We laugh when someone tells a joke. We laugh when we are having fun. Or sometimes we laugh when we are uncomfortable. We have a sense of humor and a range of feelings. Humans express emotions to communicate to others how we are feeling through body language and most importantly sound!
We know why we laugh but do animals laugh?
Scientists set out to answer this question. Researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles, have identified 65 creatures that “laugh” while they play. While researchers can’t know what animals are thinking, they observed animals making unique sounds while playing that are not made at other times. They also noticed a difference in panting and facial expressions.
While most animals that displayed laughing sounds were mammals, a few bird species are also known to make laughing noises. It is not much of a surprise that our closest relatives, the primates, were mammals that showed a range of noises during playful activity. But dogs, rats, foxes, dolphins, killer whales, and Kea parrots also make laughing noises while playing.
Researchers concluded that laughing happens during play because many play activities can also be interpreted as fighting. The playful noises show participants that they are having fun and will not hurt each other.
Because studies have not observed play activity by reptiles or amphibians, they couldn’t conclude if these species make playful noises. This study is far from conclusive, and they will continue to find giggling creatures as more studies are finished.
For the long weekend, we have put together a silly animal reading list to make you laugh! Check out these titles featuring some of the mentioned laughing critters.
Mary Holland’s popular Animal Anatomy and Adaptations series grew by one today. We release Animal Homes – a look at the way animals adapt to their environment and make their homes. Mary takes us inside the homes of beavers, bees, birds, and squirrels.
Let’s take a look…
You may have made a fort, using blankets and furniture, or put up a tent to go camping, but today we have a different kind of challenge for you. Can you make a house of cards?
What we learned. This only requires a deck of cards, but you need a steady hand and a lot of patience. Start building with two cards angled in a triangle. Once one is steady, start with another and cap them together by placing a card on top. We tried to make multiple levels, but our house folded several times.
Send us a photo of your card house to @Arbordalekids on Instagram and you could win a copy of Animal Homes. For more information about Mary’s latest Animal Anatomy and Adaptations title visit the book’s homepage.
The fall books have just arrived, and we are ready to share the shiny new covers with you! This week, we will highlight each of the titles and its creators individually, but get an overview today!
Teeth come in all shapes and sizes, just like their animal hosts. Some teeth are sharp to grab prey and tear apart the meat. Other teeth are flat to chew plants and some animals have both kinds to eat plants and animals. And That’s the Tooth delivers unique and fun facts about animal and human teeth through engaging riddles. With hints to help solve each riddle, children will be actively involved as they giggle, guess, and learn.
Just like humans, animals use their homes for shelter and to raise their young. Animal homes might be easy to see, or they may be hidden (camouflaged) for protection. Some animals are great builders and other animals borrow homes that other animals have made. Different animals might just use natural places like caves or holes in trees to make a home. And some animals might even carry their home on their back! Sticks, mud, leaves, cotton, and grass are all things that animals might use to build a home. Whether by digging, spinning, building or borrowing, animal homes are as varied as the animals themselves. This is a perfect sequel to Mary Holland’s Animal Anatomy and Adaptations series.
When a young river otter sneaks into a zoo, she wonders if she should be more like some of the other animals she meets. She wants a trunk like the elephant or be loud like the gorilla… By imitating and comparing herself to these other animals she learns to appreciate herself. Educational components are woven throughout this fun, read-aloud story and sidebar information complements and extends the learning, making it a perfect book for a wide variety of ages.
Weather changes daily. Sometimes it can even change from one moment to another—like a sudden storm. Weather affects our daily lives from what we wear to what outdoor activities (or lack thereof) we can do. Learning about weather and how to dress and prepare for it is an important skill to learn. Maybe even more important is the skill of observation. By asking simple questions, children become engaged and can start to observe and make correlations about the weather around them so they will understand how the weather impacts their lives.
You can learn more about each book and download the educational extras on the book homepages, and join us tomorrow for an interview with Terri Fields on writing And That’s the Tooth!
We are nearing the end of summer’s long days, and you may notice buzzing bugs in your yard soaking in the summer sun. August is a buggy month with World Honeybee Day and World Mosquito Day falling in the middle of the month insects are on our mind.
Researchers have been documenting the size of insect eggs, thinking that perhaps the egg shape is significant in shaping the bug. After collecting and documenting 10,000 samples, they found that habitat and not egg shape give the bugs their characteristics.
Biologists are thrilled to have this extensive database and research at their fingertips. Which got us thinking about the bugs in our books, and all the research illustrators do to make Arbordale books accurate.
While learning multiplication, readers also get some fascinating bug facts. Illustrator Erin E. Hunter did extensive research into the characteristics and habitat of the 11 different bugs featured in Suzanne Slade’s math series book. The clean landscapes showcase the diverse bodies of each insect.
When two kids hunt butterflies, they find all different varieties in the garden. Here, illustrator Sherry Rogers incorporates her whimsical style with accurate depictions of butterflies and moths to bring to life the competitive butterfly hunt written by Barbara Mariconda. With each page adding up to ten, readers get an important math lesson in this book too!
While this book has more animals than just insects who know how to survive on their own, Laurie Allen Klein’s ladybugs and swallowtails are some of our favorites. Her personal touches are sure to be found by family members that completed flight school or sending baby ladybugs off on their own. Robin Yardi expertly mixed humorous everyday situations with a realistic view of the amazing animal instincts.
There is only one bug in this book, but it is found all over the world and is the most dangerous animal of all. The competition is fierce in Terri Fields’ contest for the most dangerous animal crown, and the illustrations by Laura Jacques show each animal at their most fierce.
