral tape

Start by cutting the pinecones into small sections with the clippers or if your pinecone is larger a small saw. (Have an adult do this ahead of time for easier painting)

clipping the pinecone

Choose your paint colors and paintbrush and start creating by painting the scales and center of the pinecone to look like a flower.

painting the clipped pinecone

Although we did not make a bouquet, you can wrap the wire around the center of the cone, leave two sides long enough to fold down, and then wrap with floral tape to make the stem.

the finished pinecone flower

Now count your scales to find the Fibonacci number!

Heading to Bookexpo this week?

Arbordale will be there for all the fun! Because there is so much to see during the four day conference here is a guide to the Arbordale happenings in NYC and online.

If you are lucky enough to be in the Javits Center stop by and see us at booth #1774. We have a limited number of fall 2014 galleys to give away, two authors will be signing, and plenty of fun picture books to preview for 2014. Plus, if you haven’t tested our eBooks learn more from publisher and passionate developer Lee German about our digital capabilities.

Preview our fall season with these galleys:

Dino Treasures
DinoTreasures_128By Rhonda Lucas Donald, illustrated by Cathy Morrison
Just as some people dig and look for pirate treasure, some scientists dig and look for treasures, too. These treasures may not be gold or jewels but fossils. Following in the footsteps of Dino Tracks, this sequel takes young readers into the field with paleontologists as they uncover treasured clues left by dinosaurs. Readers will follow what and how scientists have learned about dinosaurs: what they ate; how they raised their young; how they slept, fought, or even if they ever got sick. True to fashion, the tale is told through a rhythmic, fun read-aloud that can even be sung to the tune of Itsy Bitsy Spider.

The Ghost of Donley Farm
GhostFarm_128By Jaime Gardner Johnson, illustrated by Laurie Allen Klein
Rebecca, the red-tailed hawk, is not afraid of ghosts! One night, she bravely ventures into the barn to meet the famous ghost of Donley Farm. But when she finally meets him, Rebecca is surprised to discover that this “ghost” is much more familiar than she’d expected.  Join Rebecca as she stays up late to talk with her new friend and find out what they have in common and how they are different.

Little Gray’s Great Migration
LittleGray_128By Marta Lindsey, illustrated by Andrea Gabriel
Little Gray loved his lagoon and the humans who came to visit him there. One day, Mama announces that they must swim north to a far-away sea. At first he is sad to leave his home, but Little Gray soon realizes the importance of their journey.  What happens along the way and how does Little Gray help his mother? Swim along with Little Gray as he finds the way to this special, food-filled sea.

Did you read and love The Fort on Fourth Street or The Shape Family Babies, meet authors Kristin Haas and Lois Spangler this week as well as they sign books for the crowd.



In addition to the NYC events we will share a giveaway online with Armchair BEA, and follow along this week as they host twitter parties, Instagram contests and interesting agenda topics! Check it out and participate with us!

ArmchairBEA LogoExample

Kicking off New Release Week Animal Helpers: Wildlife Rehabilitators

“When Sylvan Dell asked me if I’d be interested in creating the Animal Helpers’ series, I jumped at the opportunity,” said author Jennifer Curtis, who received the 2012 State of Maryland International Reading Association Council Literacy Award. “These books not only help young readers and their parents learn more about the incredible ways that experts help wild animals, they provide a means of fundraising for each participating clinic. Rescuing and rehabilitating individual animals is incredibly expensive and each participant will use the books to help raise funds for their centers.”

The first book, Animal Helpers: Wildlife Rehabilitators, features the work of four wildlife rehabilitators, including Kathy Woods of the Phoenix Wildlife Center in Maryland. This well-known rehabilitator was the impetus of Curtis’ Baby Owl’s Rescue. Victoria Campbell of Wild Things Sanctuary in New York; Kim Johnson of the Drift Inn Wildlife Sanctuary in Texas; and Miriam Moyer and Mary Birney of White Flicker Wild Bird Rehabilitation in Pennsylvania are also featured . U.S. Fish & Wildlife’s Randy Loftus also contributed extraordinary photographs of rescues.

 wild animals get sick they can’t go to the doctor; often wildlife rehabilitators are called to rescue injured, sick or orphaned animals. The rehabilitators nurse the animals back to health in hopes that they will be released into the wild once they have recovered. Kim Johnson, who specializes in mammals and raptors said, “I am very excited for the opportunity to share the rewards of assisting and protecting our wildlife.  I hope the book inspires some to follow our examples and continue the hard but rewarding work of a rehabilitator.”

Jennifer Keats Curtis is passionate about nature. Often referred to the green author, you will find Jennifer among students and teachers sharing her love for animals. In addition to the Animal Helpers series, Baby Owl’s Rescue, and Turtles In My Sandbox for Sylvan Dell, some of her other recent titles include Seahorses, Osprey Adventure and Saving Squeak: The Otter Tale. Learn more and request a school visit by checking out her website at and following her on Facebook at Green Author Jennifer Keats Curtis.

Be the first to read Animal Helpers: Wildlife Rehabilitators, enter to win a FREE eBook here from Sylvan Dell! Comment with your name and email address we will pick 5 lucky winners!

* Winners in the past 6 months are not eligible for contests.

What Do You Make for Thanksgiving?

Thanksgiving is coming up once again for Americans on the fourth Thursday of November.

The traditional Thanksgiving holiday is primarily celebrated in the United States. It honors the initial feast held between the English settlers and the Native American Wampanoag tribe in what it is now known as Massachusetts and eastern Rhode Island. In this 1621 feast, the meal probably consisted of deer, shellfish, roast meat, cranberries, and corn. Our tradition of giving thanks stems from the thanks for the harvest and in 1923, the thanks for the rain after a two-month drought.

Today we spend time with family on Thanksgiving, give thanks for our blessings, and indulge in turkey, stuffing, potatoes, vegetables, cranberry sauce, and pie – lots and lots of pie.

But some other countries celebrate different types of Thanksgiving, or “harvest” days. Canada celebrates a Thanksgiving on the second Monday in October; at the end of the harvest season. The Canadian Thanksgiving feast is similar to American tradition with a turkey or other roast. They are especially fond of the Cornucopia tradition, made edible with bread.  Countries such as Croatia or Grenada celebrate Thanksgivings on the anniversaries of historical liberations or other independence days.

Let’s go south of the border though and think about Thanksgiving in Mexico. What would they eat if they were to celebrate their harvest? Maybe a roast meat, maybe pumpkins, maybe chilies….but definitely corn tortillas!!! We may eat corn on the cob and corn bread, and hang dried corn cobs for decoration, but what about making corn tortillas for a change?

Corn tortillas were made by the Aztecs thousands and thousands of years ago. They ground corn into cornmeal and made corn dough, or masa, out of it. The dough is shaped into a little ball and flattened into a pancake. The “corn cakes” are then cooked on a hot griddle. Tortillas can be filled with just about anything – including Thanksgiving leftovers!

You can teach your children about tortillas with our book, Burro’s Tortillas by Terri Fields, illustrated by Sherry Rogers. Click here to learn more about Burro’s quest to make tortillas, with or without the help of his friends.