Getting Batty

It is Bat Week! Did you know that bats are needed to control pests, spread seeds, and pollinate plants? Scientists learn a lot about the welfare of bat populations based on the crops that they help grow. And on October 31st we may be spooked out by the nocturnal winged creatures, but did you know that they help make the chocolate in our trick-or-treat bags?

Bat week is all about helping conserve the more than 1,100 species that live on every continent except Antarctica, and Bat Conservation International has many different ways that you can help bats that live in your neighborhood. Check it out!

If you want to get the facts first, here is an Arbordale booklist that will make you go batty!

HomeCaveHome in the Cave  – by Janet Halfmann, illus. by Shennen Bersani

Baby Bat loves his cave home and never wants to leave it. While practicing flapping his wings one night, he falls, and Pluribus Packrat rescues him. They then explore the deepest, darkest corners of the cave where they meet amazing animals—animals that don’t need eyes to see or colors to hide from enemies. Baby Bat learns how important bats are to the cave habitat and how other cave-living critters rely on them for their food. Will Baby Bat finally venture out of the cave to help the other animals?

LittleBat_coverLittle Red Bat – by Carole Gerber, illus. by Christina Wald

Red bats can hibernate or migrate to warmer regions during the winter. Should this solitary little bat stay or should she go? That’s the question the little red bat ponders as the leaves fall and the nights get colder! Some animals, such as the squirrel, tell her to stay. But what about the dangerous creatures that hunt red bats in winter? The sparrow and others urge her to go. But where? Carole Gerber takes young readers on an educational journey through one bat’s seasonal dilemma in Little Red Bat. Imaginative illustrations by Christina Wald give little red bat charm and personality, and children will be waiting and wondering what will happen next. Will the little red bat stay put or migrate south for safety and warmth?

RainforestPAPERBACK with flapsThe Rainforest Grew All Around – by Susan K. Mitchell, illus. by Connie McLennan

Imaginations will soar from the forest floor, up through the canopy and back down again, following the circle of life. The jungle comes alive as children learn about the wide variety of creatures lurking in the lush Amazon rainforest in this clever adaptation of the song “The Green Grass Grew All Around.” Search each page to find unique rainforest bugs and butterflies hiding in the illustrations. Delve even deeper into the jungle using sidebars and the “For Creative Minds” educational section, both filled with fun facts about the plants and animals, how they live in the rainforest and the products we use that come from the rainforest.

DeepDesert_187Deep in the Desert – by Rhonda Lucas Donald, – by Rhonda Lucas Donald, illus. by Sherry Neidigh

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.

batcount_187And Coming in spring of 2017 Bat Count: A Citizen Science Story
by Anna Forrester, illus. by Susan Detwiler

Jojo is prepping for an exciting night; it’s time for the bat count! Bats have always been a welcome presence during the summers in the family barn. But over the years, the numbers have dwindled as many bats in the area caught White Nose Syndrome. Jojo and her family count the bats and send the numbers to scientists who study bats, to see if the bat population can recover. On a summer evening, the family quietly makes their way to the lawn to watch the sky and count the visitors to their farm.

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!

It’s Getting Batty

Desmodus rotundus, Picture taken at Sangayan Island, Paracas National Reserve, Departamento Ica, Peru, in March 2005.

Desmodus rotundus, Picture taken at Sangayan Island, Paracas National Reserve, Departamento Ica, Peru, in March 2005.

Nearing the end of October we can’t help but think of things that scare us. And although there are many mammals out there that terrifying, one animal that has become a Halloween icon is the bat.

The earth is covered with bats and the more than 1,000 different species make up about 20% of the classified mammals. While most of the bats found in the world are insect and fruit eaters, when Halloween rolls around the vampire bat is the star of the species.

These sharp-toothed bloodsuckers live in Central and South America where they can stay warm throughout the year. There are three varieties of vampire bats and each seeks the blood of different types of prey. The white-winged vampires and the hairy-legged vampires prefer the blood of poultry, while the common vampire hangs around the farm preferring to bite cows and other livestock.

It is the common vampire bat that may have inspired the fictional vampires portrayed in literature today, they are the only variety of bat that has been know to bite humans. But even these bats are tiny and more likely to bite your feet than you’re your neck because they feed on the ground.

batJust like other species of bats the vampires have incredible senses that allow them to survive as nocturnal hunters. They live in groups and because their food source is sometimes scarce, they share.

So this Halloween when you see little vampires roaming the neighborhood for candy think of their inspiration and know that the original bloodsuckers are very complicated and interesting creatures.

If you want to learn more about the other varieties of bats check out Arbordale’s two bat books Home in the Cave and Little Red Bat!

LittleBat_coverHomeCave

 

Arbordale Costume Contest!

