Crafty Fun with Cheetah Dreams!

Today we celebrate Cheetah Dreams!!

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Linda Stanek is a cat lover (follow her on twitter @LindaStanek to see her adorable kittens). So, when she began working on an academic book about cheetahs, her next children’s book was forming in the back of her mind. That book just came out last week and is a poetic love story to the majestic cats, but also has valuable facts. Readers are sure to show empathy with the cats as their habitat and numbers continue to decline. With equal passion, illustrator Shennen Bersani traveled to zoos and learned from keepers and the animals themselves. Her realistic illustrations show the fast cats in motion and at rest with adorable furry cubs.

In the spirit of October, we have a fun craft to help you celebrate the release of Cheetah Dreams! You can illustrate this simple cheetah mask of your own. We used a paper plate, a combination of markers and paint, along with a folded pipe cleaner. You can be creative with the decoration and if you have a string or elastic to secure the mask that can simply be attached to the sides for a more secure fit.

 

Download the pattern and print it out.

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Cut around the lines and then trace it onto a paper plate.

Cut the mask out of the paper plate along with the two ears.

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Attach the ears either with staples or glue. And then color your cheetah face! Shennen’s beautiful illustrations are a great guide having been vetted for accuracy by some of the top Cheetah experts.

After painting your cheetah’s spots, attach the holding stick or elastic and be a cheetah for a day!

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**This crafter is not as skilled as Shennen, so this cheetah mask has not been vetted by experts

Get you copy of Cheetah Dreams in English or Spanish from Arbordale or just learn more about the book on the book page!

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On Writing: Jennifer Keats Curtis Talks about her new release Baby Bear’s Adoption!

Hopefully, you are happily reading all the Arbordale new releases!! This week we will feature each book on the blog. Today we talk with Baby Bear’s Adoption creator Jennifer Keats Curtis, on how she took what she learned from wildlife biologist Mark Boersen and turned it into this fun little picture book!

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AP: How did this book come to be?

JKC: I don’t think I can express how much I love learning about different animals! I had heard about raptors and other birds taking care of non-biological babies in their nests; but, this was the first time I’d heard about a mammal. The first time I talked to Mark Boersen, the wildlife biologist who runs the program for Michigan, I knew there was a story here!

AP: What inspires you in this story?

JKC: So many aspects! For one, knowing that bear adoption is based on a real program for orphaned/abandoned baby bears, I am amazed that scientists could figure out how to unite a baby with a mother bear who is not his or hers biologically. While bears can be placed in human-run facilities, this is obviously the best outcome for a young bear. It tickles me that the mother bear will take that baby and raise him as her own. I also love the way that the illustrator Veronica Jones shows such amazement and wonder on the kids’ faces!

AP: What attracts you to write about scientists?

JKC: Well, for one thing, when I was a kid, I didn’t think I was “good” at science, so I avoided that (and math). I ended up with an undergraduate degree in English Literature because I love to read and analyze text and a graduate degree in Journalism because I’m so nosy! When you’re a reporter, you can ask people questions, and they willingly answer! I love to know about everything and scientists are such incredible sources of information. I get to learn details that may not be otherwise accessible, and I really have to work hard before we ever meet to discuss the topic because they often talk at such a high level of expertise that I must have a good basic understanding of the topic before I can begin asking good questions…and then comprehend their answers.

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AP: What do you hope kids get from reading this book?

JKC: For one, my intent was to allow the kids with whom I see during frequent school visits and author residencies to see themselves in my books. During those visits, when I look out, I see many races besides white. I read with and work with African-American, Asian, Indian, and Hispanic children. Rarely, if ever, do I see children of color represented in children’s nature books. (This is one of the reasons I was so delighted to work with Dr. Neeti Bathala on Moonlight Crab Count and see the illustrations represent an Indian girl and her mom.) I wanted my young readers to see themselves in my stories. The adoption angle was supposed to be subtle with the illustrations hinting at adoption in human families; so again, kids could perhaps see a similarity between the bear’s family and their own family. Incidentally, I wrote the story from the point of view of my nephew Braden (who was eight at the time) and decided to include his sister, my niece, Finley. The kids in the story don’t look like them, nor does the dad in the story look like my little brother, because, that is the beauty of realistic fiction. After reading this book, I hope kids will think as I do—science is awesome! I might be able to work with experts even though I’m a kid! Maybe I should be a scientist when I grow up! I could work outside and help animals at the same time.

AP: Do you think kids will think about adoption differently?

JKC: I am not sure if kids will think about adoption differently. Like many adults, I have friends who have happily, well ecstatically, adopted children. I would like to hope that there is a happy family for every child who needs one.

