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.
It is a new year! As the calendar flips, many of us are thinking of a new beginning and achieving new goals. Scientists are always on the path to discovery, and recently a group researching American Alligators discovered they can makeover their bodies in a unique way. They can regrow their tails after injury.
Tail regrowth is not a new concept for scientists. Until now, they thought this adaptation was limited to small lizards that can detach their tails and escape further injury. It takes some time, but these lizards regenerate their tails almost as if they were never gone.
A team of scientists from Arizona State University took a look at alligator tails that had once sustained an injury and found new growth. Juvenile alligators can regrow up to 18% of their body length. The regrowth tissue is different than the existing tail and contains cartilage, nerves, and blood vessels.
Researchers will continue looking into the details of how alligators regrow its tail in comparison with other lizards and regeneration by other animals. While this conclusion answers some questions, it brings up many others. Researchers will take this information and may begin to look into historic tail regrowth and medical research.
The American Alligator can be found in lakes, rivers, and swamps from North Carolina to the Texas Rio Grande. They have long “armored” bodies with four short legs and a long tail with a rounded snout that they can stick out of the water and breathe while they are submerged. They travel in a small area but can go further distances during mating season. Baby alligators generally hatch toward the end of August and make high-pitched noises before hatching. It is a long road to adulthood and stay with their mother for two or three years. Alligators are unique reptiles in this way as well as their ability to lie dormant underwater during cold weather.
Dolphins are beloved mammals of the sea. They are also some of the smartest animals that live in the ocean, and researchers have just released a study on dolphins using interesting techniques to capture their prey.
Recently, biologists observed dolphins in the Shark Bay area of Western Australia. These animals used a technique called shelling to catch prey. The dolphin chases a fish or other small animal into a large shell, then they put in their beak and shake it until the fish drops into their open mouth. They observed the behavior in several dolphins, and through social evaluation, determined shelling was learned from other dolphins in the same generation and not mothers.
Being in the South Carolina Low Country, we frequently see dolphins swimming near the beaches and in the marshes. They have a unique way to capture prey, strand feeding. This technique is where a group of dolphins coordinate to rush the bank of a creek, pushing fish onshore then feeding on the flopping fish.
You can learn more about the amazing abilities of dolphins in many of the titles in our Summer Reading collection. Here is a short reading list:
Join Delfina the dolphin as she imagines that she becomes other sea animals: a fish, a sea turtle, a pelican, an octopus, a shark, even a manatee! The incredible morphing illustrations will have children laughing as they learn about the real differences between these ocean animals and their respective classes.
Sharks and dolphins both have torpedo-shaped bodies with fins on their backs. They slice through the water to grab their prey with sharp teeth. But despite their similarities, sharks and dolphins belong to different animal classes: one is a fish and gets oxygen from the water and the other is a mammal and gets oxygen from the air. Marine educator Kevin Kurtz guides early readers to compare and contrast these ocean predators through stunning photographs and simple, nonfiction text.
Enjoy a day in one of the most dynamic habitats on earth: the salt marsh. Fun-to-read, rhyming verse introduces readers to hourly changes in the marsh as the tide comes and goes. Watch the animals that have adapted to this ever-changing environment as they hunt for food or play in the sun, and learn how the marsh grass survives even when it is covered by saltwater twice a day. An activity on adaptations is included in the “For Creative Minds” section.
Where else could you stay dry while visiting aquatic animals from around the world? Only in an aquarium can you visit and learn about all these different local and exotic animals. Aquarium staff care for and teach about these animals, as well as work to conserve and protect threatened and endangered species. Follow this behind-the-scenes photographic journal as it leads you into the wondrous world of aquariums and the animal helpers who work there.
The unofficial start to summer is here! While 2020 has not been smooth sailing, we are happy that we can continue to share quality reading and fun activities with little ones and today we are kicking off Summer Reading Under the Sea.
Splash around through 24 underwater and beachy ebooks through August 31st on arbordalepublishing.com. We choses a few of our classic favorites along with some of our newer titles and a mix of fiction and nonfiction for readers to enjoy!
Don’t miss out on the fun! Read our blog weekly for crafts, scavenger hunts, and coloring pages to go along with a theme! Join us next week as we explore the darkest depths of the ocean and the strange creatures that live there!
Earth Day is a great day to think about recycling! Not only recycling plastics and glass but, what about the parts of fruits and vegetables that we throw away? In nature, animals seek out discarded objects all the time. Some use these for houses or protection others find tools that are helpful to open or retrieve food.