The fall air is crisp as the temperatures drop, as the pumpkins find their way to front doors across the country, children begin to plan a great transformation. On October 31st everyone has the opportunity to become someone or something else. Well, when you are not sure what to be for Halloween Arbordale books are here to help make your decision easier.

Here is a reading list for your last minute costume ideas:

 

Fur and Feathers

FurFeathers_187By Janet Halfmann, illustrated by Laurie Allen Klein

When Sophia dreams that howling winds whisk the fur and feathers right off her animal friends, she shares some of her clothes with them. But her clothing doesn’t work well for the animals. Seeing their disappointment, she offers to sew each one the “right” coat. Animals line up to explain what they need and why. Polar Bear needs white fur to stay warm and hide in the snow. Fish needs scales, but with slime. Snake needs scales too, but dry ones. And how will Sophia make a prickly coat for Porcupine? The award-winning team of Halfmann and Klein (Little Skink’s Tail) reunite to bring animal coverings (and classification) to life in an imaginative way.

 

If a Dolphin were a Fish

Dolphin_187By Loran Wlodarski, illustrated by Laurie Allen Klein

“If a Dolphin Were a Fish” is the clever story of a dolphin who imagines that she is a fish, a turtle, a bird, an octopus, or even a shark or manatee. She (and the readers) learn just how special she really is and how special each of her other sea animal friends are too. The Creative Minds section has teaching trivia, crafts and games related to dolphins and some of her sea-creature friends.

 

If You were a Parrot

Parrot_187By Katherine Rawson, illustrated by Sherry Rogers

“If You Were a Parrot” is a whimsical book that has the child imagining what life would be like if he or she were a pet parrot. The parrot’s special feet allow it to climb curtains, bookshelves, and plants. The hooked beak lets the parrot chew all kinds of great food: seeds, nuts, chair legs, popsicles sticks and all, and even a telephone directory! Join the parrot as it goes through its daily routine of climbing, chewing, eating, bathing, and finally, snuggling down for the night after a long day of parrot fun. The “For Creative Mind” section has parrot teaching trivia, crafts and games to supplement learning.

 

Little Skink’s Tail

Skink_187By Janet Halfmann, illustrated by Laurie Allen Klein

While Little Skink hunts yummy ants for breakfast, she is suddenly attacked by a crow! But she has a trick to escape she snaps off her tail, and it keeps on wiggling! Little Skink is happy to be alive, but she misses her bright blue tail. Little Skink’s Tail follows Little Skink as she daydreams of having the tails of other animals in the forest. Readers will enjoy pretending with her, trying on tail after tail. The first is too puffy-fluffy, and another too stinky! Then one day Little Skink gets a big surprise and she doesn’t have to dream of tails anymore. The “For Creative Minds” section has information on tail adaptations and communications and a mix-and-match tail activity.

Tweet us your costume pictures @arbordalekids by October 31 and one lucky winner will get a copy of all four of these books!

Happy Halloween!

What are you afraid of? Ghosts, goblins, monsters lurking in the shadows, or are you afraid of something a little more real? We have compiled a list of books with creepy crawly creatures that are sure to scare in celebration of Halloween!

Bats
Often misunderstood bats are portrayed as fanged bloodsucking creatures of the night. These two book may just change your mind about this nocturnal animal.

Little Red Bat
LittleBat_Pic5Red bats can hibernate or migrate to warmer regions during the winter. Should this solitary little bat stay or should she go? That’s the question the little red bat ponders as the leaves fall and the nights get colder! Some animals, such as the squirrel, tell her to stay. But what about the dangerous creatures that hunt red bats in winter? The sparrow and others urge her to go. But where? Carole Gerber takes young readers on an educational journey through one bat’s seasonal dilemma in Little Red Bat. Imaginative illustrations by Christina Wald give little red bat charm and personality, and children will be waiting and wondering what will happen next. Will the little red bat stay put or migrate south for safety and warmth?

Home in the Cave
homecave coverBaby Bat loves his cave home and never wants to leave it. While practicing flapping his wings one night, he falls, and Pluribus Packrat rescues him. They then explore the deepest, darkest corners of the cave where they meet amazing animals—animals that don’t need eyes to see or colors to hide from enemies. Baby Bat learns how important bats are to the cave habitat and how other cave-living critters rely on them for their food. Will Baby Bat finally venture out of the cave to help the other animals?

Wolves
These relatives of the dog were fierce hunters in Medieval Europe, which is where the mystery of the werewolf originated. Now a prominent Halloween figure; learn more about this animal’s characteristics in:

One Wolf Howls
Wolf_128Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be a wolf? What would you do in the cold winter months? Where would you sleep? What would you eat? Spend a year in the world of wolves in One Wolf Howls. This adventurous children’s book uses the months of the year and the numbers 1 through 12 to introduce children to the behavior of wolves in natural settings. The lively, realistic illustrations of Susan Detwiler complement the rhyming text and bring each month to life. From January to December, howl, frolic, and dance, while learning important lessons page-by-page!

