Children’s Book Week!

We look forward to the beginning of May each year to celebrate something near and dear to our heart, children’s books! This week our authors and illustrators are out and about presenting to children in bookstores, schools and libraries across the country for Children’s Book Week.

We wanted to get in on the fun, and today we are sharing Book Week Bingo as a fun way to check off your weekly reading.

Get started reading with this month’s FREE ebook of the month, Where Should Turtle Be?. Send us your full bingo card and we will send you a free ebook of your choice.

Happy Reading!!

To go along with your reading…

We are still celebrating our book launch and next week we will profile each book on the blog individually. For today, we give you a visual blog with printable bookmarks! Enjoy!


Download Baby Bear’s Adoption Bookmark

Download Cheetah Dreams Bookmark

Download A Day in a Forested Wetland Bookmark

Download Which Animal is Fastest? Bookmark

You can also order or learn more about each of our new books at!


Plan your vacation around migration

Caribou.jpgSunshine and warm weather bring the end of school daze and summer vacation! Many families are eager to pack up and vacation somewhere new. Are you going on vacation? Animals are also On the Move this summer and here are a few places to visit if you want to catch the magic of migration.

If Alaska is on your travel list, the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is a great place to stop in June or July to view thousands of caribou. They spend the summer months raising calves and soaking in the sun before heading south to avoid the freezing winter temperatures.


Turtle tracks are an amazing find during early morning walks on the Beaches of the Southeast. In June, July and August, mother loggerhead turtles travel to the shore to lay their eggs before heading back out to sea. Then the little hatchlings make the long trip down the beach before diving into the ocean. While visitors are unlikely to get a glimpse of a turtle during the day, there are signs all around.


Head to the shores of Manitoba, Canada to catch sight of the rare beluga whale. In July and August these smiling mammals make their way to the Hudson Bay to breed. Then catch the salmon run in the fall, but they begin streaming to British Columbia, Canada in late summer. Wade into the rivers in August and spot the red-sided fish swimming by in small streams.


Although the elephant seals on the central coast of California perform their mating rituals in the winter, you can catch them molting on the beaches during the early summer months. The San Simeon viewing area is a great location to watch the large pinnipeds lounging.

For more amazing animals that migrate throughout the year check out Scotti Cohn and Susan Detwiler’s book On the Move: Mass Migrations

Do you hear what I hear?

AnimalEarsThe latest book in Mary Holland’s Animal Anatomy and Adaptations series is all about the ears. Some ears are easy to spot, while others are concealed. Why? Mary Holland has the answers as she guides readers through the world of Animal Ears.

Mary’s lens captured ears of all sizes for this book. From the katydid that has tiny ears on its legs to the cottontail rabbit with large rotating ears to a huge black bear with small round ears, each ear’s unique traits are revealed through nonfiction text.

To celebrate the release of Animal Ears, make your own favorite animal ears with these easy headband designs!



What you need:

Construction paper

And don’t forget the other fun and informative books in this series…

Creepy Crawlers and Spooky Critters for Halloween Reading

It’s that time of year. We head out tonight for a frightful evening of fun! Trick-or-treaters might not be the only one in the neighborhood lurking in the shadows of the dark. Here is a little booklist for some spooky reading featuring our new book Night Creepers.

NightCreepersBy Linda Stanek with illustrations by Shennen Bersani

A perfect nap or bedtime story told with short, lyrical text, young readers learn about crepuscular and nocturnal animals and some of their behaviors. Older readers learn more about each animal with sidebar information.

Author Linda Stanek has always had an interest in the seemingly invisible animals of the night. After calling them “night creepers” for some time, she began to envision a book. Through research, Linda was fascinated with the different colors of eyeshine and even included a section in the book’s “For Creative Minds” on the topic.

Shennen Bersani visited the Alaska Zoo, the Stone Zoo, and the Blue Hills Trailside Museum to find her inspiration for Night Creepers, but many of the animals are found right outside her door at night. Shennen’s appreciation for nature comes through in her realistic style.


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.



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! The squirrel tells her to stay. But what about the dangerous creatures that hunt red bats in winter? The sparrow urges her to go. But where? Carole Gerber takes young readers on an educational journey through one bat’s seasonal dilemma in Little Red Bat. The For Creative Minds educational section includes: Match the Bat Adaptation, Bat Fun Facts, How Animals Deal with Seasonal Changes, Red Bats and Seasonal Change, and Bat Life Cycle Sequencing Activity.



“Baby Bat loves his cave home and never wants to leave. 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 bats for food. Will Baby Bat finally venture out of the cave to help the other animals?



Have 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! The “For Creative Minds” learning section includes a “Wolf Communications Matching” and “Wolf Calendar” activity.



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?

Have a safe and Happy Halloween! Find these books and more at Arbordale

You can learn more about each of these books at Arbordale Enter if you dare!


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) to win copies of Achoo! Why Pollen Counts, Animal Mouths, Fibonacci Zoo, Primate School, This Land is Your Land and Wandering Woolly!

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.


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!