Right now, we are staying safe at home and may not get to the grocery store as often as before. But with a little water, a little soil, and a bright sunny spot, you can start your vegetable garden inside with leftover plant pieces.
This lesson was inspired by Michelle Lord’s “Nature Recycles: How About You?” illustrated by Cathy Morrison. Before you get started on your vegetable garden, learn more about plants in these titles: Saving Kate’s Flowers, Daisylocks, and The Tree That Bear Climbed.
Once you are ready to plant the veggie tops and bottoms, download our handy observation sheet to record the changes in your fruits and veggies.
After just two days our green onion was sprouting, and now four days later the carrot looks to be sprouting tiny green hairs out of the top. Tag us in your vegetable growing and you could win advance copies of Arbordale’s fall titles.
And a little inspiration for quality outside time.
We are working from home and know that many of you are too. Also, we know trying to balance educating and entertaining kids is tough. We have decided to allow free reading of our entire collection until May 15th! (Login details below)
Over the next few weeks, we will share reading lists to fit outdoor themes, math themes, science themes, and animals we love. Today we are kicking off with some good books for nature lovers. Go hiking and identify animal signs or dig in the dirt to find precious rocks. Or, explore a local park with a new outlook on the habitat.
Arbordale Publishing is making their digital books available for free to all teachers and students through May 15, 2020. Teachers can use the Learning Management System by setting up an account at https://www.arbordalepublishing.com/user.php and then adding students. Use school site license code UGEI16 with the password May15. If it takes you to the homepage, click on eBook Access (top) and you should be in.
Turn a hike into a chance to spot animal signs
Here are two books that, in very different ways, show how to spot signs that animals have been there and done that. These are great books to read before taking a walk in the woods, and the “For Creative Minds” sections give readers valuable animal information and a field guide to spot tracks, scat, and indents.
Been There, Done That: Reading Animal Signs By Jen Funk Weber, Illustrated by Andrea Gabriel Spotting wildlife is a thrill, but it’s not easy. When Cole comes to visit his friend Helena, he can’t wait to see all the wildlife the forest has to offer—and is disappointed when all he sees are a few birds. Together the kids set out on a hike and encounter plenty of animal signs along the way. Through observation and her knowledge of animal behavior, Helena helps Cole learn what each of the signs means: something had been there; something had done that.
Animal Tracks and Traces By Mary Holland Animals are all around us. While we may not often see them, we can see signs that they’ve been there. Some signs might be simple footprints in snow or mud (tracks) and other signs include chewed or scratched bark, homes or even poop and pee (traces). Children will become animal detectives after learning how to “read” the animal signs left all around. Smart detectives can even figure out what the animals were doing! This is a perfect sequel to Mary Holland’s Animal Anatomy and Adaptations series.
A Little Physical Science for the backyard
Do you have a budding gemologist? What about a future physicist? Or, do you just need a lesson in physical science? Here are three titles that can be turned into backyard fun as well as a science lesson. Use Julie’s guide to rocks and minerals to identify your findings, push and pull your way into a lesson in Newton’s Laws of Motion, or combine math and the six simple machines to build a new fort in the backyard!
Julie the Rockhound By Gail Langer Karowski, Illustrated by Lisa Downey When a young girl finds a sparkly rock buried in the dirt and discovers that it cleans to a beautiful quartz crystal, she is fascinated and becomes Julie the Rockhound. Join Julie as her dad shows her how to dig for minerals and explains the wonders of crystal formation. Combining clever wordplay with earth science, young readers learn about Earth’s most abundant mineral “treasure.”
Newton and Me By Lynne Mayer, Illustrated by Sherry Rogers While at play with his dog, Newton, a young boy discovers the laws of force and motion in his everyday activities. Told in rhyme, Lynne Mayer’s Newton and Me follows these best friends on an adventure as they apply physics to throwing a ball, pulling a wagon, riding a bike, and much more. They will realize that Newton’s Laws of Motion describe experiences they have every day, and they will recognize how forces affect the objects around them. The “For Creative Minds” educational section includes: Force and Motion Fun Facts, Matching Forces, Who Was Newton?, and Newton’s Laws of Motion (2 of 3). Additional teaching activities and interactive quizzes are available on the Arbordale Publishing website.