Teeth, Claws & Scales
These creatures may not show up at your Halloween party, but they are lurking in the wild. The next two books feature a variety of animals with creepy features!!

The Most Dangerous
MostDangerous_128Dangerous animals from all over the world gather for the Most Dangerous Animal of All Contest. Snakes, spiders, sharks . . . who will the winner be? Deadly poison, huge teeth, razor -sharp horns, and fearsome feet are just a few of the ways that animals kill. Predators mean to kill. Prey simply defend themselves. And yet, the unexpected most deadly-animal doesn’t mean to harm at all!

A Day in the Deep
Print
Travel deep into the ocean way below the surface and you’ll encounter some creatures you never knew existed! This book takes you on a journey through the dark depths of the sea towards the ocean floor. Most ecosystems need sunlight, but deep in the ocean where the sun doesn’t shine animals have adapted some very interesting ways to see, protect themselves, and eat. Discover the unique habitats, adaptations, and food chains of these deep -sea creatures.

Visit the book page to learn more about these featured titles, or maybe you would like to read about the less creepy animals in Sylvan Dell’s collection. Click here http://www.sylvandellpublishing.com/bookhome.php.

Halloween Fun!

It’s a scary time of year and kids are gearing up for costumes, trick or treating and scary movies. Here is a fun fall activities.

Carving Jack-o-Lanterns is a fun Halloween activity, but where do those pumpkins come from?

Who knew pumpkins are a fruit! Pumpkins need acres of room, rich soil and lots of sun so their vines can stretch out across the field. They don’t like the cold and should be planted late in spring. When we carve the pumpkin and remove all those seeds, they can be saved for planting next year, or eaten! Don’t worry you can’t grow a pumpkin in your belly, but here is a tasty way to enjoy the seeds.

Ranch Pumpkin Seeds

2 Tablespoons melted butter

Pinch of Salt

1 Tablespoon Ranch Dressing Mix

2 cups raw pumpkin seeds

Heat oven to 275° F. Toss butter, salt, dressing mix and pumpkin seeds in a shallow baking dish. Bake for 1 hour stirring every 15 minutes.

-For more fun facts about growing plants read The Tree That Bear Climbed, Sylvan Dell’s November free eBook of the Month.  http://www.sylvandellpublishing.com/bookpage.php?id=TreeBear.

Halloween Games for Kids!

Nervous about how to deal with the increased levels of sugar intake your children will be getting this time of year? Well, here are some ways to help them stay active and burn the energy off.

The Monster Mash, as we all know, is a classic Halloween tune.  As it has been around since 1962, what would be better than to keep it alive and kicking?  You can turn this song into your own Halloween version of freeze tag.  We’ll call it Monster Mash Freeze Dance.  Kids can dance while the song is being played, but when the music is stopped at random intervals, participants must freeze in place or be out.  The last one standing is the winner!

How about Pumpkin bowling?  This is one of those games that will keep children on their feet.  You can use standard plastic bowling pins and a mini pumpkin as the ball.  Kids compete to see who can knock down the most pins.  This game can even be incorporated into your very own obstacle course

Do you remember the egg and spoon race?  Turn it into the eyeball and spoon race!  You can use an egg, or if you’re looking for less mess, a ping pong ball.  Paint it to look like an eyeball and have kids race to the finish line without dropping the eye.  To make it more fun and creative, kids canpaint their own eye before competing in the race. 

Conduct your very own Skeleton Scavenger Hunt!  You can cut different bone shapes from paper or even buy plastic ones from a toy store or craft shop.  Have the kids roam around in search of these different parts.  You can even see if the little party guests can reassemble their bony treasures into a complete skeleton set.

Play Musical Pumpkins!  You can set up an arrangement of differently painted or carved pumpkins and have kids move between them while music plays…just like in musical chairs.  A pumpkin is removed after each round.  By the end of the game, kids are running around trying to squeeze into one spot.  For variety, you can used spider webs, tombstones, or even witchy cauldrons as your targets. 

I bet you haven’t heard of this one: The Witch’s Stew game. Cut ten Halloween shapes, such as ghosts, bats, and pumpkins from construction paper.  Each shape should be about the size of a silver dollar.  Using a straw as a vacuum, each contestant can try to pick up a shape and place it in the bowl to create Witch’s Stew.  You can time the players to see who gets all ten of the shapes into the bowl the fastest.  Even cut out several sets of shape and set up differentcauldrons.  This way kids can have some fun with head to head races.

And lastly…play Wrap the Mummy.  It’s always a hit. Divide the children into groups of three to five kids. Select one child in each group to be a mummy. Then give the other children a roll of toilet paper or crepe paper. Instruct them to wrap the mummy with the paper, leaving the eyes, nose and mouth uncovered. The first group to be done with their roll of paper,wins!