New Books for Children’s Book Week and a giveaway

Would you like to win a set of Arbordale’s spring releases?

Here is a fun little fact scavenger hunt related to our spring books complete it this weekend for a chance to win free books.

  • If you suffer from seasonal allergies eating _________________ from your local area may help alleviate symptoms.
  • Butterflies, Bees and other insects don’t have ____________. They have different parts of the mouth that makes eating nectar easy.
  • Iguanas have sharp teeth and are classified as omnivores but they primarily eat __________ and especially ripe _____________.
  • Monkeys also love to eat fruit, and as a ____________ they are animal cousins to humans.
  • Ring-tailed lemurs are primates that live on the tip of Madagascar an ___________ off the coast of ___________.
  • A very large animal that lives in Africa today, the ________________ is a close relative to this extinct Ice Age animal ___________.

Email your answers to Heather (at) Arbordalepublishing.com to win copies of Achoo! Why Pollen Counts, Animal Mouths, Fibonacci Zoo, Primate School, This Land is Your Land and Wandering Woolly!

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It’s International Polar Bear Day!

1 (6)This snow white bear is a very important animal, not only are they incredibly cute, they are a fierce hunter, and very dependent on their environment for survival. Researchers keep a keen eye on the polar bear population as an indicator of our overall planet’s health.

Why is this? Polar bears are dependent on the sea ice to hunt seal (their favorite food), when that ice melts due to climate change they lose their hunting ground and without access to their main source of food the population suffers.

So today celebrate the polar bear and be conscious of how you treat the environment, because the actions we take affect the whole planet.

Do you want to learn more about polar bears and their chilly habitat? Here is a list of Arbordale books that feature polar bears!

Kali’s Story: An Orphaned Polar Bear Rescue
Kali_128Follow 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.

Polar Bears and Penguins: A Compare and Contrast Book
PolarPenguins_128Polar 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

In Arctic Waters
Arctic_128An arctic adaptation of “This is the House that Jack Built” follows polar bears, walruses, seals, narwhals and beluga whales as they chase each other around “the ice that floats in the Arctic waters.” Not only is the rhythmic, cumulative prose good for early readers; it is a pure delight to read aloud. The “For Creative Minds” section helps children learn how these animals live in the cold, icy arctic region.

Fur and Feathers
FurFeathers_128When 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.

On the Move: Mass Migrations
OnTheMove_128Imagine 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. key phrases for educators: life cycles, migrations, seasons, geography.

Summer Reading Giveaway

Its Memorial Day weekend and the unofficial kickoff to summer! We are taking a break this weekend to kick back and relax, but before we lounge on the beach with a great book we are hosting giveaways on Goodreads. We are revisiting some of our 2013 releases that are perfect for learning about nature, or even planning a trip. Click the links below to enter the contest.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Anybody Home? by Marianne Collins Berkes

Anybody Home?

by Marianne Collins Berkes

Giveaway ends May 25, 2014.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

 

Enter to win

 

Goodreads Book Giveaway

 

A Day in the Deep by Kevin Kurtz

 

A Day in the Deep

 

by Kevin Kurtz

 

Giveaway ends May 25, 2014.

See the giveaway details at Goodreads.

 

 

Enter to win

 

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Dino Tracks by Rhonda Lucas Donald

Dino Tracks

by Rhonda Lucas Donald

Giveaway ends May 25, 2014.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

 

Goodreads Book Giveaway

 

The Perfect Pet by Samantha Bell

 

The Perfect Pet

 

by Samantha Bell

 

Giveaway ends May 25, 2014.

See the giveaway details at Goodreads.

 

 

Enter to win

 

Spring is blooming with Daisylocks!

Daisylocks_128Today spring is blooming in Charleston, South Carolina and we are celebrating with the launch of Daisylocks! Although the daisies haven’t burst through the soil just yet, the camellias, tulips and daffodils are in full bloom indicating spring in on the way. While I know much of the country is too cold for Daisylocks just yet, this flower might find the perfect climate inside a greenhouse where she could be cultivated nicely.

In case you haven’t guessed by now Daisylocks is all about plant life and the second book on the topic by Marianne Berkes with Sylvan Dell. Her first, The Tree that Bear Climbed, takes readers from the soil to the branches of a tree and even entices a bear to come visit as readers learn about the needs of a tree.

Illustrator Cathy Morrison’s art beautifully shows the details of each habitat as Wind and Daisylocks visit many unsuitable locations for her sort of daisy. Cathy also created wonderful coloring pages and daisy activities for you to download here!