We hope you are buzzing with excitement to explore the diverse insects in your backyard. Just avoid the mosquitoes – they bite! If you want to read more about the study of insect eggs, see the full article here, and you can find each of these titles at arbordalepublishing.com.
Here come the ghosts and goblins, Skulls and sarcophaguses,
and our favorite – bats and cats! Amongst the falling leaves and decorative
pumpkins, these two creatures enjoy the low light of twilight to make nightly
appearances. So today we give you a booklist, and a little background, on how some
of these spooky beings became symbols of Halloween.
While some believe bats fluttering around bonfires during ancient
rituals warding off evil spirits is the first spooky association with the
winged mammals, Braham Stoker is really credited with fortifying the
association. His shapeshifting character Dracula flying into the night ready to
drink blood just like the vampire bats of South America was enough to spark
fear into many readers.
Today we know a bit more about science than the 17th-century
explorers and here are a few books that show the softer side of bats.
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?
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. – Read Bat Count during October as Arbordale’s Free ebook of the month!
Cats have long been human companions, and the Egyptians
memorialized their cats as mummies – but we will get to them later. As the Christian
religion spread throughout Europe, people began associating the dark cat’s
nocturnal hunting with the devil. Starting in the 1500’s witchcraft and the
black cat became forever connected in people’s minds.
While cats are aloof, skilled hunters, and happy to prowl at
night, homes around the world welcome cuddly kitties without being accused of
witchcraft these days. However, statistics show black cats are less likely to
be adopted than light-colored counterparts. Learn about the similarities and differences
of cats domestic and wild in these books:
Big cats are fierce predators that roam the world from the mountains to the deserts. How are these wild cats that hunt for their food the same as pet cats that might chase a mouse or ball of yarn? How are they different? Children learn the days of the week as they travel to seven different world habitats to meet the big cats, and then back home to compare and contrast the domestic cat’s behavior to that of its relative.
Colo the cougar and her friend Ruff, the bobcat, jump and play together, but Ruff can’t jump as far as Colo. Ruff doesn’t have a long, swishy tail like Colo does, to provide balance on long leaps. Ruff’s tail is much shorter. He is sure that something is wrong with him. Sympathetic, Colo suggests they find a tail that Ruff would like better, so off they go. As the two kittens explore the variety of tails worn by other animals, they make the best discovery of all.
Finally, our newest Halloween read is also the newest symbol
of the holiday. Over the years, people have developed a very different
relationship with death than perhaps some ancient cultures. The Egyptians believed
that the spirit would return to the body, so they were very careful in
preserving that body for this event. There are several mentions of mummies in
literature, but today’s evil villains wrapped in bandages are largely a Hollywood
Scientists are learning so much about past lives from
mummies found in tombs and in nature. Don’t worry, they are not coming back to life;
technology is key in discovering the past. Learn more in Rhonda Lucas Donald’s
If a mummy could talk, what would it say? Of course, mummies can’t talk. But with modern scientific tools, we can still discover what a mummy has to tell us. Read the stories of mummified Egyptian pharaohs and priestesses, baby elephants, pampered pets, and even a prehistoric bison. Uncover clues to centuries-old murder mysteries and human sacrifices, and even find out what a person or animal had for their last meal! Information from real scientists explains how we know what we know about each mummy. So, what do these mummies have to say? Lots, it turns out!
That’s all for today’s Reading list, but you might find a few other ghostly tales on the Arbordale website!
Happy Book Birthday to Jennifer Keats Curtis, Veronica Jones, Linda Stanek, Shennen Bersani, Kevin Kurtz, Sherry Neidigh, Brian Rock, and Carolyn Le their books are on sale at your favorite bookseller!
Get to know our new titles!
When two young kids learn about their father’s job, they get a surprise experience not many of us could imagine. Braden and Finley quickly learn to snowshoe so that they can head out with their Dad and his team of wildlife biologists. Dad and his team are part of a program in Michigan that tag, track and eventually hope to unite orphaned baby bears with new mama bears. The kids keep the cubs warm as the team does their work and then places the cubs back with mom in the den for their long winter hibernation. The kids wait until spring when Dad gets a call that they have an orphaned baby bear that needs a new family and the kids once again tag along to watch the team strategically join the baby with a new mom.
Many know that cheetahs are fast, but many don’t know how challenging it is to be a big cat on the African savanna. A poetic text introduces the many trials and tribulations of hunting, raising young cheetahs, and other dangers. This book urges readers to feel empathy toward the cats while learning more about their life. The lyrical text is paired with more informative tidbits about habitat and adaptations. The realistic artwork gives readers an up-close look at these majestic cats.
Spend a day and a night with the animals that call a forested wetland home. Some of these neighbors bask in the sunlight through the trees; others prefer to lurk in the waters. But when the sun goes down, a whole new group of animals thrives under the cover of darkness. Throughout the book, we learn fascinating facts about these animals and the unique habitat they call home in short rhyming stanzas. The text paired with the amazing detail in the illustrations, readers are sure to ask to visit a wetland after reading this book!
King Lion draws a line in the sand of his dusty empire, and the racers wait for the start. The race is quick, and the cheetah is crowned the winner of the world’s fastest animal! But wait, the other animals cry that the race is unfair and make their case for a new competition. Birds are much quicker through the air, and over a long distance the husky would surely beat the cheetah, and the marlin is the speediest in the sea. Others show off their own special skills until King Lion had heard enough and then ponders the problem. The solution is simple King Lion will hold an Olympics with categories for all types of animals.
Download teaching activities, take quizzes or print the “For Creative Minds” section from the Arbordale website. You can also order your own copy in hardcover, paperback, or dual-language ebook in our store!