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Learn more, or get your own copy of Baby Bear’s Adoption on our website. You can also check out the many other books by Jennifer Keats Curtis there too!

Let’s Talk About Nonfiction

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Learning is great! Learning is fun! So today we feature one of our continuing nonfiction series that is growing season by season!

Did you know…

“Dragonflies have two compound eyes that can see in all directions at the same time.” – Animal Eyes 

“Most frogs don’t have any teeth on their lower jaw” – Animal Mouths 

This month we add another fact-filled book to Mary Holland’s series, Animal Tails!

Like the others in this series, Mary uses her vast knowledge to show young readers why a tail might be useful. From warding off predators to dangling from a tree, each page features a new use for this unique appendage!

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Learn more about each book in this series:

Animal Tails
Readers will be fascinated by the many ways animals use their tails: to move on land, swim, warn others, steer, hold on to things, keep warm, balance, fly, attract a mate, and even to defend themselves! Apparently, tails are not just for wagging when happy. Following Animal Eyes, Animal Mouths(NSTA/CBC Outstanding Trade Science Award-winning book), and Animal Legs, Mary Holland continues her photographic Animal Anatomy and Adaptations series by exploring the many ways animals use their tails.

AnimalEyesThe sense of sight helps an animal stay safe from predators, find food and shelter, defend its territory and care for its young. We can tell a lot about an animal from its eyes: whether it is predator or prey, whether it is more active during the day or night, and sometimes even its gender or age. Award-winning nature photographer and environmental educator Mary Holland shares fascinating animal eyes with readers of all ages.

AnimalLegsCan you smell with your feet? Do you dig your claws into a river’s muddy bank to climb up and bask in the sun? Animals’ legs are different from humans’ in so many ways! Find out why strong talons suit a raptor, or webbing is perfect for water dwellers as author Mary Holland continues her photographic Animal Anatomy and Adaptations series by exploring the ways insects, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals move and explore their world.

AnimalMouthsWhat are some things we can learn about animals from the shape of their mouths, beaks,
or bills? What can we infer about animals with sharp teeth compared to large, flat teeth? Are there any animals that don’t have mouths? Following in the footsteps of Animal Eyes, award-winning nature photographer and environmental educator Mary Holland shares fascinating animal mouths with readers of all ages.

We hear Animal Ears will arrive Spring 2018 learn more about it too! 

AnimalEarsHearing is an important sense for animals’ survival. Ears give animals vital information to help them find food or listen for predators ready to attack. This continuation of Mary Holland’s award-winning Animal Anatomy and Adaptations series features a wide variety of animal ears and how animals use them. Did you know that some animals have ears on their legs? Like the eyes, mouths, legs, and tails featured in previous books, animal ears come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes—a perfect match for each animal’s needs.

 

Book Launch: Amphibians and Reptiles

AmphbnReptileWith three books under her belt in the past two years, author Katharine Hall is ready to compare and contrast again with Amphibians and Reptiles. This is the fourth book in our popular series and like the other books in the Compare and Contrast Book series young children will learn a ton of facts and get an up-close look at these slimy or scaly creatures.

Katharine-Hall2014Some of the most common questions we get from readers are about coming up with book ideas. Get to know Katharine and her writing…

How have you decided what topics to write about in the series?

I started with Polar Bears and Penguins because so many kids – and even adults! – think that these animals inhabit the same area. So I really wanted to pull them apart and say, no, this is where polar bears are and this is where penguins are, and they are completely different regions. So comparing/ contrasting two groups that are frequently confused is a fun topic and probably my favorite approach. But there are also things that are around us all the time that we don’t necessarily think about or examine. Those make great topics because they involve exploring something familiar and learning new things.

As an avid reader, what were some of your favorite books as a child?

How long of a list do you want? I could go on forever, but I’ll try to limit myself here. When I was little-little, I loved the “Baby Blue Cat” books and anything/everything by Jan Brett. Then by elementary school, I basically read everything and anything I could get my hands on. In terms of non-fiction, I have always enjoyed biographies. My mom stocked our bookshelves with biographies of famous women in history, famous inventors, scientists, and mathematicians – books that introduced me to important people and moments in history and helped expand my understanding of the world. For fiction, the “Harry Potter” series by JK Rowling and the “Song of the Lioness” series by Tamora Pierce were – and still are – near and dear to my heart.

Find out what author Katharine Hall has coming up next in her full author interview!

Amphib-Rept Ready to compare and contrast Amphibians and Reptiles? Leave a comment and enter to win a copy of the new book, then get started with our Venn diagram!

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 www.jenniferkeatscurtis.com 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.