The Fort on Fourth Street: A Story about the Six Simple Machines By Lois Spangler, Illustrated by Christina Wald When a young child decides to build a fort in the backyard, Grandpa comes forward to help. But they can’t do it alone—they get help from the six simple machines: lever, pulley, inclined plane, wheel and axle, screw, and wedge. Told in cumulative rhyme, similar to The House That Jack Built, readers follow the building process to completion and discover the surprise reason it was built.
We hope you enjoy reading the ebooks, stop by next week and we will have some great habitats to explore! You can also find all these titles in hardcover, paperback, Spanish and Spanish paperback in our online store!
Today we release three new picture books to the world! Happy Book Birthday to authors Mary Holland Jennifer Keats Curtis and Timothy Bradley and illustrator Phyllis Saroff!
Now, let’s meet the books
Mary Holland has written several popular Arbordale titles, including her Animal Anatomy and Adaptationsseries. For Animal Tracks and Traces, she spent days capturing signs that animals were around. She also gives readers a glimpse at the animals that made the tracks, scat or marks.
About the book: Animals are all around us. While we may not often see them, we can see signs that they’ve been there. Some signs might be simple footprints in snow or mud (tracks) and other signs include chewed or scratched bark, homes or even poop and pee (traces). Children will become animal detectives after learning how to “read” the animal signs left all around. Smart detectives can even figure out what the animals were doing! This is a perfect sequel to Mary Holland’s Animal Anatomy and Adaptations series.
Jennifer Keats Curtis is also finding herself writing about familiar themes in Creek Critters. Fans of her books Baby Bear’s Adoption, Moonlight Crab Count, or Salamander Seasonwill love this book too! For this book, she teamed up with the Stroud Water Research Center to show young readers how they can tell if their creek is healthy by finding some bugs.
About the Book: Do you like scavenger hunts? How do you tell if creek water is clean and healthy? Join Lucas and his sister as they act like scientists looking for certain kinds of stream bugs (aquatic macroinvertebrates) that need clean, unpolluted water to survive. What will they find as they turn over rocks, pick up leaves and sort through the mud? Read along to find out if their creek gets a passing grade.
Timothy Bradley has always loved writing about creatures of the past! I am Allosaurus starts a prehistoric series, and he kicks off the series with a favorite dino, the Allosaurus. This book will certainly be loved by beginning readers as they run, eat, and hide with the bright pink Allosaurus. While the text is simple, Bradley’s illustrations are bright, fun, and reflect new research in paleontology.
About the Book: What would it be like to live as a dinosaur? Young readers will discover that dinosaur lives had many similarities to present-day animals: they hatched, ran, hunted, hid from predators, and grew to adulthood. However, the world these creatures from the far past inhabited was very different from that of today; a great example is that a simple thing like grass didn’t yet exist. Repetitive sight words make this a great story for beginning readers and dinosaur enthusiasts alike.
A recent study revealed that one-in-three birds have vanished since 1970, meaning that in North American, we have 3 billion fewer birds today. This study was a major undertaking by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and couldn’t have been done without the work of citizen scientists.
The numbers are most grim for grassland birds losing 50% of their population, shorebirds are down 37%, and western forest birds have lost 29% of their population. These results show that birds are not adapting well as buildings go up in place of forests and grasslands.
Can you imagine opening your window and not hearing the song of a sparrow ever again? Or seeing a red-winged blackbird on the side of the highway? These common birds are some of the species that have lost a large portion of its population.
There are successes in this story, conservation efforts to save waterfowl, raptors, and turkeys show an increase in populations. Special interest groups and governments have invested in conservation. High-rise buildings give peregrine falcons a nest box and a camera so people can check in on their favorite local raptor. Conservation groups give a bird’s eye view into an eagle nest or a duck pond, and this exposure helps create public awareness.
What else can we do?
Cut down on reflective windows. Nearly 1 billion birds die each year by mistaking reflections for flying space and crash into windows.
People can also keep their purrfect bird hunters inside to chase faux birds. Cats are estimated to kill 2.6 billion birds a year!
Give birds a place to rest or nest by planting native flowers and trees. Flower beds spruce up a yard and give birds a place to rest safely during long flights.
A few things that are not only good for birds, but good for your health too – reduce pesticides, plastics, and drink shade-grown coffee.
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.