Daisylocks coloring pg1LR

 

Daisylocks coloring pg2LR

 

Daisylocks coloring pg3LR

Meet Dino Tracks Illustrator Cathy Morrison

Cathy-Morrison-originalIt is an incredible talent to take an author’s words and bring them to life in a picture book. Cathy Morrison has this incredible talent, and has illustrated Animalogy, Three Little Beavers, Nature Recycles: How About You?, and most recently Dino Tracks. Cathy talked with us about the challenge and process of bringing dinos to life!

Working with dinosaurs seems like it would allow an illustrator a lot of creative freedom. Did you find these prehistoric creatures fun or challenging to create? Do you have a favorite dinosaur you worked on in Dino Tracks?

Illustrating Dino Tracks proved to be both fun and challenging.  On one hand there is a lot of creative freedom, or what I like to call “artistic license” in drawing dinosaurs since nobody’s ever seen one. But the science is evolving so quickly that by the time I’d finished my last spread of artwork, I found things I wanted to go back and change in the first spread of artwork because of additional research that I uncovered. I had so many questions: which dinosaurs had feathers and what about colors? We’re used to seeing them portrayed in earth tones but now that we envision them as more like birds (and lizards too) I wanted to go more colorful. Just think about the colors of birds, it’s pretty much endless. So I went out on a limb (yes, that’s a pun in case you were wondering) and made them more colorful. Here’s an article from “Live Science” that explains how much we’ve discovered about dinosaurs in the last twenty years. This article came out after I completed the illustrations but sums up a lot about the research.

I think my favorite dinosaurs were the ones that lived in polar climates. They looked like ostriches and I think they’re called timimus, which are small theropods. I still get confused with all the names. I learned a lot when I worked on this book but still feel like I barely scratched the surface compared to true paleo-artists.

 

What type of programs or medium did you use for Dino Traks? And, how were you able to create these semi-transparent dinosaurs on some of the pages?

I illustrate digitally on a Wacom Cintiq tablet, drawing directly on the monitor. The software I used for Dino Tracks is Corel Painter and Adobe Photoshop.  I create the artwork in layers, so the background is on a layer, the mid and foreground might be on their own layers, and the dinosaurs are isolated on their on layers.  This helps the Sylvan Dell editor to be able to pull out a dinosaur and use it for their Creative Minds section or marketing materials. Also now a lot of publishers are turning their books into apps and the layers can help with animating these apps. I used to work in an animation studio years ago and it’s the same concept that we used to shoot animation cells.

finalBut back to your question about the semi-transparent dinosaurs; I wish I could say I’m just that good but there’s a pretty simple way that I made that happen. I didn’t want to show people with dinosaurs, just thought it might be confusing to the reader. So I thought it would be cool to ghost back the illustration of the dinosaur in the spreads that included people. Since the dinosaur was isolated on a separate layer from the background I worked with Donna German, my editor and art director and we were able to play around with different percentages to give it that semi-transparent effect. I think we ended up screening them back 25%. You still see the dinosaur but it gives the feeling that the image is from another time, sort of like a ghost. Hopefully it gives the look we’re trying to achieve.

 

There are a lot of repeated background elements throughout the book such as water, mountain ranges, and sparse vegetation. Was this the plan all a long or something that just occurred once you started working? And could you shed some light on your creative process? Do you have a signature artistic style or element for fans and readers to watch out for? 

I had absolutely no plan when I started illustrating Dino Tracks, just a lot of questions. This is the first dinosaur book for Sylvan Dell and for me too. Sylvan Dell has all their books vetted by professionals in their field. Even though they are picture books, they need to be accurate. So initially I did my research and sent my rough story board layouts to them and they turned them over to Jeffrey A. Wilson, Associate Professor at the department of Earth & Environmental Sciences and Associate Curator of the Museum of Paleontology at the University of Michigan. He didn’t make a ton of suggestions but his comments really helped to clarify what was important to show about dinosaur tracks. It focused the direction of the illustrations and I was able to get a clear vision and go on from there.

Every artist has a signature style, their own voice that they develop over the years. I like adding a lot of interesting little details that I hope will enhance the author’s words.

Jurassic-Park

What advice would you give readers who are interested in illustration or art? What was your favorite art project as a kid? What inspired you to become an illustrator?

I think you should do what you love but don’t expect an easy road ahead. For every job I’ve been contracted for, I have probably gotten over twenty rejections before that one job came through. So you need to listen to construction criticism and grow with each project. Art styles may be popular one year then passé the next and you have to stay true to yourself but at the same time evolve and keep up with technology and what publishers are looking for. It’s not for everybody and it’s not easy.

When I was young (not a kid but early twenties) I liked sewing and fashion design a lot. My mom used to sew all our clothes growing up and she taught me to sew as well. I was never as skilled as her but became fascinated by what went into making clothes and how fashion evolved through history. It’s pretty amazing what lengths people go through to be fashionable and the role that clothing has played through history; from the bound feet of the Chinese women, to quilters sewing quilt codes to guide slaves in the Underground Railroad, to the revolutionary mini skirt, to tattoos and body piercing today. Fashion makes cultural and political statements around the world and I’ve always been interested in that. I considered being a fashion illustrator and did a summer abroad program in Paris, France with Parson School of Design which was a life changing experience. But I have to say when my kids were little and I started reading children’s books I knew that was it for me. And I feel very lucky to still be illustrating children’s books today.

 

Readers don’t have to wait long for new books by Cathy.  Coming to stores in February is Daisylocks, an adaptation of Goldilocks and the Three Bears by Marianne Berkes,  and more dinosaurs will be hitting bookshelves this fall with Dino Treasures set for release in August 2014. Stay connected with Sylvan Dell Publishing to find out more!

Timimus

 

A New Year A New Season

Welcome 2013, we are celebrating with the release of our seven new titles for Spring. Although it doesn’t feel like spring, it is right around the corner and we have new titles to share!

Animal Helpers: Sanctuaries by Jennifer Keats Curtis
AH-Sanctuaries_128What happens to exotic pets when owners realize they can no longer care for them but they can’t be returned to the wild? And what about big predators that get hurt or sick? This photographic journal takes readers “behind the scenes” at five nonprofit sanctuaries and rescue zoos, and one care farm, that have opened their doors and their hearts.

Balloon Trees by Danna Smith, illustrated by Laurie Allen Klein
BalloonTrees_128Balloons do come from trees—rubber trees. Told in rhyme, the story follows the wide variety of steps involved in making the air-filled decorations we all know and love. Starting with the tapping of the rubber tree, the ship that carries the liquid rubber to the factory, and the manufacturing process itself; readers will learn just how that balloon arrived at his or her house. This delightful, fun-to-read-aloud story is sure to give readers a new appreciation for balloons. key phrases for educators: change in state of matter, production of goods (how things are made), natural resources, transportation of goods, geography

Deductive Detective by Brian Rock, illustrated by Sherry Rogers
DeductiveDetective_128Someone stole a cake from the cake contest—who could it be? Twelve animal bakers are potential suspects but Detective Duck uses his deductive reasoning skills to “quack” the case. After all, the thief left hairs behind so the thief wasn’t a bird. Follow along as he subtracts each suspect one at a time to reveal just who the culprit was. This clever story will have children of all ages giggling at the puns and the play on words. Key phrases for educators: subtraction, deductive reasoning, animal adaptations, puns/play on words.

Ferdinand Fox’s First Summer by Mary Holland
FerdinandFox_128Follow this young fox as he explores the world around him during the first few months of his life. He’s about a month old when he first comes out of the den. Watch as he explores the world around him, learning how to hunt through play and by using his senses. See the changes as he grows from a young kit to a young fox. After all, by the next summer, he’ll have children of his own! Naturalist photographer and environmental educator Mary Holland has captured Ferdinand’s First Summer in a way that is sure to grab children’s hearts.

Nature Recycles: How About You? by Michelle Lord, illustrated by Cathy Morrison
NatureRecycles_128From sea urchins in the Atlantic Ocean to bandicoots on the Australian savanna, animals all over the world recycle. Explore how different animals in different habitats use recycled material to build homes, protect themselves and get food. This fascinating collection of animal facts will teach readers about the importance of recycling and inspire them to take part in protecting and conserving the environment by recycling in their own way. key phrases for educators: recycling, animal adaptations and behaviors, geography.

On the Move: Seasonal Migration by Scotti Cohn, illustrated by Susan Detwiler
OnTheMove_128Imagine 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. key phrases for educators: life cycles, migrations, seasons, geography.

Shark Baby by Ann Downer, illustrated by Shennen Bersani
SharkBaby_128“Who am I?” wonders Shark Baby. When his “mermaid’s purse” egg case is torn loose in a storm, he finds himself on a journey through different ocean habitats: kelp forests, coral reefs, and seagrass meadows. He learns what kind of shark he isn’t, but not what kind he is. He needs to find the “mermaid” to learn where he belongs, but the ocean is big and full of dangers. Will he find out who he is—and what he can do—in time?

The new eBooks have just gone online, and are available for purchase at http://www.sylvandellpublishing.com. Paperbacks and hardcovers are coming next month, but you can pre-order now!