Even kids can get involved in science! Ecologist Dr. Neeti Bathala and Jennifer Keats Curtis collaborate to bring us the story of these adventurous citizen scientists. Leena and her mom volunteer each summer to count the horseshoe crabs that visit their beach. With their dog Bobie at their sides, the duo spends a night on the shore surveying horseshoe crabs who have come to mate and lay eggs. Readers will learn valuable facts about these ancient animals and how they can get involved in the effort to conserve horseshoe crabs.
Long ago, when the world was young, the magpies’ nests were the envy of all other birds. To help the other birds, Maggie Magpie patiently explained how to build a nest. But some birds were impatient and flew off without listening to all the directions, which is why, to this day, birds’ nests come in all different shapes and sizes. This clever retelling of an old English folktale teaches the importance of careful listening.
Can a swan survive without winter migration? Marcel, a young tundra swan, is tired from the first half of a winter migration. One thousand miles is a long way to fly—too long for Marcel, so he hides in the rushes to stay behind while his parents and the flock continue south. But with the lake nearly frozen over, he soon realizes that he is not cut out for life on ice. Other animals offer advice about how to survive the winter, but their ways of living aren’t right for the swan. Hungry and scared, he falls asleep – only to be awakened by a big surprise!
In beautifully detailed photographs, Mary Holland captures the first few months of a baby barred owl’s life. The huge eyes and fluffy feathers will steal the hearts of readers as they learn how barred owl parents ready their young owlets for the big world outside the nest. Follow along as Otis learns to eat, fights with his sister, and prepares for flight.
Find these titles and many more bird books on arbordalepublishing.com. You can also request them from your favorite library or bookstore!
We couldn’t get enough Halloween fun with just animal books,
so here is another reading list to get you thinking…Do you have your costume
for trick or treat yet? Well, we have thought quite a bit about our costumes
and decided to take inspiration from a few Arbordale books. Here is another
reading list for the season that might inspire a costume or two!
Ghosts have been part of Halloween traditions from the very
beginning. Although we don’t know much about the Irish traditions of Samhain,
we know it was a harvest festival where the spirit world would join the real
world where ghosts and faeries walked among the living. This event is the
origin of today’s Halloween celebrations. At first, the bedsheet ghost became a
way to distinguish spirits in the theatre then later taken to the streets for
trickery. The Ghost of Donley Farm has a feathery shroud, but
his mystique is equally intriguing to Rebecca.
The Ghost of Donley Farm 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.Â 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.
Halloween is a magical night, but why? Again, we go back to
Ireland and the Druids of the Samhain festival. Druids were known to turn those
that did bad deeds into black cats. The connection between magical powers and
All Hallows Eve began. Today, on Halloween night, you might see young witches
and wizards stopping door to door for candy; but, what about someone that only
uses illusion to create magic? Get your top hat, maybe a rabbit, and study some
tricks in Magnetic Magic!
Magnetic Magic Dena loves using magnets to perform magic tricks for the kids at the pool. When Enrique arrives in town, he doesn’t like that Dena is fooling the others. He gives her a century-old treasure map and Dena uses her compass and tools to plot the location of the treasure. To her surprise, the treasure is not where it should be! What could cause her compass to lead her off course? When she discovers the answer, will Dena keep fooling the other kids with magic tricks or will she help them learn about magnetism and the earth’s shifting magnetic poles?
While many believe that wolves howl at the moon, they are actually
communicating with each other. But the full-moon turns the mythical werewolf
from its human shape into an evil wolf-like creature at its appearance.
References to the werewolf, or lycanthrope, span hundreds of years but were
prominent in the middle ages. Halloween movies often include the shapeshifting
creature among the monsters. Maybe readers of One Wolf Howls might
consider either the real or mythical animal as a Halloween costume.
One Wolf Howls 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.
Midnight is the hour of the supernatural. There are
references to spells being cast at midnight, and at this hour on a full moon,
madness sets in. Throughout ancient history, madness has been depicted in some
very disturbing ways, but we have a much more fun way to spend the evening, an
animal basketball game!
Midnight Madness at the Zoo The bustle of the crowd is waning and the zoo is quieting for the night. The polar bear picks up the ball and dribbles onto the court; the nightly game begins. A frog jumps up to play one-on-one and then a penguin waddles in to join the team. Count along as the game grows with the addition of each new animal and the field of players builds to ten. Three zebras serve as referees and keep the clock, because this game must be over before the zookeeper makes her rounds.
No matter your Halloween costume, we hope you have had as much fun with this reading list as we have had making it. To learn more about each book, go to arbordalepublishing.com or click on the title.
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!